THE WALKING DEAD Post Mortem: Hounded
Greetings fellow zombie lovers and fans of spelling out threatening messages with zombie parts; I’m going to use the preamble to get something out of the way. I mentioned back in my first recap of The Walking Dead for season 3 that I was going to attempt to be less of a comic book fanboy in my approach to reviewing the show. The logic being my love of the comic hampered my ability to be truly objective about the television show. I believe I’ve done a pretty good job thus far; however, I have to geek out of about something, or someone, to be correct, and that someone is… Michonne!! She is one of my favorite characters from the comic, and with her actions in tonight’s episode, I finally witnessed the Michonne I love from the comics emerge. She was smart, calculating, brutal, and yet nonetheless endearing, I mean, who didn’t love the zombie back gag? Most importantly we saw that Michonne is true a survivor, someone who is uniquely and almost supernaturally equipped to deal with this harsh new world. All right, that’s the end of the geek out, (for the time being) let’s commence this post mortem of “Hounded”.
Hounded is the first episode of the season to begin mixing together characters from the Woodbury and Prison storylines, and even though the episode was mainly a set-up for things to come in the final two episodes of the first half of season 3, it still managed to be an exciting and dramatically potent hour of television. It begins with Michonne being hunted down by Merle and some of The Governor’s other Lackeys, and end’s with an iconic first meeting between her and Rick. The middle of the episode cuts back and forth the between: an increasingly manic Rick having conversations with phantoms on telephone in the basement of the prison, romantic scenes between The Governor and Andrea culminating in steamy love scene between the two characters, Daryl and Carl bonding over their respective dead mothers, Daryl finding Carol still alive, and of course, the aforementioned “The most Dangerous Game” scenes with Merle and Michonne, which ends with Merle finding Glenn and Maggie at a Grocery store and kidnapping them.
It all works too, for the most part, but I imagine there is going to be serious eye rolling from some fans about the romance between Andrea and The Governor…and major bitching from the “I only want to see zombies being killed” portion of the fan base. Honestly, I didn’t mind it. The scenes never got too cheesy or overly romantic. This wasn’t an “Attack of the Clones” style genre romance, thankfully there were no scenes featuring Andrea and The Governor frolicking in grassy pastures while zombies ambled around in the background. Andrea is drinking the Woodbury Kool-Aid, but considering all she’s been through on the first two seasons I can hardly blame her. Woodbury offers a sense of normalcy, clean clothes, cold drinks, and hot food. Compare that to her lodgings in the rock quarry back in Season 1, or her tent at Herschel’s, not to mention, the romance with The Governor gives her hope she hasn’t felt since having to kill her sister Amy. So before everyone starts judging her, take into consideration what she’s been through, and also remember she hasn’t seen The Governor do anything truly evil yet, whereas the audience has. I’m very interested in seeing how she will react once she gets a glimpse of his dark side.
Rick’s scenes were once again the most dramatically compelling sections of the show, Andrew Lincoln is a phenomenal actor, and I’m beginning to appreciate this fact more and more. The desperation and hurt in his voice while he is talking to phantom callers was truly heart-breaking. He manages to pull himself together (somewhat) by the end of the episode, but I don’t think he’s out of the woods yet, and that’s not good for him or the rest of the group… because I think it’s safe to say the shit is about to hit the fan.
Speaking of Michonne, let’s take a minute here and geek again out about how awesome she is …IN ALL CAPS! HOLY SHIT, SHE TOTALLY JUMPED OUT OF THE TREES AND CUT THAT DUDES HEAD OFF LIKE A DAMN SAMURAI!! Ahem, sorry about that. Not matter how old I get, the inner fan boy must be sated. But seriously, this is how to create some compelling action in the world of The Walking Dead. As I mentioned last season’s recap of “Nebraska”, human villains are going to be essential to the show’s long term survival. Zombies are great because they can escalate and augment the stakes or tension of any situation you throw our heroes into, but there’s something about a having real, living, breathing, and thinking antagonist to put your hero up against that can’t be underestimated.
The Walking Dead is six for six this season, with two episodes left in this half of the season, let’s hope they stick the landing, and leave us in feverish anticipation for what will be coming in the back-half of Season 3.
Horror move Recommendation: Martin (1976)
Like Creepshow, this is another non-Zombie George Romero flick that any horror fan needs to see at one point in their lives.
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