Through two-and-a-half seasons, despite the number of deaths that have been featured on the show, and despite the number of major characters that have been killed of, The Walking Dead has never achieved the level of anguish that it achieved last night. It was a belly-punching conclusion to an episode of television that’s going to stick with us all for a while.
Let’s get right to it, but before we do, one more reminder: Book spoilers go in the spoiler thread at the very bottom of the comments page. Thanks.
1. Oscar and Axel Just Want To Be Loved — Let’s start the recap small and slow: Oscar and Axel, the two surviving ex-convicts sequestered into their own part of the prison wanted to get into the Ricktocracy, but Rick and Daryl shut it down, wordlessly. These two are the ultimate zombie apocalypse bromance; they read each others’ minds.
Only T-Dog seemed to want to bring them into the fold because T-Dog is the only character with some goddamn compassion. The refusal to let them in, however, meant that for most of the episode, Axel stood around like a goddamn bumpkin and watched bad things happen. I don’t know why his name is not Cletus, but I can tell you right now, he’s going to annoy me. WHY DOES AXEL JUST STAND AROUND LIKE A GODDAMN DOOF? Do something, man. Pick up a rock and knock out a zombie.
Oscar, on the other hand … more on him later.
2. Hershel Can Get Around Now — The one triumphant moment in last night’s episode came when Hershel pulled himself out of his bunk and hobbled around using crutches. He’s a tough old man, and the sight of him heartened the rest of the gang, until …
3. Can’t We Have Just One Good Day? — Those were Glen’s words near the beginning of the episode, and goddamnit Glen, don’t you know that saying something like that is an omen for a tragic episode? Sure enough, as soon as we’d absorbed the warm feelings of watching Hershel walk about, the Walkers began arriving at the prison in droves. Confusion reigned. The Ricktocracy fell apart. Everyone was separated. What the hell is going on? Where are they coming from? Why is the prison alarm going off? Madness. Chaos. Oh, sh*t …
4. T-Dog Got Bit! — No. NOOOOOO. Not T-Dog. You can’t kill off a character that’s been on for three seasons without first developing him, goddamnit, and T-Dog never rose above stock character, although his few lines allowed him to remain a fan favorite, above the fray of all those other characters with flaws, and motivations, and lines. When he finally got a few lines in this episode, we find out he’s following God’s plan, so he’s one of those guys. Best he was silent, y’all. At least he sacrificed himself to save Carol. RIP: Theodore Douglas.
5. There Can Only Be One Black Guy at a Time — No sooner had T-Dog died than Oscar worked himself into Rick’s camp by taking out Andrew. Wait, what? Who? Andrew? The guy that Rick left to die with the zombies somehow survived, and wreaked all the havoc that led to the death of T-Dog. THAT BASTARD. Fortunately, Oscar took him out with Rick’s gun, generously handed the gun back to Rick, and ingratiated himself to the gang. Oscar is now the new T-Dog. FULL CIRCLE.
A note on the “surprise” re-appearance of Andrew: It wasn’t a surprise if you saw the previously on scenes, yet another example of why they are the worst.
6. Zombie Kill of the Week — For sentimental reasons, I’m giving it to Lori. Single bullet to the brain, maximum splatter.
7. Merle Is a Goddamn Redneck Casanova — There were a couple of developments back in Woodbury, notably that Merle tried to make some moves on Andrea, but Andrea is apparently saving her heart for the Governor.
Meanwhile, what the hell happened to Andrea? Just a couple of days ago, she looked like she was on death’s door, and after a season of filthy bad-assery, Andrea looks like a goddamn barbie doll now. What in Andrea’s character ever led us to believe that she’d be the eyelash batting type? Anyway, she gave Merle some information about the farm, and Daryl’s potential whereabouts. Merle brought it to the Governor — whose name is Phillip, by the way — to organize a search party. The Governor was not a fan of that idea, as you can tell by the hairy eyeball.
Did you pick up on The Governor’s unmistakable tell? His blood vessels throb in his cheek when he’s lying.
8. I’ve been listening to my gut since I was 14 years old, and frankly speaking, I’ve come to the conclusion that my guts have sh*t for brains — That’s a line from High Fidelity and clearly not a belief that Michonne subscribes to, as her gut is tell her to get the hell out of Dodge, but Andrea wants to stick around a few more days because The Governor is sweet on her. Meanwhile, Michonne also pieced together that the Governor took out the National Guard troops.
9. R.I.P. Lori — I don’t know how many hundreds of scenarios were running through your head once it became apparent that Lori wasn’t going to make it out of the episode. For me, that moment came in the beginning when Rick was running through the prison fences screaming, “LORI!” Rick’s sudden affection could only mean one thing: They were setting us up for something.
Among the macabre scenarios running through my head was one in which zombie T-Dog met the arrival of Lori’s baby with his teeth. I was more surprised, frankly, by what actually happened, starting with Lori’s tearful farewell to her Carl: “You’re gonna beat this world. I know you will. You are smart. You strong. You are so brave.” WRONG ON ALL COUNTS.
Damn you, Lori, for making me feel something for you before you died. Even in death, you p*ss me off.
Carl brought it, though. The moment when you shoot your mom in the head to keep her from turning into a Walker is the moment YOU BECOME A MAN.
Let’s not forget who the real hero here is, though: Maggie is the one who had the courage to slice Lori open and pull out that baby.
Tell me I’m not the only one that thought: Keep that baby at arm’s length. You don’t know if it’s infected or not?
10. Rick’s ‘WHAT’S IN THE BOX’ Moment. There are no words. Only grief. The GIFs say it all.
That was heavy. Here’s a palate cleanser to help you ease back into your day: