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The Walking Dead “Home” 

Photo Credit:AMC
Photo Credit:AMC

Holy freaking crap! Before even beginning the review for tonight’s episode, I had to have a couple shots of scotch just to wrap my head around the crazy turn of events.  Of course, this was after I scooped my jaw up off the floor.  I have a feeling I’m not alone here.

Last week’s episode ended with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) completely going off the deep end after seeing Lori’s ghost and running off Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and his group.  Rick’s downward spiral continues tonight after he sees Lori again, but this time he actually leaves the prison grounds to follow her ghost.  Yes, Rick, you’re quite the leader.  You leave the rest of the group, alone and vulnerable, to chase something that you know is not real.  Just like other bad decisions Rick has made recently, this one will come with a hefty price as we find out by the episode’s end.

In the meantime, while Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Merle (Michael Rooker) have been MIA since Rick banned Merle from the group last week, I’m sure all of the fans were glad to see the two Dixon brothers back on the screen.  However, their relationship slowly begins to take a serious downturn.  After encountering a Spanish family who is under attack by a group of walkers, Daryl steps up, does the humane thing and helps them out.  Merle is pissed, saying that Rick has softened him, but ultimately does help in clearing out the walkers and thus, saving the family’s life.  The next few scenes are superb in that they clearly illustrate just how different the two brothers are.  We discover that both brothers had been abused by their father, prompting Merle to run away to escape the abuse but leaving his baby brother behind.  As time has gone on, Merle has grown bitter, while Daryl has taken the high road and become a very honorable man.  In the end, Daryl finally decides enough is enough and starts back toward the prison, leaving Merle behind.  Fortunately for us, Merle decides not to leave Daryl again like he had when they were teenagers, which will ultimately prove to be very important before the episode is over.

Back at Woodbury, things are, well…getting weird.  After Andrea (Laurie Holden) gave her inspirational speech in last week’s episode and pulled the town back together, the Governor (David Morrissey) decides to appoint her as the new leader of Woodbury.  The Governor is so full of crap that he needs his own septic tank, because he turns right around and orders Milton (Dallas Roberts) to keep an eye on Andrea, as he doesn’t trust her.  Not too long after that, the Governor mysteriously disappears “on a run”, which was a huge omen that some major shit was about ready to hit the fan.  The last time the Governor went “on a run”, he gunned down those men in the National Guard and lied to everyone in Woodbury, straight-faced, about it.  A sinking feeling came over me that something similar was about to happen.

As it turns out, I wasn’t too off base, as that “run” the Governor was on equated to launching a major counterattack on the prison.  Holy mother of God!  Axel (Lew Temple) is immediately killed, while everyone else takes cover as the Governor and his soldiers shower the entire prison yard with bullets.  Rick is outside the prison yard still chasing ghosts, Hershel (Scott Wilson) is stranded out there with him, and the only people who actually have weapons are inside the prison.  All in all, it’s a pretty messed up situation.  But, it’s about to get much, much worse.  In a brilliant move by the Governor, a van plows through the gates of the prison and then, proceeds to release a “walker bomb” inside the prison yard.  Rick is out of bullets, Hershel is limping around barely being able to defend himself – basically, everything looks like it’s about ready to go to hell.  Then, out of the blue come the Dixon brothers.  Yes, folks, they’re back!! Daryl and Merle save Rick and Hershel’s lives, and everyone makes it out alive (except poor Axel!).

This is the perfect example of the brilliance of the writing of The Walking Dead.  Up until the last 10 minutes, the episode was relatively slow going, without much action.  I think at this point, most fans had started to lay back and maybe even began commenting that this was somewhat of a boring episode.  Then, boom! The writers drop the bomb on us.  I nearly had a heart attack when Axel got the bullet in his brain and was on the edge of my seat until the very last moment.  This is just superb storytelling as the writers put all of the viewers into a nice, comfort zone, only to drop them off the deep end at the final moment.  All in all, it was an absolutely fantastic episode, and I applaud every last writer and producer who worked on it.

After the dust settled and we finally recovered from the shock, we realize that this is war.  I’m fairly certain Rick’s group isn’t just going to sit back and not retaliate for the Governor’s actions.  And, the Governor is certainly not going to give up until everyone in that prison is dead (or someone puts a bullet in his brain).  Regardless, buckle down, everyone, because the rest of the season is going to be a hell of a ride!

Most memorable quotes and random thoughts 

  • These people need you, we need you (bullshit!!) – The Governor to Andrea
  • Martinez is a good soldier, he’d take a bullet for me.  Would you?  — The Governor to Milton
  • You’re quite a lady! – Axel to Carol
  • You lost your hand because you’re a simple-minded piece of shit! – Daryl to Merle
  • With Daryl gone and Rick wondering around in crazy town, I’m next in charge – Glenn
  • I absolutely loved Milton in this episode, but man, this guy needs to find some Xanax or something.  Listening to alpha waves to try and induce a meditative state?  Freaking out and checking his pulse when asked by Andrea about the Governor?  This was some hilarious stuff, but dude, you need to chill!

The Walking Dead airs on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. EST on AMC.

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