Walking Dead 307
Walking Dead this week featured a father and son having The Talk, more uncomfortable nudity than you ever want to see again, zombie cognition experiments, and Glen on hardcore mode.
As the show sets things up for the “mid-season finale,” all of the ambivalence is swept aside. Characters that previously had muddy motivations and questionable intentions are revealed as pure evil or heroic champions. Merle starts right off with a racist tirade about T-Dog, then tortures and beats Glen. To wrap things up, he unleashes a walker on Glen, who’s duct-taped to a chair. The Glen-in-a-chair vs. zombie fight was one of the more inventive and intense zombie battles I’ve seen.
We get to the see the Governor again in his sexytime bathrobe, and a gratuitous glimpse of Andrea’s ass. The thought of the Gov having sex with anyone makes my skin crawl. That doughy, pasty face…
Andrea gets assigned to help Milton with his experiments. He suspects zombies retain a semblance of memory or personality post-mortem, and wants to prove it. An old man dying of cancer has volunteered. A series of sounds and images serve as Pavlovian triggers that Milton hopes will remind the man of specific memories both before and after he dies. Andrea is there on headshot duty.
I admire the design of the experiment up to a point, but the logistical problems were absurdly obvious. The response is to raise his hand, but the protocol requires both hands to be strapped to the table. Furthermore, the experiment needs to be double-blind, with a separate observer noting the times of hand raises on a chart without hearing when the questions were asked (some dummy questions, like, “Are you the King of England?” would have been required too, to rule out the zombie merely responding to Milton’s voice). Later, they’d compare when hand raises were detected to when questions were asked to detect a possible correlation. The problem became clear when Milton started trying to interpret random finger clutching as a positive result.
Meanwhile, the Lovenor makes Maggie get topless (believe me when I tell you I have never before sat on my couch yelling “No No No!” while an attractive actress was taking her shirt off) and threatens her with rape. She’s pretty stoic, but when he points a gun at Glen Maggie cracks and spills the beans about the prison. Governor “comforting” Maggie was deeply, profoundly creepy.
Back at the prison, Michonne’s zombie disguise wears off and she passes out fighting the walkers. Rick and Carl save her and they bring her into the prison. She acts standoffish and prickly, but Rick acts like a jerk too, grabbing her by the gunshot wound when she starts telling them about Glen and Maggie. I loved her description of Woodbury, calling the Governor a “Jim Jones type.” Great, now he’s even creepier.
Rick gathers up a posse of prison survivors to head for Woodbury on a rescue mission. Both of the prisoners, Oscar and Axel, volunteer, but I didn’t see Axel in any of the subsequent road scenes. Before they leave, Rick and Carl have the talk that every father one day has with his son. Yes, the “I’m sorry you had to help slice your mom open and then shoot her corpse in the head so she wouldn’t turn into a zombie and try to eat you” talk.
The crew climbs out of the product-placementmobile to approach Woodbury on foot, but they’re waylaid by a zombie mob and forced to shelter in a cabin. There they have one of the strangest encounters in Walking Dead thus far. They make a ton of noise getting into the cabin, and they find that the source of the terrible smell inside is a dog. The cabin’s living occupant is a crazy guy under a blanket, who seems not to have been hiding, but napping. How does he not hear them? Why did he let his dog die? And why does he not seem to understand what’s happening? He threatens to call the police, and tries to open the door and wander outside despite all the walkers out there. Michonne guts him and they throw him to the zombies as a distraction while they escape out the back door. Poor crazy guy.
Now we’re all set up for the mid-season finale. We know the Governor is seriously screwed up, evil, and creepy, and Merle is a sadistic, racist bastard. They have Maggie and Glen as hostages. The prison crew has to mount an assault on the well-defended town, but they’ve got Michonne on their side. Not only is she a super badass with a samurai sword (despite the leg wound), she’s got inside intel on Woodbury and the Gov’s troops. Plus we’ve got the whole Civil War microcosm, brother vs. brother, with Daryl and Merle on opposite sides. Should be an exciting episode next week.