Michonne’s on the run. Rick’s getting some strange calls. Andrea and the Governor get busy (ewwwww). We review the newest episode of The Walking Dead – “Hounded”. Continue on for our SPOILER-ridden review!
Season 3, Episode 6: Hounded
The Governor sends a crew, led by Merle, to follow Michonne, except she tries to to warn them not to follow. When they don’t heed her warning to go back, she ambushes them killing everyone half the group leaving Merle and a brand new member of the research group. At the prison, Rick has a phone conversation with someone who won’t tell him where they are or who she is. Despite his pleading, she tells him she needs to speak to her group and hangs up. Later, Rick waits impatiently for the phone call, but when the call comes this time, it’s a man who is asking about whether or not he’s killed and anyone and asking about how he lost Lori – something the girl wasn’t told directly. When he won’t give the man all the information he wants, the man hangs up on Rick. After a quick stop in Woodbury, where Andrea meets a girl who will teach her how to shot a bow and arrow, Hershel joins Rick in the boiler room to offer him some encouragement. Rick tells Hershel about the phone calls, and Hershel offers to stay with him and wait for the next call, but Rick declines. While they clear out more of the prison, Daryl tells Carl about the death of his and Merle’s mother and how he’s sorry about Carl’s mom. While Merle and the newbie hunt down Michonne, Andrea goes to the Governor and admits she liked the fights she witnessed the night before despite her protests. When Merle doesn’t want to go follow Michonne into the “red zone”, where he believes she will be as good as dead, the newbie refuses to lie to the Governor about whether or not Michonne was killed. To make his point to the kid, Merle kills him in cold blood. Rick receives yet another call, this time with a different person who calls him by name. In a nearby town, Michonne watches as Glenn and Maggie arrive looking for supplies. After the Governor and Andrea start making out in his private garden, Merle finds Maggie and Glenn who takes them hostage and directs them to Woodbury. Back at the prison, Daryl takes down a walker and discovers Carol’s knife lodged in its neck. Meanwhile, Rick gets one more call – this time from Lori who reveals that he’s been speaking to others who have died. Rick goes to meet his daughter for the first time, and Daryl finally finds Carol alive. As Rick goes outside with the baby, he sees someone approaching the gate. It’s Michonne with the baby formula that Glenn and Maggie left behind when they were abducted.
If there’s one thing I really loved about this episode it was bringing back the mix of drama and action that we saw in “The Killer Within”. For the most part, the action came from Merle hunting down Michonne, but it was awesome to see some of those survival instincts she has in action. Previously, we had only seen a brief snippet of that prior to Andrea and Michonne being taken to Woodbury. We get a solid clue how she was able to move about in this world and survive for as long as she had despite having the shelter that Rick or the Governor, as two examples, always searched for or obtained. We also get a tiny bit of character interest from her when she had gotten the guts of a walker spilled onto her. The scientist character at Woodbury always assumed that her two pet walkers traveled with her to help her move among the hordes of dead. I’m not so certain that’s her reasoning after this episode. When four walkers completely ignored her after the guts incident, she was legitimately surprised, and quickly surmised that it was because of the guts. She had a look on her face that seemed to reveal she didn’t know that would happen. It begs to question why she had her pets and why she was subsequently a-ok with doing away with them. I’m not sure the series can take the time to clue us in on any form of an answer to those two questions, but it certainly helps me realize that every single character on this show could be completely insane.
The drama of the episode came primarily through Rick receiving phone calls from those who had died while under his protection. After the second call, I realized he was talking to people in the order in which they had been killed. Now, they did skip a couple people before Lori called back, but I thought that was an extremely well played twist on something that came directly out of the comics and it illustrates one major difference between Rick of the television series and the Rick of the comic series. In the comic series, it was mainly just implied that Rick carried some of the weight of the people who had died since he became the leader of the group. The only loss he seemed to have a major connection to for a long time was Lori’s. The telephone conversations was the best way to show how much Rick was hurting in a comic that has never used narration text or thought bubbles. As he continued to lose people close to him, he always seemed to treat it more like how a military leader would handle it. The losses were unfortunate, but part of the world they all lived in. As long as he was able to keep Carl and Lori safe, he was doing all he personally could. For everyone else, it was more of an unspoken rule of looking out for themselves within this somewhat organized group. In the television series, Rick is much more sensitive and you can see it on the face of actor Andrew Lincoln that he carries the burden of every single death on his shoulders. To transfer the telephone conversations from the comic to the screen, they transferred the guilt Rick felt for Lori and the baby dying to his more generalized guilt of what he had to carry as a leader. Simply put, it made for some very emotional, while still somewhat creepy, scenes.
When I had realized he was speaking to those who had died while under his protection, the questions they asked and the things they had to say began to make a lot of sense. They all spoke of being someplace safe, that they couldn’t reveal the location of, or why. When Jim asked Rick if he had killed anyone, it clicked. Rick was being tested whether or not he would be accepted into some form of heaven. He would be safe and happy, but perhaps wouldn’t fit in, or even accepted, if he had blood on his hands. He was judging himself and his actions through conversations with those he had failed. It made for fantastic scenes and a great example of how this Rick isn’t exactly the same Rick the readers have grown accustomed to in the comics – further proof that this series is now existing on its own without the need to follow the source material exactly and still capturing the tenor of the entire universe Robert Kirkman created.
Obviously, a very large difference between the comic and television series is the portrayal of the Governor. This episode is helping lend some sort of legitimacy to what I saw from the very first time we met the character. With the comic, Kirkman had the license to handle the character however he wanted. He could make him as bad as he wanted (which no reader would argue on whether or not he succeeded with that). He could literally have him do whatever he wanted. A comic book villain can be as far over the top as necessary to pit our heroes up against a funhouse mirror versions of themselves. It helped that this time in the comic series was short-lived. It was a way to push the overall plot forward. For the television series, the producers opted to do something different, and I believe it is working marvelously.
The Governor we see on the screen is not the insane maniac who seems to be running something of a madhouse of a town. He’s infinitely more underhanded than that. He’s a politician with more skeletons in his closet than there are walkers threatening the walls to Woodbury. He eliminates anyone who stands in his way, but he does it behind closed doors or in a way that won’t betray a public persona that he has with the people of Woodbury. In the comic, he wasn’t so good at hiding that. So, enter Merle. In this character, we have that loose cannon that gives us the creeps every time he does anything. The only moment in which he didn’t creep us out was when he was shut down by the Governor when he asked about taking a team to find Daryl. In that one scene, there was a little humanity from Merle and a facial expression from the Governor that gave me some serious heebee jeebies. So, in order to present this mythical character of the Governor, we now have the comic persona split into two characters who both have negative intentions while still completing a whole picture of just how dangerous Woodbury is in the grip of its undisputed leader and its undisputed henchman.
Allow me to wrap this review up with a look at both sides of love. On one side, you have the beauty of romance between Carol and Daryl. Sure it was sappy and complete with a love theme in the score and all that crap, but it was sweet and, coupled with Daryl’s conversation with Carl, continues to tell us that Daryl is perhaps one of the better people in Rick’s group beneath all the bravado he continuously shows on the surface. It’s little moments like these that makes it easy to call Daryl my favorite character on the show by heads and shoulders over everyone else. On the other side, there’s the grossness of Andrea’s lust for dudes that can only be called creeps. She’s such a strong character in the comics that it’s so disappointing that she makes the choices she makes even if she doesn’t know all that we do. I hope that when everything comes to a head, she’s able to learn a thing or two from Michonne to start opening her eyes and stop thinking with her girly bits.
The pieces are in place and it’s time to start rushing headlong toward what’s sure to be an explosive midseason finale in a couple weeks.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Great drama with the phone conversations between Rick and the ‘others’. Very cool Michonne action against Merle and his band of hunters. Great pacing while switching back and forth from the prison to Woodbury and back.||None.|