Once again, The Walking Dead pulls off another solid episode in “Say the Word.” This is definitely a show that gets better with less dialogue. I don’t think the writers are ever going to figure out what subtlety means—every conversation is about as literal as it gets, what with everyone speaking exactly what’s on their mind without an ounce of metaphor between them—but when they stop acting like they’re taking a freshman philosophy class and get down to the zombie killing, the quality goes up.
The one good thing about killing off a character (or, in last week’s case, two to three) is that the ramifications of such loss gives the survivors something to do. There are the practical things like grave digging and cleaning up the mess, the urgent things like tracking down baby supplies and naming the newborn, and the contemplative things like “what do we do now?” and “what does it all mean?” The remaining convicts try to make themselves as useful as possible, to stave off being punished for their late prisonmate’s crimes, by distracting walkers away from Maggie and Daryl and helping Glenn dig graves for Carol, T-Dog, and Lori. Funnily enough, everyone except Rick seems more upset over losing T-Dog and Carol than over losing Lori, which I’d argue puts them more in line with the audience.
Maggie and Daryl got the most action this week with their field trip to the abandoned day care. As per usual, Daryl won the episode simply by being in it. That brief, quiet moment when he noticed the little heart pinned to the wall with the name “Sofia” written on it in a child’s handwriting was so sweet and tragic, and the look on his face as he remembered the little girl they fought so hard to find, as he considered that Lori died for her child, that they’re all now risking their lives to make sure her death wasn’t for naught, is heartbreaking. In the case of Maggie and Glenn, it’s nice to see a couple who respect and trust each other. When Maggie decided to go with Daryl to find formula for Lil’ Asskicker, Glenn didn’t beg her not to go. No, he knows her strengths and weaknesses and trusts her to be able to handle herself. A strong, functional relationship is sadly a rarity on television these days.
Rick, on the other hand, goes full on crazy town banana pants. For a man who up until very recently couldn’t even stand to sleep in the same jail cell as his estranged wife, he takes her death exceptionally hard. Nothing, not Glenn’s words of solace nor the lamebrain who gorged himself into a Lori coma, could snap Rick out of his grief stupor. How out of it does he get? The poor boy doesn’t utter a word the entire ep save the very end, when he hallucinates the phone ringing. (Side note: Yes, I know that’s in the comics, but I can’t remember what happened with that so don’t spoil it for me, okay? I’m actually kinda looking forward to the next ep, and that isn’t a state I’m used to experiencing with TWD. I’d like to make it last.)
Michonne is becoming a problem. and not just for the Governor. We’re 5 episodes in and she still has neither personality nor motivation. Her perpetual glower is grating on my nerves. She’s one step away from Dean Winchester playing Jensen Ackles playing Dean Winchester (you’re welcome, Supernatural fans). Woodbury may have creepy undertones, but from what little Michonne has witnessed, there’s nothing to give her pause. Her gut may be telling her Woodbury’s milk is curdled, but you can’t sustain long-term empathy on the audience’s part with a gut feeling and some creepy background music. Even the zombie cage fighting is somewhat understandable, if off-putting. The Governor’s right: the townsfolk do need to blow off steam and learn not to fear the walkers. But Andrea’s also right in that they’re going about it the wrong way. At least, that’s what she would’ve said if she wasn’t so busy thinking “Oh shit, Michonne was right!”
- “So today we celebrate how far we’ve come.”
- “People with nothing to hide don’t usually feel the need to say so.”
- “She’s all personality, that one.”
- “This place is not what they say it is.”
- “You’re teaching them that walkers aren’t dangerous.” “We’re teaching them not to be afraid.”
- So, wait, Carol’s dead? I thought she was just hiding out in the prison somewhere.
- Of course Daryl is the baby whisperer. Also, Lil’ Asskicker equals best name ever.
- Speaking of baby names, anyone remember who Patricia was? I could IMDB her, but I’m far too lazy.
- Whoulda thought an interrogation in a kindergarten classroom would be so disconcerting?
- Michonne, you are so gonna regret not killing the Governor when you had the chance.
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.