This review contains spoilers.
3.8 Made To Suffer
The dichotomy between Rick and the Governor has been one the show has played with all season. But within each man, there’s another pair of warring urges. With Rick, it’s the desire to keep his group safe versus his growing madness. With the Governor, it’s his urge to keep his group safe versus, well, his growing madness. With the Governor, we’ve seen multiple aspects of his personality, from the willing-to-do-anything side that threatens Maggie and holds zombie Thunderdomes, to the side that obviously cares for his people, who loves his daughter (and maybe Andrea), and who wants to cure the zombie apocalypse.
However, after the events of this week, I have a feeling we are going to see the two men pick a side in their internal conflicts, and the Governor won’t go back to being the cuddly, loving father and Andrea’s latest terrible love interest. The tipping point was Michonne, who is still very much a woman without a home on either side, as we’ve seen by Rick’s handling of her since she appeared at the Prison (and she’s definitely not going back to Woodbury after what happens this week).
I like how the show has handled The Governor during his run on the series. He shifts pretty easily from despicable (last week) to pitiable (this week) thanks in no small part to David Morrissey’s performance (and Robert Kirkman’s writing). I’d have to imagine that, after what happens to him this week, all of his pity and goodwill towards others will have been extinguished, marked by a fittingly epic political speech to the spooked Woodbury folks to close out this half of the season. Great work as always by him.
Given that this is the mid-season finale, there’s no doubt that The Walking Dead wanted to leave viewers something to think about between now and February. From the introduction of a very popular character from the comics (first Michonne, and now Tyreese as played by Chad Coleman from The Wire) to one of the most brutal fights I’ve ever seen on television, The Walking Dead has put the shadow of season two in its rear-view mirror. Kudos to director Billy Gierhart, because the shaky camera rarely works, but Gierhart actually made it work during the brawl between Michonne and the Governor. It was gritty, claustrophobic, and thrilling in an episode full of such moments.
I do have to wonder if the show is going to get more flack for the way it handles black characters. I’m generally not one to see racism around every corner, especially in a show that has cycled through dozens of white male characters in three seasons, but there had to have been a better time to introduce Tyreese. If you discard one black character and immediately introduce another black male character to replace him, it starts to look suspicious when you’re on your fourth iteration of that (Morgan, T-Dog, Oscar, and now Tyreese). I’m well aware that Oscar is far from a major character, but that may not have been the best timing on their part.
One of the big themes of the show seems to be that selfishness will end up getting you killed. Think about it. Whenever someone goes off the reservation to do something the opposite of good for the group, from Carl’s walk through the woods ending the farm storyline to Merle’s fictional account of the death of Michonne (randomly shooting that guy with the difficult name). That happens multiple times this week, and it never seems to end well. Not immediately in some cases, but it certainly doesn’t engender the selfish party to the group he or she is trying to be friendly with.
There are so many potential flashpoints for the rest of this season once the show starts back up on February 10th (here in the US). Tyreese, Michonne, Daryl and Merle, The Governor, Andrea… anywhere you turn, there’s someone that’s in conflict with someone else about something, there are zombies everywhere, and Rick and the Governor are on the road to a full-fledged war between the prison survivors and the Woodbury survivors. And, perhaps, the prison survivors and Tyreese’s group, if some of his more hotheaded membership get their way.
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