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.
- “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.