In Slate’s The Walking Dead TV Club, Chris Kirk will IM each week with a different fan of The Walking Dead. This week, he discusses “Prey” with Katla McGlynn, comedy editor at the Huffington Post.
Chris Kirk: “Prey” starts with a flashback, which The Walking Dead seldom does. Andrea asks Michonne if she knew her guardian biters before they were zombies. Michonne explains, “They deserved what they got. They weren’t human to begin with.” I have this theory that one of them is her dead boyfriend, the one that she told Rick that she used to talk to, but this might put a dent in my theory. Unless he was a really bad boyfriend. She’s so psychopathic that I wonder if she, like Daryl, endured abuse before this all happened.
Katla McGlynn: I had that same feeling, that they were her close personal friends or relatives in some capacity, and that by “converting” them into pets, she would always have them near. But then she was so callous about cutting off their heads, and now this new revelation, it feels as though she was punishing them for a human crime rather than for attacking her.
Chris: Meanwhile, in Woodbury, the Governor is plotting some crimes of his own. He’s excitedly preparing a torture chamber, presumably for Michonne. Is it just me or does he appear to be getting crazier and crazier as the season progresses?
Katla: The eye patch has definitely made everything he does seem more sinister. The dentist chair, the surgical tools and the (ugh) speculum that he taps ever so gently on the table give him a villainous edge that trumps even his room full of heads in jars.
Chris: Crazier still is his failure to keep the chamber secret. Milton stumbles upon it, tries to persuade the Governor to back down from his vendetta, and shows it to Andrea. It seems Milton is finally showing some steel. But he stops her from killing him then and there.
Katla: It was hard to watch Milton tell Andrea that all those guns everyone’s loading up to bring to the prison are just “a show of force,” so after his encounter with the Governor and his “workshop,” it’s great to hear him finally give it to Andrea straight. But why does he save the Governor from Andrea’s gun? To me it’s the same reason that he wants to save the walkers; he thinks there’s “some spark left” in them, some semblance of a person. When Andrea asks him why he didn’t let her kill the Governor, he says he knew “Philip” before he was the Governor. Just like the walkers, he thinks that man, that good person, still exists inside the monster.
Chris: Andrea resolves to warn Rick before the Governor meets with him again. Tyreese and Sasha let Andrea go, and Tyreese bickers with Allen. If I followed correctly, Tyreese saved Allen’s wife (before she later died), and his wife fell in love with him. Tyreese may not know how to shoot, but he knows how to beat Allen up, and in a later scene he nearly throws him into a zombie pit. Tyreese is an all-around good guy, but is that a little boring?
Katla: Tyreese has the right mindset for survival: He left the prison when Rick went crazy, obeyed the Governor’s wishes, and reported Andrea missing, but also withheld from the Governor what Andrea told him. He’s smart and obviously a good person, which yes, can be a bit boring, but he also has a sense of humor about their situation that comes through in weird ways. Plus his sister is more of a hothead, so he calms her down. When Andrea escaped and Sasha said they shouldn’t have let her go, Tyreese says, “What did you want me to do? Shoot her?” As if shooting people in this post-apocalyptic world is ever that crazy of an idea. Overall I foresee him playing a big role in helping Andrea escape and the prison defeat the Governor.
Chris: Andrea will need all the help she gets after the next few scenes. She runs through a field, and the half-deranged Governor tries to run her down with his pickup truck. I got some serious déjà vu here. The scene reminded me of North by Northwest and Christine.
Katla: It almost felt like he could have run her over, but that’s not what he wanted. He let her escape into the warehouse where he upped the ante on his sick cat-and-mouse game. First he whistles the same eerie tune he did in the torture chamber then offers fake pleas to Andrea like “We need you” and “That’s your home now” before a blunt “Suit yourself” and full-on attack.
Chris: Is it just me or did the Governor’s eye patch and dark jacket make him look a lot like Kurt Russel from Escape From New York? But the scene seems more like Terminator: the Governor following Andrea slowly from room to room with an aura of indestructibility, while she desperately tries to escape him. It doesn’t make much sense. Andrea fought off three zombies in the woods, but a guy with a shovel unnerves her? He’s wide open for a left hook!
Katla: Yeah, it was odd to see her running around like a “final girl” in a horror movie, as if she’s about to trip and fall down at any moment when she has obviously shown that she can defend herself with nothing more than a little knife. Andrea’s escape by opening up the stairwell full of zombies and hiding behind the door after releasing them was one of the most innovative use of walkers to attack another human I think we’ve seen all season. If it wasn’t so close to the finale, I’d have thought the Governor was a goner.
Chris: Anyway, just when Andrea is about to cry out to Rick, the Governor ambushes her. And throws her in the torture chamber at Woodbury.
Katla: I blame Milton for Andrea’s capture. Milton is the worst liar on the show. He spills the beans pretty easily about Andrea’s escape. Even though he shows Andrea the chamber, he doesn’t let her kill the Governor. When Andrea asks him to go with her to the prison, he refuses, but Andrea says he can’t stay AND continue to turn a blind eye. This wishy-washyness makes me think that he’s going to become a martyr pretty soon.
Chris: Andrea’s words seem to affect him, though, considering he presumably burned the zombies in the pit, and at least this time he didn’t crack as soon as the Governor confronted him about it. I expect both him and Tyreese to help turn the tables against the Governor.
Katla: I thought this was a pretty solid episode because it focused exclusively on Woodbury instead of the prison and finally brought Andrea and Milton, and Tyreese/Sasha to a lesser extent, out of the dark, which can only move the plot forward. I don’t think we’re getting through the season without the big shootout that both groups are planning.
Chris: The Governor won’t survive that if he continues to act like his CPU is a neural net processor, a learning computer.