The Walking Dead: Prey Review - Mania.com



The Walking Dead Review

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Episode: Prey (Season 3, Episode 14)
  • Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Danai Gurira, Laurie Holden, David Morrissey Chad Coleman, Dallas Roberts, Sonequa Martin-Green, Daniel Thomas May
  • Written By: Evan Reilly and Glenn Mazzara
  • Directed By: Stefan Schwartz
  • Network: AMC
  • Studio: AMC Studios, Circle of Confusion, Darkwood Productions, Valhalla Motion Pictures
  • Series:

The Walking Dead: Prey Review

Woodbury the 13th

By Joel Rickenbach     March 18, 2013
Source: Mania.com

If you told me we were getting another Andrea-centric episode this close to the season finale, I would have said that is a surefire recipe for disaster. Add some wishy-washy subplots with Tyreese's group, and essentially never spending any time at the prison with our protagonists, and you are digging an early grave (zombie pit?) for season 3. Forums and comment threads will be full of Andrea hate, and people will proclaim that the show has reverted back to its season 2 malaise. Yet, with some style and genre touches, the antepenultimate episode of season 3 is one of the season's best.

Before I start praising the episode let's get one thing out of the way-- I don't like the character of Andrea. There has been plenty of ink and keyboard thwacking over these three seasons to detail why this is a popular sentiment. Mostly it's due to her being a completely different character than she is in the comic book, and that's a very valid reason to be sure, but personally it has more to do with the fact that the writers just don't seem to know what to do with her. Readers of the female persuasion, I feel for you,  this is not the first time, nor the last, that writers of a genre show will pass the duties of understanding a female character around the writers room like a hot potato. "Ahhh... Mmmmm... Uhhhh... You take her!" "Ohhh, Mmmm... Jeez... Your turn!" "Rmmmm... Ummmmm... we could... have her jump back and forth between two camps, and she could never make a decision even though the choice is obvious...?" "Brilliant! We did the same thing with Kate on Lost, and it lasted for years!"

Prey doesn't solve the problem of how Andrea has been written, but it does put her in a level of peril and suspense that made me actually give a damn about her from scene to scene. The reason is rather brilliant on the writer's part-- they drop Andrea in the middle of an 80's slasher film, and suddenly we're rooting for her like we would Jaime Lee Curtis or Linda Hamilton. The Governor is playing the part of Michael Myers, The T-800, or, keeping his car in mind, Stuntman Mike. If the Governor just sent his thugs after Andrea it would have been business as usual, but when he decides to go after her personally, we are suddenly in different territory. The world this show lives in makes the hunter/hunted idea even more interesting, as they have literally dropped a slasher story in the middle of a zombie film. Both characters have to deal with the hazards of the post apocalyptic world in their pursuit and escape. The stark and abandoned landscape also gives the cat and mouse the proper atmosphere (side note: when did it become fall?). It's interesting how they slip the Governor into the role of stalking psychopath. He's got the eye patch, the black coat, the menacing car and a whistling calling card he uses to frighten his prey. When he's alone, chasing Andrea, we see the true Governor, the driven madness he hides away when sweet talking the people of Woodbury. He drives off road in hellish pursuit, he smashes windows in anger, and when faced with a flesh hungry obstacle, he just splatters his way through a zombie horde.

Te best moment is when Andrea finally reaches the prison. She's relieved, the music changes, everything is gonna be alright... and like any good slasher, Jason pops out of the water and drags her into the depths of Crystal Lake. The shot of Rick, silently keeping watch, but missing Andrea by a hair, was a fantastic touch. In the end Andrea finds herself strapped to the very thing that spurred her to Warn Rick and the others in the first place. It's a nice full circle moment, and possibly might make some of us actually feel for the character.

The rest of the episode felt a bit like going through the motions. Milton is really starting to grow on me. He's coming out of his shell to take a stand, but the more obvious he makes it, the less believable it is  the Governor lets him waltz around scot-free. Tyreese is so kind and moral it almost feels out of place in this world-- he actually admits they let Andrea go. The fight he gets into with Allen doesn't really work, as it's based on events we've never completely seen. Perhaps the episode could have used  a flashback for them as well. The one we do get, however, is a reminder of simpler times. One where Andrea isn't needlessly ping-pong-ing between two worlds. Given her current situation, she was probably better off staying on the road, and heading in a steady direction, instead of in circles.

Joel Rickenbach is a curator of cult cinema at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA, and can be heard every week talking film, TV and other geekery on the You’ve got GEEK podcast. Follow him onTwitter and hilarity will no doubt ensue.


COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 34
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RedHood2010 3/18/2013 7:39:50 AM

Sweet, 1st to post!

I agree I was not wanting or needing another episode with Andrea as the main focus, but this was a great episode full of tension and drama.  As much as I hate who the Gov is, he is one bad-ass crazy dude.  There is no doubt his crazy has to be put down.

I also agree with your take on Tyreese's story.  I don't know how this is going to shake out.  I believe he has a good heart, doesn't want trouble, but does have some old world morals left.

The downer was Andrea not knowing she was being followed as she got close to the prison.  There is NO OTHER noise in the world happening, just leaves, birds, branches, grass and the grunts.  Well shot, but a downer.  And I don't the group is going to save her, that will be up to Milton.

jedibanner 3/18/2013 7:57:48 AM

For me the only problem with the episode was the end where she gets so close and then all of the blue, just for drama, the Governor tracks her down. Either Andrea is the dummest person in the world not to go hide or take the Gov.'s truck or this ending was just so weak and stupid.

All this to get so close and somehow, as a mirical he tracks her down? Come on...she should've made it to the prison so easelly, so many ways to hide or to disapear and yet just for TV drama...he tracks her down.

Not buying it.

TheSilentKiller 3/18/2013 8:06:16 AM

I actually really liked this Ep. Andrea finally took a stand, and got pulled into the governor's rape-o-chair. Given some of the shots of next week, I wonder if we're not going to see Michonne go on a rescue mission.

Looking forward to the last two eps - damn the haters, this is really shaping up as a great season.

ripum853 3/18/2013 8:06:36 AM

 I like Milton now as well...but he's being too stupid in his actions that I don't think he'll last much longer; it's a shame though, I would've liked to see him be part of the group.

 

Loved the episode though; it's been a while since I liked Andrea...maybe even the first time in the entire series.

Bryzarro 3/18/2013 8:17:31 AM

I don't know how to feel about this episode.  For one I really don't like TV Andrea.  But I was rooting for her as she was on the run.  Her decision making had me yelling at the TV.  My wife hates when I do that.  I read a couple reactions where people asked why she didn't take the truck.  Ummm lights can work with no keys in the ignition so thats my answer to that.  

My biggest issue is why wait so long before changing your mind to kill him.  So dumb but again that is the writers doing.  My heart skipped as she was just at the clearing.  Again I yelled RUN!!!  But no.

Glad to see the Gov acting more in line with the Comic version with the room.  But I agree with the B given to this ep.

violator14 3/18/2013 10:20:14 AM

 Honestly and unfortunately, this TV governor is not really coming off as this, "badass-badguy dude" anymore. He just comes off as an annoying douchebag to me now. When is he supposed to die already??? I imagine the comic book Gov is much more interesting.

Andrea is still a dumbass to me. She could have easily stopped this "war" twice already by killing the Gov. She went back to Woodbury to try and "Do Something". Didnt even take him out or warn Rick's group, or ANYTHING. Only thing she did was piss off the Governor, run a marathon (like really.... since when did she become a long distance runner) only to get caught, and now she's totally fukkkked and is gonna get tortured. ..... EPIC FAIL ANDREA!!! EPIC FAIL!!!!

DarthBob 3/18/2013 10:36:37 AM

Milton says, "Excuse me governor while I put on my red Star Trek uniform, be right back."

I think their take on the governor is fine; he's not the BA warrior type but rather a person drunk on revenge.  He's obsessed with it and will do anything and sacrifice anyone to get Michonne. 

Last night's episode is a solid B.

momitchell7 3/18/2013 10:48:26 AM

This episode did have good moments, but it is reminding me of the long-drag from Season 2, I really thought the writers had overcome that obstacle. Do the comics drag on in this way?

Red, Jedi... The Gov had a truck. He knew she would be going right to the prison. I'm pretty sure that it would have been no problem for him to get there ahead of her and hide in the bushes... There's only one (relatively safe) way into the prison, so he wouldn't have had to cover a lot of ground.

I get the feeling that we're going to see Milton ultimately sacrifice himself to save Andrea. Of course Rick's group doesn't know she's in the postion she's in, she willingly went with the Gov after the "negotiations" last week, so why would they come and save her?

Lastly, my thoughts are that after hearing Michonne's chained-walkers story, Andrea is going to end up chopping off the Gov's arms and jaw and take him around in chains, BUT he will still be alive and she'll use that deep-throat tube funnel (beer bong) to feed him!!!

 

RedHood2010 3/18/2013 10:56:21 AM

momitchell7, I understand your point, but I just feel, that truck of his would have made SOME noise and all it would take is to hear the rumbling of those pipes off in the distance to let her know that 'oh shit, he is back out on the hunt'.  As for the 'safe' way into the prison, I wasn't aware of a safe way in?  There is the road, the woods (where she is at and I would think the most unsafe) or the back where Tyreese came in.  I would have chosen the open area so they would see me coming waving my arms! 

It will be interesting next week!  Can't wait!

lazarus 3/18/2013 11:20:10 AM

Any one else notice the "tools" he laid out? One of the instruments was a speculum. Guess he plans to do a vaginal exam. Maybe rape while torturing her.

WHO EVIL EVIL THOUGHT. Since she took his daughter away in his mind. Maybe JUST MAYBE he will forcably impregnate Michonne and force her to bear his child before killing her. That would be so freaknig evil and sadistic. :)

Andrea you give all BLONDES a bad name, stupid bitch, go for the truck. Or at least use the knife to disable it.

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