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The Walking Dead — Mid-Season Discussion

The Walking Dead wrapped up the first part of the third season last week. While there are no new episodes to discuss, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to talk about.Cast photo for The Walking Dead

One of the benefits of writing recaps for Persephone is that I’ve found such an intelligent and wonderful group of fellow fans who love getting into the minutiae of the show with me. This week, I’m sharing this roundtable discussion we had after the mid-season finale aired. Spoilers ahoy for the comics and the show.

Got more thoughts or questions? Put them in the comments!

Mary TWD, anyone?

O-DOG!!!! First of all, I’m tired of this Highlander POC casting (there can be only one). Why did you tell us about your love of slippers, Oscar? Was it merely to break our heart? On a related note, I’m a little weirded out that the “now we are wary and hate strangers” worldview of the gang has meant that the survivors basically treat any POCs they meet like shit. I know it’s coincidental timing, but it still bothers me. Finally, Slay Belle called it brilliantly about Andrea’s invocation of her privilege. She basically didn’t like the job she was assigned, even though it was an important one, so she expected to be given another job simply because she said she was a good soldier. Oh, and it looks like Tyrese is Rick before he snapped – diplomatic, honorable, loyal. I wonder if they’ll play that up.

Samantha G I hated this episode. Ugh.  You’re so right about the minority casting, and you can count on the black lady with Tyreese kicking the bucket sooner than later. Tyreese is a major character in the comics so I’m guessing they’ll keep him around, giving us TWO major black characters, but only one man and one woman. Ugh. And you’re right about him being a lot like Rick, I’m sure they’ll play up that comparison.

Also I am so angry about the way they made the Governor seem sympathetic because he was so sad about his daughter, and I hate hate hate the way they’re writing Andrea and Michonne.

Mary In Michonne’s case, there’s playing it close to the vest and there’s… pathological. She won’t tell anyone ANYTHING, and I think it looks like she has a personality disorder rather than a strategy.

Samantha G RIGHT? It’s driving me crazy! There have been so many situations where she could have cleared something up instead of having a gun to her head and it’s just FOR NO REASON. And I mean, in the comics she kind of IS pathological, but it at least fleshes out her history and kind of explains why she is the way she is. In the show it seems like she’s just acting like a mute for shits and giggles. She should be a trusted member of the prison gang by now.

Samantha K Or at least have said something about Andrea by now! She knows Andrea’s history, I’m sure she’s said the names Daryl, Rick, Glenn, etc. It’s bizarre.

I have just not been impressed with how they’ve written the Governor. Especially last night. And other than a quick convo Andrea doesn’t confront him about his little freak show gallery. So now I’m annoyed at the writers because I feel like they just added that visual element to up his creep factor without having the character or interactions to back it up. I do think that now that he’s going to have the patch and won’t have his daughter they can use this as an opportunity to make him snap.

I also noticed last night that Michonne is wearing a necklace with a delicate little ‘A’ on it. That made me really sad for her and sad as a viewer for where I thought Andrea’s and her relationship was going.

LizBR My take on the “it prepares me for the horrors of the world” was that he was still bullshitting Andrea, just like he was doing for the whole episode up until that point. (And really, the whole season.)

I feel like they’re building the Governor up to be sympathetic to the audience in order to make it more disturbing when we learn even more about him.

I suspect they may totally abandon the creepier parts of his character from the novels–I can handle that, and I can try to see him as a sympathetic, flawed character rather than a monster.

However, the way they’ve introduced him and foreshadowed a lot about him says to me that they ARE going to go into creepier, or at least more evil territory than they already have with him.

Mary I agree that the “horrors of the world” didn’t ring true. It just tripped off his tongue too quickly and glibly.

Chris I’m a bit frustrated with the direction they’re taking Michonne. She’s undervalued by everyone and I kind of wish she’d kick the Prison Gang to the curb and walk off in the sunset. She should take Glenn.

I don’t even know where to start with Andrea. I was really holding out hope for her and from the previews it looks like she’s going to go mole for the Gov., which makes me sad.

Samantha G LizBR – I mean, I always knew they wouldn’t show a lot of things from the comics, but I thought they would at least imply that he was a child abuser (it wouldn’t be worse than anything on SVU). And we were never going to see Michonne sodomize him with a spoon and then use that spoon to pry out his eye, but man it would have been nice if their big confrontation had been drawn out more.

IS NOBODY GOING TO LOSE A HAND HERE OR WHAT? I thought Rick was going to get captured when they went in to rescue Glenn and Maggie, but nope.

LizBR I just wonder if they’re going to take that creepiness in a different direction instead. So, instead of being a disgusting pedophile/necrophiliac, maybe they’ll just really play up his controlling evilness and willingness to kill anyone who gets in his way. I feel like that’s the direction they’re taking it. Not sure if I like that or not.

Samantha G To me at least, it seems less shocking/disgusting/scary to go in that direction because everyone on this show kills people and I think viewers of the show are very desensitized to that kind of violence. It’s very easy for him to justify killing people in the name of protecting everyone else in Woodbury, and I feel like once people start learning the truth about him, it SHOULDN’T be justifiable.

Slay Belle I was surprised at how bored I was in an episode that had so much action. Of course.
Oscar got killed. I think I even mentioned that last week in the review. And it felt so blatant. Hi, everyone, this is Tyreese. BOOM, Oscar is dead. My goal before the end of the season is to get a call in spot on Talking Dead and ask that question.

And, Andrea did nothing to redeem herself as far as I was concerned.

LizBR Samantha, another weak point about going that way is that it’s much easier to be sympathetic toward a character whose greatest flaw is self-interested violence. After all, that’s why we’re still able to (mostly) sympathize with Rick.

It’s a lot harder to sympathize with the monster we know The Governor to be from the books.

Part of the fun of the Governor is just how awful/horrible/disgusting he is. I don’t WANT to be sympathetic toward him. I don’t want them to build him up as a flawed by ultimately human character.

Mary Also,did anybody else yell at the screen, “Use your words, Michonne!”

Samantha G YES, MARY. FOR LIKE THE PAST FOUR EPISODES. And then all of a sudden when she found the Gov’s daughter she gets all sensitive and talky? When that child is CLEARLY GROWLING AND ACTING LIKE A ZOMBIE. MICHONNE ISN’T A FOOL, WRITERS.

QueSarahSarah Michonne would have never let the girl out sight unseen. That’s not her style. She evaluates all possible scenarios, and it was a high possibility that little girl was a zombie.

Slay Belle I agree, QSS. I thought that was really out of character. Maybe it’s supposed to convey that she has a soft spot for children (you know, as a lady), but this isn’t the kind of world where you find a child chained up in a room with a straightjacket on and think “child abuse.”

Dori Hi everybody!! I’m really hating Andrea right now. She’s this season’s Carl for me. And Carl’s really less annoying than he used to be.

I was totally creeped out by the other inmate trying to mack on Hershel’s other daughter (I don’t remember her name), and then the whole lesbian thing? Why couldn’t he have died instead of Oscar?

Dori I agree that it was out of character for Michonne to let the girl free without thinking about it. But, for me, it was weird to see her go off to attack the Governor. Maybe because I haven’t read the books so I don’t know much about her backstory, but she doesn’t seem like the type of person who goes looking for trouble.

Chris Dori I don’t remember his name, but Glossy and I have taken to calling him Yosemite Sam. That creep.

Dori And I was completely shocked at the ending, even though I shouldn’t have been. I’m glad they show Daryl in the previews for February, because I think I’d cry if Daryl died. I don’t know how the Governor’s betrayal is going to affect Merle, but I’m interested to see how that plays out.

Samantha G Yeah Dori, it was weird given the events of the show that Michonne went after the Gov. Another reason why I don’t like the way they’re writing her – they make her seem too cautious and logical and then she just goes off like that? In the comics the confrontation between them is a lot worse, and it happens after the Gov had been holding Michonne prisoner and torturing and raping her, so you’re like FUCK YES MICHONNE GET THAT SONOFABITCH.

Dori See, that makes a lot more sense to me. Damn, the Gov is really a shitheel.

Mary My explanation for Michonne’s decision to go back after the Governor is that she knows that Andrea is at risk. She also thinks the Gov will continue to hunt her down. However, it irritates me that we are having to do so much of the writers’ work to explain Michonne’s behavior.

Alexandra I like Michonne better in the comic. It just seems like the Governor was at least trying (probably for bad guy reasons) to be nice to her and so she… went to his house and tried to kill him b/c he’s a creepy dude? In the comic there was a *motive* to make him suffer, in the show it seemed like the thought process was “I don’t like him so I’m going to try to kill him.” It left me not really liking either of them. Also if Daryl gets killed off, I am done. I am so done. (I may or may not have done some screaming at the TV :P)

Mary Even though the writers say that no one is safe, it’s pretty clear that Daryl is. I think they would lose a million fans after he left.

Dori Yes, I yelled “Not Daryl!” when they brought him out. You can have Merle, assholes, but don’t touch Daryl. He’s got so much more to learn! Maybe the writers were also trying to give Andrea a reason to hate Michonne?

Samantha K hahah Ryan kept asking “Where’s Daryl?” “Where’d Daryl go? He’s not with them anymore…” I was like, “bud, I think it’s safe to say they are going to make Daryl and Merle fight to the death” and then BOOM they realized my assumption and I felt very sad.

Alexandra  D:

Mary Samantha K, I don’t think that they are going to make them fight to the death because one of the previews shows Glenn saying angrily, “What is HE doing here?” and later, “We can end this” to Maggie. My instinct was he was talking about Merle being temporarily with the group at the prison.

Samantha G Well isn’t that the Gov’s plan? Get Daryl to cooperate with Merle so he can gain control of the prison? Ugh I’m just so disappointed with the way the season is going, I bet we’re not gonna get to see the Gov roll up to the prison in a tank or anything.

Slay Belle Right, Mary. The first scene of that preview is the Gov standing in front of a smoke filled arena, so obviously they get broken back out. In my rewatch, I caught that Michonne told Rick he needs her if he wants to go back and get Daryl out, so, there’s that.

Slay Belle But they have a tank, Samantha G! Wasn’t that one of the things they took from the guard?

Samantha K Mary I agree – I don’t think we’re going to actually see them fight but I think they are setting it up to make it look like a showdown.

Samantha G Slay Belle do they? I forgot! But even if they do, it won’t be as awesome because what made it awesome in the comics was that everyone thought the Gov was dead, Michonne left him bleeding out alone in his apartment, and then BOOM he rolls up in a tank with an eyepatch and one arm and a thirst for blood! You know?

Drawing of the Governor from The Walking Dead, saying "Kill them all!"

Sarah Having Kirkman write this show is one of the reasons it will continue to be a strong show for seasons to come. He’s playing the long game and I feel like we will get to know and love Michonne because she is one of his favorites. He’ll do her justice.

I see her as refusing to be a victim, which is why she went for the Governor. She had a score to settle and recognized how fucked up he really is. Andrea is a survivor though. She adapts to whatever situation she is in as she needs to do to survive I think Michonne was disappointed because she misread Andrea’s nature and felt betrayed.

I’m am hoping that the introduction of Merle and Daryl (who were not in the books) will provide an outlet for some aspects of Rick that would be too difficult to watch on television. I’m hoping the missing arm is one of those things. They did the same thing in the first two seasons by keeping Shane alive as long as they did. He could represent that darker aspect of Rick that was in the books, without having to corrupt Rick as early. I really appreciated that.

I actually said to my husband Sunday night, “Oh, look. It’s Tyrese. Bye, Oscar.” It’s fucked up that it’s almost formulaic by now. Though I am hoping Tyrese will develop as a saving force for Rick to help pull him back from the edge.

And aside from the shock factor that the Governor was keeping his daughter, we still haven’t found out why. It might not end up being discussed, but back story and motivations have been big so far so I have no reason to think that won’t be the case in the second half of the season.

I’m not even sure that Andrea gave all the group’s info to Michonne. I mean, I would have assumed it too, and did at the beginning, but she may not have for various reasons, including the bad memories of losing her sister, and them “leaving her behind.”

I love that the zombies are really more of a setting than a plot point anymore. I’m loving the character work and the discussions of morality in a broken world. And I totally want to watch this episode again now. LOL

Slay Belle They’ve got something with a big gun, at least, though once I said that to you I started doubting what they brought back. I am sort of interested in how they pace the second half of the season. I assume they will have a confrontation at the prison, but how long can they drag out Merle (maybe) being an insider, or Andrea on the Gov’s side?

Slay Belle Sarah – I’m not sure I totally agree with “Andrea is a survivor though.” Maybe that’s what they intend, but so far they’ve basically portrayed her as an opportunistic brat. She feels entitled to the kind of treatment that no one should expect in a world like this, and for all her bitching and moaning about wanting to “be a protector” or “be an equal,” what she really means is that she thinks certain things are beneath her, and how dare anyone ask her to pitch on things she doesn’t want to do? I spend a bit of time on this in my review that will be going up today.

Slay Belle I hit enter too fast – basically, I think Maggie is the character Andrea thinks she is.

Sarah Slay Belle I totally see that. I’m just hoping Andrea will pull out of the stupid shit and be an awesome force for women on TV.

LizBR Maybe not survivor, but survivalist? Someone who will do whatever is necessary to make sure she is the one who benefits the most?

Sarah I think Maggie will always be a little innocent though, at least I hope. She wasn’t on the road in the beginning like everyone else was, even though she’s been with the group since the farm.

Sarah There we go, LizBR.

Mary It’s interesting to me that many of the traits that Andrea shows are ones that are typically flaws for male action drama protagonists. She is arrogant, thinks with her vagina, doesn’t want to listen to anyone, disdains women’s work, feels entitled to leadership, and expects automatic credibility in new situations.

Slay Belle I didn’t like them in Shane either, Mary.

Mary I think Andrea has dreams of leadership, LizBR. She might not even realize it. Right now she attaches herself to alphas and attempts to control them, but I could see her eventually taking control of a community.

Mary Oh, exactly, Slay Belle. Those people are jerks, but her jerkery is a stereotypically male kind.

Slay Belle I agree with you on her potential leadership qualities, but I think she has a bit to go. Her inability to understand what other people need will really hamper her. I know that the Gov asking her to go house to house was to keep her away from Glenn/Maggie during the last episode, but it was something important and its the kind of thing the people in the town would need — and she didn’t understand why it mattered.

If she had been there during Rick’s S2 freak out about how the group was no longer a democracy, she would never have stood for him assuming total control over their destination. But that was exactly what they needed at that point. They didn’t need choices. They needed someone to make the difficult calls for them and point them in a direction.

Slay Belle I guess, if I put my finger on something, what bothers me most about Andrea is the sense that the *writers* don’t see this as a character development journey for her, but that she’s a swell and fine character exactly as she is. It was the same thing with the way they treated Lori last year – totally tone deaf as to how the character was coming across to the viewer.

Mary Exactly. She’s another character where we are doing more work than the writers to make her into a fleshed-out character. But then the writers have clearly worked to flesh out Maggie and Carol, and fairly successfully so far, IMHO. Is it the actresses who are making the difference?

Slay Belle I don’t know that Lori’s actress could have done anything with the dreck they served her last year.

Carol’s an interesting example. They don’t give her a lot of screen time, but we know she’s developed a lot since we first met her, and I just love her. Maybe its a factor of not having to spend a ton of time with her? If they had to write a whole arc on her back like they’re doing with Andrea, would it be just as bad? Is the real answer that they simply can’t do for female characters what they’ve done for the men – Shane, Rick, Daryl, Hershel, Carl, and hell, even Merle, who is awfully compelling in his assholeness?


By [E] Slay Belle

Slay Belle is an editor and the new writer mentor here at Persephone Magazine, where she writes about pop culture, Buffy, and her extreme love of Lifetime movies. She is also the editor of You can follow her on Twitter, @SlayBelle or email her at

She is awfully fond of unicorns and zombies, and will usually respond to any conversational volley that includes those topics.

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