Oct 29 2012 12:30pm

The Walking Dead, S3 E3: “Walk With Me”

Recap and review of The Walking Dead season 3 episode Walk With Me

After a bit of a shaky episode last week, The Walking Dead is back on steady feet with “Walk With Me.” We got our first look at the Governor, this season’s Big Bad, and man, was it a good one. It’s pretty obvious how this season’s main arc is going to play out, but oddly enough I’m not bothered by it. I’m actually looking forward to seeing the chaos and destruction that is going to be Rick and the Governor going head to head. I mean, it just has to happen (and not just because of the comics). If the writers can keep up the momentum—and if Morrissey gets to be in every ep—it should make for an explosive season.

As much as it pains me to say this, Michonne is verging on annoying. She’s a BAMF, true, but that doesn’t make for a personality. And the fact that she’s been chilling with Andrea all this time and hasn’t offered more than a peep about her life pre-apocalypse is both irritating and unbelievable. Not that she’d be the kind of person to tell her new bestie all her deepest, darkest secrets, but a little show and tell has to happen. Otherwise, how does the bond of friendship set? I’m not risking my life for someone who doesn’t trust me enough to even tell me their favorite color. In tandem with that, I’m still not sure what Michonne gets out of hanging on to Andrea. There’s wanting to stave off loneliness and then there’s dragging around a vomiting liability. Hopefully Michonne will get more shading next ep. Without more dimension to her character, it makes it that much harder for the audience to sympathize with her and side with her in her suspicions. Right now she’s got as much basis for her nervousness around the Governor as Dale did with Shane before the latter showed his true colors.

Speaking of Shane, where Rick and Shane were two polar opposites in seasons 1 and 2, Rick 2.0 wouldn’t bat an eye about Shane. Upgraded Rick needs a new adversary, one who is more complex and complicated than Shane ever was. And he is going to get that in the Governor. Despite many of the narratives following the comics, TV Governor is quite a bit different from comics Governor, and not just because the latter is scrawny and has stringy hair and the former is clean cut and dreamy. TV Governor is kind of like what you’d get if Rick and Shane were blended together: he has Rick’s arrogance and desire to protect his people at all costs and Shane’s ruthlessness and sociopathy.

The Walking Dead S3  E3: The Governor seems like a pretty decent guy. You know, up until that whole “kill the military regiment” thing. He clearly runs Woodbury with an iron fist in a velvet glove, and keeping Michonne’s swords on his bookshelf like a trophy is a total dick move. But he doesn’t feel evil (yet), and that’s the key difference between this Governor and the one from the comics. I was both pleased and bemused by the decision to cast David Morrissey as the Big Bad, but now I get it. Oh boy, do I get it. He’s cast against type here, and works it to his advantage. Where lesser actors would be chewing scenery right and left, Morrissey reads his lines with a disarming lightness that makes you think maybe he really is everything he claims to be, maybe his mad scientist lair is really just him trying to find a cure, maybe he really does want to spend all his time hugging puppies and picking flowers. And then he goes and shoots a man in the chest with that disconcerting little half-smile on his lips that shows protecting his townsfolk is an unintended benefit of getting to kill people without repercussion.

Merle’s startling yet expected reappearance is a giant neon sign that not all is well in Woodbury, but there’s that charming little smile of el jefe’s again. Time, bitterness, and the controlling guidance of the Governor has toned Merle down. He’s still a raging douchecanoe, but at least he isn’t a walking racist redneck caricature anymore. He’s also gotten better at manipulating people—a skill he can thank the Governor for. Andrea wouldn’t know when she’s being pumped for information if Merle up and shouted it in her face. Between her interactions with Merle, the Governor, and Michonne, I’m shocked Andrea hasn’t squealed more about her time with Rick and Co. Give her time....

I’m interested to hear what non-comics viewers thought of the reveal that the Governor isn’t as sweet as he made himself out to be. Did you catch the lies early on, or did the sneak attack on the National Guard garrison surprise you?

Final Thoughts

  • “Where are we?” “That’s not for me to say.”
  • “Bet you was wonderin’ if I was real. Prob’ly hopin’ I wasn’t.”
  • I know I’m not supposed to find the Governor sexy, but hot damn. David Effing Morrissey is one tall drink of water. Even when he’s killing people. Not sure how I feel about his Southern accent....
  • Michonne ain’t having none of the Governor’s shit. If she glared any harder she’d burn a hole in the sun.
  • I’m going to be so pissed off if the writers try to pair off Andrea and the Governor. There won’t be enough words in the world to describe my rage.
  • Apparently Danai Gurira spends all her time on set in character, and the hell if it doesn’t show.
  • I totally forgot about the wall of zombie heads! Fantastic.
  • Dude. I called it. I knew Merle would wind up under the Governor’s wing.
  • Wanna know the Governor’s backstory? Knock yourself out.

Alex Brown is an archivist, writer, geeknerdloserweirdo, and all-around pop culture obsessive who watches entirely too much TV. Keep up with her every move on Twitter, or get lost in the rabbit warren of ships and fandoms on her Tumblr.

Improbable Joe
1. Improbable Joe
Team... hell, Team JOE! Nobody else rates this week. We know Andrea is Team Governor and possibly Team Merle because the only character development she's gotten is "will sleep with sociopaths."

A few "quick" thoughts:

Glaring isn't acting OR writing! I half imagine they tried to write dialog for Michonne and it all came out "Dat is wack!" and "Oh, HELL no playa!" and when Danai Gurira refused to say it, the writers sputtered "Bu-bu-but you're, you know... um, 'urban'? Isn't that how you people talk?" and then said the hell with it and had her say "I want my daddy's records sword" a few times and glare angrily at everyone. What I wanted was for Michonne to pull a Silent Bob towards the end of the episode, and point out 2-3 solid things that make her suspicious and cement the fact that she's a BAMF for her brains as well as her sword.

And the reveal of Merle was totally mishandled, as was the introduction of the Governor. What I wanted was for Merle to be the one who shot the soldiers, but don't show his face until he brings back the supplies to town. That way, the end reveal of the episode is that the Governor and Merle are buddies but we don't know if Merle killed the soldiers because he wanted to or because he was ordered to. That and save the experimenting on the zombies and wall of heads until next episode, so that we get a least a little ambiguity and subtlety rather than hitting us over the head with bricks all the time.
Sara H
2. LadyBelaine
nothing substantive to say, but is this: it just me, or is David Morrissey just the hottest thing?

edit: just read the whole thing. Nope, not just me. I might have to actually watch Basic Instinct II now.
John Ginsberg-Stevens
3. eruditeogre
Not a great episode, but it had some good moments. David Morrissey is quite good as this slicker, dreamier Governor. When you see the character in the book his appearance screams out crazy mofo. This version is potentially more sinister, and perhaps even more complicated. He is playing the role well even if he can't keep his accent.

I agree with Alex that the glaring Michonne is irritating, both for the character herself and for the story. This is partly an effect of the change of the story from the comics, where all that we've seen her do is glower and decapitate zombies. The writers don't seem to understand the character's potential depths. It does make sense that she would be very suspicious, but her response is too much. Who wouldn't be worried about some newcomer who just stares and growls and asks for her weapons back?

Merle's entrance was meh, as is his role so far. He seems unnecessary to the story. Hopefully they have something better planned for him later.

And Andrea: oh, Andrea. She does love the powerful men, especially the crazy ones. I am ambivalent about her character so far this season. She seems to have lost some of the seasoning she gained last season, and it annoys me how the writers switch her up like that. She is seeking some sort of equilibrium in this insane world but teeters back and forth between wilting and kicking ass. I am morbidly curious to see if something does develop with the Governor, and I see a possibly awful scenario where the Gov messes her up and lets Merle do the same with Michonne. Ick Ick Ick!
Alex Brown
4. AlexBrown
@Improbable: This was definitely more of a "set the chess board" ep than a "crazy shit goes down" one. And your version of introducing Merle and the Governor would've worked in a 22-ep season, but with a 12-ep season that's already down 3 eps, there just isn't that kinda time for a slow reveal.

@Lady: YES YES HE IS SO WONDERFULLY DELICIOUSLY HOT. Instead of watching Basic Instinct 2, try the latest BBC version of Sense and Sensibility. He plays the only version of Col. Brandon I haven't found stuffy and insufferable.

@erudite: I do think Merle should've been intro'd maybe mid-ep rather than straight off, but once Woodbury becomes a plot point Merle had to be brought in. You can't wait two more eps for him, otherwise it just becomes pointless.

Andrea has two modes (much like Lori, Carol, Rick, Shane, hell, everyone but Daryl and T-Dog): LOVE ME and I HATE YOU. But I'll be damned if I'll tolerate a romance between her and the Governor, no matter how much she may bat her lashes at him.
Improbable Joe
5. Calliope66
Here's my two cents:
Michonne: She's like a ronin whose one and only concern is survival. She's pure calculating action and talks only when necessary. Being in constant warrior mode is her method for survival. She made an exception for Andrea maybe because Andrea was a lone woman, too, and felt a need to help her. Talking beauty secrets and trading Dear Diary moments just isn't a warrior's style. And she can't afford to get soft by opening up to anyone. At Woodbury, she's quietly scoping everything and everyone out, making sure everyone knows she's neither weak nor gullible enough to be buying what they're selling, nor is she an easy target.
Andrea: she just desperately wants to feel safe and normal again and will latch onto anyone who can give her that.
Governor: First impression is a mix of slimy two-faced politician and cult leader. I'm thinking he wants to find out how to cure the virus, and also how to control it.
Woodbury: There was a moment showing the people of Woodbury walking around, and I swear some of them almost had a zombie shuffle. Possible forthcoming metaphors of sheeple trading liberty for safety?
I've been really disappointed in the show's overstretching the bounds of my disbelief so far, but this episode gave me some hope for better and more complex storytelling.
Improbable Joe
6. sofrina
best line: "my shit never stopped being together."

i agree that michonne's attachment to andrea seems at odds with common sense. she has made it clear that she's not falling for the gov's sweet talk. every time she demands to leave, he goes for her achilles (andrea) and talks his way out of the confrontation. being taken at gunpoint and the doctor's and guards' refusal to speak tells her plenty. she's not talking to them because they're not talking to her. michonne, unlike andrea, realizes the importance of playing it close.

that zombie specialist reminds me so much of john ritter.

i've not read any governor comics, just the prequel "road to woodbury." this man is light years from the physical discription. he's more of a mirror or shadow of rick. perhaps they mean to play them as facets of what a decent man might become in this environment. rick has yet to stumble on military supplies, although he might have done more with hershel's town if he'd had some imagination.
Improbable Joe
7. Improbable Joe
I don't buy that they couldn't have done a better and more coherent episode in the same amount of screen time. My thing with Michonne pointing out problems in town is maybe 90 seconds, and the rest is just re-ordering events. It just would have been Merle doing the shooting, and filmed POV of the shooter, and then after the Governor's speech about having the supplies and keeping people safe, have him walk around to the back of one of the military trucks and there's Merle at the end of the episode as the big reveal. So the wall of heads as the cold open of the next episode maybe? I think they made a mistake of splitting things between the prison and town, one episode each.

Yeah, I know it isn't a 22-episode season... but that also means there's a long time between seasons to figure out a solid story that all hangs together properly.
Alex Brown
8. AlexBrown
@Calliope: Sometimes headcanons are so much more interesting than realcanons.

@sofrina: I knew I forgot to include a line in my Final Thoughts! Loved that delivery from Michonne.

@Improbable: I actually liked getting out of the prison and holding focus on Woodbury. Splitting up the prison and Woodbury action would, IMO, reduce the impact of both. And I think the wall of heads works far better as a cliffhanger than a cold open...just doesn't have the same oomph pre-opening credits. And making Merle as the big reveal makes him more important than the Governor, rather than vice versa. We're supposed to be more afraid of the Governor than of Merle. Merle is just a sign that there's something rotten in the state of Woodbury, and you don't really get that inkling of danger if the Governor is all sweetness and light then all of a sudden evil.

I do think they could've done a better job stretching out the audience's suspicions about the Governor. We should've been stewing in our own nervous juices, not all of a sudden thinking he's a total creeper. But I think a big part of why they didn't do that is because a large portion of the audience already knows he's the Big Bad. They can't trick us with a Shyamalan twist because we've been expecting his arrival since day one. I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one...
Improbable Joe
9. tigeraid
Michonne: She's like a ronin whose one and only concern is survival. She's pure calculating action and talks only when necessary. Being in constant warrior mode is her method for survival. She made an exception for Andrea maybe because Andrea was a lone woman, too, and felt a need to help her. Talking beauty secrets and trading Dear Diary moments just isn't a warrior's style. And she can't afford to get soft by opening up to anyone. At Woodbury, she's quietly scoping everything and everyone out, making sure everyone knows she's neither weak nor gullible enough to be buying what they're selling, nor is she an easy target.

Correct. And while I'm sure non-comic readers are growing tired of hearing it, this IS how she is in the comic. Christ it took, I think, about a year's worth of comic before she even revealed what she used to do for a living? She's not a big talker--let that be her character.
Improbable Joe
10. sofrina
i know the gov is a villain but not what that entails. there seemed to plenty of foreshawing toward this. michonne's hypervigilance and her challenging "yeah right" glare, plus merle's statement that the scariest guy is the one who isn't holding a gun. that's precisely how the gov approached the soldiers. white flag, hands in the air and once he got their guard down, out comes the gun.
Alex Brown
11. AlexBrown
@tiger: While I think Ronin works for Michonne in the comics, I don't think it translates well on screen...

@sofrina: Honestly, even I'm not sure what kind of villain the Governor is going to end up being. He's not the same breed as the one from the comics. While he's probably going to follow a similar story arc, I think the way he reacts to the circumstances will be very different in the show.

You bring up an interesting idea regarding the Governor killing those soldiers. In the previous ep, Rick got a taste of what is coming down the pike for him. He agreed to let the prisoners live on the other side of prison in exchange for leaving them the hell alone, and only killed when two of them threatened his group's peace. Realistically, the Governor probably could've convinced the soldiers to join his team and had some extra backup, but he didn't want to risk the time and effort it would take to establish himself as the alpha - or risk that one of them would turn on him. The only people he seems to take into Woodbury are all people who are utterly dependent on him, something the soldiers most definitely are not. That immediately puts Rick at a disadvantage, and contrasts the two men. Rick would rather live and let live; the Governor would rather consolidate his power by stripping others of theirs.
Improbable Joe
12. itsme
Andrea is easily the dumbest blonde in the south. Oh let me count the ways. It started when she foolishly jammed a gun in Ricks face, with the safety on, I might add, and accused him of killing all of them. What was that all about? Glenn was the one who told Rick how to use his gun to get out of the tank.

Then she wanted to commit suicide. Too bad the old perv, Dale persuaded her not to. Of course, to top it off she became upset with them, especially Dale, for taking her gun. When a perfectly healthy young adult is openly contemplating and attempting suicide, the only rationale and decent course of action is to not give that person, an easy means of achieving that self destructive end, at least until they've had a chance to come to their senses. But even after she had time to calm down and recover a bit from Amy's death, Andrea didn't understand that Dale had been right. Instead Andrea took from that situation the lesson of how important it is to respect one's right to make choices for themselves in all situations.

Oh and don't forget her brilliant performance on the RV when she shot Daryl, even after being told not to fire by several people, as they ran out to deal with the situation. But no, Andrea knew best. She wasted a round of valuable ammunition as she needlessly fired a shot from a noisy high powered rifle. But being a pretty blonde, the only consequence she suffered, was that she was told by Dale not to be too hard on herself. And Daryl forgave her in a heartbeat because she was after all, just looking out for the group. The fact is, she should have had her gun toting privileges suspended for putting all their lives at risk by taking that shot and possibly drawing a horde of zombies to the sound.

Remember when she told Dale that Shane did more to help the group then Rick? How stupid was that? How could she have possibly thought that? Shane was a psychotic moron who could have cared less for the welfare of the group. All he wanted to do was to play hide the sausage with Lori. But the idiot Andrea couldn't see that. Maybe her vision was clouded because she bonded with him when they bummped uglies in the car to celebrate her excellent aim when shooting zombies from all of 15 feet away.

I admit, I did like it when Andrea slammed Lori for acting the queen bee and for having sex with Shane. But Andrea was dead wrong when she argued that Beth should be allowed to kill herself if she wanted to. Right, a teenage girl who is depressed over the recent death of her mother, should be allowed to take her own life without interference from any responsible adult, because gosh darn, the principle of choice is at stake here, and isn't that the really important value to be protected in this matter? Give me a break.

I mean she is an idiot, a dumb ass beyond compare. And now in season 3 right off the bat, she is starting to swoon for the Governor. She's flirting with him, “Never say never.” Why Michonne is sticking with her is beyond me. Bye the way, Michonne had the best line in the last episode, “My shit never stopped being together.”

So far, I am really liking Michonne, she says little and listens and watches lots. Funny how people who follow that strategy tend to learn more. Consequently, they better understand the true nature of things.

While for her part, Andrea the social butterfly, coyly communes with the Gov, and once again, completely misunderstands where the real danger is coming from. Sweet Jesus she is an idiot. Truly, in Andrea the dumb blonde is alive and well and stumbling her way in blissful ignorance through the zombie apocalypse.
Alex Brown
13. AlexBrown
@itsme: Well, I wouldn't go so far as to call Andrea a "dumb blonde," but she is sorely lacking in awareness and observational skills. At the end of the day, she's simply far too trusting. She assumes everyone will work together to get through the apocalypse without taking into account the seedier side of human nature. I can't stand her right now (I like her better when she's kicking ass), but that's largely because I can't stand real people who act like that. Andrea's irritating, but if we're going to argue who is the worst female character on the show I have to vote for Lori "I'm going to crash my car on a stretch of open highway because I'm an idiot" Grimes.

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