Hershel’s belief that walkers are merely sick people generated (too) much drama last season, particularly when Rick’s crew discovered Hershel’s barn full of zombies. If Hershel seemed crazy at the time, he wouldn’t seem crazy now. Not with the Governor and his zombified daughter, Penny.
“The Governor has kept her, and still brushes her hair and attempts to soothe her, in something of a mad echo of Hershel’s own insistence last season that the walkers are still human,” writes Eric Kain of Forbes.
Between the Governor’s daughter, Rick’s rampage in the prison, and the fighting sport that the villagers watch, the episode is a study in the psychological maladies of the zombie apocalypse in a season that has focused mostly on the physical.
“What we learned tonight: The constant threat of the zombie horde is going to mess with your mind,” writes Josh Jackson of Paste Magazine.
It was also the first episode to allot Michonne generous screen time away from Andrea. She plays prominently in three scenes: sneaking into the Governor’s house to recover her sword, hacking away at zombies she found caged outside, and splitting with Andrea to leave Woodbury. So far she’s been little but Andrea’s magical black friend, so the more independence she gains from Andrea, who tends to do most of the talking when they’re together, the better I think her character will be. Still, some are unsatisfied.
“The biggest problem with introducing a character like her is to not make her feel too ‘Comic booky,’ and that’s definitely the vibe I get,” writes Luke Gelineau at TV Equals. “I don’t really think my frustration is with Michonne as a character, or the actress playing her, but we also have no frame of reference with which to care about her.”
Others cringed as Rachael and I did when Rick killed the zombie who apparently engorged himself on Lori’s remains then repeatedly stabbed him in the gut. In the words of Andrew Conrad of the Baltimore Sun:
Yes, this is actually a show on television. Can you imagine going back in time and finding some family watching Leave it to Beaver or Little House on the Prairie and being like, “Excuse me folks, I’d like for you to check out this show real quick.”
At first they’d be like, “Wow, it’s in full color!” and then their faces would go slack and turn white, and the little son would be like “Daddy, why did the man stab the rotten man so many times?
While people are still wondering where Carol is, the biggest question follows the scene in in which Rick hears a nearby rotary phone ring, answers it, and whispers, “Hello?”
“The final moment of the episode is probably the weirdest and surreal moment in the history of The Walking Dead,” writes Jon Lachonis of TV Overmind. “Subtle in delivery, but heavy in impact.”
Who is on the other end of the line? (Don’t spoil it for the rest of us, comic book readers!) My favorite guess so far is from Slate commenter Northwoods: “The phone call? Simple. It will be a robo-call from Mitt Romney.”