Comic vs. Show: The Walking Dead, S3E8: Made to Suffer


Spoilers ahead for those who watch the show but don’t read the comics… if you don’t watch the show and you don’t read the comics, what are you doing here?

The mid-season finale of The Walking Dead, Made to Suffer, was one hell of a great hour of TV.  What made it extra special for those of us comic readers were the whole host of direct elements from the comic introduced in this episode as well as a number of other bits taken from various points throughout the comics early run.  Chief among those elements was the introduction of Tyreese and company.

Tyreese is very much a fan favorite.  In the comic we meet him early on after our group leaves the Atlanta camp… in the show he is introduced in the cold open as someone on the run with a few others and taking shelter in the prison.  When we first meet Tyreese in the book, he is accompanied by his teenage daughter Julie and her weasley boyfriend Chris.  This time around, he is with his sister Sasha, a non-book character, and three somewhat familiar, yet very different, characters… Allen, Donna, and Ben.

These are people who were originally in that Atlanta camp when Rick first arrives… main differences being that Donna was a shrew-like nag who was constantly judging everyone in the group, Allen was a meek henpecked guy, and they had two young twin sons… Ben and Billy.  Their story arc in the comic is that Donna dies first, and eventually Allen gets bit, Rick chops his leg off (sound familiar?), but to no avail… he eventually succumbs to the wound, leaving Ben and Billy in the care of Dale and Andrea.  Obviously, that isn’t going to happen… although, Donna is quickly dispatched, and we have yet to see what Allen and Ben will bring to the table.

So what does Tyreese and his sister bring?  For one thing, Tyreese brings his hammer… his weapon of choice.  He also brings with him a great deal of potential for being Rick’s right hand man and good friend… but, if Daryl already occupies that role, I’m not sure how this will work.  Sasha is an unknown quantity.  Perhaps she would fulfill the role his daughter played, but that was to enlighten us to the reality that everyone is infected… which is already established.

Another aspect to Tyreese’s arc in the comic which could come to light in the show, although, Daryl may again throw a wrench into this, is that he is a lover to both Carol and Michonne.  Michonne seems a bit more likely given that Carol and Daryl seem to have some sort of thing going on… or is Carol rocking the guard tower with Axel these days?

Merle is Gabe?

(again… thanks to for these comparison images)

The Governor’s story seems to have all sorts of pieces from the books spliced in throughout this episode… and in addition to his story, we finally have a parallel for Merle.  He is apparently taking on the role filled by Gabe in the comic.  The lieutenant with difficulty being honest with his boss as shown above.  Gabe had told Phillip that he had killed Michonne, much the way Merle had… only to be shown as a liar.

Also, there is the battle with Michonne.  Not quite as it happens in the book, but at least she takes his eye.  Frankly, I’m rather fond of how she removes his eye in the comic, by scooping it out with a spoon which had just been firmly digging around in his asshole… but I suppose a large shard of glass works as well.  I’m expecting to see more of this battle fleshed out in future episodes… but as a way to stretch out the breakdown of The Governor’s morals and humanity, I like the new treatment.  Also, Penny’s fate in the books is unknown… as is the zombiequarium.  The show has tied this up quite nicely.

Phillip's speech

The speech given by The Gov is essentially lifted straight from the page.  He uses his new injuries and a twisting of the facts to gain the sympathies and outrage of his people in order to turn them against our heroes.  Yes, violence was committed against him, and in the show, against the town of Woodbury… but never once has he been honest with his people, and they are lapping it up exactly as they lapped up his half truths and manipulations in the book.

Again, these are aspects of the story which are not linear… this is becoming an extremely nonlinear way to tell this story, and I love it.  It funny to find myself watching the show expecting one thing and being given something else entirely, yet still recognizing where it came from.  Early on in the series the show runners made it very clear that they would be using various items from the comic, but would add new material to make it interesting to the comic readers… what I didn’t expect was how much they are mining from the books and re-purposing story elements to fit their new narrative and how well these are fitting in… Tyreese’s arrival being the main one.

There are other shadows of the book present in The Gov’s plan to deal with prison as well as a slight mirror of Daryl being captured and his capture of Tyreese… but I don’t imagine it will end in the same way… not if they want to maintain ratings.  I can’t fathom Daryl’s decapitation happening quite yet.  Who know what later arcs will bring, but not yet…

horny axel

Finally… Axel.  A horn dog in the book… a horn dog in the show.  I know many of you think that Axel is a bad guy… I don’t.  I like him in both iterations of the story.  Is he a classy great guy?  Hell no… but knowing his character in the book to be a goofy yet decent guy makes it difficult to see the show’s version as anything but, you follow me?

I believe that’s about it… I’m sure I’ve missed something, but frankly, this episode had a lot going on, with so much to enjoy and pay attention to.  I must reiterate, I love what the show is doing with the source material and the direction it seems to be heading in.  Michonne’s character traits are being doled out slowly and methodically, allowing her to continue being a mystery with slight hints of her vulnerability peeking out through her tougher than nails demeanor.  For those of you assuming that she is a one note character, I don’t buy it… I expect great and amazing things to come from Danai Gurira’s treatment of her character.  Same goes for The Governor himself.  David Morrissey has brought something very special to the character and I look forward to seeing where he takes us… and how deep down the rabbit hole of his insanity the show will take him.

I’ve enjoyed writing up each episode and beginning these comparisons between the comic and the show, and I’ve appreciated the support many of you have lent, plus the large number of new readers brought in by The Walking Dead.  Thank you all… and remember, “like” my page on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @mrblahg.  The more people I can reach, the more I find I write… perhaps I can do something like this for Game of Thrones when that returns in the spring.  If that’s something you would like to read, let me know… I love feedback, and always do my best to respond.  Just ask and ye shall receive!

Now we wait for February 10th,
Cornelius J. Blahg 

5 thoughts

  1. Awesome post and some good comparisons.

    I really didn’t see the Gabe and Merle similarity, but now I get it. I do love this season because of the fast paced nature, unpredictability and loads of comic book details included.

    My only disagreement is Carol and Axel – hell to the no. That would be a HUGE step down for her. Daryl yes, Axel no.

    I am avoiding spoilers like the plague now, which is so hard to do with the mid season break. But I’m sticking to my guns for now.

    I went back and listed to J & K’s 28 weeks Later, Night of the Living Dead, and two We’re Alive podcasts. Good stuff.

    I liked Cabin in the Woods for a good love and campy story. I hadn’t read or talked to anyone about it prior, tho.

    Fab post and keep writing by all means. 🙂

  2. I do not, in any way shape or form, believe that Axel and Carol will get something going on… I said that just to be funny. I think she very adequately shut him down with her great, “no it’s not” comment.

    Glad to hear you are going back to some of J & K’s earlier podcasts… there are some great moments sprinkled throughout their history. I ended up going back and listening to everything after I realized I kept asking Jason questions that he had already answered. It’s great to hear their evolution as a podcast and to get a sense of how much they really love this material.

    I liked The Cabin in the Woods as well… which is why I had a hard time with that review. I just couldn’t divorce myself from all the proclamations that this was the “best movie of the year”… it was fun, but didn’t strike me that strongly. I have a number of movies to catch up with this year (The Master, Lincoln, Life of Pi), but I can immediately think of two other movies I would consider the “best” over Cabin… Moonrise Kingdom would get my vote… Skyfall a close second. But I haven’t seen everything, so take that with a grain of salt 🙂

  3. Humorously enough, the more I like something the more difficult it is for me to write the review. If it’s something I love I want to do it justice… and often I come up short of words and don’t have the ability to convey my feelings well enough. That has happened a few times… Moonrise Kingdom was hard, as was a graphic novel, Habibi. I felt too close to it… didn’t want to misrepresent it.

    Perhaps The Cabin in the Woods will grow on me once I have some distance…

  4. I’ve been lurking on your blog for a while, and I love your insights on the shows I love. I found out about your blog because I’m addicted to The Walking Dead show (that pilot was the best first episode of a series ever) and in turn, got addicted to the amazing J&K podcast. The Game of Microphones episode almost sent me right over the edge because it combined everything my secret nerdy side adores in a neat and lovely little package. Please, please please review GOT the way you do the Walking Dead. The mere thought turned me from a lurker (non-undead kind) to active fan-dork on your page. I hope you see this, since it’s a bit of an older post! I may FB message this to your Mr. Blahg page too just in case.

    PS – Since you obviously have outstanding tastes in podcasts, is there a GOT one you’d recommend? I’ve tried a couple and was pretty underwhelmed. Thanks!

  5. Well, damn… thanks! You just made my day.

    Doing that Game of Microphones podcast was a fantastic experience, I had a blast recording that one… and I may very well begin reviewing GoT on a weekly basis. Now that I know there is interested… why the hell not!

    As for any GoT podcasts, I do listen to one, Cast of Thrones, but I would be hesitant to recommend it. It’s silly and fun… sometimes 5 people, usually 4… but it’s not for everyone which is why I haven’t reviewed that particular podcast (all my podcast reviews are under “what’s in my hear hole today”).

    Thanks again… I absolutely read ALL comments and love any feedback, regardless of the posts age.

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