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.