Writer: Robert Kirkman
Director: Billy Gierhart
THE ONE WHERE Rick and co get caught up in a gun battle; Michonne puts down the Governor’s undead daughter; and Merle and Daryl are reunited in rather unfortunate circumstances...
VERDICT A nail-biting, action-packed episode, with some stunning setpieces. True, the way in which the various surprise reunions have been set up does still seem a tad artificial, but that’s forgiveable, because the final stages of the wait for the other shoe to drop are almost unbearably tense. Will Merle and Daryl come to blows? In the midst of the fog of war (or, at least, the smoke-bomb cloud of war), will Andrea end up killing one of her friends? There’s a real sense that anything could happen.
It’s an episode which sees several of our ensemble step up to the plate in jaw-dropping fashion. We got a glimpse of how badass Glen has become in the previous episode, but that’s nothing to what we see here, as the former pizza delivery boy rips off a zombie’s arm and fashions a bit of bone into a lethal stabbing weapon - holy cow! Guess that’s what love can do to you. Similarly, it’s good to see Carl get a chance to be the hero, as he saves Tyreese and co from Walkers (Tyreese! Dunno about you, fellow comics fans, but I never thought that I’d see that character in the TV series).
But the queen of badassery is Michonne; her brutal, crunching, no-holds-barred fight with the Governor is simply stunning. However, the highlight of the episode isn’t that rumble, or even the cliffhanger ending which pits Dixon against Dixon in Woodbury’s arena, but Rick’s vision of a bearded Shane bearing down on him in slow-motion. It’s a delicious moment, which teases fans with the possibility that perhaps – just perhaps – we might be treated to more of Jon Bernthal’s sublime performance. After all, if Rick can talk to his wife on the phone, why can’t he hold a conversation with Shane?
FEATURED MUSIC The song The Governor sings to try and soothe Penny is the nursery rhyme “Bye, Baby Bunting”.
TITLE TATTLE “Made To Suffer” was also the name of the eighth trade collection of the comic.
AN EYE FOR AN EYE Greg Nicotero is a fan of Italian director Lucio Fulci, which probably explains why The Governor’s blinding is so reminiscent of an infamous eye-popping moment in 1979’s Zombie Flesh Eaters .
NITPICKS All things considered, The Governor does seem to cope with having a shard of glass slammed in his eyeball rather well. Wouldn’t a trauma like that cause you to lose consciousness – either that, or to scream blue murder for about the next half hour? Maybe not; maybe the endorphins would kick in. Plus, of course, you could argue that he’s far more concerned with losing his daughter than losing an eye.
SPECULATION Two men enter; only one man can leave… How on Earth will they get out of that? My money’s on Andrea. She’s in the audience, she’s seen that her beau has a collection of severed heads, and now that she’s clapped eyes on Daryl it must have dawned on her that the so-called “terrorists” are Rick’s group. Surely the shades will fall from her eyes and she’ll intervene?
BEST LINE Maggie: “All this time, running from Walkers… You forget what people do.”
Ian Berriman twitter.com/ianberriman
The Walking Dead airs in the UK on FX on Friday nights at 10pm.