The Walking Dead: Home
by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)
Like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead is adapted from previous source material. This review is not meant to compare similarities and differences between the show and comic. It’s meant to be read purely as a take on the episode as it stands.
That being said, SPOILERS AHEAD.
“I did not realize the Messiah complex was contagious.”
In the aftermath of the Governor’s move, things at the prison are tense. Many of the survivors are questioning Rick’s leadership, puzzled as to how he could let them get ambushed like that. Only Hershel knows for sure that Rick is losing it; the others are still in the past mindset where Rick is their unquestioned leader. He’s managed to keep them safe (with a few casualties along the way) and his ability to guide the group has generally been unquestioned prior to now. He’s lost his focus and that’s being viewed as a weakness among the survivors.
The Governor is raising an army, drafting citizens of the town. It’s rather interesting to see a post-apocalyptic society going through the same growing pains that it went through prior to the global change. Prior to the zombies, the thought of a draft in a first-world country was unheard of. After? Well, society has essentially reset itself in light of the events and its being shaped by the men and women who take charge. The Governor’s vision of society is one where everyone lives under his rule and those who disagree are erased.
Rick’s legacy extends beyond the prison, as the survivors he kicked out take up with the Governor. It’s a given that the father and son would want to team up with the Governor against the prison, but the other two don’t really make any sense. They seemed to have some sense about them and understood where the survivors were coming from with the trust. Sure, the “unhinged” Rick came back and kicked them all out, but they at least had shelter for a few days, which was better than what they were dealing with.
Andrea is rather unnerving as a character. She trusts the Governor and Milton, even when attempting to pit Milton against the Governor (failing to remember that the Governor is giving Milton research opportunities). Her blind loyalty to the one-eyed Governor is staggering and really makes you wonder what she’s really thinking. The entire time she’s been in Woodbury, she’s seen glimpses of how erratic and self-serving the Governor can truly be, yet, she’s ignorant to that information when it comes to evaluating his decisions. She’s picturing an optimistic view of life that includes a happy Governor without a thirst for blood.
To be fair, she does take a page from Michonne’s playbook, in getting her a running buddy. It’s clear that a lot of Michonne rubbed off on Andrea and she’s changed quite dramatically since the beginning of the show. She’s gone from someone on the verge of suicide over the death of her sister to someone who’s actually durable and tough. Save for a few questionable decisions and trust issues, she’s managed to survive this long somehow. And a zombie curb stomp is no less enjoyable to watch even when the target is undead.
Her interactions with the survivors were actually surreal. It was almost as if she was visiting them simply as a friend stopping by for a visit; if that visit included a complete pat down before entering. She’s actually the key to the whole conflict and Carol’s advice to her was quite creative. Her choice at the end shows why she might be just the perfect match for the Governor, as she’s almost as duplicitous as he is. The biggest difference is that he’s a lot more charming and debonair when he cons, whereas Andrea is just unsure.
This season has gone to great lengths contrasting the society created at the prison and the society created in Woodbury. Both Rick and the Governor are more than capable leaders, handling their charges in very different ways. That contrast was most evident in the closing scene, where the three heads of the prison (Rick, Daryl and Hershel) were scheming next moves against a morale-boosting song, while Andrea chose not to kill the Governor in his sleep. The prison is all about family, whereas Woodbury is all about self-serving goals.
It’s such an opposite of the dynamics that would be in play in normal times that it works really well. Prior to the apocalypse, the community would be all about family while the prison would feature prisons looking out for themselves. Both settings act as poignant backdrops for a rebuilding world and the inhabitants of each are content to use different building blocks. Whether Rick or the Governor manage to be the one who pulls the blocks out of the foundation of the other society remains to be seen. It likely won’t happen without a lot more gunshots, bloodshed and casualties.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars