Surprise, surprise. The best episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ in weeks doesn’t feature one appearance from the Governor.
Returning to the roots of the show’s first episode was a nice touch as Carl and Rick travel back to their hometown with Michonne in tow. This is the kind of enjoyable introspective episode that the series has been missing. Rick has, for better or worse, changed.
We see this change when the group drives passed a lonely hiker on the side of the road, and they all act like he isn’t even there. First season Rick would’ve pulled over and helped. Third season Rick isn’t nearly as kind.
It’s nice not having to worry about the Governor’s devious plans or Andrea sneaking in and out of Woodbury. That stuff will all return next week, but at least we got a rest from it this week.
I wondered when the show would finally get back to Morgan’s storyline. However, the surprise was ruined by AMC’s “Previously on…” segment, which showed a clip of Rick talking into his walkie-talkie and trying to contact Morgan. It was pretty easy to surmise that this episode would feature him in some way.
Morgan, so far, wins the smartest character award. He may call himself weak, but those Walker traps he built are genius. Why has no one else thought of setting up huge gauntlets made of pokey sticks? It’s a perfect way to slow down Walkers and make them much easier to kill.
Carl’s “I wanna do this on my own” whining is a little much to take, but I’m thankful for Michonne saying (essentially), “Sorry kid, you’re being an idiot so I’m going to help you anyway.” Fearing that the group would oust her at some point down the line, this seems like her only play, and it works. “I think she’s one of us.”
I couldn’t help but feel for Morgan’s plight. Here’s a man who’s lost everything, has somehow amassed a cache of weapons that would make any African warlord smile, and still wants to die. When does a person reach his breaking point? Rick seems like he’s reached that line a few times, but has always stepped away from it. The only thing keeping Morgan from ending everything is his mission to clear out Walkers on a daily basis.
Without any blustering and sneering from the Governor, the show is finally able to get back to its humanity. With the Governor and the prison raid, it’s all plotting. With this episode, we’re let into the minds of a couple characters who have been largely flat this whole season.
The end sequence with the trio driving down the road is eerie. The guy they’d passed earlier lays in pieces. The group stops – not to think about what they’d caused, but instead to pick up his backpack and move on. Yes, Rick has indeed changed.