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Walk with Me dramatically slowed down the pace of this season in some good and bad ways. This Andrea and Michonne centric episode introduces us to Woodbury and the Governor. Well, saying this is a Michonne centric episode is a bit of a stretch. While the character is very popular and well liked in the comics, so far on the show she’s been nothing more than a grouchy mute sidekick to Andrea. She does come across as a good protector and battle worn, but so far that’s it. There are good ways to play someone who’s reserved but still threatening (i.e. Gus from Breaking Bad) and there are less interesting ways… Michonne has been the latter so far.
The two women and Governor’s group intersect at a helicopter crash where Andrea meets an old friend, Merle. The season one episodes involving Merle weren’t very good, so him coming back doesn’t automatically do anything for me. However, back in season one he was the stereotypical “racist redneck” of the group, but here he seemed a bit more calm and laidback, so perhaps being around Governor has classed him up a bit.
Speaking of the Governor, he’s somewhat different from his comic counterpart, but that’s perfectly fine, since the changes they’ve made so far don’t worsen him at all. He comes across as very authoritative… almost presidential. He and Woodbury itself seem too good to be true. Really, a large part of this episode feels like a discreet sales pitch from the Governor to Andrea and Michonne. Both of them were clearly not buying it towards the beginning and middle, but it appears that Andrea might start to fall for it. Also, there was some slight flirting between she and Governor. Andrea did have sex with Shane, so going there with the Governor isn’t too surprising.
Walk with Me is a “setup episode”, enough things happened to where it wasn’t boring, but it’s mainly about introducing us to characters and plotlines that will be further explored later. I did catch myself thinking, “I wondering what’s going on back in the prison” a few times. However, the pace change does make sense and helps show how well organized and manned Woodbury is. Rick and the gang are fighting their way through dozens of zombies, while the Governor and his crew eat eggs and drink tea for breakfast. It shouldn’t be a secret or spoiler that Governor is the villain of this season. In front of a crowd he’s a more charismatic Rick, and behind closed doors he’s an even more ruthless Shane.
Looking at things from a perspective where sooner or later this will be the direct enemies of the main characters in the prison, adds a bit more tension to this episode and season, since the collision between the two is inevitable. It will also be interesting to see which side Andrea and Merle pick. Andrea could still be hurt that she was left behind and at this point she’s known Michonne longer than the main characters. Merle still cares for his brother and hopes that he’s alive, so will he follow his boss or choose his brother when the time comes. This goes back to this being a setup episode, since a lot didn’t happen here, but if the writers handle things correctly, we could get a lot of payoff later.
Walk with Me has a few rough elements with Michonne acting like a little kid who got her candy taken away and the “ambush” on the soldiers was pretty bad too… perhaps the Top Gun reject with his shirt off should’ve had his gun ready instead of shaving/oiling his chest. Overall, the episode does what it needs to do, but the other season 3 episodes were better. I am glad to see that the next episode goes back and forth from the prison to Woodbury, since rotating one at a time each week would be way too slow and exhausting.