Last night’s episode of The Walking Dead introduced David Morrissey’s The Governor, the characer we’ve all been waiting for. It also saw the return of Merle, as the episode shifted away from the prison and toward the Woodbury Settlement. One reminder before we start the recap: There’s a spoiler thread at the BOTTOM of the comment thread. Please limit all spoilers from the graphic novels to that section.
Here we go:
1. How’s about a big hug for your old pal, Merle — How awesome was it to see Merle again? We all knew it was coming because we never saw him turn, nor did we see his body (plus, the promos have been teasing it for months) but I still felt a little flutter of joy. HE’S GOT A MINI-BAYONET ARM. YES! That’s some Ashley J. Williams sh*t right there, son. Also, what does it say about the viewer that we’re so enthusiastic about revisiting an awful human being? He was a flat, redneck caricature in the first season, but — thanks to Michael Rooker — he was also one of the more electric characters, and in his return, his evil is buried under his hospitality, which makes him all the more dangerous. I’m not even going to question how absurd it was that the Governor and his gang actually managed to save Merle from the rooftop.
2. Who Else Initially Thought the Helicopter Sequence Was a Flashback? — Remember that flashback sequence that Frank Darabont had planned for the opening of season two? That’s what I thought this was, initially. It was, however, a cool way to bring Michonne/Andrea together with the Governor. Also, they seem to be upping their game in the gore department. This is some gruesome sh*t right here, and I love it.
3. Zombie Kill of the Week — Gotta give it to Michonne again, not just because she katana’d two zombies, but because they were her pets. “I won’t be needing them anymore.”
RIP Jawless Zombie Pals.
4. Welcome to Woodbury — I guess I was under the mistaken impression that The Governor controlled part of the prison that was hidden, or that Rick and the Gang had not yet discovered. Turns out, The Governor has a nice little settlement of his own, a little piece of normalcy in a crazy, messed up world. Seventy-three people live within the community. It’s got really big walls to keep out the walkers. There’s Medicine. The kids go to school. There’s also a very strict curfew. It’s Shangri La, except for the fact that it’s being run BY A NUTJOB. Also, in Woodbury, they call the zombies “biters.”
Anyway, Woodbury reminds me of those retirement villages for old people out in central Florida: Even the survivors are living like zombies. Michonne is suspicious of the whole thing because Michonne is the smart one.
5. “My sh*t never stopped being together.” — We also learned a little about Michonne and Andrea’s relationship, in that Andrea — after seven months with her — still doesn’t know a damn thing about Michonne. She’s a quiet one, that Michonne. All she needs in this crazy zombie world is her katana and the company of a lovely blonde, in that order. There’s gotta be some fan-fic floating around on the Internet.
6. The Genius of Michonne’s Pets — We learn from Milton (Dallas Roberts), a new character created for the series, that Michonne’s jawless walkers are more than just cool decorations. They’re useful. Take away their ability to eat, they lose interest in doing so. They become docile. They’re lurkers. They repel other walkers. They’re camouflage. Walk with the biters, and they think you’re a biter. The downside? They starve slowly.
See? I told you Michone was the smart one.
7. The Echo — Milton also has a theory that the walkers have an echo of their former selves, traces of the person still trapped inside. This gives Michonne a case of the hairy side-eyeballs.
She clearly had a relationship with her pets before they turned. I suspect the Echo Theory will reappear later on in the series. Also, Milton is kind of creepy, like the kind of guy you might expect to be sleeping with the Walkers.
8. A Lori-Free Week — The downside, it was also a Maggie-free week. Let me make it up to you, and annoint Maggie the Alison Brie Mascot of The Walking Dead.
9. The Governor Really Is a Mean Son of a Bitch — For the first three-quarters of the episode, I thought perhaps we were getting robbed. After all the talk of how bad ass The Governor is, he seemed like a pleasant enough guy, an egotist perhaps, but pleasant, helpful, and generous. Then this happened.
When those National Guardsmen signed up for one weekend a month, two weeks a year, they never could’ve predicted this.
Then this happened.
Then I was like, “Oh you really are evil.” The Governor gave me that Sunday school teacher who let his power get to his head vibe. Like he wants to repopulate the Earth in his image. I have a strange feeling that the reason he kept Andrea and Michonne was to make Lil Governors with them against their will. With Merle on his side, he’s going to be quick to seek out Rick’s people in the prison so that 1) Merle can get revenge on Rick, and 2) so The Governor can find some more baby mamas. DON’T YOU TOUCH MAGGIE, YOU DICK.
10. The Heads, The F**king Heads — HE COLLECTS TROPHIES. Well, that pushed it over. Welcome, Governor. You, me, the folks here at Uproxx: We’re gonna get along just fine. If you could put Lori or Carl’s in your trophy case, you will win our hearts for all time.
Who needs a television when you have floating zombie heads?