If you ever had any doubt just how massive a hit this show is, AMC has reported that “The Suicide King” drew in 12.3 million viewers, the largest audience in the show’s history. 4.1 million stuck around after to watch The Talking Dead. To put that in perspective, 600,000 more people would rather watch a couple of dudes talk about a show they just watched then watch the highest rated episode of Mad Men. So what if the show’s had three showrunners in four seasons. Behind the scenes the show may be crumbling under the weight of its own hubris, but what eventually makes it to air is still apparently entertaining enough to keep the viewers tuning in week after week. The Walking Dead is an unstabable (typo and it stays) force, one that cannot be killed and wants to turn us into shambling, mindless monsters reveling in death and tragedy. What are those things called? Vampires? Wendigos? Rugarus? Whatever. You get my drift. Now onto last night’s tedious and bloody time killer of an episode.
You may be asking yourself what happened in “Home.” The answer is that all of the people who stood around shouting last week stood around and had fraught conversations this week. The Governor lied to Andrea about wanting the best for Woodbury, and tossed the red ball of town leadership for her to go play with over there while he went off to be a dick at the prison. Michonne fulfilled her SAG requirements by speaking two full sentences, though I’m hard pressed to remember what they were. Merle and Daryl rescued another in a long line of inexplicably appearing extras (alas, poor hermit, we hardly knew ye) who exist for the sole purpose of giving our protags something to do in between the endless conversations. The brothers also had a long overdue heart to heart, and Daryl finally realized Merle is a racist, sexist douchecanoe. Axel got the chance to expand on his personality and past, which meant he also got the chance to get himself killed. In case you missed the memo, when Hershel told Tyrese and his crew to leave, they literally left the prison. Hence them not showing up for the gunfight at the end. Presumably they’ll turn up right when Rick needs them the most, and they’ll have to make the difficult choice of joining Woodbury or the Ricktatorship. Dramatic conflict ensues.
I had just about had it with “Home” until the last 10 minutes when the Governor shot Axel out of the blue. And that fakeout with the delivery van showing up instead of Glenn’s truck. And that arrow to the zombie’s head that almost got Rick. True, the action was poorly staged about half the time, and ultimately the whole thing proved pointless and possibly even detrimental to the very man who set the thing up. Nevertheless, it was still the only non-craptacular part of the whole ep. I remember what happened when the Governor attacked the prison in the comic. That issue was what finally got me to stop reading about people getting cannibalized and slaughtering each other; I couldn’t take it anymore. While the show can no longer pull off the exact same results as the comic, I’m curious to see just how vicious the writers will go while not treading as close to the NC-17 line as Kirkman did. Yet, the attack also begs the question of how it is possible that Rick and the gang can shoot a dozen zombies in the head with handguns while driving around willy nilly in the dark but they can’t machine gun five stationary goons?
At least it looks like we’re finally done with Rick’s little visits to Delusionville. It was hard enough getting rid of Lori the first time, but the thought of having her pop back in randomly as a disapproving ghost was not a pleasant one. Poor Andrew Lincoln. He’s trying so hard for an Emmy, but instead he looks like Keira Knightley just dumped him for Chiwetel Ejiofor. (That’s a Love, Actually joke. Get it? Humor!) Season 3 is all about the parallels between Governor Evil McCyclops and Officer Borington Q. Shoutsalot. When one goes power mad, so does the other. When one goes bug-eyed isolationist, so does the other. And when one gets the snot beat out of him and goes bonkers, so does the other. The Governor’s version of psychosis is to Trojan horse a bunch of zombies and launch a premature and poorly thought out attack on what he must assume is a heavily fortified fortress. Rick’s version of psychosis is to go on walkabout along a creek and talk to his dead wife on the phone. Rick is the one we’re supposed to sympathize with, but his nemesis has the vastly more interesting breakdown.
I get that Glenn is going through something profound with the whole Maggie almost getting raped situation, but here’s the thing: Maggie is the one who almost got raped. It’s time for him to stop acting like he’s the one who got the short end of the stick. This is where I’m going to take a tour through Feminist Killjoy territory and do a bit of ranting. The more Glenn keeps angsting about what happened to Maggie, the more he diminishes her role in the attack and makes her assault less important than his bruised ego. The big strong man couldn’t protect his delicate sexy woman so now he’s going to sulk about it. He’s not being supportive of her or acting concerned for her needs. Instead, he’s strutting around trying to show how manly he is by defending his territory.
So far on this show we’ve had to put up with the writers reinforcing negative gender stereotypes by tying the women to cleaning and cooking and endlessly doing laundry while the men hunt and fight. This season has come a long way in redressing those issues, but now we’re back to it with Glenn. Maggie’s trying to deal with what happened, and Glenn being an ass about it isn’t doing her or the show any favors. He’s focused on the rape like the Governor slept with his woman, when in reality rape and sexual assault are about dominance and humiliation, not sex. Maybe I’m misreading the whole thing. I really want to give Glenn the benefit of the doubt, because up until recently he was one of the top five best things about this show. Right now he’s on very thin ice.
GODDAMN IT, ANDREA. WHY ARE YOU STILL IN WOODBURY? GET OUT OF THERE! DON’T LET THE GOVERNOR INTO YOUR ROOM. HE HELD YOUR FRIENDS HOSTAGE. HE TORTURED THEM AND THREATENED TO RAPE MAGGIE. HE HAD ZOMBIE HEADS IN JARS IN HIS BEDROOM. HE KEPT HIS UNDEAD DAUGHTER CHAINED UP IN THE CLOSET. HE ALMOST KILLED MICHONNE MULTIPLE TIMES. STOP BEHAVING LIKE THE TWO OF YOU JUST HAD A FIGHT OVER NOT PUTTING THE TOILET SEAT DOWN. YOU ARE AN IDIOT AND THE WORST PERSON EVER.
- “Milton, I want you to give me a specific answer to a specific question. Where is the Governor.” “On a run?”
- “Are we gonna talk about this? Maggie, you need to talk about it.” “I do or you do?”
- “Did he…” “Rape me? No. No. Do you feel better?”
- “You lost your hand because you’re a simple-minded piece of shit.”
- “What are you doing out here?” “I’m…I’ve been…I’ve got…stuff…out here…stuff…” “How much longer do you need?” “I don’t know…I don’t know…”
- “You know, I may be the one who’s walking away, but you’re the one who’s leaving. Again.”
- Wait, did they really just have a meeting where they suddenly realized they were all in the room and no one was on watch? That’s some Scooby Doo-level shit right there.
- Carol is awesome. Someone put that woman in charge. Bitches get stuff done.
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.