The Walking DeadYou know what's hard? Writing the before-the-jump intro to my weekly Walking Dead recap without giving away any spoilers, that's what's hard. I mean, if you've ever wondered why I tend to ramble pointlessly in the first one or two paragraphs, that's why. I'm sure a more talented writer could make this part of the post super entertaining while still avoiding any specific references to what happened in the previous episode, but, well, I'm sorry. You're stuck with me.

Okay, did I hit my word count? Whew. Let's get to the recapping! (Uh, spoilers ahead. Dur.)

We left off last week with a couple of cliffhangers: Andrea had just seen the violent zombieploitation cage match that the not-apparently-so-charming town of Woodbury called entertainment, Rick had shot/stabbed the shit out of the walker who ate Lori only to be startled out of his spiraling-into-madness reverie by a ringing phone. Oh, and the Governor is keeping his dead daughter tied up in his house.

Also, this happened:

Awwwwwww yeah.

Tonight we pick up with Merle and a couple of Woodbury bros hunting Michonne in the woods. They stumble upon a gruesome message she's left them, which Merle awesomely refers to as a "biter-gram," but before they have a chance to sit around and truly appreciate the creativity shown in forming three chunks of human corpse to form the phrase "GO BACK" (why would she even take the time to do this, by the way?), Michonne leaps out of a tree, dispatches two of the dudes, takes a round in the leg, then slices a zombie's belly open so a pile of rotting intestines falls on her. Gross. Girlfriend needs a Wet Wipe real bad.

Back in the prison, Rick answers that ringing phone, and a mysterious female voice says that she and her group are somewhere totally safe from zombies, but she can't say where it is. Rick says he wants to go to there. She says she'll call back in two hours. When the phone rings again, it's a man, who asks Rick how many people he's killed. Rick reluctantly gives a headcount -- his description of Shane as someone who "lost his way" is particularly germane to what's happening at the moment with Rick, wouldn't you say? -- and the man then asks what happened to his wife. Rick's not ready to talk about that. The guy hangs up.

Uh huh. So, the phone is basically this:

Hershel joins Rick and hears out the phone story, slowly checks for the complete lack of dial tone, then offers to sit and wait with Rick for it to ring again. SEE, THE PROBLEM IS THAT YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO HEAR IT BECAUSE THE PHONE ONLY RINGS INSIDE MY HEAD, Rick doesn't say. Instead, he says, "No."

Elsewhere in the prison, Daryl has a depressing chat with Carl about how Daryl's mom died too, back in the days when alcoholism and smoking in bed killed people instead of zombies. Carl's all, yeah, I'm real sorry about what happened but I'll see your dead mom and raise you having to shoot your dead mom in the skull so she doesn't reanimate and eat your face off. Carl totally wins this round of Misery Poker.

Over in Woodbury, Andrea tries to work the pole wall but she gets in trouble for breaking the rules, which apparently include the following: "Shoot as many badly-aimed arrows as possible, because we have an infinite stash of weapons, but for god's sake don't go over the wall." The Governor brings her back to his lair for some flirtin' and boozin' and we learn that not only did Andrea like the fights, despite her blustery outrage, she likes the Governor. Gosh, who can blame her, what with his lopsided grin, irresistible dimples, and wall of severed heads?

Michonne -- who has discovered the season one trick of how walkers don't recognize you if you're covered with rotted guts -- goes limping into a town (are we not worried, on this show, about open wounds and zombie infection? Okay then), then ducks behind a car as Maggie and Glenn pull up on a search for more formula. As she peers suspiciously, seemingly trying to make up her mind on whether or not to approach them, here comes Merle. What a crazy random happenstance!

Merle takes Maggie prisoner and orders Glenn to drive them all back to Woodbury, where Merle then cockblocks the Governor just as he's getting naked with Andrea. Merle lies that Michonne is dead, and he's sorry he couldn't bring back her head for the Governor's collection and all, but he does have a couple of folks from the prison. Merle sets off to get information out of Glenn and Maggie, presumably by unpleasant means, and the Governor gets back to where he left off with Andrea. If you know what I mean. Penis.

In the prison, Rick's phone rings again. BRRRRRNG! Hello, it's your guilty psychosis calling, are we reaching? This time the voice sounds a little familiar. You should talk about your wife's death, Rick, the voice says. Heyyyyy, Rick says. How do you -- wait. LORI?

Yes, it's Dead Lori on the line, and the previous callers were fallen group members Dead Amy, Dead Jim, and Dead Jacqui. Rick and Dead Lori have a heart-wrenching conversation, in which Rick says he's sorry he didn't patch things up between them before she died during childbirth, was shot by her son, and was subsequently eaten by a zombie.

"I loved you. I love you. I couldn’t put it back together. I should have said it. I should -- have said it."

Lori tells him she loves him, reminds him that he's got their children to take care of, and says something else that's garbled by the fading phone connection between Rick and his subconscious before the line goes dead. Rick crumples and sobs brokenly.

In the other section of the prison, Daryl angrily kicks in a door after hearing a noise, thinking it's yet another undead ghoul he needs to dispatch. Instead, it's Carol. Too weak, apparently, to have called out for help, but she's alive! Hooray for Carol! Hooray for the ensuing scene of Daryl swooping her up into his rugged varmint-killing arms in order to make sweet, passionate -- err, to bring her to safety and get her some medical attention!

SWOON.

It seems like everyone's converging in the prison yard with good feelings, what with Rick finally holding his baby girl and announcing that she looks like Carl (everyone else, silently: "Better than SHANE, right?"), but something outside the fence catches his eye. It's Michonne, coated in zombie gore, carrying the basket of formula that Glenn and Maggie were forced to leave behind. She stares Rick down, her eyes saying YES I'M ALIVE MOTHERFUCKER NOW LET ME IN BEFORE I KATANA YOUR IMAGINARY-PHONE-HEARING ASS.

And ... scene.

What did you think of tonight's show? Are you glad Carol's back? What do you think's going to happen to Glenn and Maggie? Do you think Dead Lori said anything cryptic during that phone call?


Image via AMC