Walking Dead Discussion Thread: S3 E4, “The Enemy Within”

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Mike Dwyer

Mike Dwyer is a former writer and contributor at Ordinary Times.

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  1. Avatar Glyph
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    We hardly knew ye.

    No, really, we hardly knew him. Still, my theory that he’d be the last man standing, due to his habit of generally keeping his head down and not saying or doing anything completely stupid has been shot down. They made a brief attempt to turn him into the group’s conscience a la Dale early in the ep., I shoulda realized then that he was toast within 43 minutes.

    I have been really hard on Lori, so I was surprised at how upsetting her death was to me. Maybe that is just a pretty gruesome way to go. Pretty good acting from Rick at the end I thought.

    T-DOG 4-EVA!Report

  2. Avatar Sam
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    “Hey Rick, are you sure we shouldn’t just bury these bodies, rather than spreading out all over creation to get firewood?”

    “Ain’t no way I’m risking us growing a zombie tomato.”Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Sam
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      Eh, I bought that one. That was a lot of bodies and they have limited soil, plus firewood is gonna be useful anyway come winter, so might as well gather a bunch.

      Still though – can’t they gather it themselves, and let poor Glenn & Maggie enjoy themselves for an hour? What, Glenn’s gotta do EVERYTHING for them? It’s not like the firewood was down a zombie-infested well or anything.Report

  3. Avatar Sam
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    Secret Tape Recorded In The Writers Room

    “Guys, we just CAN’T have two black men on this show!”
    “I know, I know.”
    “We’ve got that new guy from the prison. T-Dawg’s gotta go!”
    “It’s kind of offensive that T-Dawg doesn’t have a real name, yknow? Every other character has a name, but this guy is just T-Dawg. Not Eric. Or Earl. Or Everett.”
    “Yeah, anyway, kill him.”Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Sam
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      OMG. I just went to IMDB to see if they had T-Dog’s actual name, and this is there. I am pasting it whole here, before they change it:

      http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0229101/bio

      T-Dog’s was born Token Black in a small mountain town known as South Park, Colorado. There, he lived a simple, comfortable life of the upper middle class African American family. His friends included Kyle, Kenny, Stan, and Cartman. He was also known to associate with Butters and Craig.

      During the early years T-Dog played with the children and attended school. As he grew older, he moved away from Colorado, spending time in several prestigious private schools across the country, finally ending up in Georgia where he opened up a successful investment firm under his new name Tiberius Doggington.

      When the Zombie Apocalypse hit, T-Dog joined a group of survivors including Ed, Merle, Daryl, Shane, and Andrea (among others), where he served as a valuable member of the group. He has shown his brute physical strength in helping to dispose of walker bodies and erect fences around the Green family farm. He also has shown his acute mental acumen in helping to decide what to do with Randall during that series of episodes.

      T-Dog, short for Tiberius Doggington, born Token Black, is an integral member of Rick’s group and will continue to be so far into the future.

      Catch Phrase: “AW HELL NAW”

      T-Dog has now passed away, sacrificing himself in a valiant effort to save Carol after being bitten by a walker. Please pour one out for our fallen homie, Tiberius. He died a Hero. R.I.P.

      Report

      • Avatar Sam in reply to Glyph
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        I’m seriously troubled by the way* this show treats its black characters.

        (*very, very badly)Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam
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          I don’t see that. Jacqui chose to die with Jenner at the CDC. T-Dog was under-developed but went out heroically. Michionne’s character is going to be a major player if the series follows the comic book for the most part with her.Report

          • Avatar Sam in reply to Mike Dwyer
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            -Morgan is found and immediately abandoned.

            -Jacqui commits suicide

            -T-Dog never gets his own name.

            -Big Tiny (also didn’t get his own name) is introduced long enough to be immediately killed.

            -The black person causing problems at the prison is shot to death by the other black prisoner.

            -Michonne is fine for the time being, although she has immediately been stripped of her weapon and seemingly made impotent.

            I’m just saying that black characters seem much more expendable than white characters do, and that’s before you deal with the racial makeup of the South (and the racial makeup that seems to exist within the Woodbury compound).Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam
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              Oh Lord – it’s getting deep in here. I’m pretty sure that if you add up the black and white characters it’s roughly proportional as to what race dies the most. If anything, the Latinos should be upset. By my count there have been two and they both died. And crap, if they kill Glenn off at some point that’s a 100% fatality rate for Asians.

              Morgan wasn’t ‘abandoned’. He chose to stay there when Rick left to look for Lori. Rick did everything he could to help him. You also realize Andrea was stripped of her weapon along with Michionne…right?Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                The Latino family left for Birmingham at the end of the first season, right? There was also the competently defended old person’s home in Atlanta. That’s worth noting.

                As for what I’m talking about: it just seems as though black characters are hugely expendable and not treated with the level of time/attention that the white characters are. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe if statistics were available, I’d be shown the error of my ways. But for T-Dawg/Dog/Dogg to have never gotten his own name? Or an explanation of his story? For him to be killed on the night when a new black character is welcomed into the group? On top of the deaths of Jacqui, Big Tiny (another nickname), and the prisoner?

                Maybe it’s just me.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam
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                I forgot about the old person’s home in Atlanta. Unfortunately those were basically all killed off. There was a deleted scene from that season where they go back a bit later and find them all as walkers.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                Seriously? That sucks (and is more evidence toward my position).Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam
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                Check out scene 2 here:

                Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Sam
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                Also, it is at least possible that the parts were written with no race in mind, and it was simply the luck of the draw casting-wise whether a character ended up white or black (well, obviously Merle had to be white or else he would have attended some awkward Neo-Nazi meetings, and T-Dog was probably cast as black just to generate conflict with Merle, but I see no real reason that Jacqui needed to be black, or the prisoners).

                At the time they are cast, in at least some cases the writers may have no idea what the characters’ ultimate fate will be. So at least some of what looks to Sam like a pattern, could just be random noise.

                In a weird way, the perceived pattern could even be partially a result of this show having more than the usual amount of black characters. Just to stay in sci-fi/genre television – how many black people on Star Trek? Lost? BSG? Buffy/Angel/Firefly?

                Sure, there are a few here and there…but as many as on this show? So maybe there are more bad things happening to them here (and more of them are underwritten, like T-Dog), because there are more of them?Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Sam
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                I’m not sure progress counts as, “We’re introducing way more black people that we’re going to immediately kill!!!” although I suppose going from none to some is better than nothing.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Sam
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                “Hallelujah, we’ve finally made it, the Promised Land!…What’s that you say?

                Free shirts?

                Got any other colors?

                I’m just not comfortable in red, for some reason.”Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Sam
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                FWIW Sam I’m not getting racist tones from the shows casting. Knowing what I know, for instance, about the new addition to the cast if they track the comic he’s going to be a significant character.

                I mean yes they’ve introduced and killed a lot of black characters and everyone has attitudes in the show proper but consider this is set in Georgia, there’re a lot of black people living down there and they’ve slaughtered far more white people in the course of the seasons than black (and whites with far less characterization than the blacks too).Report

              • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to Sam
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                Gylph: “obviously Merle had to be white or else he would have attended some awkward Neo-Nazi meetings”

                Have you seen the Dave Chappelle skit about the blind black man in the KKK? Very funny!Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Sam
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                Now we know how the zombie apocalypse ends, in bitter complaints about a racial bias and stereotypes in the make-up of the zombie hordes. Humanity is indeed doomed, unless survivors in a more ethnically homongenous country like Japan or China can pull together and figure out that explosives and flamethrowers are cheap and zombies are easy to bait.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Sam
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                @Jeff – yeah, that one is brilliant. I also love the Mr. Show “Operation: Hell on Earth” sketch about the multicultural hate militia/terror group.

                http://youtu.be/NY8N_tSBDtsReport

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                No politics!

                Wait, this isn’t MD. But I see why that rule is there.

                Can I just say that I think you both have a point? It’s particularly clumsy that they killed off T-Dog right as they got the new black prisoner in the group. They should have probably staggered those events, because Sam is not the only person that this occurred to, as evidenced by the IMDB/Token jokes.

                Still, this is a better show on that front than Supernatural. As far as I can remember, if a black guy shows up there, he is (or will turn into) a bad guy, with one exception (Obool’f byq sevraq Ehshf). Rira Ohaal Sernxva’ Pbyiva, sbe tbfu fnxrf, ghearq bhg onq.Report

        • Avatar Scott in reply to Sam
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          Sam

          You should contact AMC about your concerns. Or call Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to protest.Report

  4. Avatar Glyph
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    I can’t remember – did Axel (the mustachioed prisoner) make it? Where was he at the episode’s end?

    And is The Governor doing just a bit of ‘Elvis’ in his accent?Report

  5. Avatar Sam
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    While I’m at this, where are all these walkers coming from? They’re everywhere, constantly. How is that possible given Earth’s size and scope?Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam
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      I’ve been starting to wonder that myself. At some point the numbers have to start thinning out.

      I also think it’s crazy that they didn’t clear the whole prison. Having zombies in the walls with them was a mistake.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Mike Dwyer
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        I was sort of surprised that that one prisoner that Rick locked out, became so adept at walker-evasion and -luring and sneaking around that he had this whole very-elaborate-though-still-poorly-thought-out (I mean, what was *he* gonna do once the prison was overrun, and didn’t he think anyone would try to come kill the generator?) revenge plan for Rick et al.

        They should have spent some more time on developing that character/plot for that to really work.Report

      • Avatar Sam in reply to Mike Dwyer
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        I understand that zombies show up whenever the writers want them to, but if the current number of zombies is X, then that number ought to be decreasing every day. There aren’t many more people left to turn, surely, so the number ought to be steadily (but slowly) decreasing, right? And yet at every moment, there seem to be zombies coming from everywhere.Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to Sam
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          To be fair, this is always my problem with any zombie movie – assuming normal decomp rates, you should be able to hole up somewhere and ride the problem out.

          Here though, the scientist guy said they do starve, but ‘very slowly’. I am going to assume decomp is also slowed, and that ‘slowly’ means on the order of ‘years’ – between that and the ‘everyone’s infected’ twist, it will be quite a while until the zombie population thins out.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Glyph
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            The ease of which Andrew created this mini zombie horde also confirms what some of the other commenters said about Episode 1. Why not just lure them to the fence and then kill them with long pipes, spears, etc? I speculated that it would take too long and Rick was anxious to get food and medicine but now I feel I was proved wrong. It is kind of crazy how they are not using some of the prison’s natural defensive/offensive abilities to their advantage.Report

            • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mike Dwyer
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              They’re not doing so great on scrounging useful tools, either.

              I mean, come *on*. I know where there are at least five different places that I could get a bulldozer on a flatbed truck, an arc welder, and sufficient steel plating to make a very secure if very slow object that could get through any pile of abandoned cars on a roadway. That plus a tanker truck and an APC (and we know there are abandoned APCs around), and you’ve got a convoy that can easily move while everyone sits in comfort even if there’s a herd rampaging right outside.

              I swear, zombie movies seem to all be predicated on the idea that anybody who’s competent at even figuring out shop tools dies off in the first 24 hours.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                Fuel is your big limiter Pat.

                I think it’s safe to presume that the expending of the centralized stores of fuel would have been one of the precursors to the military and the masses of fleeing humanity falling to the zombie herds en toto.

                Accordingly in TWD world one can expect gas stations and fuel depots, along with most abandoned large vehicles, to be empty of fuel. Fuel can be found but only here and there, not in large concentrated amounts. Running your ordinary gasoline passenger vehicles is plausible since you could sip from the cars that you encounter on the road. An experienced TWD forager would quickly learn to recognize the signs of a vehicle that was abandoned with fuel still on board: accidents, large vehicle pile ups, impassible roads versus vehicles that were abandoned due to lack of fuel: a vehicle abandoned intact on a navigable road.

                A large APC, tank or industrial vehicle would just be too hard to keep fed for it to be immensly useful unless you had a secure base to centralize foraged diesel (Woodbury for instance makes perfect sense).Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North
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                I also agree that fuel would get increasingly harder to find. TWD seems to concur with the huge amount of abandoned cars outside Atlanta. The people aren’t there so I am assuming they ran out of gas and abandoned their cars. New Jersey seems to be a good example of what happens when we don’t have fuel trucks moving up and down our highways regularly.

                As an aside, I’ve been thinking a lot about how the military could fail in this scenario. What seems to be the main problem in the zombie apocolypse is constant flanking by zombies. You build battlements, you defend, one guy gets hit by friendly fire and turns within a few minutes, he starts biting others who then hope for the best and don’t report their injuries and it doesn’t take long. The fact that a bite isn’t necessary for someone to turn is a critical detail. Our survivor group had no idea about this until Rick told them even though they all saw lots of family and friends turn no doubt.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                Yes, the raising of non-bitted dead people into TWD would be integral. Every cluster of refugees then becomes a ticking time bomb particularily when you factor in panic from the zombies. I do think that in this scenario the government and military would hold the line as long as they had mobility, power, communication and supply lines but all of these necessities would collapse when the fuel ran out.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to North
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                Would it really take months for people to figure out that zombies can’t climb? We’ve seen no evidence that anybody has had this realization, as everybody is constantly on the first floor. I recognize the need to go and get supplies, but simply staying off the ground is one of the more logical defenses that has apparently never been attempted.

                Grumble.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to North
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                In the land of the zombies, the man with a ladder is king.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to North
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                +1 There’s no reason for anybody to try to defend a first floor. It’s as true now as it was in the original Night Of The Living Dead. If those idiots had gone to the second floor and thrown a bunch of trash on the stairs (couches, dressers, beds), they would have easily survived the night. The same appears to be true for The Walking Dead.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to North
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                I’d agree that the absence of “safe refuges” is indeed somewhat absurd but there are a couple problems here Sam.
                -Barricading yourself in a second floor is safe, yes, but a canonical zombie horde isn’t supposed to get tired of waiting for you to come down and wander off (unlike the strange plot driven roaming of walkers in TWD series). You can indeed wall yourself away but if you allow yourself to become surrounded on a second floor you’re eventually going to die trapped up there. Ground floor refuges offer more immediate routes of escape.*

                Food and water is an enormous problem in TWD world. Tom mentioned before how it would make sense to destroy the walkers while they’re somnolent during the winter and I was nodding in agreement until I considered it in my mental TWD-world model. Of course the humans can’t go out on a big zombie smashing crusade during the winter: the infrastructure of civilization is smashed: the humans spend most of their time either staying warm and fed or laboriously moving through winter conditions in order to get the resources to stay warm and fed. They have no time or energy to spare for wholesale walker exterminating.

                Underemphasized, I think, in the show is how badly food especially is becoming a serious scarcity problem. We tend to think of TWD-word as having come about after an abrupt zombie apocalypse leaving stores and warehouses bulging with uneaten supplies but the world we’ve seen belies that. We’ve seen a fortified, barricaded and eventually overrun Atlanta. We’ve seen abandoned convoys on the roads. The only conclusion to draw is that TWD-world’s zombie apocalypse was not an abrupt slaughter but a grinding attrition based madhouse. The warehouses and grocery stores full of supplies weren’t left untouched: they were eaten by besieged refugees, destroyed by panicked mobs and pillaged by desperate looters. Now- after a winter with no climate control- many of the remaining food supplies are at serious risk of spoilage and pillaging by vermin. Holing up on a roof simply isn’t an option: there’s no food to do that.

                *Granted in urban environments you can navigate rooftop to rooftop to a degree but urban environments, in my mental model, are very blighted terrain in terms of food and especially water for survival.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North
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                Sam – in TWD world that seems to be the case, although they DO seem to be able to ramble up and over things some time. Couple of examples:

                – Jimmy geting overrun in the RV (one step)

                – Walkers spilling out of the building window when Shane and Rick were fighting last season

                I would also mention that outside of TWD it’s a bit different. The zombies in Zombieland could climb. The zombies in 28 Days Later seem to be able to climb as well.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North
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                I’m going to agree with North on the food thing. Not to mention we know TWD zombies will eat animals. Can’t imagine there’s much cattle or other livestock left, not to mention deer, etc.

                I will also admit that the scene in 28 Days Later where they are loading up on food makes me smile. Everyone’s dream.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to North
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                Yeah the ecological questions of TWD world are not insignificant. Zombies roaming everywhere, not fast but implacable and pretty evenly distributed. What does this mean for large mammals? Are we looking at an extinction event for deer, wolves, cattle and heck, everything larger than the fast skittering rodent types or mobile birds?Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to North
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                I would think wolves and deer would adapt fairly well. Zombies are slow, noisy and (most important) smelly, so while they frequently surprise humans, they wouldn’t do so to animals nearly so often. Any fleet-of-foot animal should be OK.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to North
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                I’m not saying a second floor plan is necessarily perfect; I’m saying it is preferable to defending an entire first floor. It is easier to defend a chokepoint than it is an entire perimeter. As for food and water, yes of course those are complications. They’re complications now.

                But from a second floor, it would be easy to develop long, heavy weapons capable of attacking heads, whether it is a concrete block on a chain or some sort of spearing weapon.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North
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                IMO the ultimate zombie shelter is underground with multiple exits.

                In lieu of that, if you’re going the 2-story route I think you’re planning more on a seige-type situation. In which case you’ve got to go with concrete because, as Daryl warned us last season, ‘a herd that big will tear a house down’.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Glyph
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            Keep in mind also we’ve seen walkers eating animals when no nummy humans are around so assuming that they take years to starve to death they may well be able to get enough sustenance* to go on for far longer than humans can hold out on preserved food.

            *Also consider it’s been implied that they essentially freeze and hibernate in the winter.Report

  6. Avatar MBunge
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    To the extent the show has a logic for zombie appearances, it seems to be that they’re everywhere but are either just standing around until some external sound or movement attracts them or wandering in large groups. So, having a lot of them commonly show up at once makes some sort of sense.

    MikeReport

  7. Avatar North
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    One thing that struck me was that T-Dog’s death and this zombie invasion was essentially the chickens coming home to roost as a consequence of Rick’s behavior in the previous episode. Killing the psycho prisoner was a pretty defensible move but the pursuit and then locking out of Andrew was equally indefensible and it cost Rick and his group dearly this episode. Some holes beginning to appear in the Ricktatorship governing model me-thinks.

    My reaction when the prisoners explained the generator system was initially “Damn, Andrew worked this all up in what, a couple days? Imagine what he could have done inside the group!” And then after that it was “Damn! Electrical power for the prison? Sweet!”

    Michonne definitely knows something is amiss, I dunno if she’s full on certain but she’s got high suspicions. It’s a pity that her ability to communicate them is so bad; her argument to Andrea consisted of “scowl” instead of bringing up the actual forensic evidence on the trucks. OTOH her scowling taciturn personality may be what’s saving her from the Governor. She’s been a sullen scowling lady since he first met her. He likely can’t tell the difference between her default scowl and her suspicious scowl. Certainly he’s got an interest in Andrea (and possible Michonne as well, his admiration of her skills and wit struck me as genuine) and killing Michonne would end any shot of his bedding the blond.Report

  8. Avatar Patrick Cahalan
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    I had a, “NO DO NOT GO ‘LOST’ ON ME” moment in this episode.

    Here’s Michonne with the observation that there’s bullet holes and fresh blood on the equipment brought back from the National Guard guys – not enough for someone who has been gutted by a walker, but just about the amount you’d expect to see from a gunshot wound.

    And when Andrea gives her pushback on leaving, all she has to do is *explain* why she doesn’t trust The Governor and well, Andrea will either agree, and they can skedattle, or she’ll disagree at which point Michonne ought to probably cut her loose and take off.

    But instead, Michonne doesn’t tell Andrea about the evidence she’s found. Why? For all the love of what is holy, why? Because Michonne thinks Andrea would run straight to the Governor and ask for an explanation, and Michonne thinks that would get them killed? If that’s the case, you explain and then you leave, you don’t sit there withholding information from the person you just spent the winter with.

    Andrea seems to have completely absorbed Lori’s inability to make anything other than stupid decisions in this episode. At least Carol is turning into a three-dimensional character.Report

  9. Avatar Mike Dwyer
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    says:

    FYI – the first World War Z trailer comes out on Thursday. If anyone wants to get a sneak peak, click here:

    http://www.toplessrobot.com/2012/11/first_look_at_world_war_zomg_that_does_not_look_pa.php

    Seems like a much more aggressive and fast-moving type of zombie like I Am Legend.Report

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