This week, the survivors try to cope with the immediate aftermath of last week’s devastating losses, and Andrea realizes that life with the Governor isn’t as perfect as it seems.

So I originally thought that when it came to the Governor, no imagery could be more creepy than a bunch of zombie heads floating in a fish tank – that this would be one of our few glimpses of his unhinged nature. Oh, was I wrong, as the beginning of this week’s episode proved. The people in the Governor’s fold are all in a festive mood because they have cold drinks and there’s going to be some sort of party later that night. So how does the Governor prepare? By brushing his zombie daughter’s hair. He keeps her bound in some sort of straight jacket, locked away, taking her out to occasionally care for her. He rips off a chunk of scalp while brushing her hair, which is one of the few choice times ‘TWD’ has ever kicked off my gag reflex. The show has never lacked for want of imagery. It’s that pesky plot and dialogue this show was always struggled with, and after last week’s bombshell losses, it’s easy to feel like this episode sagged a bit. But let’s discuss the good before the bad:

So far, the survivor’s side of this season has been more interesting than Andrea and Michonne’s travails in Woodbury (sadly) and although it might leave us with a ‘what happens now?’ kind of hole in things now that the baby is here and Lori and T-Dog are already gone, the stakes are obviously still very high and the scenes don’t suffer from any of the weight problems the other ones do. Rick is in grief coma mode, and understandably so, and the survivors are all focused on keeping the baby alive. Daryl and Maggie go out looking for formula so the as-of-yet unnamed baby girl doesn’t starve to death. No one even comes close to saying that going out of the prison might be too dangerous or a waste of resources and with Rick out of commission, Daryl immediately steps in, telling Beth to mind Carl. Everyone understands what it means to keep this baby alive and safe  – it means hope, it means one good thing coming out of all the loss, and no one needs to say it. Maggie and Daryl come back with some powered formula from an abandoned daycare center (a very queasy, forlorn set). Meanwhile, the two remaining prisoners continue to try and make nice with Rick’s people.

Rick, understandably, picks up an ax and goes on a bit of a killing spree, heading towards where his wife’s body supposedly lies. I say supposedly, because all Rick finds when he gets there is a big drag mark in the blood and an empty bullet casing. I actually said “Oh No.” out loud at my television, at first because I thought that Carl hadn’t had the courage to put his mother down. But that wasnt the case and I think what Rick discovered might have been even worse. He comes across a walker with a distended belly, too full of his wife’s remains to even get up and move. (As Chris Hardwick later noted on ‘The Talking Dead:’ ‘like zombie thanksgiving!’) Rick makes a point of forcing his gun into the walker’s mouth before he shoots him (as if he were killing an actual person) before stabbing it in the stomach repeatedly. Poor Rick.

Over at Woodbury, Andrea is trying to figure out what that night’s “celebration” was all about since she’s noted that they’re using a lot of resources, like the generators, to have it. Meanwhile, Michonne is still trying to get to the bottom of what just feels so damn fishy about this place. She comes across one of the Governor’s notebooks with a list of names, including PENNY in bold letters (his daughter) followed by pages and pages and pages of tally marks. It’s almost the same old story: she wants to leave, Andrea doesn’t. And this week, Michonne finally hits the road, despite Andrea’s fears that she might never come back. Michonne is one of the more beloved characters of this comic book series and the show really needs to step up and give her something tangible as her character has been played pretty one note so far (due to the writing, I assume, not Danai Gurira.) Andrea finally gets her own taste of Woodbury crazy when she sees that the Saturday night celebration is a little more…crazy-staged zombie fight club. They pull out the teeth on the zombies and let guys like Merle cut loose. Andrea thinks that it teaches people not to be afraid of the walkers and everyone else in the crowd seems to love it. Of course, we know that Andrea’s made a poor decision in trusting this guy but this story needs to have a little more meat to it.

And then, of course, there’s the cliffhanger into next week’s episode: Rick sits in the prison, defeated, until he hears, of all things, a phone ringing. He walks over to the prison office and stares at it for a second, before picking it up: “Hello?”

(Comic book fans, you know what this is, but please keep it out of the comments for those who haven’t read. Thanks, y’all.)

Stray Thoughts:

  • Carl is considering the following names for the baby: Sophia, Carol, Andrea, Jacqui, and Lori. (Admittedly, this is better than the male names he might have been left with: Dale, T-Dog, etc.)
  • I liked the shot of Hershel watching Glenn with the two prisoners. It shows that Hershel can be a forceful, protective character, even if he is old and one-legged, and that he watches over Glenn like one of his kids.
  • Zombie daughters and heads in tanks aside, really, any person who puts a guy like Merle in a position of authority must be a little unhinged.
  • Oscar notes to Glenn what good friends he has in this group, specifically T-Dog. “I ain’t never had a friend like that. You got a whole family of ’em.”
  • Still no sign of Carol. Sigh
  • This episode may go down in fan history based on one criteria: Daryl Dixon holds a baby. (And calls her “Little Asskicker.”)

So what did you think of last night’s episode?