by Sherry Lipp
Leave it to The Walking Dead to kill off someone just as I was getting to like them. I wasn’t expecting any surprise deaths this episode (not sure why exactly, I just wasn’t). This episode once again turned everything on its head for everyone. The aptly titled episode, “Home,” builds the feud between the Governor and Rick to a fever pitch. I love how the storyline is perpetually being propelled forward in every episode this season. Never stagnating, the writers are always willing to turn things upside-down just when things begin getting a little comfy.
With two distinct sides being established, this episode was about loyalty. Just as things seemed to be splintering into different directions, a cataclysmic event drew things back together again. Daryl (Norman Reedus) left the group to be with his brother Merle (Michael Rooker). As I predicted in my review last week, it didn’t take him long to question his judgment. Merle didn’t understand or appreciate any of the things Daryl had experienced and learned during their time apart. He is shocked when Daryl helps a family they encounter for no other reason than that they needed help. He risked his life and gained nothing – at least in Merle’s eyes. Daryl clearly likes the feeling of accomplishment he gets from doing what he is good at. And he excels at killing walkers. He also seems to have a soft spot for babies.
So Daryl quickly became fed up with Merle’s constant mocking and verbal abuse. It wasn’t a surprise that Daryl realized he was in the wrong place. What was more of a surprise was that Merle wanted to give Rick and the group another try. We’ll see how that goes. Speaking of not being in the right place, Andrea (Laurie Holden) really needs to develop some common sense. The Governor (David Morrissey) tells her he isn’t going to retaliate and she accepts his word? I wouldn’t have expected her to be so naïve. Hopefully she figures things out soon. It seems weird to me that she can be so capable of taking care of herself, but then not see something right in front of her face.
On the flip side, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is seeing things that are not even there. He’s still seeing visions of Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), which causes him to wander around outside the prison, not paying attention to anyone else. With Rick out of commission, Glenn (Steven Yeun) appoints himself leader and is hell-bent on vengeance against the Governor. He doesn’t prove to be much of a leader, taking off on his own to hunt down the Governor. It was poor decision making all around. And those bad decisions led to great vulnerability.
This show does a great job of not letting the viewer get too comfortable with things. As soon as you breathe a sigh of relief, the situation gets complicated again. In this episode, things got very bad, very quickly. The “home” the group had made in the prison was shattered. When the group scattered to pursue their own selfish desires, their home imploded. They allowed themselves to be overtaken. As I mentioned at the beginning of the review, one of them was killed. While I hadn’t given Axel (Lew Temple) a whole lot of thought, I was sad to see him get taken out. He seemed like he could have fit in with them if he was given the chance. But that is the nature of the show.
The great coming apart seems to be leading to an even greater coming together. I was glad to see Daryl, Rick, and Glenn snap back to their senses. I was also glad to see Michonne (Danai Gurira) stick with them. However, I don’t feel like they’ve done as much as they could with that character. So far, she’s not quite as cool as I thought she was going to be. She mostly spends time glowering at everything. She’s great at killing walkers, but it doesn’t seem like she gets a whole lot of action much of the time. Maybe there is more for her coming up. A battle is brewing, so hopefully we will get to see more of what she can really do.
I’m looking forward to seeing how (or if) Merle will work with the group. I’m hoping they give him a chance. As much as he has mistreated everyone, he’s a valuable asset in a fight. The fact that he stuck with Daryl shows he has at least a little character. What I’m most curious about is what’s in store for everyone after they confront the Governor…
(photo: Gene Page/AMC)