The Walking Dead: Season 3, Episode 3 – ‘Walk With Me’ Review
Thanks to the encouragement of The Walking Dead TV Podcast, I will be writing weekly episode recaps for this season of The Walking Dead. Anyone continuing on should expect spoilers.
“Walk With Me” is the episode that fans of the comic series have been wanting from practically the start. An entire episode devoted to Andrea, Michonne (still not directly addressed by name), and our newest character - The Governor (David Morrisey). Taking place almost entirely inside the gates of Woodbury, this was another solid installment in what continues to be a great start to the season. Hell, this episode even had the official return of Merle (Michael Rooker), which every fan of the show has been curious about. No sign of Rick and the Grimettes in this episode, but there were plenty of other things to focus on this week, including the tragic loss of Michonne’s pets, Thing 1 and Thing 2.
The episode begins with something rather unusual – a helicopter flying over the countryside. This is short-lived however, as it suddenly suffers from mechanical problems and crashes into the forest. Michonne and Andrea see this from a distance and decide to investigate, with Thing 1 & 2 being dragged along as well. The duo (+ the undead duo) arrive and see some graphic deaths on display, but are quick to hide when a group of vehicles suddenly arrive. Andrea and Michonne witness a group of men kill the walkers in the area and stab the dead corpses, but try to stay hidden, which of course leads to the untimely death of Michonne’s jawless walker pals. This proves to be useless, however, as none other than Merle approaches from behind and forces the girls to drop their weapons.
Merle emerged in the first season’s second episode, “Guts”, as a character that was way too broad for the type of series I wanted The Walking Dead to be. I was happy that the most we saw of him came in that one episode, before quickly moving on, though he was more effective in the brief amount of time seen at the beginning of Season 1’s “Tell It To The Frogs” and as an antagonistic spirit guide for Daryl in Season 2’s “Chupacabra”. The problem was certainly not Michael Rooker, who I really enjoy watching, but the fact that Merle was just one big stereotype. In “Walk With Me”, much like the series as a whole currently, Merle gets the benefit of being serviced with better writing, which makes his character less of an annoying brute and more of an imposing figure who is fitting to be a part of The Governor’s squad of commandos.
I’m going to jump ahead. Andrea and Michonne eventually find themselves in the comfort of a place that is fortified, utilizing electricity, stocked with food and other supplies, and full of people who would consider themselves safe. Add to all of that a man who seems to be offering this society as a sanctuary that these women can feel free to stay in, as opposed to leaving, which they are of course free to do at any time. Yes, The Governor is now in play and while comic fans obviously know that he is putting on a ruse, I cannot imagine that everyone else who is just a fan of the TV series did not see his eventual turn coming. As much as it would be nice for Andrea and Michonne to live happily ever after, this is The Walking Dead after all, a show that has had our lead character shoot two little girls in the head, so far; fun lovin’ times are not much of an option.
As The Governor, David Morrisey rises to the occasion of establishing the character as someone who can be authoritative and convincing when it comes to laying out his motivations and a thesis for what Woodbury should be for the people who live there. He makes it sound like a safe haven that is reasonable, as long as everyone does their part. For the most part, he makes a good case and given that Rick is putting his ‘Ricktatorship’ to the test right now, this seems like a nice change in pace in terms of leadership styles. Of course, the only mystery about this episode was whether or not we would see The Governor show his true colors by its end; and we did.
Along with Michonne and Andrea, The Governor and his gang also brought back a badly wounded helicopter pilot, who was with the National Guard. The pilot informed The Governor of a National Guard refugee camp. After tracking them down, The Governor has his men ambush these guardsmen (with The Governor making sure to brutally take down one of these men), take all the supplies available, and then return to Woodbury, where he could give a speech about how those men fell because of walkers, further emphasizing why the community spirit of Woodburry is important. The Governor is a murderous con man and he has convinced the residents of the town he leads that all is well, when there is certainly a lot more going on.
But what else is going on? Surely future episodes will provide more details as to what The Governor and his crack scientist, Milton (Dallas Roberts) are up to, as we see a scene of them discussing the nature of the pets that Michonne was forced to dispatch, while having their decapitated heads plugged in with various wires. The other concern will be related to the inevitable meet up between the Woodbury Wreckers and The Prison Pioneers, as The Governor and Rick could find themselves at odds with each other, while Rick and Merle are sure to. For now, however, the only people at odds seem to be Andrea and Michonne.
Despite having lasted 7-8 months together, they are apparently not as close as once thought. Both women initially had concerns about the nature of Woodbury and the people running it, but, while asking some key questions beforehand, Andrea has come around pretty quickly and seems to be willing to give the place a chance. Michonne is still not convinced however. While she does not necessarily have a reason to be concerned, her instincts are clearly telling her that good things do not come along that easily. While this is fairly fitting for the character (especially for comic fans that already have enough to work with), the episode’s only real issue comes from the fact that Michonne is simply acting too badass and needs to be shaped into something more. This is not so much Danai Gurira’s fault, as she is embodying the character that has been written so far. It is more due to the fact that The Walking Dead is establishing so many new things in this episode, that slowing down a bit to add depth to the samurai sword-wielding tough chick would distract too much. I am not that concerned though, as there will surely be upcoming episodes that can explore Michonne’s backstory more or at least provide her with more characterization.
Small squabble aside, this is another very strong episode of The Walking Dead, that is exploring things that keeps the show interesting, fans of the series very satisfied, based on new developments, and comic fans especially satisfied, as they got to see a highly anticipated character in action. With the focus purely on this group of characters this week, the show gave itself the right kind of breathing room it needed to align its pieces for the rest of the season. Whether or not we check in with both groups next week, a lot has been established in these first three episodes of the season and given the improvement of the series in many ways in general, I look forward to seeing how everything is going to play out from here.
4 ½ out of 5 Busters
Zombie Kill of the Week: Merle’s nonchalant killing of a walker with his Bruce “Don’t Call Me Ash” Campbell-inspired bayonet arm attachment, as it approached from behind, was a good way to show how comfortable he is in this world.
Governor Gumption: Comic fans may be wondering whether or not the mayor has any ‘pets’ of his own, besides his floating head tribute to Futurama.