Nov 19 2012 11:15am

The Walking Dead, S3 E6: “Hounded”

A review and recap of The Walking Dead, season 3 episode 6: Hounded

All the momentum of the last few episodes of The Walking Dead shattered into a million pieces of boredom with “Hounded.” Good god but this was, by and large, a dull episode. Talk about setting the board. For the most part, this ep was little more than killing time and moving characters into place so Rick and the gang can make their way into the Governor’s orbit. But it did have a few good things....

Last week I wrote that The Walking Dead improves with less dialogue, and Sunday’s ep proved that in spades. So much talking, the endless, meandering talking. Even Daryl, a man of biting quips and hilarious one liners, descended into a lengthy monologue about his mother burning to death after smoking in bed which ended with him apologizing for Carl’s mom’s death and Carl apologizing for Daryl’s mother’s death. So there’s that. He made up for it, though, with his discovery of Carol’s knife in the walker’s neck. Watching Daryl come to the conclusion that the zombie he, Carl, and Oscar passed earlier while clearing out the cell block was probably Carol and that after everything they’ve been through, after everything that just happened, he was going to have to brain her, man, was that heart-wrenching. Truth be told, I really wasn’t sure whether Carol would be alive or not. I was just as shocked to find her alive as I would’ve been had she been dead or undead.

So Andrea and the Governor finally knocked boots. If Andrea blushed any harder she’d start giggling like a schoolgirl. I get it, the Governor—Philip—is a total babe. I wanna make out with him, too. But he’s also as nutty as a fruitcake, and anyone with half a brain can see that. Andrea’s making a strong play to be Lori’s replacement as the worst female character ever. At least we got some more depth to the Governor. His offhanded comment that he had little in his old life in which he took pride speaks to why he’s so desperate to keep hold of Woodbury and why he rules it with an iron fist. He’s proud of his tiny empire. When he said he liked being where he was, drinking fine whiskey and sitting in the sun, he didn’t mean it figuratively. He literally meant he liked living in the zombie hellscape more than his life pre-apocalypse. And why is the present so much better than the past? Because he is lord of all now. Everyone relies on him and he deigns whether or not to bestow his blessings. For a man as psychotic as he is, this must be paradise.

With every second she’s on screen, I like Michonne less and less. She just sat there and watched Glenn and Maggie get taken hostage by Merle. She did nothing when she could’ve stopped it, injured or no. She attacked Merle with a bullet in her leg, so why not creep around behind him and sword him to death? Or even just distract him so Glenn and Maggie could take him out? My memory of the comics in this part has faded, but regardless, this ain’t the comics and what works on paper doesn’t always translate to the screen. Her fight with Merle and his group of idiots was tense enough, but was undercut with her ridiculous “go back” sign made of lamebrain parts. Michonne is sorely testing my patience.

About the whole coincidence of Merle running into Glenn and Maggie, honestly, I buy that a lot more than I buy them not running into each other before now. From what previous episodes have hinted at, they haven’t really traveled all that far. They’re, what, maybe 50-100 miles from Atlanta? People aren’t moving around that much in the zombie apocalypse, they just keep circling the same radius trying to keep ahead of the walkers. And if the Red Zone Merle mentioned is a no fly zone, that means there’s really only so much distance humans can traverse. You’ve got the Ozarks to the far west and the Appalachians to the immediate east and north. That means the only easy way is south, and if that’s infested with cannibal corpses that leaves very little leeway in terms of traversable geography. So you’ve got a lot of people all going on regular walkabouts in a small physical space and yet it’s taken this long for paths to collide. Certainly makes for a better story if Merle doesn’t show up until now, but it’s also a lot less believable.

What’s important is that Merle’s arrival—or Glenn and Maggie’s departure, depending on how you want to look at it—is setting the show up for one hell of a cliffhanger come December. Like last year, after two more eps TWD will go on a mini-hiatus until early 2013. We aren’t going to get Rick and the Governor going toe to toe until the real season finale, but chances are good the meet-cute will take place very, very soon, probably the tail end of next week’s ep or the beginning of the week after.

Final Thoughts

  • “I’m gonna keep calling you Neil, alright?”
  • “Had to kill my sister” “Sucks right?” “Yeah.” Now that is some Emmy worthy dialogue right there. David Milch must be shaking in his boots with such heavy duty competition.
  • “Everything OK?” “Hell yeah.” Ugh. Shoot me now.

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.

David Eze
1. David Eze
You really should pull back on including/teasing spoilers of things that haven't happened yet on the TV series, based on knowledge from the comic series (e.g. putting Rick in the governor's orbit)..
David Eze
2. dhg
I'm not as harse a critic as the writer here is but I agree that this was a "Connector" episode linking Rick and crew with the Governor and Woodbury.I also was unhappy with the idea that Michonne would have just sat there and let Merle take Glann and Maggie instead of taking an opportunity to get rid of her biggest threat.Michonne and the group still would have met up and it still would have set up an eventual Governor/Rick match up.I guess the writers couldn't come up with a better way to ramp up the threat than Glenn and Maggie being captured and taken to Woodbury.And is Andrea an idiot or what?Can't she tell Woodbury is creeptown usa?

Continuity fail:When Michonne turns up at the prison with the basket of baby formula it is way less full than when Glenn and Maggie had to leave it.
David Thomson
3. ZetaStriker
Michonne showed up to camp at the end of the episode, after she saw Glenn and Maggie taken by Merle. It's not a spoiler from the comics, just a pretty easy to draw conclusion that the group wont like the idea of their people being abducted. Or that the Governor wont be trying to find them the way he found those military guys.
Jim Burnell
4. JimBurnell
@David Eze: I don't see mentioning the future Governor/Rick confrontation as spoilage of any kind. We know from the military slaughter the Governor can't abide anyone within any reasonable distance having organized power of any kind, and we know from the end of the episode that Michonne has come to the prison and will be informing Rick's crew of Glenn and Maggie's capture. Independent of the comics (which I haven't read), it would be ridiculous not to arrive at the conclusion that Rick and the Governor will butt heads very soon.

Also regarding Andrea: I don't see why everyone criticizes her. She begs Michonne to provide proof, something other than vague statements like "This place is not what they say it is." As the audience, sure, we know the Governor is a creep: we've seen his zombie head aquarium; we've seen his massacre of the military men; we've seen his obsessive notebook slashing; and we watched him lovingly brush his zombie daughter's hair. Andrea has seen none of that. The only hint she's seen of his dark side is the zombie fight clubs he organizes, and while she's initially repulsed, she eventually has to admit that she enjoyed it. And in doing so, it strengthens her belief that Michonne is wrong about the Governor, since he didn't flinch or apologize when she was initially disgusted by the fight club. In my (humble) opinion, Andrea is not an idiot. She's a bit of a "bad boy lover", since she's attracted to leaders with a "raw", dangerous edge to them (which includes Michonne!), but there are certainly a lot of women (and men!) who have that issue. (I'd think it would be downright common in a world where strength and power are survival skills.) Andrea just hasn't had the benefit of seeing what the audience has seen, so she doesn't realize yet the depths of his inner darkness. Perfectly understandable in my estimation.
David Eze
5. Darth Touma
Yeah.. I still hate Andrea.. since her douchenozzle treatment of Dale.. I'd rather she be dead than Lori..
David Eze
6. dhg
Andrea is seeing what she wants to see not what is really there to be seen.she's allowing herself to disregard pretty obvious oddness in Woodbury because she wants to stay in what she views as normalcy or as close as you can get to it,after all those months in the wilderness.She's being manipulated by the governor who is really good at doing that and who,I suspect,will be willing to use her any way he needs to as the Rick/Governor situation comes into play.

I don't blame her for her actions and inactions,I suspect a lot of Woodbury's citizens are in the same denial and head in the sand place as she is.they know there's probably not much out there and are willing to go with the Woodbury stuff so they can stay there.And a few of them also probably know the only way out for most of them would be a bullet.

I personally have a love/hate thing with Andrea.I'd prefer she ultimately gets her head on straight and goes back to Rick and company.Probably she will.But she can do some dumbass things and be catty which can be annoying.

What I'm most wondering now is are we going to have any more key deaths.We lost Lori and TDog.I had thought Herschel and Beth were expendable.I guess we'll see.
David Eze
7. Bryan Rasmussen
Andrea serves no purpose, and it is the nature of the writers of Walking Dead to waste hours and hours on a purposeless thing.(no real reason for the reference, I just found it funny)

In the comics she served a purpose, she was a total badass with a rifle who could do stuff no one else could.
Justin Pace
8. hjpace
So you think the Appalachian Mountains are an insurmountable barrier (including to people with working vehicles), but you think Michonne can just sneak up behind Merle when she's going to be in the open for several dozen feet and he has a bayonet to Maggie's head?
John Ginsberg-Stevens
9. eruditeogre
Wow, I for once may have liked an episode better than Alex! Ok, not by much.

It is a connective episode, and I think the problem with it is that too much is compressed into it. Michonne's hunt, Rick's temporary insanity, the Merle/Maggie & Glenn encounter, finding Carol, and the, er, blossoming of Andrea's relationship with the Governor. The connections seem forced; Michonne has to kill some of Merle's minions and get wounded in the process so that she is conveniently unable to help M&G later, although she CAN haul her stuff and a basket of baby goods back to the prison. Rick has to snap out of the induced insanity the writers have given him without developing the significance of the phone conversation. Daryl & Co, have to venture out to resolve Carol's fate before the mid-season cliffhanger and do some odd emoting at the same time. It's a very uneven way to bring the story arc's park into concert.

David Morrissey is still the best thing about this show. His Governor is so much more interesting and sinister than the greasy thug from the comics. His smile alone makes the character more fascinating. It's sad that most of the other characters aren't up to that level of interest. Andrea irritates me with her inability to turn off whatever filter she uses to allow the world to make sense to her. Michonne is wasted most of the time, which is particularly sad because some of the storyline changes they have made create opportunities for the character to grow and for her role to be more important. Most of the other actors are place markers who are manipulated to serve whatever plot point needs a push.

What I liked was how we learned more about Morrissey's Governor through his interaction with people and his dialogue. I liked the idea of Michonne turning the tables on her pursuers. And I really wanted that conversation Andrea had on the wall, a chance to talk with someone not in the Governor's personal circle of cronies, to shed light on how people feel about living in Woodbury. Apparently they are all sheep happy to be herded. That is not usually how a human social group, especially one brought together by crisis, works.
Alex Brown
10. AlexBrown
@David, Zeta, and Jim: Me talking about Rick and the Governor meeting isn't spoilers. You don't keep 2 stories involving the same characters completely independent. And the way they're angling Rick and the Governor to be polar opposites, I mean come on. They have to meet. It's TV 101.

@Darth, dhg, and Jim Bryan, in re Andrea: As much as I can't stand Andrea, it's her personality I dislike. I've met people like her before and have never gotten along with them. It's that incessant need to want everything to be nice and happy. I'm way to black-hearted to tolerate that. At least she's not a total cipher like Lori.

@hjpace: The Appalachians aren't insurmountable, just difficult, more difficult than most people are willing to tackle, zombie apocalypse or no. They require thorough knowledge of woodland survival. I can barely do a 1 mile hike, much less pack a kit and traverse a mountain range. And Michonne did more strenuous fighting with a bullet wound than what she would've had to do saving Glenn and Maggie.

@erudite: Yeah, a lot of critics liked it more than I did. I think I'm still sulking over the new Twilight movie. But I do like what they're doing with the Governor.
David Eze
11. Contrarian
And here's a review on i09 from someone that actually enjoys the show:
Alex Brown
12. AlexBrown
@Contrarian: I don't know how many times I can keep telling people, but I really do like The Walking Dead. No one is twisting my arm to make me watch and review it. If I didn't like it, I wouldn't be reviewing it. I don't like Revolution, therefore I neither watch nor review it. I think it's important to be critical of the things you like. You get more out of it when you analyze it than simply fanning all over it. It is also possible to dislike episodes but enjoy the series as a whole, which is my general state on TWD.
David Eze
13. tigeraid
I'm starting to believe you only enjoy Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. Have you ever watched Breaking Bad? It would make you slit your wrists with "boredom."

Daryl's talk with Carl was touching, and helped again to show a decent human side to Daryl. It was great, it was not too long, and it helped develop both characters.

Andrea chatting up the governer wasn't particularly long or tedious either, and helps set the tone for Woodbury vs. the rest of the world, and develop the Governor some more. Perfectly acceptable, and it had a means to an end, as it let David Morrissey continue to help us grow that sense of dread about him.

Rick talking to his dead wife was also necessary to close that chapter of his life. Hell, it took a lot less time to do it here than in the comic books; the phone thing lasted like four or five issues, as I recall.

I don't see how Michonne could easily have snuck around that minivan, out into the middle of the street or the middle of a sidewalk in broad daylight, and "sneak behind" Merle. Not only that, but as we've seen in the past she's generally not the type to hang around helping others--Andrea seemed to be the exception.

I loved the episode. "Sick" was my high-water mark this season so far, but that doesn't mean we can't have the action broken up with people actually interacting like people.
David Eze
14. Contrarian

Your like of TWD does not come through in your posts. To read your reviews of TWD is similar to your recent review of the last Twilight movie. Both smell of disdain.

If you truly like TWD, you may want to revisit how you review it, because I can't see it from your writings.
John Ginsberg-Stevens
15. eruditeogre
I don't agree with the argument that Alex's appreciation of the show doesn't come through. It comes out in the analysis. Her discussion of the Governor's character is detailed and shows me that she found that worth laying out. I appreciated her description of Daryl's frame of mind when he discovered Carol's knife. She hones in and what works and talks about it. She doesn't cheerlead and engage in hyperbole; she seriously engages what works and what does not from her perspective.

What's funny is that the io9 review, while more laudatory overall, does point out some of the same problems that Alex highlights in her review, but does it with a less analytical perspective. I think Alex is doing a solid job of reviewing the show. It may not be for everyone, but she treats it more seriously than other reviewers do.
Alex Brown
16. AlexBrown
@tigeraid, contrarian, and erudite: I do have a fond appreciation of big, dumb action movies, but I also enjoy quieter, slower movies as well. Let me put it this way, my two favorite shows currently airing are Supernatural and Treme. If that doesn't cover both ends of the spectrum, I don't know what does. My problem with TWD's dialogue isn't the existence of the dialogue, it's the dialogue itself. The writers have never figured out how to do subtle/subtext, so convo-heavy scripts tend to be a long of tell not show, and that gets boring fast.

If this were a show I gave ratings to, I'd give just about every ep a B this season. The last few eps have been hard because I haven't found that much to be particularly praiseworthy, yet nothing has been outright offensive either. I may be less cheerier than other reviewers (although, if you compare me to critics like Zack Handlen from the AV Club and Alan Sepinwall from HitFix I'm right about their same level of harshness), but I'm also less cheerier than most humans, so, you know...
Chuk Goodin
17. Chuk
Yeah, these reviews seem harsh but fair to me.
(I also haven't read past the first volume of the comics and wouldn't consider speculation about the Governor meeting Rick as a spoiler.)
I'm not sure where I stand on Michonne taking out Merle though -- depends how careful she wanted to be. Sure, she could have thrown something at him or been a distraction but I don't think she would have felt confident that she could stop him before he hurt or killed one of the others.
Alex Brown
19. AlexBrown
@nykolas: Michonne isn't immune to zombies...she was covered in zombie guts which afforded her camouflage much like she had when she walked around with the chained zombies.

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