Rick (Andrew Lincoln) journey to the world of cuckoo went further in the episode, “Hounded” while Michonne (Danai Gurira) sliced her way out of the perimeter of Woodbury to the fences of the prison. So much happened and just as we are left with the joy of Michonne joining the rest of the group, we couldn’t help but be overcome by that sinking, deepening feeling that all is gone bad for our lovebirds, Glenn (Steve Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan).
The phonecalls turned out to be a figment of Rick’s imagination, not that the idea of other survivors trying random numbers didn’t offer some actual hope to viewers. Rick wanted to believe it, but it was clear that the conversations he was having was with himself, not having given himself a moment to grieve, and trying to come to some place inside of him to forgive himself for what happened to Lori and accept the situation that the baby needs his care.
If you’re up to date with the comics, the writers had to move this portion of the saga up considerably give how the events of Lori’s demise were greatly advanced and changed, putting Rick in the proper tailspin to start receiving these phone calls. It was a logical place to take the adaptation, with the only real problems I have being the symbolism of him being dirty and filthy with guilt and walker guts at the beginning of the episode and then becoming so clean at the end of the episode as if he’s had a long, hot shower to cleanse him of the craziness.
Tag, Rick. You’re it.
I hope it means we’ve seen the last of the erratic Rick. We’re just beginning to see what Daryl (Norman Reedus) would do in the position of leadership. The other voice on the phone sounded like it was Rick’s guilty conscience about Shane. I think this would be a great exploration into Rick’s mind on top of all of the action Michonne is providing viewers, the psychological game the Governor’s (David Morrissey) playing, and seeing others try to fill his role amongst the group. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens in the coming episodes.
The scene with Hershel (Scott Wilson) and Rick in the boiler room was also nice and a call back to their conversations on the farm; when Hershel had this false hope that turning into a walker was a sickness without a cure, that his loved ones could return for the dark emptiness that had taken over their souls. Hershel was willing to sit with Rick and talk through his dark journey, because the thought of someone calling as a lifeline out to them was a false hope too, but he know Rick needed a friend, even if Rick wasn’t willing to embrace him back.
Hershel: I’ll sit here with you, that’s something I’m good at.
Daryl leading would have, and could still be a great thread to explore. We had this great conversation between Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Daryl in the cell blocks, trying to clear them out and attempting to relate to one another. You could tell the memory of his mother’s death scarred Daryl, that she burned herself to death smoking in bed, but Carl just brought it all to ground zero again as if to say, that’s nice Daryl, but…
Carl: I shot my mom… I ended it. It was real.
That doesn’t leave much room for normalcy for a kid like that. It’s going to mold him into whatever this world needs, but at the same time, the kid in him is long dead and what’s left over is unfathomable. It was an awkward but noble attempt by Daryl, even if he failed, at least someone (especially his father) tried to reach out to him to see how he was doing. If reaching out to Carl wasn’t a big win for Daryl, finding Carol (Melissa McBride) was. It may have in a small way given him some newfound hope. We still don’t know the extent of their relationship, but Carol is very close to him, whether it’s as a lover or a mother, maybe both. She’s also the only person left in the group who’s been a mother and with an infant being kept alive, Carol’s sparing was needed.
Ending with Michonne at the prison fence, looking at Rick was a real moment of celebration–edging out Michonne’s “Bitergram.” There she stood, covered in zombie guts with a hand cart full of baby formula. As in typical Michonne style, there was nothing more that had to be said. She learned that she could blend in with the walkers with their stench on her. She shows that she knows what happened to Maggie and Glenn, and she is fearless standing in between walkers without her sword drawn out. That was such a kick-ass way to end the episode. We know that Merle (Michael Rooker) is scared shitless of her, the Governor too. And while the forces regroup and focus in on heading into Woodbury, the livelihood of Maggie and Glenn hang with the Governor and Merle.
If you’ve been seduced by the Governor and his charm, like Andrea, then you may not be prepared for the ugliness he’s capable of. But Merle was willing to let Michonne free and lie to him of her demise just so he wouldn’t have to upset him. Smoking Gargulio who just wanted to be a good soldier and follow orders shows that pissing the Governor off is a much scarier option. And that’s what makes me fear for our lovebirds and Miss-I-can’t-handle-my-liquor-Andrea.
And just when you thought it was safe to embrace Merle, he shows what a ruthless dick he can still be. Something tells me he and the Governor are just beginning their dastardly ways. At least we know we’re going to get that Merle-Daryl confrontation we’re waiting for. Or perhaps a battle between amputees Merle-Hershel would be cool too. Woodbury’s already got an arena.
I’m also intrigued by the “Red Zone” Merle and Garguilio spoke of, was it the town where Michonne watched Merle overtake Glenn and Maggie, or is it the Prison. Merle seemed to think Michonne was all but dead headed towards it. The Governor wanted Michonne’s head in an aquarium, but whose head will he get in return? Is Rick’s head back in the game? How much posturing will go on in the group before they realize Michonne is one of them? Will Rick’s hope of a safer place be re-energized when he hears about Woodbury? At this point, how much really separates Rick from the Governor prior to his cleansing shower? Share your thoughts below.