Enter and exit the bumbling Woodbury goons. And welcome back to Carol. Rick’s prison group is doing its best to recover in the wake of tragedy, even if the leader must answer the occasional phone call from the beyond. The meeting of the two camps is assured in “Hounded,” when loathsome, evil, crazy Merle kidnaps Glenn and Maggie, the starry-eyed lovers who just want to help everyone get along.
Michonne appears out of nowhere and cuts off heads in fine ninja tradition this episode. Merle is Kirk to a bunch of redshirts, who drop like flies under the katana blade. The Governor wants Michonne’s head, which is no surprise, considering that he has an impressive collection already.
Then, a surprise when Michonne, having been shot in the leg and still managing to run (more fine ninja tradition) from Merle, leads him straight into the path of Glenn and Maggie. Glenn’s moral code doesn’t allow for him to just put one between Merle’s eyes, which will no doubt be extremely unfortunate for the couple later on.
I am not in the habit of recommending preemptive murder as a course of action, but in Merle’s case all decent people should make an exception. Merle is unrepentant after killing “Neal,” another moment when shooting first would be preferable to trusting a white supremacist lunatic.
Daryl, “the good brother,” rescues Carol, and it’s clear she’s in bad shape, but alive. What is not clear is whether she has been bitten. I don’t put it past this show to extend a ray of hope, then extinguish it with a brutal revelation. When Lori was expecting, we all expected the baby to usher in hope. Chaos ensued, Carol’s experiments turned out to be pointless, and a new life required the exchange of another.
Daryl and Carl get to bond over losing their moms, and it may be the first time we’ve seen Daryl reach out to anyone emotionally. He responds to something in Carl, being a character who doesn’t like to talk and doesn’t seem all that interested in people’s stories–or telling his own, for that matter. Carl’s admission that he shot his mom, and insistence that it was “real,” seems meant for a different set of ears. Is Carl fearing for his father, or really afraid?
Rick’s conversations on the spirit phone are some of the best moments of the season so far. There is an unsettling quality to the interactions that plants the seed of doubt. The insistence that they are safe is a mirage, repeated by group members who have died along the way. Amy, Jim, Jacqui, question Rick about what had happened to his wife. Then, Lori’s voice is heard, and Rick confronts his pain.
All of the chance meetings seem pretty contrived, as Michonne just happens to stumble across Glenn and Maggie, then makes a beeline to the prison to deliver the solution for the baby, and some very bad news. How many people can make a trip like that with a bullet in the thigh?
The Governor, now having pulled Andrea into his influence, and his bed, will most likely want to wipe out the prison camp, if only to ensure a power vacuum and raid their supplies. Philip will have an easy time getting information from his new hostages, and will no doubt have plans for Andrea to this end.
The confrontation grows ever closer!
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