The Walking Dead 3.07 review (opens in new tab)
Writer: Frank Benzulli
Director: Dan Sackheim
THE ONE WHERE Merle and the Governor torture Glenn and Maggie to make them reveal the location of their camp; meanwhile, Michonne leads our heroes to Woodbury.
VERDICT This is the episode every fan of the comics has been wondering about: the one that shows just how far the TV show is willing to go in matching the nihilism of Robert Kirkman’s original vision. The answer? Maybe halfway.
See, the version of events presented in the comics (spoilers ahoy) is incredibly dark: The Governor horribly beats and rapes Michonne. It is, frankly, no surprise that didn’t make it to the screen – even for a cable show like The Walking Dead, it’s pretty tough material.
That doesn’t mean the TV show wimps out, though. In a way, there’s something even more disturbing about the way the television version of the Governor acts; a perverse tenderness to his interrogation techniques (politely asking permission to sit down; sniffing Maggie’s hair) that is even creepier than outright aggression. And the decision to make Glenn and Maggie the torture victims is a masterstroke; we know them much better than we do Michonne, and their mutual concern – beautifully played by Lauren Cohan and Steven Yeun - really ramps up the tension.
On the downside: the experiment with old Mr Coleman came across as rather risible, because it’s so poorly thought through. Why didn’t they strap the zombie’s head down to ensure that it can’t bite? Dumb. The scene would have paid off if we’d learnt that Walkers can maintain vestiges of memory – imagine how Andrea would have felt, considering that she put her sister down? As things stand, it seems a little pointless.
WTF? Why does Rick think the best way to wake up an unconscious woman is to throw some water on her neck ? He’s only a few centimetres away from turning it into a wet t-shirt contest.
NITPICKS Once again, it feels like The Walking Dead is taking a leaf from Lost – it’s become one of those shows where noone ever shares useful information. Consider two things. Firstly, Michonne clearly sees Glenn and Maggie taken by a guy who only has one hand . Second, she surely overhears Merle asking about his brother. So why doesn’t Michonne mention either of those things? Is it a strategy? Perhaps she thinks that if she told Rick and Daryl, they wouldn’t help her infiltrate Woodbury? Maybe, but it still seems like a rather artificial way of engineering a surprise reunion.
Speaking of artificially engineering surprise reunions, didn’t Andrea ever tell Michonne about the months she spent with a guy called Rick and an old farmer called Hershel? If not, what the hell did the two of them talk about during all those months on the road?
A KICK-ASS NAME Asskicker is a much cooler name than Judith. Maybe she could use Asskicker as a middle name?
BEST BIT There's a lovely moment between Carol and Rick where the death of Lori is wordlessly communicated through looks alone; this series is so good at knowing when to dispense with dialogue because words are unnecessary. But it’s got to be Glenn demonstrating his mad skills at tied-to-a-chair-fu. He’s no callow pizza delivery boy anymore – he’s a badass! Incidentally, did that scene remind anyone else of a certain Joss Whedon film?
FEATURED MUSIC The record played to old Mr Coleman is Jo Stafford’s version of “Lock Your Dreams At Night”, from 1944.
BEST LINE Merle isn't remotely concerned about Rick coming to the rescue: “I’ll bake a cake, with pink frosting!”
Ian Berriman twitter.com/ianberriman
The Walking Dead airs in the UK on FX on Friday nights at 10pm.