The Walking Dead: Walk With Me
Welcome to Season 3!
I know what you’re thinking; isn’t that statement a wee bit late (like two episodes late)? No, not at all. The first two episodes of The Walking Dead Season 3 were good, don’t get me wrong (of course almost anything would have been after the ambling drudgery of season 2), but wow! Seriously, wow!
While Rick, Lori and the rest of the gang set up shop in a prison still infested with the undead, “Walk With Me” begins miles away with a helicopter full of paramilitary marine looking soldiers crash landing with more velocity and violence than a deleted scene from Predator- it’s a pretty damn fine start. Andrea (Laurie Holden) and Michonne (Danai Gurira), who have decided to take their two girl, two-chained zombie act on the road, follow the smoke line to the site of the crash. They arrive a short while later at the scene and hide and watch as another group of survivors, well armed and trained, go through the wreckage, looking for survivors; as well as dispatching any newly dead who will soon turn into walkers themselves.
The two women are discovered while they try to hide, and discovered by… that’s right kids… MERLE DIXON (Michael Rooker)! Good ol’ boy Merle is back! And mad maxed out (sporting a bayonet hand to replace the appendage he had to amputate to save himself way back in season 1). After some quick catch up time between himself and the women, it’s time to decide what to do with them. But unlike the other groups that have discovered each other along the course of the series, there is a distinct air of menace with these new found men.
And that would be due to the leader of this new group, located in a “safe and secure” town he calls Woodbury (Mayberry was perhaps a little too on the nose), who is known as The Governor (David Morrissey). “You’re free to leave anytime you want. We’ll give you food, meds, hell, keys to a vehicle if you want.” Ah, the sweet, simplicity of seduction. Or is it? As Sartre wrote “Hell is other people.” And when there’s no more room in hell (those of you who love zombies as much as I do will know the rest)… But is it paranoia brought on by desperation? After all, haven’t Andrea and Michonne found solace in other people before, including each other?
The Governor, with the help of one of his creepy scientist henchmen, discovers that Michonne kept the jawless, armless walkers chained by her as repellent. This is the reason the two were able to stay alive in the harsh, zombie infested wilderness for so long. “Camouflage” he calls it. He is cooking something up. And for some reason (that I hope we see soon) everyone, from tough-as-nails Merle to every average citizen of Woodbury, seems to be afraid of the Governor. Michonne wants to leave, Andrea wants to stay. The Governor suggests they take a look around. Who knows, they might like it. Woodbury is extremely secure (high walls, constant patrols against any zombies sneaky trying to get in), everyone has a responsibility, and they seem to have a plan to take back civilization, “except this time, we won’t be eating each other.”
While walking through the town, Andrea confronts Michonne about why she doesn’t trust anybody. She also points out that during the seven months they were together, she learned nothing about her (thank god somebody finally decided to let the rest of us in on the passage of time). Meanwhile, the Governor shows his true colors when, after questioning the only survivor of the crash, he finds his other soldier buddies and massacres them. He and his band of miscreants (Merle etc.) loot the murdered men, take all their gear, and the Gov. himself even goes so far as to bash a still living soldiers’ brains in with the butt of his own gun! Ah, villainy! How I have missed you! No more episodes of waiting for a conflicted Shane to eventually thrown down with Rick. We finally have a real bad guy to root for (you heard me!)
Upon returning, he gathers the town, and delivering a speech that would make George S. Patton proud, he informs the town folk that the soldiers they went to save died, because they didn’t have their walls, their town, or him to look after them (making no mention, of course, of the massacre). Building a town on lies, fear and a well-stocked larder, the Governor has his sanctuary set, stacked and solid. And it is clear Andrea is falling for him. He, however, doesn’t seem to be interested in anything other than total control of the world he has created for himself. In a powerful last scene, he sits down in an easy chair with a drink, the perfect picture of a man relaxing after a hard day at work. Does he watch some Seinfeld reruns on blue ray? Nope. Does he slide into some slippers and read the Saturday Evening Post? Not even close.
He sits and stares with a strange combination of passive reverence and bored curiosity at a wall full of fish tanks set upon each other all containing SEVERED ZOMBIE HEADS!
If this season continues along this well-set upon course, we, dear fellow viewers, are in for one hell of a ride!
Next week, it’s back to the prison. It will be interesting to see how the producers of the Walking Dead will find a way to have these two very different worlds collide!