I feel a little bad that The Walking Dead always gets criticized when it slows things down to focus on story rather than nonstop zombie mayhem, but I can't lie: I missed the nonstop zombie mayhem last Sunday. The "I Ain't Judas" episode was just okay for me, dawg. Also, despite assurances that Andrea isn't quite as awful as she seems, she's handily replaced Lori in my mind as Character Most Deserving of Being Dropped in a Giant Pit With That Blubbery Half-Rotted Well Zombie From Hershel's Farm.
But onward to tonight's episode! (Also, here's your official and surely-tiresome-by-now warning that there are a crap-ton of spoilers past the jump.)
We start things off with Michonne, Rick, and Carl heading out on a weapons run, tooling down a deserted road in their Hyundai. Errr, mostly deserted: a lone survivor wearing a heavy backpack tries to flag them down as he begs for help. They drive on with barely a gritted jaw, but soon get mired in a patch of mud. Zombies descend on their trapped car, and if this was season one, they'd all be toast. As it is, Rick just wearily tells everyone to cover their ears before he starts blowing holes in walkers' heads. They drive away, ignoring the backpacker, who has managed to catch up and is shrieking for them to stop.
Jesus, that was cold. I certainly hope we aren't faced with the grisly consequence of their decision later in this episode!
Our trio makes it to Kings County, the Grimes' family's hometown, and apparently the goal is to ransack Rick's old police station for weapons. Unfortunately, it seems someone has already done so, so Rick comes up with the plan of searching some nearby bars for any guns left behind. Even though this involves picking their way through a street lined with pointy sticks and traps, which have clearly been placed there by -- oh, hey, that masked man on the roof. The one with the gun.
The gunman tells them to drop their guns and GTFO, but Rick and Michonne have a total boner for the guy's automatic rifle, so they scatter (magically avoiding being shot in the process) in an attempt for Michonne to ambush him. Somehow the guy ends up on the street and is about to shoot Rick when Carl drops him with his big-ass cowboy gun.
Ooh, Carl's first non-walker kill. Rick's like, uhhhh, are you okay? And Carl's like, I shot my zombified mother, so actually? This sucked a lot less.
But it turns out the guy isn't dead because he was wearing body armor, and also surprise! It's Morgan! OMG Morgan it's been so long how are you doing? I mean other than having turned into a scary sort of commando guy who spends his non-booby-trap-setting time spray-painting crazy shit all over the place?
Yeah, Morgan's not doing so hot, as we learn when he eventually comes to (not sure why shooting someone in the side when they're wearing body armor = instant unconsciousness, but whatever). First Rick tries to remind him that they know each other, then Morgan stabs Rick in the shoulder, then Rick ends up pointing a gun at Morgan while Morgan begs for death, and THEN we hear the awful story of what's happened.
When last we saw Morgan he was trying to make himself shoot his zombified wife, only he couldn't do it. It turns out his dead wife eventually attacked his living son, and Morgan was forced to kill them both. This explains a few things about Morgan's not-so-stable state of mind (although it makes me wonder if there's some side story with zombies retaining memories -- isn't it weird that Morgan's wife was lurking outside their house and apparently following them?).
Rick tries to convince Morgan to come back with them to the prison where life is super awesome, but Morgan's crazy, not stupid. He knows why Rick's looking for guns, and he doesn't want to watch everyone die. "You will be torn apart by teeth or bullets," Morgan says. Okay good talk! Nice catching up, good luck with your Pinterest-worthy chalkboard walls and all.
While all this is going on, Michonne and Carl go on a separate outing for what ends up being a framed photo of Rick, Lori and Carl. It's the last surviving photo of his family, and he wants it for Lil' Asskicker -- err, Judith. In the midst of the inevitable zombie fight (which involves them sneaking into a cafe while using, awesomely, caged rats on skateboards as walker distractions), Michonne proves that she's not just handy with a katana, she actually cares about bullheaded suicide-mission Carl.
Later, as they prepare to leave, Carl tells Rick that he thinks Michonne is "one of them." Rick tells Michonne she should probably drive on account of how he, ha ha, sort of sees things that aren't there. Michonne says it's okay, she used to talk to her dead boyfriend, no big. Our trio drives off, with a passing glance at Morgan, who's preparing the latest collection of walker bodies to be burned.
They've got the weapons they need to fight the Governor, Carl got the photo of Lori, Michonne and Rick's frosty relationship may be thawing, and no one got killed. Whew, all's well that ends well in tonight's bleak tale of man's inhumanity to man! Except for that giant horrific gory splatter on the highway, which turns out to be the ripped-apart corpse of the hapless backpacker. They drive by, then in a final wincing scene, the car backs up ... to take his belongings.
What did you think of tonight's episode?
Image via AMC