So last week's Walking Dead was a little bit of a side trip on the way to the long-awaited showdown between Rick and the Governor, right? Not that I'm complaining: We were briefly and depressingly reunited with a character from season 1, we saw an enjoyable new side of Michonne (how great was that line of hers, delivered deadpan while gnawing a mouthful of stolen food? "The mat said welcome"), and we got a bleak glimpse into our survivors' heartless side (farewell, backpacking guy, we hardly knew ye).
Here's what went down in tonight's episode, titled "Arrow on the Doorpost." As always, spoilers ahead!
We start things out with Rick and Daryl sneaking around an abandoned ... what, feed store? Hershel, decked out in a rather spiffy-for-the-apocalypse black jacket, holds watch outside in a car. Tensions are running high, and I can't figure out WTF is going on. This isn't Woodbury, so are they on a supply run, or what? Rick sloooowly cocks his revolver. WHAT IS HAPPENING.
Suddenly, the Governor looms out of the shadows. "We have a lot to talk about," he says to Rick, and okay, apparently this is like a management summit? Set up by Andrea, although god only knows how. Did she send over a carrier pigeon with a note taped to its leg? CAN U MEET FR LEADRSHIP CHAT IN CREEPY REMOTE LOCATION Y/N?
Rick cowboy-draws his gun (cocking it again, ten points deducted from the Walking Dead continuity team!), and the Governor holds his hands up to show he's unarmed and totally 100 percent trustworthy ... except for the gun he's hidden under the table. Outside, Milton, Andrea, and Martinez show up, and Andrea tries to barge in and be the meeting facilitator before she gets summarily dismissed for being a big useless pile of suck. Sorry, Andrea, but if the annoyingly half-buttoned shirt fits ...
While Rick and the Governor trade barbs (Rick: "You're the town drunk who knocked over my fence and ripped up my yard." The Governor: "Oh yeah? Well I heard your ex-partner was slipping some of the old sympathy sausage to your wife and now your wife's dead and you have a baby and it's probably his, so there." Rick: "Oh YEAH? Uh, shit, you win that round."), Daryl and Martinez have themselves a little zombie-killing pissing contest, then reluctantly and manfully acknowledge each other's prowess before sharing a pack of menthols and fanning up a little bromance over everyone's shared doom. Also, Milton and Hershel have a chummy discussion that ends with Hershel playfully telling Milton that he won't show him his amputated leg stump on a first date, GOSH. "At least buy me a drink first," Hershel giggles.
Wow, this episode suddenly feels charged with all sorts of awkward sexual tension! This seems like a good time to cut back to the prison, where Maggie and Glenn reconcile on the loading dock and set aside their mission-critical job of watching the crowd of walkers to screw like minks. (Aside: was anyone else convinced someone was going to die during this hot and heavy scene? I kept waiting for Maggie's skull to shear away with the surprise sniper fire/zombie bite.)
Back at the leadership treaty, the Governor finally tells Rick what he wants. He slowly slides down his pirate patch to reveal his grody socket-wound, and offers his ultimatum: Michonne. If Rick gives her up, the Governor promises to leave the prison alone. Otherwise, everyone's going to die. "I'll give you two days to think," the Governor says. "I'll be back here at noon." (Here's where I'd be all, wait, do you mean two days from today, or, like, is today one of the days, or ...?)
When the Governor returns to Woodbury, he makes his dirty intentions clear to Martinez, saying that he wants the feed store surrounded and everyone but Michonne killed when the time comes. Milton, who you'd think would know better by now, is all, "Derp, what about the deal?" And the Governor says Rick has to be eliminated no matter what, because "No way we can all live side by side."
At the prison, Rick fake-recaps his Governor meeting for everyone: "Yeah, so basically he wants us dead." Really, no one says, the Governor met with you in an abandoned feed store to inform you of his intentions to kill everyone? What is he, a Bond villain? But okay, everyone's good and freaked out now, which primes Rick to add, "We're going to war."
Oh, Rick. Why didn't you just shoot the Governor back in the building when you first saw him? Remember when you killed Thomas the Prison Asshole with a machete? COME ON YOU KNOW THIS GUY IS LIKE 100X WORSE. Fucking Carl would have killed him by now.
Finally, Rick and Hershel privately huddle up to discuss what the Governor's real offer was, and Hershel says Michonne has earned her keep. Rick agrees, but asks if Hershel would sacrifice his daughter's lives for her. "Why are you telling me this," Hershel says plaintively, and Rick says, "Because you've got this Santa Claus thing going on and your horse doctor voice is real comforting." Heh. No, what Rick says is this: "Because I'm hoping you can talk me out of it." And that's where we leave off: with Rick's humanity on the line, right next to his newfound loyalty to Michonne.
What did you think of tonight's episode?
Image via AMC