Chris: The episode opened with an entirely new group of survivors, headed by Tyrese, fleeing a pack of zombies. They enter the prison, and Carl saves them and leads them to their secure cellblock, but then locks them in. He’s learned the lesson that this season has taught: don’t trust strangers! One of Tyrese’s companions protests, but Tyrese insists, “let the man go.” Carl certainly is a man now
Josh: Carl is THE man now. Watching him grow up so quickly has been heartening and heartbreaking. The encounter with the prisoners was a huge moral test. How do you treat new groups? Obviously with mistrust, but do you go further? It’s obvious that Tyrese is a good man, but how quickly will those walls of distrust go down?
Chris: It looks like Tyrese is taking the baton from Oscar, who is killed in the firefight at Woodbury later. Oh, Oscar. I really thought he would stick around. But the show barely used him. Is it just me or does the The Walking Dead allow only one black man at a time?
Josh: Seriously. They’ve just been passing the torch. Morgan, then T-Dog, then Oscar, now Tyrese. If I see another Asian guy, I’m going to get nervous for Glenn.
Chris: I was already nervous for Glenn! Back in Woodbury, Glenn uses the bones of a felled zombie as makeshift knives. Glenn is tough and resourceful, and the show is elevating him so much that I’m starting to think he’s due to die. Merle and Glenn grapple and Maggie kills a henchman before the couple is arrested again.
Josh: Meanwhile, Rick’s team sneaks into Woodbury and Michonne sneaks off, breaks into the Governor’s house, and waits for him to return. When he does, what a fight—surrounded by the zombie-head tanks, katana through the daughter zombie, shard of aquarium to the eye. Ended with a stand-off of the ages.
Chris: That may have been the most intense scene in the history of the show, rivaled only, I think, by Rick’s final confrontation with Shane. I thought Michonne was done for. She seems much more expendable to this show than the Governor. I loved how the creators brought the wall of heads itself into the fight.
Josh: Rick’s team uses some smoke grenades to steal Glenn and Maggie back from a group of Woodsbury thugs, and on their way out they get embroiled into a firefight. This is like the A-team. Lots of shots, very few hits. Except Oscar. He might as well have been wearing a red uniform in that assault.
Chris: The Walking Dead has had plenty of zombie fights, but not many firefights. Do you think it did this effectively?
Josh: The smoke was a nice touch. Made it believable without making it a complete bloodbath.
Chris: Why did Rick see Shane shooting at him?
Josh: Too many trips to the prison’s zombie wing? I guess the same reason he heard that telephone ring.
Chris: Rick’s team escapes and the Governor gets bandaged up. Andrea asks about the heads. The Governor tells her he “made himself stare at them” to prepare for the “horrors outside.”
Josh: The Governor could talk himself out of trouble if he were caught on tape shooting up a convent.
Chris: More horrifying than the “horrors outside” is the look he shoots at Merle.
Josh: Merle told The Gov he’d killed Michonne. Whoops.
Chris: That might explain why he betrays Merle in front of all of Woodbury, saying that Merle let Rick’s “terrorists” into the village.
Josh: I think they’re going to have to fight.
Chris: That’s what I was thinking. I thought it was hugely surprising how we left Merle and Daryl not facing off, but facing Woodbury together.
Josh: We’re left with so many uneasy alliances—Rick + Michonne, The Governor + Andrea, Daryl + Merle, Carl + Cuttie. One of the most interesting facets of the show to me, especially this season, is the idea of tribes. We’ve got three tribes right now and with war about to begin, a likely alliance between two of them.
Chris: I’m glad this season is giving us conflict between humans and humans. Conflict between humans and zombies can be so dull.
Josh: I think we’ll continue to find the righteous, and they’ll have grouped together. But as with good post-apocalyptic story, the most interesting threads will be man vs. man, not man vs. monster. Well, some of those men are “monsters,” but not the literal kind.
Chris: Thanks for joining me on Slate’s The Walking Dead TV Club!
Josh: That was a fantastic episode. And it’s going to be hard to wait until February for the second half.