The TV Box: The Walking Dead, S3E4: Killer Within

Lori and Carl...

For my non-zombie loving readers… I apologize.  I know you may be thinking that this blog is becoming nothing more that The Walking Dead Central… and I can’t blame you… but rest assured, there is still other content here that does not involve the undead.

For those of you who are my zombie loving readers, be forewarned… again… if you haven’t seen this episode, do not read this post!  There are major spoilers to the shows arc immediately following this paragraph.  My conscience is clean…

So… I didn’t see that coming!  T-Dog and Lori… both dead in one episode!  There are two reasons I have decided to write my posts on Tuesday for an episode that comes out Sundays; first, I need to process the events in my own head and separate my initial reactions from more contemplative reactions… second, I enjoy hearing the opinions of others, specifically listening to The Walking Dead’Cast and chatting it up with other listeners.  I don’t always agree with peoples assessments, but I have received different perspectives by doing so and appreciate those differing opinions, more so when I disagree.

My initial reaction to this episode was very mixed.  There were a few moments and beats to the pacing that I found to be a bit clunky and inelegant… there were other moments that had me completely engrossed and emotionally vested.  I didn’t care much for the debate between our survivors about whether or not to include Oscar and Axel into the fold, reminded me too much of the Randall debate with Dale… and it ended up the same way for the character arguing for a humane approach.  The other scene that caused a disconnect for me was the one scene everyone is lauding more than others, and that was Lori’s death.  I just wasn’t sold on it… I’ll go into that a bit more later.  The scene that brought the tears to my eyes was the final scene of Rick learning of his child’s birth and his wife’s death.  Now that is how you sell a scene… Andrew Lincoln went all in, and it paid off in earning my sobs.

Let’s go over the episode… shall we?

We begin by watching some mystery person laying an undead obstacle course in the prison… certainly the same person who was spying on Carol in episode 2.  Cutting locks and opening gates… whoever it is is assuredly up to no good.  Contrast that with our happy group beginning to clean up the mess and catching Glenn and Maggie getting it on in a guard tower.  Right when things begin to slow down for our heroes, everything goes to hell.  Certainly a different pacing than season 2…

This episode breaks from the previous two episodes in that it no longer stays in one location… we then go back to Woodbury for a little CSI: Michonne.  She doesn’t trust the Governor, and does not believe his story about the fate of the military guys from the last episode… blood and bullet holes in their vehicles does not look to be the result of zombies, but of human interaction.  The Governor does his best to placate her concerns… but I’m thinking Michonne isn’t quite buying his bull shit.  Can you guess what her profession was before the apocalypse?  Comic readers will know…

We jump back to the prison… Oscar and Axel are not happy living in a cell block with their dead friends and would like to live with everyone else.  Rick isn’t having it and decides to ask the group what they think… everyone agrees with Rick, except T-Dog.  They decide that if they won’t live in there… they can live outside the prison, and our group gives them a week’s worth of food and supplies and is ready to send them on their merry way.

Rick, Glenn, and Daryl are out gathering firewood (log carrying guys?), Hershel is up and using crutches, everyone is all smiles while they cheer ol’ Hershel Claus on… and then the zombies come flowing out… and T-Dog gets chomped on.  There was a cry of “Nooooooo… not T-Dog!” heard in my living room, and it wasn’t just me who said it.  They producers kept saying they would give him more to say and do… I just didn’t think it would being saying, “ARRRGHHH” and “AAAIIIEEEE”.

T-Dog getting chomped

Although I was happy to have both locations present in this episode, it did break up the flow of the show in a way that bugged me a bit.  I mentioned last week that I believed that by staying in one location it allowed the tension to build appropriately… this week I found that tension broken up and caused some uneven emotional roller-coastering for me.  After watching T-Dog become an tasty delight, we then return to Woodbury and have a nice conversation between Andrea and Merle, where she gives Merle a map with the location of Hershel’s farm so that Merle can find Daryl… and Merle asks why they never hooked up.  Andrea’s reasoning that he had called her a “whore” and a “rug muncher” is a sound argument if I ever heard one.

Merle then goes to the Governor and discusses plans to go find Daryl… and The Gov is not going for that idea.  At this point I have to bring to your attention a tiny detail we all picked up on at home… when Merle begins arguing a bit with The Gov, David Morrissey’s face twitches ever so slightly… you get a sense that he is losing his cool… but he recollects himself and keeps himself in control, both over himself, and Merle.  This was possibly my favorite scene of the episode and I believe will have a greater impact later in the story arc.

We are then treated to another scene between Andrea and The Gov where they share a drink and he shares his name… Philip.  Although Michonne wants them to head for the coast, Andrea is being seduced by the niceties of Woodbury… and probably Philip himself.  We also learn that his wife died but he still has his daughter.  Where the hell is she?

At this point, it’s all craziness in the prison.  Glenn discovers that the locks have been cut, alarms start sounding, more zombies close it, Carol is trying to help T-Dog, but T-Dog goes out all hero-style by sacrificing himself to save Carol, Hershel and Beth get themselves to safety, and Lori, Carl, and Maggie race through the cell block, only to have Lori go into labor.

Together with Oscar, Rick and Daryl search for the generators in order to cut the alarms and discover, much to their shock and horror, Andrew, the inmate that Rick left to die in the yard, is the one responsible for this outbreak.  After a great fight and standoff, Oscar earns his place by blowing away Andrew and saving Rick at the last moment.

Andrew

Since all of this action wasn’t shocking enough, turns out that Lori’s delivery isn’t going so well and she asks Maggie to slice her open and save the baby.  This is the scene that everyone is talking about… I wasn’t as sold on this one.  I like little Chandler Riggs as Carl… I really do… but I didn’t believe that he would be as calm and collected as he was if his mother was dying… and as far as Sarah Wayne Callies’ performance as Lori… I just wasn’t onboard.  Now… after thinking about it more and hearing some other opinions, I don’t think it was as bad as I had perceived it… and perhaps I was being a bit too critical, but it was certainly a shocking and surprising turn of events, and that I cannot deny.

So Maggie delivers her baby by gutting Lori after Lori’s labor apparently pauses just long enough for her to chat it up with Carl… but Maggie can’t put the bullet in Lori’s head and leaves that up to Carl to do.  Really?  You are going to make her son shoot his mother in the head?  I know she was in shock and all, and Lori asked to make sure Rick didn’t have to do it… but Carl?  That just pissed me off.

Insert Golden Globe here

Now for the scene that sold me on this episode and takes it from being a very good episode into a fucking great episode… when Carl comes out with Maggie holding Lori and Rick’s(?) newborn, Rick simply loses his shit.  His brain is toast when he puts the pieces together and he melts down in such a way that had me bawling.  I’ve heard many people saying he should get the Oscar for this performance… unfortunately, they don’t give Oscar’s for TV… try an Emmy or Golden Globes, but not Oscar.  Andrew Lincoln delivers… and my heart broke for him in so many places…

And that is how all of that goes down…

Heart wrenching… gory… interesting… The Walking Dead!

Can’t wait for next week and the next episode, Say the Word… Comic vs. Show coming up after the promo…

You follow me?
Cornelius J. Blahg 

Comic vs. Show

Most of this episode had nothing to do with the comics… T-Dog doesn’t exist, the events in Woodbury didn’t happen, Andrew was never seen again, and although Lori dies, it’s not in this way… in fact, their baby is born and she lives.  She and the baby die during the final attack on the prison.

So what does this episode bring to us from the comic?  Axel says “You follow me?”  That’s about it… that and Glenn and Maggie fucking a lot.

You might think I’m bothered by this lack of dovetailing… but no, I really enjoyed this episode and the direction they are going.  The events may not have matched up well, but the tone is still bang on and I could not be happier.

I’ll stop it there… have a great week everybody…

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