The Walking Dead

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The Walking Dead Review: Team Prison or Team Woodbury?

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There's a pretty good chance that with next week's mid-season finale, we'll end up with something of a cliffhanger that leaves us all reeling with excitement for when it returns next year.

Except where The Walking Dead Season 2 spent most of its time dragging along toward the inevitable outcome, Season 3 seems to be sprinting along with breakneck speed, pushing the boundaries of the series and providing compelling material that doesn't necessarily hinge on a final moment of an episode.

The journey itself has been exciting. It has constituted what feels more like a natural progression of story and character, allowing smaller moments to be just as important as the big ones.

Walking Dead Foursome

"When the Dead Come Knocking" was a great set up for the prison versus Woodbury confrontation, reaffirming why Rick and his crew are the good guys.

I'm pleased, though, that Michonne acted wary of Rick, even though we knew he would actually help her out. I almost expected her to easily accept her new compadres, but she was just as quiet and stand-offish as she was when with the Governor. Acting the same way in both situations helped more fully establish her general distrust for all people.

At the same time, falling in line with Rick and his team made complete sense for her. Woodbury is one of those places that seems far too nice to be real, and the prison is so raw and honest. Michonne is all about the basic necessities - and finding a group that shows real compassion and emotion amidst focusing on plain old survival is far more in line with her thought processes than fake smiles and tea parties.

It also makes sense that both Michonne and Rick would team up to take out a common enemy.

Of course, the episode really captured those dramatic differences between the two groups, especially when it came to Woodbury.

Sure, Merle has always been a little crazy and it wasn't a surprise that not only was he willing to beat the crap out of Glenn, but he was also okay in letting a walker kill him while Glenn was strapped to a chair.

And Glenn had a chance to shine and be resilient in the face of danger. He was able take the beating, kill the walker and not give up his friends' location. This was a great moment for him even if the situation was a horrible one.

But where Merle has always been pretty straightforward with his antics, the Governor got a chance to take the level of interrogation up a few notches.

His scenes with Maggie were tense and uncomfortable, which is brilliant in the sense that you don't need walkers to carry out those scary moments. The Governor's stares and growls while commanding Maggie to take off her clothes felt all sorts of wrong. When he took off his belt and slammed her head on the table, I feared he would rape her.

Thank goodness he didn't, but at this point, I wouldn't put anything past this sicko.

Truly, the outcome for Glenn and Maggie pushed them to the brink to reveal their group's location. Frankly, I'm surprised the Governor kept both of them alive after getting his information.

It only makes me want Rick and his team (the two prisoners have seemed to move in nicely, haven't they?) to take out the Governor before anything worse happens.

I do find the Governor's interests in walker studies to be curious. Perhaps he is hoping to find a way to give his walker daughter a chance at a normal life? The results did seem pretty conclusive, though, in that all a walker wants to do is eat human flesh.

That was grotesquely evident when the cabin man was fed to the horde of walkers. Was the scene necessary? Not really, but it did reestablish that the walkers are everywhere and you never know when you're going to get surrounded.

And I'm glad Carol is back. It was a happy reunion among all the current problems and it's great to see she still has a sense of humor. That and she can take care of the baby.

Are we happy the baby is named Judith? I guess Ass-Kicker was growing on me, but I'm fine with the new name.

This was a solid episode that wasn't filler fluff. Some great tense moments with the Governor and some positive unification ones with Rick rounded out a riveting lead up to what looks to be an outstanding fall finale.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (111 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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Fatin

The end beat was driving me insane in a really good way. I kept saying "please don't end here, please don't end here, please don't end here." But of course they ended there. UGH.
The chick who plays Maggie did great acting today. I loved the way she tenses up when the door opens.
Carol and Rick hugging was so sweet. As was Daryl calling her "poor thing."
And I cannot wait for the showdown between Daryl and Merle.
Do you guys think that'll happen this coming week or will the drive me insane by making me wait even longer?

Fatin

The Governor is such a sick bastard. When he brought Maggie in the same room with Glenn, I half expected him to rape her there. *shudder* That was definitely a lot more uncomfortable than Merle "interrogating" Glenn. On the other hand, how bad-ass is Glenn? I just love how he took that walker down. He won't be dying anytime soon. Robert Kirkman, himself, said that the reason Glenn doesn't shine in the comics anymore is because show-Glenn did such an amazing job that the comic-Glenn pales in comparison. So he's definitely staying, and if he is, Maggie is probably too. Random ramblings:
C'mon I prefer Ass-Kicker to Judith.
Michonne saying thank you to Herschel really made me smile.
New prison guy being all grossed out by Michonne killing that other guy while the others didn't even flinch was a welcome reminder to how far they've come, and what they've had to do to survive.
That song was annoying as hell.
The end beat was driving me insane in a really good way. I kept saying "please don't end here, please don't end here, please don't end here." But of course they ended there. UGH.

Fatin

I CAN'T WAIT ANOTHER WEEK. THIS IS KILLING ME.
I was very alert throughout the whole episode, everything almost seemed to be moving too slow, y'know? But of course, they paced it just right. (Except for every scene with Andrea in it, just seeing her face annoys me.)
The experiments weren't really interesting, didn't we already establish at the CDC that every human part of the brain dies?
I loved all the Rick and Michonne scenes, when they stare each other down. They really played this right. Also loved Daryl and Rick, and Rick and Carl. And I actually had tears when Carol met up with the rest of the group.

Avatar

I liked last week's episode very much. But this one didn't grow on me. I can't even say why exactly - maybe because we already had build-up seven days ago, maybe because I thought Andrea's scenes were even more boring than before, maybe because I'm tired of Michonne's bitchy behavior... I don't know, but this episode just didn't work for me. Did we already get a glimpse of Tyreese? When Rick's group was outside Woodbury, the camera moving over the wall and finally focussing on Andrea - I thought the guy coming down the wall kinda looked like the actor who's been cast as Tyreese. I agree the scene with Maggie and the Governor was very intense. Also those with Merle and Glenn. But that's not enough for me this week I guess ;-) Especially because of that weird scene with the Walkers and the cabin. To me it seemed like the writers remembered: "Oh wait, we need some Zombieaction in this episode, let us add it ...... there!"

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Really hope Maggie and Glenn make it, they are the necesary hope in the midts of all the horror and lonelines, besides Lauren Cohan is so insanely hot that it would be just a shame if she doesnt at least make it through all season, and Glenn is the comic guy, and also a real badass, hope they dont feel the need to kill one of them for just the sake of killing someone on the mid season finale or to make the other one stronger and all that crap. If someone has to die in next episode, make it that scientist guy, the Governor, Merle or even that prision dude who is new.
Also Scott Wilson is not on the main credits, so i guess he is not going to make it pass next episode, maybe on the walker attack he will die saving Litte Ass Kicker.

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You need a different header picture. 50 percent of those characters are dead. One doesn't dress like that anymore. Another is at least a foot taller.

Theblakeness

She will always be Lil Ass-Kicker to me. This episode was intense. Maggie and Glenn's scenes were crazy on different levels. Totally team prison right now.

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