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The Walking Dead Review: War in Woodbury

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Fight the dead. Fear the living.

This tagline for The Walking Dead is the perfect way to explain the first half of Season 3. It's been all about the characters' survival and learning who to trust, all while finding the most creative way to kill walkers.

There are some great episodes in the The Walking Dead Season 1 and 2, but this stretch of eight episodes really knocked it out of the park. Some great pacing along with maintaining a focus on the characters has made it probably the most compelling yet.

Sure, the walkers remain that frightening vision of the new world, but the biggest threat for the survivors remains with each other.

"Made to Suffer" continued to establish that concept while finally delivering to us fight night, round one for the prison versus Woodbury.

Rick with a Gun

It's fantastic that Rick remains dedicated to his group. He could have so easily given up on Maggie and Glenn, but literally slipping into enemy territory and facing certain death wasn't enough to keep him or Daryl and Oscar away. He's done a good job proving his leadership ability and even giving Daryl some focus when the prospect of Merle came up.

That said, Rick is still stuck with some emotional issues. I had thought that it had been a quick fix after his phone revelation, but seeing Shane was not a good sign that things are back in order. It was a nice surprise I wasn't expecting, but I can't wait to see how long until Rick breaks again.

And did anyone think Shane looked like Wolverine with that haircut and beard?

I did enjoy the gun fight, although I though Glenn and Maggie's rescue seemed a little easily done. Yet, it was certainly interesting that the two sides really didn't get a chance to meet and spent more time anonymously apart and firing bullets.

It really makes me want to see a personal standoff between Rick and the Governor even more. Except I have a feeling that the Governor Rick will be forced to face down the road will be nothing short of pure evil.

In a lot of ways, the Governor that we've come to know has had some sense of humanity, as depraved as he was with his floating heads and caged daughter. Michonne's stabbing of Penny was that turning point for his character to simply slip into complete darkness.

How cool was that fight between them? It was brutal and bloody, with each head smash and gut punch. And when Michonne stabbed the Governor's eye, I was completely taken aback. She came so close to finishing him off for good.

However, I'm unfortunately at a loss when it comes to why she was so hell bent on killing the Governor. Andrea was apparently in the same confused boat. I really want to like Michonne, but I feel like we're missing those deleted scenes or backstory that would fully explain her actions.

Yes, I get she was upset the Governor sent Merle to kill her and she knew all along that he was lying and hiding darker secrets, but the Governor never really did anything that would warrant what felt like her preparation for ultimate revenge. If she had been interrogated like Maggie, then sure, I could completely understand it. If she knew all about his head tank or had watched him murder the national guard, then definitely, her return to Woodbury for the Governor would make more sense.

Heck, I would have understood if she went after Merle.

At least her acknowledgment of needing Rick near the end may be the first softening in her hardened cracks, but I'm really hoping that the second half of the season spends more time on Michonne's characterization beyond the fact that she looks bad ass with a sword. I really want to know why she does the things she does.

Which makes me that much more curious about the new group of survivors led by Tyreese. How will they fit into Rick's team? Will they get a chance to be more than "that guy or girl from the other group," and will all of them manage to stick around long enough?

And I hate to say it, but after Oscar died, I can't help but think that Rick's side is only allowed to have one African-American at a time.

At least the other prisoner, Axel, managed to have some staying power, but who knows how long that will last. It was rather funny that he went from drooling over Beth to calling Carol a lesbian because of her haircut... to then being suddenly interested when he found out she wasn't.

Except Carol wasn't having it and I love that she still has a great humor and sensibility throughout it all. She's definitely one of my new favorites.

But even with the worlds colliding and the characters all picking sides, the final moments gave me something I was looking forward too. Sort of. Daryl and Merle have reunited.

Unfortunately, Daryl managed to get captured (how did that happen?) and Merle was called a traitor by the now one-eyed Governor.

I really was hoping for more of an interaction between these two, but that will obviously take place when the show returns. Both of these guys have essentially been in similar roles for their respective leaders (Rick and the Governor), so it will be interesting to see what their newest situation forces them to do.

Will Merle switch sides? Will Daryl accept his brother? Will the two run off? Will one of them kill the other?

And why, oh why, is Andrea still hanging out with the Governor, not to mention still trying to prove she can handle a gun when all the boys are around taking action?

If the severed fish tank heads, the walker daughter, the fact the Governor tried to kill Michonne and now has her old pal Daryl captured - combined with a raucous crowd of overly angry Woodbury townsfolk - isn't enough to deter her, I don't know what will.

She better be back to her senses by the next episode or I will have lost all hope for her, even if she just really really wants to believe that Woodbury is the perfect place and the Governor is the perfect man. Wake up!

It's hard to believe we'll all have to go through The Walking Dead withdrawals until the drama returns in February, but this episode was a nice way to cap off what's been a great first half of season three. There's certainly so many directions the story and characters can go that I can't wait to see how the rest of the season plays out.

What did you think of the episode? What do you want to see when the show returns? Sound off below!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (163 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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DON'T KILL DARYL. He has fast become my favorite character. Putting aside the ways of his brother and becoming an important member of the group. Oh, just kill Andrea. She gives blondes a bad name. Damn.

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All in all, a longish and tiresome episode. Don't be fooled by The Governor seeming to denounce Merle. It was all a little scene to fool Daryl. The two brothers will be awaiting "execution" and will be allowed to escape. The idea is to make Daryl think that he and Merle are fleeing Woodbury TOGETHER when the actual purpose is to track them and get Daryl to lead Merle (and thus THE WOODBURY POSSE) to the prison and Rick's band. This is a way to get Daryl to betray Rick's band without realizing it and to reunite the brothers without troubling questions about loyalties. I thought that the battle was awful. The smoke made it impossible to tell who was doing what to whom except for the Shane lookalike, who might as well been carrying a sign that read, "Shoot Me (And Don't Worry About My Shotgun Since I Will Unaccountably Miss"). The battle was thoroughly conventional with full-auto assault weapons and shotguns all around (where did Rick and his band come up with full-auto AK-47's?) Did the prison have a stockpile of 7.62mm ammo just in case? And then Michonne goes off on her own quest to kill The Governor. What has he ever done to her? Merle tried to kill Michonne, but was she sure that Merle was doing it at The Governor's behest? The Governor put down his gun and begged her NOT to stick a sword through the head of his zombie daughter. So why did she do it? She saw the wall of zombie heads, you may say? But she knew nothing about them when she arrived in The Governor's apartment to kill him. If she had a good reason to kill him, she could have told Rick that it was something that she had to do AFTER rescuing Maggie and Glenn. In fact, Maggie -- by telling her of The Governor's sexual threats and humiliation -- would have given her (or Glenn) a good reason to go gunning for The Governor during the battle. Is Andrea really so dim to be unaware of what is happening? Even face-to-face with Michonne? By the way, I thought that decapitation was the one SURE way to kill a zombie. Then why are The Governor's decapitated heads still trying to bite Michonne? Nothing on this spook show, compared to the unparalleled Breaking Bad," bears ANY examination on more than a junior high level. I'm convinced that the show is written by chimps.

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VampBarbie,you must have missed an episode. Those things were done by the prisoner that Rick chased into the prison yard. Never said how he escape from the walkers or even out of the yard. Rick loced the door. Also,if they showed clips of the Feb.returns,well Daryl seemed to have made it. Saw him running with his cross bow. Don't remember seeing Merle. New group? Interesting. At first,kinda thought it might be a Mishonne flashback.

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awesome episode... i think daryl stayed behind on purpose of seeing his brother... i think michonne is awesome and rick and daryl.. but after this episode glenn needs some recognition. him tearing that walkers arm off and using the bones as weapons was heroic.... love the show im hating the downtime already.... come on february...

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The governor sent Merle to kill Michonne so Michonne was looking for payback makes sense to me. Daryl getting captured? I saw that coming. What about Carl? Talk about growing up fast! That kid has guts to the point of reckless. Can't wait till Feb 10th will Daryl be saved?

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Antes de vir aqui comentar este último episódio, precisei tomar um pouco de ar, pois fique tão tensa que não conseguia pensar muito menos respirar, mas agora pronto, cérebro oxigenado, tudo em paz, vamos ao que interessa, meu parecer. Quanto a emoção foi pra valer, o episódio teve algumas falhas no seu desenvolvimento, o tiroteio por ex. muitos tiros e uma péssima pontaria de ambos os lados, do nosso lado (graças a Deus) infelizmente só morreu um, é uma pena, mas com tanto tiro, sair todo mundo ileso seria brincadeira. A Andréa acredito que tenha salvação ainda, agora que ela vai saber que o Glen e a Meg ficaram reféns do ditador bonitão vai cai na real, o Daryl não pode e não vai morrer, nossa irmandade fechou que se ele morrer, paramos de ver (duvido) e o Carl hem ? não foi uma gracinha? preocupado com a irmã e com os novos visitantes, puxou ao pai o meu herói Rick, que acredito ainda vai ter alguns problemas emocionais sim, pois é muita coisa para resolver e aguentar nesta série maluca que alias é uma fábrica de zumbis, todo episódio aparece mais e mais, credo em cruz, enfim moçada não esperem facilidades no retorno e sim mais emoção, comoção e zumbis aos montões. Feliz Natal e 2013 com um coração pronto pra novas aventuras do WD.

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Unfortunately, Daryl managed to get captured (how did that happen?)
Was wondering the same thing. The Governor told his people to NOT make prisoners, right? And Daryl had at least one gun AND his crossbow. Who could beat him with those weapons? It was killing me that Michonne couldn't just tell Andrea a simple �I found your friends.�
Me too! Why the hell is that woman incapable of speaking more than a few words? Looking badass with a sword just isn't enough for me. That character's really annyoing now. Liked the episode in general very much. Damn it's a long way to February...

Jtl

Awesome season so far! But is anyone curious on who set the sirens off and led walkers into fenced in area of the prison by leaving a trail of deer meat?

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Great episode, really got the adrenaline pumping. My husband's comment: "Is Andrea just stupid, or what?" I think "or what". She is desperate for the kind of normal life that Woodbury seems to hold. A friend's comment: "If Daryl hits the ground before Andrea, I will hunt you down. Truth." I hope Robert Kirkman knows this, because I might need to cut a bitch.

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I agree. It's obvious that the group has not finished clearing the prison. Hence the locking doors for security. It's not surprising that there are other ways in.

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