“…little ass kicker…”
After last week’s double crotch kick of Lori and T-Dog’s deaths, there’s no way the show could continue to run on such high emotion. Instead, this episode focused on the despair and rage that comes afterwards.
Rick has lost the final thread of control he’d been holding onto so desperately. We see it in the camera work when it focuses on him, and we see it in his face as he rises from the ground and grabs an axe. He doesn’t go to comfort either one of his children – he hasn’t even looked at the baby yet, much less held it. He seeks solace in destroying walkers, ripping through the cell block a fury with no back up, no plan, no retreat. Everything he preaches to the others is lost. The carnage eventually leads him to the mechanical room Lori died in.
Her body is missing – if you look at the long shots, you can see the blood trail where a walker had dragged her away to consume. Rick finds the bullet Carl put his mother down with and puts it in his pocket. (The director of the episode mentioned that Andrew Lincoln always carries that bullet in his pocket now while playing Rick.) And then he finds the walker who took Lori, belly distended in a horrible parody of pregnancy, so full it’s unable to threaten Rick and just reaches for him out of instinct. Every horror in this world finds a way to be topped – not only do you lose your wife and the mother of your children, but monsters literally consume her, so all you’re left to bury is meat. How can anyone go on?
Rick destroys the zombie and takes a knife to its belly. I thought, for sure, that we were going to see Rick ripping open its guts and looking for her wedding ring, but it seems he just needed to expend the rest of his grief. And then it’s just Rick and a couple of corpses in this terrible prison, and a bleak future stretching out in front of him.
Over in Mayberry, they’re having a summer social. My daughter, who doesn’t watch the show, happened to be in the room, looked quizzically at the screen and asked, “Is this a flashback?” Which is exactly the Governor’s plan. Woodbury is playing dress up. All the barbeques and beer doesn’t hide that this world is rotten to its core and the town is infected too. It just puts on a little makeup and pretends.
Michonne senses this and she gets her proof when she breaks into the Governor’s apartment to steal her sword back. She misses the show with Penny, the Governor’s walker daughter that he keeps in a straightjacket and hood, but she hears and sees enough. That’s before she finds the pen of captive walkers the town keeps out back. She dispatches them with the first smile we see on her face since she was introduced. They catch her, of course, and the Governor manages to threaten her a bit, but Michonne gives no fucks what these corrupt mofos have to say. She’s not going to be won over by being lied to.
Andrea tries to convince her friend to stay and be less aggressive towards the perfectly nice people who have walker fight club as a way to blow off steam but are otherwise totally, you know, sane. Michonne is firm in her desire to leave and take Andrea with her, but eight months of being together doesn’t win out over the dreams that Andrea still believes are possible. Some place safe to live, where she can have a man and maybe a family, and breathe, and not worry about dying every second of every day. She wants the illusion. She desperately needs the illusion. In the end, that’s the choice she makes, and Michonne leaves Andrea behind.
Andrea’s speech was the first understandable glimpse of why she wanted so desperately to stay. It’s completely and totally reasonable to want safety and security in this or any world. I just wish the writers hadn’t led up to the scene by having Andrea make googly eyes and barely concealed “get in my pants” conversations with the Governor. Where’s the marksman? Where’s the woman who was so determined to be part of keeping the group safe? Why is she surrendering?
Let’s be honest. It’s both a totally reasonable development of the character – did anyone think that Daryl was not going be the kind of guy who was good with babies? – and total and utter fan service. “Hey, ladies, you know your dirty boyfriend Daryl? Imagine him holding your baby!”* [Meh. ~PoM] I know that millions watching the show went, “Awwwwww,” and their eyes went wet and distant, and everyone forgot about poor Lori’s jailhouse c-section.
We also must note the obvious and glaring hole the show danced around teasingly. There are three graves dug in the prison yard. We have to assume one of them is empty because there is zero reference to the group finding Carol’s body. Which either means that Carol is alive or the show cares so little about her character they couldn’t even be bothered to toss in a throw-away scene where we get confirmation of her fate. Now, if this was season 2 WD, I would totally believe that. But I think she’s kicking around, even if Daryl seems resigned to her being dead.
Which begs the question – why fill in an empty grave, jackasses?
*Not mentioned, you will not be around to see Daryl lovingly cradle your infant daughter because in this world Carl can survive a gun shot wound to the chest, Daryl can survive a punctured lung, that dude who fell on the spiked fence can be up and walking around in a couple of days, and Hershel can have a limb amputated and not even come down with a fever, but you will be dead, because you were pregnant.**
** If Carol is still alive, maybe she needs to rethink her plan to get Daryl in the sack.