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This week’s outing was bound to be a bit of a letdown after the stellar episode last week, but the pieces are starting to fall into place for an epic showdown between the prison and Woodbury. Rick and the Governor finally meet mano a mano over a bottle of whiskey, but with lies aplenty and only three episodes left this season, how will it end between the two factions?
Rick may see dead people on occasion, but I would choose him wholeheartedly over the sociopathic Governor any day. The Governor has such a distorted view of life, and his demeanor during the meeting leads me to believe he would have become some version of this demented man had the apocalypse happened or not. He’s so calculating, from taping a gun to the table to declaring he will only accept Rick’s surrender (keeping boundaries to the east and west of the river are out of the question) to trying to elicit some sense of empathy by bringing up the story of his dead wife. Frankly, I’d like to think his wife’s voicemail before her accident was her dumping him for being crazy. But I digress.
During the long meeting, the Governor explains how he got the title – it’s their term, not mine, he says. Sure, like they conjured it up without some subtle suggestions from you, although he definitely should have chosen a higher position like president or king if he really wanted to milk the whole power thing for all its worth. They also trade a few pointed barbs. Rick says, “You’re the town drunk who knocked over my fence and ripped up my yard.” Ooh, burn. The Governor counters by bringing up Lil’ Ass Kicker’s questionable paternity. Oh no, he did not just bring up the affair between Lori and Shane! But how did he even get that info? Loose lips, Andrea! What other things have you told the Governor that he could potentially use as ammunition against your friends?
In the end, there are two very different styles of leadership on display. After positing several possible scenarios to end the stalemate, one being an all out war to show that he’s not weak and takes threats to his people seriously, the Governor gives Rick a chance to walk away from the entire mess by surrendering Michonne. The eye hole reveal really made that scene pop, didn’t it? At first, I thought he’d want Baby Judith as a replacement for his daughter Penny, so he could raise her as his own child and have an heir for his evil empire, but I suppose that’s another show altogether. The Governor claims that the people of Woodbury chose him because there was no one else around, and it must be true because he’s a terrible leader who doesn’t care about protecting their interests. I’ve always questioned the Governor’s competency as a leader because he’s all talk, using his charms to seduce people into believing he knows best. He has also coddled his citizens, allowing them to live “normally” instead of preparing them for the harsh realities of the apocalypse by teaching them useful skills. And now he’s operating under the guise of his own self-serving agenda to torture Michonne, which puts them in even more jeopardy. Ultimately, his selfish fixation on settling the score with Michonne will be his downfall, whether it’s at the hands of Andrea, Rick, or even his own people.
This is in difference to Rick, who goes back to the prison and tells the group to prepare for war, instilling a real fear of what they could face, but doing so with an authority that says he means business – and will stand with them until the very end. Of course, he doesn’t tell them about Michonne’s role as a bargaining chip, but in a conversation with Hershel, he confesses the truth and his hesitance over giving the Governor what he wants, especially when he could still kill them even after getting Michonne. In fact, that’s the very thing the Governor tells Martinez when they return to Woodbury – fire when you see Michonne, and kill the others but keep her alive, he orders. But after last week, Rick knows that Michonne is an asset to their group, and I don’t think he’ll turn her over. He has to be weary of the Governor’s promises. Some things are too good to be true, and it’s in the prison group’s best interest to prepare for a fight with Michonne on their side, not to look for an easy way out.
The pow wow also gives us a chance to see two other duos interact – the brains, Hershel and Milton, and the brawn, Daryl and Martinez. They’re all so similar that it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine they’d be friends were they not on opposing sides. Milton wants to know all about Hershel’s amputated leg, and they have a nice laugh when he asks to see it. “I just met you,” Hershel says. “At least buy me a drink first.” Both men serve as advisors to Rick and the Governor, but Milton’s attitude at the end of the episode seems to suggest doubts creeping up about Woodbury’s de facto leader. The question is will he be man enough to do something about the Governor’s dastardly plans. In the zombie apocalypse, nothing bonds two grown men together like killing a few walkers and smoking a few cigarettes afterward, and Daryl and Martinez have a grand old time with a crossbow and bat, respectively, when walkers wander near the feed house. Daryl even has a chance to drop a hilariously uttered “douchebag” when Martinez says that he prefers menthols. In a few days, they may be at each other’s throats, but it was nice seeing the two battle-ready men relax, if you can call bashing in someone’s skull relaxing. All they needed were a few brewskis, and it would have been like any other Friday night.
Finally, during the meeting, Andrea is shooed outside, but she holds a lot of power going into the potential skirmish. Deep down she probably still hopes for a peaceful resolution, but with that scenario looking like a bust after the meeting of the minds, she needs to take charge. She had the chance to end the Governor’s life before, but now that she seems firmly put off by his character, here’s to hoping she can convince Milton to help her put a stop to the madness, whether that means finally killing the Governor herself or doing whatever she can to help out her friends should a war erupt.
Notes and Quotes
-- Glenn and Maggie have been trying to mend their relationship ever since the Governor assaulted her, but they finally get down for some sexy time. Not wanting to get busy to the sweet sounds of walker grunts, they duck inside the sex garage (as coined on The Talking Dead). The bow chika bow wow scene was racy, to say the least, but I wonder if anyone worries about unplanned pregnancies. Sure, it’s the zombie apocalypse and you should live for the moment, but is it really wise to start trying to repopulate the earth right now, especially when they already have Judith to worry about? I suggest a run to the nearest convenience store for condoms.
-- One other duo to mention: Merle and Michonne. They were both taken in by the group begrudgingly, but have taken two different paths. Merle continues to dissent, choosing to voice his desire to go out and kill the Governor with no regard for the consequences, but Michonne seems willing to prioritize the group’s interests, twice refusing to participate in Merle’s kamikaze mission. It’s a nice continuation of her willingness to open up and be part of the group, which we saw during last week’s episode.