Warning: spoilers for the latest "Walking Dead" lie ahead.
What the latest "Walking Dead" episode lacked in major character death, it more than made up for in brutal zombie violence and deeply disturbing psychosis. The leaders of the prison and Woodbury — Rick Grimes and Philip the Governor, respectively — proved just how unstable they really are: the former by going on a walker-killing-spree to avenge his wife's death, the latter by refusing to let his zombified daughter shuffled off this mortal coil. In between those haunting portraits of madness was Michonne, finally at her wits end with Woodbury, and back out on the road without an eagle-eyed former civil rights attorney in sight. Instead, Andrea opted to stay in Woodbury, falling for the Governor's charms — but by episode's end, she started seeing the light, thanks to the gruesome gladiator games the Governor puts on to keep the citizens of Woodbury entertained and energized.
"Say the Word" was one of the "calmer" episodes of "Walking Dead" in recent weeks, and considering that the hour still involved sword and axe-wielding executions and a gaggle of gladiator-zombies, that says a lot. Read on for our five biggest questions walking away from the episode.
Who's On The Phone?
Rick was shaken from his Lori-mourning catatonic state by a phone call. Not a metaphorical call, mind you, but an actual phone ringing inside the prison walls. But we thought civilization was at an end — how is it possible, then, to have the phones back up and running? The answer there hinges on another question: who is on the other end of the phone? Readers of the "Walking Dead" comics already know the answer, unless we're in for yet another major deviation from the source material.
What's The Long Term Baby Plan?
Good on Daryl and Maggie for finding Baby Ass-Kicker (awesome name) some formula. But what's the long term plan here? As sweet as Daryl's maternal side is to behold, we don't expect to see him playing the nanny role for long. And that formula isn't going to last forever, either. They're going to need a more forward-thinking solution, and fast, if they want to keep Lori's baby from meeting her mother anytime soon.
How Long Until More Michonne?
She's kept a low profile most of the season, but damn, Danai Gurira knows how to light it up when needed. With Michonne back on the road, we're fully counting on seeing her show up at the prison before too long. But how long is too long? She's interesting enough on her own already, but throw her into the powder keg of the Ricktatorship, and things will start to get really interesting really quickly. Let's hope that happens sooner than later — as in next episode, if possible.
Who Will Save Andrea?
Someone's going to need to. Andrea is quickly discovering that the enigmatic Governor has more in common with Hannibal Lecter than Prince Charming. As good as she is with a gun in her hand, I don't think she's got what it takes to break out of Woodbury all on her own. A rescue mission might be possible if Michonne gets to the prison on time, but let's not forget that Rick and the gang left Andrea all alone before — who's to say that they won't do it again, especially on a season as brutal as this one?
What Happens When Penny Dies For Good?
Because you know that's going to happen. You don't give your main villain only one thing in the world to care about, and make that thing so unbearably fragile, unless you plan to break it. And once Penny is truly broken and gone, we fully expect to see that very same Governor who shot up a military outpost come out in full force against anyone and everyone with the poor sense to get in his way — a group that currently resides behind bars, one imagines.
What did you think of the latest "Walking Dead" episode? Tell us in the comments section below or let me know on Twitter @roundhoward!