The opening scene in the mid-season finale starts off with some fresh faces as we’re introduced to Tyreese and his small band of survivors. Naturally they’re being overrun by a horde of hungry snappers in the middle of the woods and one of the women in his group gets bitten on the arm. They spot a tower of some sort and head for shelter through a damaged fence and over a broken brick wall. As the camera pans back and the theme begins to play we see that Tyreese and his group are entering the prison.
Mini-rant disguised as a valid point: Is it me or do there seem to be more walkers in the woods than on city streets lately? Anyone spending more than ten seconds in the forest is certain to be surprised by a flesh-eating flash mob these days. I guess they’re hanging around for the wildlife, but a bear can’t take a decent dump without being accosted. That’s just rude.
The Governor is back in his man-cave-aquarium-from-hell where he’s also keeping Penny in a small side room. Daddy’s little snapdragon is safely bound by a chained collar, a CIA standard-issue kidnapping head bag, and a straight jacket. Okay, someone tell me where in the hell you find a child-sized straight jacket, especially after the zombie apocalypse?
Glenn and Maggie might still be locked in a basement room with a dead walker, but that doesn’t stop Glenn from working out a way to fight back. He breaks off one of the walker’s arms and uses the broken bones from the forearm as weapons. It’s about this time that Rick’s bunch have managed their way into a building in Woodbury where they have to tie up a curious citizen who spotted them through a window. About the time they get the good ole boy hog-tied, Maggie stabs one of the Woodbury thugs in the neck with the arm bone while Glenn fights with Merle. The stabbee’s (this is the internet, it’s close enough to a real word) gun begins firing which gets Rick’s attention and they come to the rescue with flash-bang and smoke grenades.
While they’re making their escape with Glenn and Maggie, Michonne breaks off to visit the Governor’s residence where she sits quitely in the den, katana in hand, waiting for his return. While Rick and company are fighting their way out of Woodbury, Oscar gets killed. I’m beginning to think in this world if you’re black and bald you’re dead meat. Tyreese better not shave his head.
In the relative quiet of the prison, our friends hear screams from a nearby area of the prison. Carl goes off on his own to check things out since Carol and Axel are, as Hershel put it, “…off keeping watch in the guard tower.” I thought that line was pretty funny after adding a few things up. Earlier Axel was hitting on Beth until Carol took him aside to scold him for it. He tells Carol he thought she was a lesbian because of her short hair, but Carol sets him straight. Without even taking the time to blink he puts his best Joey Tribbiani “How YOU doin’?” move on her. Everybody knows what Glenn and Maggie were using the guard tower for and even though Carol dismissed Axel’s advances, it just seems odd that the two of them would be “keeping watch” in the sex tower not long after. I wonder if they’re actually on alert or if The Walking Dead just coined a new euphemism?
Okay, back to the story. Carl heads down the dark corridors of the prison toward the sounds of a woman in agony where he finds Tyreese’ group desperately fighting off biters. Carl plugs one in the head and everyone gives him a WTF look because, seriously, who would expect to be saved by a little boy wielding a giant pistol with a silencer in the middle of a prison? I mean I would, but I watch the show. These poor schmucks have to live it.
Michonne is still sitting in the Governor’s place waiting for her revenge when she hears sounds from a locked room. Yes, the room. She kicks in the door to find the Gov’s Wall-O-Heads and what appears to her to be a poor little girl being kept cruelly in a cage. Her feelings change the second she removes the hood. Just as she’s about to slice Penny up, the Governor shows up begging Michonne to stop. Yeah, like she’s going to have sympathy for that sicko. She stabs Penny in the head which sends the old Gov into a rage and the two fight, breaking several aquariums in the process. Michonne manages to grab a shard of glass and stab the Governor in the eye, getting the upper hand. She’s about to finish him off with her katana but as she turns around Andrea is standing in the doorway with a gun pointed at her. Without saying a word, Michonne walks away leaving Andrea to discover some pretty disturbing truths about the creep she’s sleeping with.
Over in the prison, Carl guides Tyreese’ group back to a safe area next to where they’d been staying. He starts to shoot the now dead member of the group, but Tyreese insists on doing it so Carl walks away and locks them in the room. One of the women in the group is upset over it, but he tells her they’ve got it good in that room and says, “It’s his house.” They’re safe, they have food and water, and Carl saved their butts. Tyreese understands and appreciates that.
In what serves as a hospital in Woodbury, we get a real good look at the Governor’s sliced up eye. Andrea asks him why he and Michonne were fighting, but all he says is, “You tell me. You knew her.” He explains the heads in a tank were to prepare him for the horrors outside the walls of his little dictatorship. At first I was perplexed by Andrea’s readiness to accept all the weirdness surrounding the Governor, but if you think about it this fits with her past actions. She was ready to leave Rick’s group with Shane because she felt Rick wasn’t a strong enough leader and by that point she’d seen Shane pull a lot of crazy stuff. Now she’s with another crazed megalomaniac and seemingly fine with his nuttiness, too. Andrea just likes bad boys I guess.
Having escaped Woodbury, the group is waiting for Daryl when Michonne shows up, hands bloodied. Now they’re the ones who don’t trust Michonne instead of the other way around, but she says they need her and she’s right. We soon find out what happened to Daryl when the townsfolk are gathered in the makeshift arena and the Governor gives a speech telling everyone he’s failed them, but places the blame for the incursion on Merle. At first I didn’t get exactly why, but then I remembered Merle told him Michonne was dead. After what just went down between the Governor and Michonne I’d be pretty pissed at Merle, too. He then tells the people it was Merle who let “the terrorists” into town then brings out Daryl, exposing him as Merle’s brother. The people are shouting for the death of the brothers and the mid-season finale ends with the Governor telling Merle, “You wanted your brother. Now you got him.”
While we still haven’t gotten the inevitable showdown between Rick and the Governor, a whole lot happened in this episode. Oscar met his end, we met Tyreese’ group, Michonne met Penny, Andrea met reality (and seemed to deny it entry). I’m betting the Butcher of Woodbury forces Merle and Daryl to fight to the death. That’s just the kind of twisted justice he’d try to serve up. I’m also betting, as I’ve said before, that Daryl kills Merle, but I think he’ll be rescued from the twisted little community before he’s executed. Daryl surviving is a sure bet in my book; he’s too good of a character to lose right now.
I’m only making this stuff up based on my feelings, I have no idea what’s going to actually happen. Heck, for all I know Daryl’s head will end up in an aquarium as a replacement for some of the damaged ones from the fight between Michonne and the Governor. I sure hope not, but this is The Walking Dead and no one is safe.
To find out what’s really going to happen we’re all going to have to wait until Sunday, February 10. Either have your DVR set or have your butt in front of the TV at 9/8C or you’re going to be really sorry.