Walking Dead Discussion Thread: S3 E8, “Made to Suffer”


Mike Dwyer

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

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50 Responses

  1. Avatar Glyph says:

    I agree this ep was overall pretty great, the hour flew by. The fight between Michonne and the Gov. was brutal. I agree that the Gov. did do some great acting.

    I also thought the plotting was mostly tighter than usual (it makes sense the Gov. would see Merle as a mole – he lied about killing Michonne, then Michonne shows back up with Merle’s brother in tow – so Merle doesn’t just look like a liar and a coward, but even worse a traitor). Daryle and Merle, as they are having their “oh s**t” moment at the end, have many conflicting emotions and impulses playing over their faces, and to get out of there with their skins they are gonna have to work together somehow I think.

    A few nits: Michonne remains Ms. Idiot McPlotDevice. 1.) In her stare-off with Andrea, she once again fails to mention any relevant information that might help clear up misunderstandings. 2.) Rather than using Penny as a “hostage” or flinging zombie daughter at the Gov. as a weapon/distraction, she kills her herself, slowing herself down and P’ing the Gov. right the fish O.

    Andrea seemed to accept the fishtank heads and the dead zombie daughter pretty easily (?!?!?!)

    Also, and I am sure Sam will hit this, but good golly they managed to kill off Black Man In Rick’s Group #2, just in time to make room for BMIRG #3. Now, this could be just coincidence/timing, again; it could be un-careful writing; it could almost be some sort of running joke in the writer’s room now (seriously, they should either just give the black guys red shirts, or give one the last name of “Highlander”, since There Can Be Only One.) I don’t get as annoyed at this as Sam does (maybe I would if I were black) but it does stick out and it is pretty ridiculous.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

      The BMIRG phenomenon does seem to be a problem. It’s much more of a TV problem. I like the girl with Tyreese though. She seems feisty and tough.Report

      • Avatar Sam says:

        Once it was revealed that Cutty from The Wire was going to appear on the show, that prisoner was as good as dead. Still, his death was as insanely predictable as it was utterly useless; he couldn’t have been a great addition to the show? What did shock me though is that they didn’t manage to save the bit white woman. After all, they could have just amputated her arm. If that had happened, I would have quit the show.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        The BMIRG thing was flat out obnoxious in this one. I’d say it’s becoming a serious problem for the show at this point.Report

        • Avatar Sam says:

          Technically, wouldn’t this be BMIRG #5?

          1. He didn’t have a group when he first met Morgan, but that’s the first Black Man he met.
          2. He did have a group when he met T-Dog (now dearly departed).
          3. T-Dog was replaced by Big Tiny, who was immediately offed.
          4. Big Tiny was replaced by Hulking Black Man, who was offed last night.
          5. Hulking Black Man was replaced by Cutty, introduced last night.Report

          • Avatar North says:

            1. Possibly? But Morgan isn’t dead (just absent) and I shan’t say more due to spoilers but trust me when I say that is a significant difference.
            2. T-Dog definitely counts as BMIRG #1 though there was a black man at the camp by the quarry who died during the fish fry attack as I recall.
            3. I don’t think Big Tiny counts, he was never part of the group.
            4. I felt bad for this latest prisoner getting killed. He was written as a level headed good dude and frankly with all his sensible behavior and positive characterization I’m surprised he was offed so quickly. Or maybe he was written to be endearing specifically so that offing him would shock.Report

        • Avatar Scott says:

          A serious problem for the show or for PC liberals?Report

          • Avatar Sam says:

            You never fail to contribute absolutely nothing to these conversations.Report

          • Avatar North says:

            A serious problem for the show. Mike and I are both noticing it and he’s a moderate conservative and I’m a moderate liberal. It’s beginning to get painfully blatant how there’s virtually never more than one black guy in the core group at a time and frankly there’s no reason for it. Also add in how utterly in your face they’ve been about killing the previous black guy at the same time they bring in a new one and it’s becoming a big hole in the writing even without talking about political correctness considerations.Report

            • Avatar Scott says:

              Ok then what is the proper number of BMIRGs to keep you happy? Is this the S. Ct. where we are guaranteed a black seat? If michonne joins the group is she a twofer? We don’t have a Hispanic but no one seems to care, why not?Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

                The two Hispanics both died. One at he campground, the prisoner that Rick killed. I think the woman last night was Hispanic.

                I don’t think they need to always have a black guy in the group. It would make sense to see more of them in Georgia, but regardless the real problem is that whenever they get a new one they kill the old one off right away. That’s what makes it stand out so much.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                What Mike said. The writing has been horrible on this subject and frankly there’s no support for it in the comic where there were often multiple black guys and girls in the group at a time. In the show they work it like a pez dispenser. Add a new black guy and the old one dies. Or if the old one dies a new one is soon added. It’s bad writing first off and it’s developed from a issue that you had to be focusing hard on race to notice to one that’s an obvious hole in the plot race notwithstanding.Report

              • Avatar Scott says:


                There are quite a few holes in the plot but as my wife reminds me it is just a tv show.Report

              • Avatar Sam says:

                12. There has to be 12. At all times. No more, no less.Report

  2. Avatar Sam says:

    1. Why did Michonne try to choke out The Governor?
    2. Why is Andrea’s loyalty immediately shifted from the woman who kept her alive for six months to The Governor?
    3. What group of survivors that has lasted for six months is going to be conflicted about killing one of their own?
    4. How is their a giant access point in the prison’s walls that nobody has thought to address?
    5. The preview for next “season” – the last episodes of Season Three, technically – certainly gave away what’s about to happen in Woodbury’s bizarre industrial metal video factory, right?Report

    • Avatar Glyph says:

      RE: The weird “season” breaks – it seems like a lot of shows do this now (a season is split into 2 mini-seasons). I think the reasons are mostly financial (it costs less to fund a smaller # of episodes – I seem to recall some BSG articles that explicitly called out SciFi financial shortages as the reason BSG seasons got broken up like they did) and shorter seasons spread out may do better with viewer retention (without super-long breaks to forget the show is on or get caught up in other entertainment you may keep more viewers on yr network).

      I also think it probably works better dramatically, because you can structure the beats/arcs/climaxes over a shorter timeframe. This was certainly a good “finale”. But, I do dread the inevitable further atomization. You just know in 10 years’ time we will be discussing the mid-mid-season finale of a quarterly show.Report

    • Avatar MBunge says:

      1. When you’re in a scrap, you grab whatever is closest to win.

      2. Letting Michonne go would seem to indicate that her loyalties are still divided. It should also be pointed out that Woodbury is a frickin’ paradise compared to every where else on the show. The one complaint I’d have about the show this season so far is that they’ve been a little too oblique on the evil at the core of the community. Yeah, the Governor’s crazy but he’s not that much worse than Rick when it comes to “protecting his own”.

      3. They were in a situation where they either had to put a bullet in a living human being or leave her behind to be eaten. That would probably be an even tougher decision for folks who’ve been through hell together.

      4. Beats me.


      • Avatar Sam says:

        -But what was at hand was her sword, right? She was standing over him with a sharp bladed weapon in her hand, and she bent over to choke the governor with the handle.

        -Maybe I missed a scene where Andrea’s bizarre pro-Governor loyalty was explained? Is it the tea?

        -I get that it’d be a tough decision, but it’s hard to imagine they hadn’t already experienced that sort of pain on numerous occasions. Also, SO MANY SURVIVORS EVERYWHERE!Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

          It appeared that two of the people in that group were her husband and son. Easier said than done.Report

        • Avatar North says:

          Actually no. Michonne had the katana scabbard and was choking him with that. There was no slicey part on the thing she was choking him with.

          The Andrea thing kind of works for me. Try and view it from Andrea’s POV:
          -You left this apparently really nice place in a huff and never really were able to vocalize to me what was wrong with this place (Michonne has a horrible habit of glowering instead of explaining as if she’s somehow broadcasting all the pertinent info through her stare and doesn’t understand that no one is receiving it. She did it with Rick like two times this episode).
          -Prior to leaving you had a blowout with the Governor where you busted into his place, stole your sword back and then supposedly nearly killed his ass with it. Note that Michonne never contradicted the Governor’s story of the events to Andrea so that’s what Andrea knows.
          -You’ve been sleeping with the Governor and kindof bonding with him and the community. Sure he has some tics that you fine wierd/patronizing but you’re liking him and you’re loving this new quality of life you’re enjoying.
          -Now, out of the blue blazes in the midst of what seems to be an all out human attack on Woodbury you discover Michonne (who remember as far as you know allowed to depart without any fuss from the Woodbury powers that be) in the midst of apparently murdering the hell out of your new boyfriends ass and by association presumably being responsible for or at least involved in the current attack.
          -Michonne, as usual, has no explanation. Just her Michonne tm glower.

          Frankly it’s a miracle Andrea didn’t just blow her away.Report

          • Avatar Sam says:

            I’ve seen the scabbard explanation before; I thought it was the sword’s braided white-handle? (How’d that handle stay so clean during endless fighting?) Anyway, I’ll accept scabbard as an answer.

            As for Andrea though, I’m baffled that six months of exposure to Michonne seems to have resulted in no greater understanding of her.Report

            • Avatar Cadet Kirk says:

              As for Andrea though, I’m baffled that six months of exposure to Michonne seems to have resulted in no greater understanding of her.

              They sort of humorously alluded to that, with the Gov. being all, “you tell me!” to Andrea in re: Michonne’s motives. So at least the people in-show are also baffled these things too.Report

            • Avatar North says:

              You and me both. But their parting was acrimonious and their reunion was not in good light. Remember Andrea see’s zombie fishtanks etc after that so at this point all she see’s is the Governor getting assassinated in the friend you saw off while the booms of an attack Michonne evidently are echoing in the background. Frankly I’d say it’s surprising Andrea didn’t shoot her. I’d say we saw the heavy finger of plot necessity pushing down on the entire event.Report

              • Avatar Sam says:

                Maybe it’s the parting that gets me; why wouldn’t Andrea recognize and respect Michonne’s apparent spider-sense, even if she wasn’t clearly vocalizing it for the viewers?Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Welllll… Michonne really made bad case.
                Andrea: This place is nice, it’s quiet, secure, they have food, drink, people!
                Michonne: This place is whack! Let’s go!!
                Andrea: Okay why? What’s wrong with it? Sure the Governor is a bit paternalistic but it’s nice ta have someone looking out for me who has a lot of dudes with guns. This place looks like it could work. Also cold liquor!
                Michonne: Silently stares while thinking about all the things she’s seen that leads her to suspect the governor is a psycho creep.
                Andrea: Umm that stares’ kindof making me want to go get another cold drink.
                Michonne: Are you leaving with me or not?
                Andrea: Umm you know I care about you but this last six months? They sucked. We both nearly died and even when we weren’t on the verge of death our lives were sucking. I don’t wanna go.
                Michonne: We’re prisoners here. No one leaves.
                Mearl: See ya, lemme get the door for you.
                Andrea: Ummm….
                Michonne: Are you leaving with me or not?
                Andrea: Did you not notice there where Mearl just kicked the legs out from under the only argument you’ve vocalized. Also cold drinks!
                Michonne: Fine, I was better off without you. *takes off*Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

            Michionne could have simply said, “After I left Merle and some other guys tried to kill me and I think he sent them.” Of course it is her word against his but they are depending way too much on her lack of communication in order to move the drama along. I would love to see the actual script. How do you get that through a writer’s meeting?Report

            • Avatar North says:

              Assistant writer: Hey you know, with like three lines Michonne could have Andrea asking some seriously bad questions about her allegiance. Actually if she explained her findings or issues Andrea would probably be bolting out the back wall with her.

              Head writer: You’re right. Deploy the silent sullen stare.

              Assistant writer: Do you think that’s lazy? It’s becoming a crutch.

              Head writer: Nonsense, it makes Michonne look cool and badass and heightens the drama.

              Assistant writer: …Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

      #2 – Same way it shifted from Dale to Shane so fast. She’s an opportunist.

      #5 – I didn’t catch that in the preview: what was it?Report

      • Avatar Sam says:

        #2 – I suppose so, but I’m baffled that more loyalty doesn’t emerge in six months of survival.

        #5 – they showed Darryl and Merle standing in a cloud of smoke backlit by orange, so Rick clearly goes in after them.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      1. She had a stiff katana scabbard; not the katana itself. Choking him was the only way to kill him with that object.
      2. Discussed that in a different comment to you.
      3. The group was clearly bereft of guns or ammo at this point. Time was short and the bite was not going to immediately kill her plus she had a hysterical significant other so there wasn’t time for the drama with the walkers closing in.
      4. This was actually addressed previously. The prisoner groups complaint about their cell block was that “the wall is down in back” and walkers were swarming in the back section of the prison. Clearly this is a problem but judging by the damage it’s not an intractable one if the group could lure the walkers off long enough to execute some repairs.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        The wall being down in back appears to be mostly a problem in allowing living humans access; it looked like the rubble was maybe too steep for walkers to climb (which again brings up the whole “get to high ground/second floors” thing)?

        Mountain-living people may be A-OK, so long as they have fresh water and multiple routes down off the mountain when needed. Zombies don’t rock-climb.Report

        • Avatar Sam says:

          Dammit Glyph, I was going to make this argument too, and then I decided against it because I figured I’d get nailed for being even pickier than I already am. But it is a good point. How are zombies pouring into that place?Report

          • Avatar North says:

            I’m down with it myself. We don’t know if this is the only hole, and remember it’s a big prison so a lot of the walker population could simply have been inside already.
            A lot of this is justified in my mind by the prison being so huge. I mean you can only clear so much of it at a time and once you’ve secured your own cell block and your own contained yard or two the incentive to push out into the rest of the prison is greatly reduced.*

            Securing the breached back yard section and burnt down wing of the prison would understandably not be a high priority for the group right now. They certainly have no need of the room. What is less sensible to me is why they haven’t secured the boiler room/cafeteria maze area off from the rest of the prison. Presumably there are some doors that could be barred.

            *This doesn’t excuse the fact that they’ve been patently neglecting to use internal fences and barred doors as walker killing barriers. But that has been a consistent blind point of the show.Report

      • Avatar Sam says:

        This goes back to the issue of what exactly the group is doing during the days that they’re in the prison. We are to understand (apparently) that they’ve made no attempt to fix a massive entry point for zombies that are trying to chase them, even though we’ve seen them zip-typing fences with ease at other points during the show.

        Sometimes, I imagine what the show would be like if the group was hyper-competent. What if they’d arrived at the prison and genuinely locked it down to protect themselves? What if we saw them on a roof, sneaking around, seeing what was what around the prison facility and planning out (and then executing) strategies to deal with the challenges they saw? We know that they’ve talked about farming; is it really so difficult to believe that they would have also talked about fixing that giant hole?Report

        • Avatar North says:

          In their defense they’ve cleaned up the yard and the blocks they control pretty well. They’re downright clean now. It’s no wonder the leader of the new group was able to look around and say “hey ya know this is a pretty sweet setup here…”Report

  3. Avatar North says:

    So far season 3 has been progressing very nicely. I think it may well be my favorite one so far. Some thoughts.

    -Carl has come a long way. From his good shooting, his helpfulness, his competence to his very practical minded cell door locking he’s a pretty level headed fellow. This is a huge development from Season 2 where I was honest to god(ess?) praying that he’d get eaten or shot so good for him.

    -Axel has come a long long way it seems. I mean I understand he’s been helpful and the group has accepted him but I just don’t see Hershel ever being willing to leave his young daughter alone with the dude. What on earth else does Hershel have to do in the prison at this point?

    -The Governors reaction to the prison made sense to me and was a step up again over the Comic plot where *spoiler* the Governor wished to relocate Woodbury to the prison.

    -The attack on Woodbury demonstrates just what a coup the capture of the prison was for Ricks’ group. Remember at the beginning of the season they had some nearly out of fuel vehicles, nearly no ammo and no food. Now after some time scavenging they had grenades, food, fuel and enough ammo that they could spray automatic weapon fire around as if this was an episode of the A-team. I’m surprised the liquor cabinet Andrea and the Governor spend so much time loitering next to survived the battle.Report

    • Avatar Glyph says:

      Dammit, now I have the theme from “The A-Team” stuck in my head.

      DUN DUN DUNNNN!Report

        • Avatar Glyph says:

          I’ll get
          you for this, North.Report

          • Avatar North says:

            I fear I’m too either uncultured or Canadian to recognize this link. But I’ll scream Mendoooozaa!!! anyhow.Report

            • Avatar Glyph says:

              Wait, that wasn’t shown in Canada, but the A-Team was?

              There’s no justice.

              Way back in the stone age, before YouTube, I had a friend that would engage me in battles to get the worst songs stuck in each others’ heads, either via unwitting exposure (tape recordings cued up and surreptitiously deployed, altered outgoing answering machine messages, that sort of thing. Basically, pre-internet Rickrolling) or just singing it, or quoting a key word to trigger it.

              I recall one particularly brutal earworm battle campaign, using the “National Geographic” TV show theme. But not the “real” one; the one they sing at the beginning of the “Twilight Zone” movie, with the made-up silly lyrics (“Look at that old man, he looks like an old ape, bomp bomp!”).

              Anyway, I’d go for days without thinking of it, then he’d come up to me, stare for a few seconds with raised eyebrows, then launch into singing. And it would get stuck for another 24 hours. Awful.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Oh wow! Just mentioning the nat-geo song sent me straight to youtube! Damn you Glyph!Report

              • Avatar Glyph says:

                Look at that fossil, it’s stuck over there in the tar!
                Look at that old bone, it could be worth some bucks!
                Look at the zoo apes, this must be where they live!
                Look at that city, let’s continue to dig!Report

  4. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    I’ve been thinking since yesterday about Glenn sharing info. After using Michionne’s silence to create knowledge gaps over the last few weeks, Glenn’s reunion with Rick’s group was a breath of fresh air. As soon as they had a spare moment he let them know Merle was involved, that he tried to kill him and that they gave up the info about the prison. Quick, efficent and helpful.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Also it occurred to me that Michionne’s little speech to Rick about her being able to help him whatever he was going to do represented a bit of a sea change in her character. Previously she’s implicitly or explicitly expressed a preference for solitude. During her time with Rick and Co they often did shots indicating that she was observing/taking in how things worked in this group. Having watched it a second time I think this offer from her constituted a verdict and a request; she’d determined that Rick and Co were a competant and perhaps good group of people and she was asking in her own way to join it. Perhaps the confrontation/parting ways with Andrea in the wake of the Governor fight drove home to her that her old alliance, such as it was, is well and truely over.

      I also realized that I’m not sure if we’ve ever had it validated in the show that Andrea talked about her former group to Michionne which certainly helped with my hair pulling “Damnit woman tell Andrea the Governor is torturing members of your old group and both of you get the heck out of there!” moment from their confrontation.Report

  5. Avatar Glyph says:

    AMC did that stupid promo thing again, where right after a scene of pretty great emotion/acting (the Gov. cradling his dead “daughter”) Chris Hardwick pops up and starts braying about heads in fishtanks. We all make those jokes here. But nothing could make me LESS likely to watch The Talking Dead than that sort of promo. It’s in-yr-face obnoxious in its timing & tone.

    If I were the writers/directors/actors, I would be furious. They put a lot of time and effort into creating a mood and a moment which contains multiple emotional or conceptual beats that take the viewer a little time to process – we are watching the Gov., and feeling simultaneous revulsion (dude’s crazy, his daughter was a starving corpse), and sympathy/pity – this is a parent who’s lost his child (long ago, truly, but it’s only becoming real to him now, in front of our very eyes, and the actor knocked that out of the park).

    Give the diners just a few quiet seconds to savor the soup, you know?Report

  6. Avatar Glyph says:

    Also, did anyone else see that trailer for “Warm Bodies” that came on during the show? That looked actually surprisingly promisingly funny (the director made a pretty good film called “The Wackness”, and Nicholas Hoult is an OK actor).Report