Weekly WALKING DEAD Commentary EPISODE 309 “The Suicide King”

Welcome back Walking Dead fans! I figured with the grand return of the show after so many weeks of hiatus, with the second half of the season underway, we’d try something a little different. Instead of just rolling off a series of observations, however profound, let’s try instead to analyze this show character by character. So we’ll start with the peripheral cast and proceed to the heavy hitters toward the end!

Carol: Well, it appears that Axel’s little come-on to her a few episodes ago might be working. She appeared to be flirting with the little prisoner redneck for a moment there. She might be looking to replace Daryl soon anyhow, so what the heck. Speaking of which, her reaction to Daryl’s leaving wasn’t nearly as dramatic as I would have thought. Despite how her character has improved and toughened up, she surrenders her sense of dependency when she tells Beth that she would probably run right back to her late abusive husband Ed, if he walked through the door. And if you haven’t seen Ed, catch the first four episodes of season 1. He was a real winner…. Beth: Not much to report here, other than she really knows how to carry that fake baby (for god’s sake we could tell it was a doll at least twice. I’m hoping for a little more character development from her, and we’ve got 7 more episodes for that. Axel: OK, already established that he’s into Carol, meaning possible dogfight if Daryl returns. The others were fortunate that Axel didn’t overreact to learning of Oscar’s death. Not that he appears to be able to fight well or get too upset or anything…. Tyreese (and his crew): the writers are doing a good job of establishing the moral upstanding of Tyreese right from the start. His wife seems to follow this as well, though it appears their other two compadres are attempting to be the turd in the punchbowl, by suggesting a prison takeover. So it appears Tyreese will be fighting a war on two fronts: keeping his friends in check, and winning over the Rick crew. Herschel: He’s really learned to work those stairs with one leg. Gotta give him credit. I’m still waiting for the day he goes all Merle and sticks a blade on that leg stump. Or maybe the blade goes on the crutch and we go Robert Rodriguez Grindhouse and throw an AK-47 on the leg…. Anyhow, his calming influence continues to impress us all, and keeps otherwise volatile characters in check. For a guy who was a bit unsure of his surgical capabilities when he treated Carl way back, he seems to be super-doctor these days at the prison! He also proves that he’s the only character that is able to change Rick’s mind on important issues. Carl: Gotta say, for a kid I once wanted to jump into the screen and wipe out with a melee weapon myself, he sure has calmed down. His dad is not only proud of him, but ready to trust him with

major tasks! He’s also learned to control his apparent Beth-attraction, which ironically may one day reward him with…. Beth? Maggie: Not too much unexpected here. The Woodbury episode, although it toughened her further, has created a small rift between her and Glenn. Merle: Did the right thing by cooperating with Rick and the others in facilitating the escape. But he’s completely unconciliatory and an utter dipsh**, once in safety with the others. Obviously whatever conditioning and refinement the Governor undertook on him is quite lost now. I’m not sure he realizes how improved and leaderlike his brother Daryl is, and whether he’ll be able to keep from pissing him off once they hit the road. Daryl: Did a good job playing along and escaping with Merle. I believe his decision to leave with his brother was more strategic than anything. He wanted to get Merle away from the prison, since even he can see there’s no hope of Merle living peacefully with the others. He also realizes that Rick or Glenn is liable to go berserk and pop him in the head with a doubletap. Or that Merle could do the same to them. Rick, especially, given his recent condition. Glenn: The toughening continues, even after torture and the Governor. He’s now standing up to Rick also and not taking any BS from Merle, even with Daryl present. He also has made his mark on the moral epicenter of the group, Herschel, who says Glenn is “like a son” to him. His effective “marriage” to Maggie is more complete as such. Andrea: For the first time, the others learn of her presence at Woodbury. And now the Governor knows of her connection to her old friends as well. But with that little speech she gave to the panicked residents, convincing them to stay and remain tight, I think the Governor at least currently believes she has chosen her side. The Governor: Well, let’s just say Andrea’s grand speech has either given him a reason to respect her, or given him a cause for concern. It’s ironic that the first great challenge to his leadership might be coming from Andrea, his lover. However, the mob-like behavior of the cadre of Woodbury residents, during the Merle-Daryl Battle Royale, should indicate that he has (or at least had) the blind support of the population. The eye-gouging from Michonne was obviously the event that changes him into the man we expected to see (i.e. the “real Governor from the comic books). His use of the language is somewhat masterful (he calls Rick’s invaders “the terrorists”) at getting people riled up. But his hateful state right now could cause him to make some rash decisions. We’ll see…. Michonne: I’ve heard her described as both “selfish” and “honorable” by various fans of the show. From the looks of it, I’d say you can easily argue for both. She has shown an inability to converse with anyone civilly, except Andrea. I mean, for God’s sake, she wouldn’t identify herself to Rick after he rescued her from walkers outside the prison. Although she fought with Rick’s crew at Woodbury, she took off on a solo mission to take out the Governor. And only ended up with an eye. The only moments of personal kindness she displayed toward others was 1) her caretaking of illness-stricken Andrea before Woodbury and 2) her affection toward the Governor’s bound and bagged daughter upon finding her

(until she found her to be a walker). Nonetheless, her silence and skill keeps us watching, and Rick may yet find her smarts to be an asset to the prison group. Rick: Is there anything this guy can’t do, even when he’s troubled by a set of demons that pop up at the most inopportune moments? We had ghost-Shane appear during a gunfight at the Woodbury Corral, ghost-Amy and Jim calling on the prison hotline, and finally ghost-Lori on the prison balcony. Not that we didn’t know this from the promo spots, but his declaration of a non-democracy will be now be tested severely. Herschel already “challenged” it peacefully by pleading for allowing the Tyreese bunch to stay. Rick doesn’t show the affection that he should to his newborn daughter. This may further invite disdain from the crew, particularly the females. If, however, Rick does mentally collapse any further, it would be the worst possible time for it. A battle for turf with Woodbury is clearly coming soon. And since we just mentioned her…. Ghost-Lori: At first I didn’t understand the white dress reference. What, was he recalling the last formal pool party they went to or something? Various internet sources explain the ghostly appearance of a woman in white to be symbolic of a woman betrayed. Does Rick believe he has betrayed his wife by leaving her to die? Stay tuned….

Until next show, keep all the walls around your compound SECURE!! AJV

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