by Kat Rosenfield
Things aren’t looking good for the captive Glenn and Maggie, who were taken in last week’s episode by the bloody, angry Merle. Glenn is in typical prisoner position — tied to a chair in an empty room — and his one-time compadre is relishing the role of interrogator.
“We went back for you!” Glenn protests, as Merle looms over him, sneering.
“Ain’t you thoughtful!” Merle replies, and despite all his talk, our favorite amputee is definitely still peeved about the whole left-you-behind-in-atlanta-and-made-you-cut-off-your-own-hand thing. (Honestly, dude, let it go? It’s been, like, sixteen episodes since then! And you’ve got the nifty stump bayonet, to boot!)
But Merle is overconfident: he gets just a titch too close and Glenn heads him, hard. And because no one, not even our favorite wily Korean heartthrob, is safe from the brutality of Woodbury-style survivalism, the beating begins.
Meanwhile: Michonne, newly arrived on the wrong side of the prison fence, is starting to bleed through her protective coating of walker goo. The zombies catch her scent and begin to swarm, grunting and gnashing. Michonne gets off a couple good slices, then goes down. And because Rick and Carl are not monsters like, say, the Governor, they swoop in as her consciousness fades and save her from certain death.
But despite Rick and co’s heroics, there’s no trust, here. Michonne is cagey at best about where she came from — not willing to drop the tough-girl act even long enough to let the qualified Hershel remove a bullet from her buttocks. She stares down the group until there’s an interruption: Daryl, who has something to show his friends. What is it?
Carol! Yay, Carol! She’s alive and well, and her reunion with the group had us crying actual tears. Even Michonne, watching from behind bars, gets a little lip quiver on. And perhaps softened by the realization that she’s with Good People, bit by bit, she tells her story… only omitting the part where the squinty-eyed, crossbow-toting tough guy in the barracks is obviously a blood relative to one of the Governor’s goons.
And speaking of the Woodburian numero uno, he’s finally done doing dirty deeds with the town’s newest citizen — but as Andrea goes to leave, he informs her that he’s got a job for her to do. What is it? Oh, just a little diversionary assignment that sheds some light on the function of the mysterious bespectacled Dr. Milton Creepypants and his Secret Lab of Horrors!
Andrea finds herself in a quiet room, where an old man on the verge of death is about to perform a “great service”: as a record plays, Milton rings a bell and subjects their new friend to a series of cues. And upon his death, he’ll put an important hypothesis to the test: the theory that the walking dead retain some shadow of their living selves. Andrea, recalling the moment when Amy turned, is skeptical and sympathetic: “You’ve never seen this before, have you, ” she says.
Milton hasn’t, but he doesn’t care; the man zombifies in seconds, and in pursuit of answers, Milton removes the restraints. At which point the recently-deceased lunges toward him with teeth bared, and Andrea puts a knife in his head. And maybe this is all in the name of science, but more likely, it’s a convenient way to distract Andrea while her one-time friends are interrogated by the Governor’s mercenaries.
It’s not going well, clearly: Glenn is looking rough, which makes it all the more terrifying when Merle tosses a ravenous walker into the room and leaves, forcing Glenn to fight him off WHILE STILL TIED TO A CHAIR. But while Glenn is victorious, Maggie’s not doing so well; in the other room, the Governor himself takes over her interrogation. He demands that she remove her shirt, her bra, and… and oh geez, is there no END to the rancid wasteland inside this guy’s soul? Seriously? But no, we don’t have to watch Maggie get raped. Realizing that she won’t talk on her own, the Gov hauls her into Glenn’s cell — and face to face, with a gun to the head of the man she loves, Maggie finally gives up the prison. The prison the Governor wanted for himself! And he’s peeved about it, for sure.
And speaking of the prison survivors: they’re off to Woodbury on a rescue mission, but their route goes straight through the “red zone” full of ravenous walkers, and they find themselves hiding out in a bad-smelling forest shack… along with a wild-eyed stranger who seems a little confused.
“Get out of my house!” he screams. “I’ll call the cops!” There’s a scuffle, and Michonne takes him out: a surprise demonstration for the others of just what kind of woman they’re dealing with, and a convenient source of fresh meat for the horde. They toss the body out the door (here comes the obligatory intestines shot!), and it’s not long before they’re creeping up on the high walls of Woodbury. And that’s the end!
Except hey, check this out: in an earlier scene, as Rick said goodbye to his son, Carl suggested a name for the baby. His choice? “Judith.” It’s a poignant and odd little moment — Judith was the name of Carl’s third grade teacher, and it’s just the sort of random choice a ten year-old would have made in a world where the dead don’t walk… but it’s also an interesting one, considering that the original, biblical Judith seduced and then murdered the man who led an army to overrun her home. With the Governor greedily eyeing the prison, could this child of the apocalypse have a date with destiny?