What I’m drinking: Bell’s Winter White Ale. One of my favorites this time of year. They take familiar winter spices and put them into a white ale, giving it a different character than I’m normally used to in this type of beer. It’s a nice comforting winter beer, but a more subtle flavor than most winter ales. I still love a darker winter beer, but this one is a nice change of pace.
Eight things that annoyed me:
1. How easily The Governor overtook Michonne and Hershel. Michonne is one of the top zombie-killers at the prison. She survived on her own for a long time. She always seems to be aware of trouble. And yet she let The Governor sneak up without suspecting a thing? I suppose you could say that she had grown complacent, but I don’t buy it. It’s not like she had been sitting idly at the prison while her skills slowly eroded. She had just been out on a medicine-finding expedition that constantly put her and her group in danger. Her senses were honed. A sneaking man is quieter than a clomping zombie, but I refuse to believe Michonne would have let The Governor sneak up on her.
2. How easy it was for The Governor to win over his new group. I don’t have a great sense of time that he has been with them, but I have a feeling it has been about two weeks. During his time, two of their main members have died under mysterious circumstances (something I talked about last week), and now he’s telling them they need to invade a prison full of people, and there will probably be bloodshed. I can understand Tara joining him with no questions. But the rest of the group? I just don’t believe they would be swayed so easily.
Of course, I may be underestimating the power of a charismatic personality over a group of sheep. Perhaps they’re all just looking for someone to take charge, regardless of where it leads them. But I have to believe at least a few of them wouldn’t just nod their heads and say, “Sure. Let’s go invade this prison and kill some people.”
Big up to Lilly for pushing back a bit, but she didn’t do it in view of the others. Perhaps that could have prompted them to ask some questions.
3. Tyreese’s character. This has been the biggest disappointment of the season so far for me. I love his character in the comics, but they haven’t done anything with him here. They’ve turned him into a character who can only focus on one thing at a time, and funnels all of his decisions through that focus. As Fremont has pointed out many times, he’s nothing but a liability for the group, and he should be a productive member. I hope they turn him around at some point, because it just feels like a missed opportunity at this point. Maybe have him start a boxing club to help out the kids? Just a thought.
4. The Governor showing up at a fence completely devoid of zombies. They have had zombies at that fence the entire season – even had a couple of big moments devoted to it – and now they’re gone? A tank has just fired. Zombies should be swarming. Instead, there is not a zombie to be seen, and no bodies at the fence. For something that has been such a big problem throughout this season, to find them suddenly absent is puzzling to say the least. They eventually showed back up, but only after the battle was in full swing. Where were they before that?
5. Letting Meghan play on her own. They may think that water keeps them safe (at the very least, water with a strong current. Any Romero fan knows that zombies can travel underneath the water by walking on riverbeds), but they’re not currently living on an island that has been swept. Zombies can still attack from land. It’s amazing to me how stupid most of these characters are.
I’m not saying Meghan deserved to die. She was just a little girl. What I am saying is that these people need to pay a little more attention to those who can’t protect themselves, especially in areas they are not familiar with. Or just give the kids guns. (Kids with guns. Kids with guns. Taking over. It won’t be long.)
6. No one thinking to look for Rick behind the overturned vehicle in the yard. They knew he was there. He was shooting at them a few seconds ago. And yet they all walked right past him without a second glance. I understand the heat of battle does things to a man (I beat Left 4 Dead 2, so I know what’s up), but I can’t imagine every single person would suddenly forget there was a man with a gun hiding 5 feet from them. (According to The Governor, Rick was a very dangerous man who would kill everyone if given the chance. And they just walked right by him.)
7. Daryl using a zombie as a shield to walk towards men with automatic weapons. Cool visual, but those guys were 20 feet away and firing like crazy. Those bullets would have gone right through the rotting corpse Daryl was using. Still, it’s hard to be too mad at this, seeing as how he blew up a tank with a grenade a few seconds later. God bless Daryl, man.
8. Michonne not killing The Governor when she had the chance. She should know better than that. She could have assumed zombies would finish the job, but she didn’t know for sure. (As it was, zombies never got a chance. Lilly brought the thunder.) Go for the kill when you can.
Four things I liked:
1. Hershel, for standing up to The Governor. He kept a level head and brought logic to the table in his discussions. It didn’t work, but he had to try, and I commend him for that. He did everything he could, even though he knew it was a long shot.
2. The extras in The Governor’s camp. For the second straight week, they have made me chuckle with their attempts to get noticed by the camera. In this episode, it was a lot of concerned head-shaking and confident head-nodding. That’s how you overact in the background, my friends.
3. Rick, for delivering a rousing speech. I half expected him to break into Rocky’s memorable, “If I can change, and you can change, then everybody can change,” speech. Unfortunately, it didn’t end as well for Rick as it did for Mr. Balboa. Or, I guess, it didn’t end as well for Hershel. (So long, Hershel. I guess that moves Beth up to the moral center of the group. Let’s hope she takes after you more than Dale.)
4. Tara, for finally seeing The Governor for what he really was all along. The line, “He chopped a guy’s head off with a sword” was perfect in showing just how absurd their situation was. They were clearly following a maniac. Why no one else in the group saw it that way is beyond me. Bloodlust is a helluva drug, apparently.
Before I get to my final thoughts, I’d like to take a look at my predictions for this episode to see how well I did.
Every character I said would survive made it through this episode. BAM!
Four of the seven people I predicted would die met their demise in this episode (Hershel, Alisha, Meghan and The Governor), if not exactly in the way I thought they would. One of those characters (Judith) is currently M.I.A. I doubt that means she’s dead, although I suppose it could and they just didn’t want to show a bunch of zombies devouring an infant. Prudes. I whiffed on Tyreese (although he would have bit it, if not for the intervention of some well-armed rugrats) and Tara. Still, not a bad set of death predictions. Although I will say this: until I actually get some sort of visual confirmation that The Governor is dead, I won’t quite believe it. It certainly looks like he’s dead, but they didn’t show him dead. If X-Files taught me anything, it’s that no one is truly dead until you see them dead. He was stabbed, then Lilly walked up to him, pointed a gun at his head, the camera panned away, and we heard a gunshot. We can assume that bullet meant the end for The Governor, but we didn’t see it. I never assume anything when it comes to off-screen deaths.
I hope he’s gone. That story was completely played-out. Time to move on to something else. But, unless we see his corpse, I’ll always expect him to just pop up again.
Carol didn’t come back, so I missed on that one, but I totally called the end of this episode.
All-in-all, I’d say my predictions were pretty amazing. And that’s why the good people at Horror Writers keep me around. For my terrific predictions, my curmudgeonly attitude, and my heaps of humility.
A good episode heading into the break. I hoped they would go big and lead our characters into different adventures when the show returns in February, and they did exactly that. I certainly have my issues with this show (shocker, I know), but they are terrific at big action scenes. I may not have been overly emotional about this episode (grumpy old men can’t cry. To us, sad and happy taste identical), but I can certainly see how it would have been for most fans. The speeches didn’t seem forced or over the top. I loved seeing The Governor revert back to his distrusting, crazy ways right in front of everyone with his venomously spewed “Liar” at Rick, followed by a vigorous bout of old-man-neck-hacking.
I wanted them to go big into the break, and they did that. I’m curious to see where they go from here. I guess we’ll all find out in February.
What I listened to while writing this: Zola Jesus – Versions. Not an album of new material, but a reimagining of her back catalog. The electronics have been replaced with a symphony. This is a beautiful album. I’ll be listening to this a lot this winter. Her version of “Collapse” on this album is tremendous.
Once again, thanks for reading during this season. I’ve had a blast doing these, and I’ve loved reading Fremont’s take on all of them as well. It has been a fun exercise, and I’m really looking forward to picking this up again in February.