The Walking Dead: Say the Word Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
This episode finds us in transition, and that's not a bad thing after the shocks of last week. We settle down a bit, chess pieces move, things slowly start to build, and we learn some interesting things along the way. There are a few aspects of this episode that are taken from the comic book, but i'll refrain from following those threads further than the episode take us for fear of spoiling it for those who only watch the show. Lets dig in.
After all the madness, this episode opens the door for Daryl to shine. It's more than donning a poncho like Leone era Eastwood and giving everyone squinty looks. Daryl takes action immediately, whether it's not letting another little girl down, or just that he's actually a good man underneath it all, our arbalist is leader of the pack today. There's a scene where Daryl and Maggie raid a day care for baby supplies that I think struck a lot of people as a waste of screen time. All they do is find formula and a hungry possum, but I would posit that this scene keeps the idea that no place is safe front and center. When they return to the prison, and a bottle is made, it's not Hershel, Maggie or even Carl who feeds the newborn, but Daryl. It's the gentlest touch we've seen from him yet. Even after Carl goes through a list of possible names that chillingly includes all the departed females from the show, Daryl finds a way to bring a moment of levity, if ever so briefly. One of the best aspects of this episode is the disparity we see between Daryl and Merle. They both have a place to belong, but one is doing what's necessary and right, while the other is locked in gladiatorial combat to please the mob. The writers keep making their inevitable reunion sweeter and sweeter.
Check off another item on the Governor's list of twisted things. We experienced some zombie husbandry with Hershel, but this goes a step further. As a father of a little girl I can almost understand wanting to keep her "alive", but the Governor's almost fetishistic desires to brush her hair, and dress her up in her Sunday best, ups the creep factor considerably. We get to see more of the Governor's facade of transparency; sweet taking his way through every new discovery his new guests find. Something had to break with Michonne this episode, otherwise it would be difficult to believe she would be idle for so long. Thankfully, she does finally take action, and rocks the Woodbury boat. The look of relief when she takes back her katana speaks volumes, and when she gets her workout by freeing and slaying some captive walkers, it's clear she's only comfortable when surviving. Maybe she's even addicted to it. My guess is her leaving Woodbury will put her on the road to the prison, and our two camps will become very aware of each other.
The Governor's "entertainment" is a bit toothless compared to its comic book counterpart. It didn't feel as surprising as it should have, and Andrea's reaction didn't feel all that earned. After all Michonne's warnings, its a little sweet science that puts her over the edge? Sure there's the added zombies, but as the Governor said- they've been neutered, it's just for show. Now, if there were real stakes, or if Andrea found out what's in the Governor's closet, that would be another story.
As Rick treads deeper through the concrete walls, and deeper into the maze of his own mind, we discover a very odd and disturbing exclamation point to last week's demise of Lori Grimes- the disgusting and bloated zombie who ate her corpse. The walker looks as pregnant with her remains as Lori did with her baby. When Rick pulled out his knife and began to stab the engorged walker, I was afraid he was going to try and cut out what was left of Lori in some twisted cycle of birth, but we're spared that for now. Instead, a phone rings, and Rick does his finest Lionel Ritchie impression. This is another direct concept from the comics, but I'm curious how they will handle it going forward. Throughout the episode Andrew Lincoln is suitably in a different zone, and his only word of dialogue coming in the last shot was a nice touch.
One of the most puzzling things yet this season is the whereabouts of Carol. T-Dog sacrifices himself so that she may live, but since then she's been like Keyser Soze- "poof, she's gone". They dig her a grave, but to quote Tom Hanks in Cast Away "What was in it?" Daryl putting a Cherokee Rose on her grave was a nice moment, but it's kind of lost when we're all scratching our heads. I doubt the writers would kill her off camera, and I doubt even further they would never give us the evidence, so it remains a very odd mystery, especially these days with the Internet and previews for future episodes floating about. There's definitely some theories to be had, particularly from those who have read the comic. I'd love to hear them, just spoiler tag them in the comments. And finally, one last bit of weirdness- the writers give T-Dog more depth in a posthumous comment from Glenn then they do in two plus seasons of his actual life. I can only imagine his headstone reads "Here lies T-Dog. Never caught a break, friend to the elderly, the BEST THERE EVER WAS!"
Mania Grade: B
Episode: Say the Word (Season 3, Episode 5)
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Laurie Holden, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Michael Rooker
Written By: Frank Darabont (developer), Robert Kirkman (series of graphic novels)
Directed By: Gregory Nicotero