Walk With Me – Welcome to Woodbury
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.
“A bullet might make for a good last meal.”
The episode started with a bang…literally. Not with the bang that the above quote refers to about a self-inflicted gunshot wound, but the bang of a helicopter rapidly losing altitude and crashing to the ground. It was the highlight of the episode that established the tone and atmosphere for the entire hour.
It was nice to see Michonne and Andrea observe the helicopter crash with some Walkers right behind them. The scene really emphasizes how both humans and Walkers coexist in this new world, regardless of whether or not they choose to. The crash and subsequent convergence of Michonne and Andrea, Merle and the Governor acted as sort of a microcosm for the entire show, highlighting how paths can cross at the strangest events. Then again, a zombie apocalypse is a strange event in and of itself that has brought strangers together for the duration of the show so far.
Further, Andrea catching Merle up on all the deaths really puts the show so far in context. It’s sort of a walk down memory lane, but it really highlights how much humanity has really dealt with in the time since the Walkers have been taking over. The Governor’s town proves to be just as stark a contrast to what humanity has lost, as it represents the possibility of what can be if the living reclaims the world.
The foreshadowing in the “previously on…” made it obvious, but yes, Merle is back. And he’s made peace with the fact that he lost a hand. He’s aligned himself with the Governor, a man who oversees the idyllic oasis amidst the broken down world outside known as Woodbury. Merle clearly finds something about the Governor that he respects, as he shows reverence to the Governor in a way similar to what Daryl shows to Rick. It’s an interesting comparison between the two leadership duos and at the outset it’s readily apparent that the Governor will go further than even Rick 2.0 is ever likely to.
The Governor is every bit the psychopath that Shane was, but in a slightly different way. He keeps Woodbury running for his own purpose under the guise of having some impact on the greater good. And he’s a leader, something that Shane never was. If Shane were still alive, he’d be a hired gun under the Governor and not leading the town. It’s all the same to Andrea though and considering her past fling with Shane, it’s easy to see how she could fall under the Governor’s spell. The Governor’s
form of unwinding is something that would scare most women in that creepy, serial killer sort of way.
The season is already moving along at a better pace than season two and that owes mostly to the fact that the show is giving time to the different storylines. Having all the survivors move along the same timeline really slowed things down. Splitting Andrea from the main survivors really works so far, because it allows the characters to stay fresh, with no pressure on the paths to be continually moving. It tells the viewer that while this week will focus on Andrea and Michonne, you know that,
presumably, Rick and the others are continuing to fortify the prison.
For example, since this week focused mostly on Andrea and Michonne, it gives breathing room to Rick and the others. As a viewer, you’re not getting character fatigue by following the trials and tribulations of the same characters week in and week out. Fans won’t keep tuning in without good old Rick and company, all of whom look to be making an appearance sooner than later as the Governor looks to make a play for whatever Rick has. The thing is, we know what to expect from Rick and the others as established characters, so an entire episode that doesn’t feature them is okay.
Rick and the Governor are being forced into a confrontation, even if Rick doesn’t know it yet. The Governor seemed extremely interested in that “group from Atlanta,” presumably hearing all about it from Merle. Governor doesn’t seem to be the type of character who would extract revenge for the sake of someone else (in this case, Merle), but he is the type of person keen on eliminating any threats to his position as potential leader of the new world. When Rick and the governor face off, it’ll definitely lead to fireworks. Unfortunately, Rick is an underdog in the face-off yet again. The Governor’s scorched earth approach doesn’t leave room for friends, only trophies and the end of the episode showed that he’s got quite a collection of them too, all offering him some measure of perverted peace.