And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watching us all with the eye…
Of the tiger.

 

(courtesy of whatculture.com)

(courtesy of whatculture.com)

The tension continued to build and build in the 14th episode of The Walking Dead’s 3rd season, titled “Prey”. In fact, the last 3 episodes after the Gov’s surprise attack on the prison and busting-of-caps in Axel have been of a particularly slow-burning nature, or probably just plain ol’ SLOW to many viewers who have been spoiled by the slam-bam action we’ve been treated to so far this season. In fact, I’d say it was a bit of a risky episode, keeping the action in Woodbury and centered around less popular characters such as the Gov, Andrea and Milton. Come on: Daryl can’t Rambo a tribe of walkers every episode, no matter how much we’d like to see that happen.

I have no problem with the lull in action lately because the increase in drama and story-telling has more than made up for it. In fact, while the last 2 episodes may have dragged for some, I found myself looking at the clock and saying: “9:45 already? No way! There can’t just be 15 minutes left; it just came on!” I don’t feel like the show is purposely s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g in an attempt to fill time in episodes, but instead is setting things up nicely for what will likely be a very explosive (literally!) season ending.

The episode began with a flashback scene that gave us (a bit of) a glimpse into Michonne’s back-story. One of my issues with season 3 has been the lack of character development of Michonne; sure we know she can stare, glare, frown and scowl (thanks, thesaurus.com!) with the best of them, but we haven’t been given much more than that. We saw a bit of her personality and humour in “Clear” and now a little more of her vulnerable side, although not much as she is unwilling/unable to tell much of her traumatic history. Michonne is being revealed a layer at a time, leading me to believe she has a future on the show beyond the upcoming season 3 finale(s).

We also got more exposure to the Tyrese/Sasha/Ben/Allen group. I’m not sure if this is setting them up as future full-time cast members or red-shirts to be killed off soon. If I was a betting man (I’m not), I’d say ¾’s of his group won’t be around for season 4; specifically, all those whose names don’t rhyme with Fly-Fleece. We learned Tyrese is a terrible shot, as well as that he and Allen have some sort of convoluted back-story conflict…I tried my best to pay attention, but here’s what I heard:

Allen: “Yeah, what about that thing…you know, about my dead wife?”
Tyrese: “Hey, stuff actually happened, right?”
Allen: “Yeah, and it made me mad…or at least uncomfortable…”
Tyrese: “Well, OK, things and stuff…”
Allen: “Yeah, more things and other stuff and blah-blah…”

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This is almost literally what I heard…

Sorry, but the whole encounter had a cuckold-ish vibe to it and felt a bit like an awkward attempt to establish…well, something. Basically a minute or so of dialogue that didn’t really accomplish much.

But we did learn that Tyrese is catching on to the Gov’s shenanigans and evil ways, which means he is light-years quicker at judging character than Andrea. Tyrese is obviously being painted as a “good guy”, which leads me to believe he will join Team Prison once the bullets start flying. One (slight) weakness with the show’s writing is the heavy-handed way it has begun coloring the good guys and bad guys so we know exactly who we are supposed to be rooting for. Obviously the Gov is pure evil and that is personified by his dark clothing, sinister eye-patch, Marquis de Sade torture chamber, and Elvis-tastic mutton-chops. (Seriously, did those just appear or have they been there all season?) The same goes for Martinez and the rest of the henchmen, who are simply not concerned citizens protecting their own, but clearly twisted bad guys. Not much room for grey area regarding this issue, although I think it would have been more interesting if there was.

Also, a recent trend of the previous 2 episodes has been borrowing thematically from classic movie dramas, and Sunday night’s episode was no exception. Episode 12, “Clear” (aka the return of Morgan) had the trappings of a war movie, specifically from the Vietnam era. From the numerous booby traps that Morgan set all around his compound to the scenery-chewing post-traumatic-stress-disorder yelling and screaming between him and Rick, all that was needed was some green camos and an appearance from a member of the Sheen family to make the transformation to “Apocalypse Now” or “Platoon”. Hey, maybe we could’ve added “Charlie” to “Walkers” and “Biters” in the lexicon of terms to use for walking dead instead of “zombie”…

And as I detailed in my last article re-capping episode 13 “Arrow On The Doorpost”, the showdown between the Gov and Rick was classic Western movie-making.

(Please tell me you read my last re-cap. No? Wow…that hurts. But OK, go read it…I’ll wait for you. Here it is:

 http://wp.me/p2uM7S-gy

 

OK, you back? Cool. Let’s continue…)

So what movie genre was aped in episode 14 “Prey”? Why, HORROR, of course!

That shouldn’t be a surprise for a show about a zombie apocalypse, but I’m specifically referring to the tense cat-and-mouse game played between the Gov and Andrea in the abandoned warehouse that was the dramatic high-point of the show. And it didn’t really bring to mind Night of the Living Dead, but actually more of the don’t-go-in-the-house/80’s slasher type-stuff where a terrified chick tries desperately to get away from a silent, brooding and very slow-moving monster. In classic scary movie fashion, Andrea not only tripped and bumbled her way thru the dark warehouse (constantly telegraphing her exact location to the Gov), but basically stopped just short of breaking out into a Sammy Davis Jr tap dance and/or playing the drum solo to In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. She stumbled over more stuff in 5 minutes than Jack Tripper did in 8 seasons of Three’s Company. If everyone makes it thru this, Andrea could use some ninja lessons from her ex-buddy Michonne…

Were any of you faked out by the Gov’s screams after Andrea herded the Wal-Mart checkout line of walkers at him? No, surely none of us thought that was going to be the end of the Gov…I didn’t, although I was a bit surprised to see him quite so soon and in such good health. (Yet another ode to 80’s slasher films in that he pops up after certain death ala Jason or Michael Myers?) While I haven’t read the comic, I have performed some Google image searches of characters…and as many of you no doubt already know, the Gov in the comic not only is sans-eye but also sans-right-arm. I fully expected him to hack off a limb in his effort to get away from the warehouse mob, giving him yet another reason to REALLY be even more agitated at Andrea.

And speaking of the Gov’s panties remaining in bunched-up status, it’s pretty clear he’s onto Milton as the culprit in Operation Crispy Walker. Poor Milton looks like a cross between John Ritter (yes, that’s 2 John Ritter references in the same write-up!) and a befuddled Rick Moranis (Honey I Burnt the Walkers!). Remember last week when we discussed poker faces? Our buddy Milton doesn’t have one of those. His time is marked and his clock is ticking. My guess would be that he is the one who rescues Andrea from her seat of honor in the Gov’s Little Shop of Horrors and sacrifices himself in the process. Just my hunch.

And speaking of…only 2 more episodes to go in season 3!
Hard to believe we are only 2 weeks away from being Walking-Dead-free until October.
(Moment of silence)
I’m curious to see how the battle between Team Prison and Team Woodbury plays out…if the writing mirrors the action in season 2, the next episode promises to be a real doozy. The next-to-last episode last year was the real climax (featuring the showdown between Rick and Shane), leaving the last episode to be the barn-burning walker-holocaust and human carnage (of people you pretty much didn’t even realize were really on the show), setting up season 3. So what does that mean for “This Sorrowful Life” airing on Mar 24th? Will only either Rick or the Gov be left standing, or will it be another tension-building exercise leading up to the final episode? Or somewhere in-between? I can’t wait…

So what are your thoughts on the episode?
Is there any doubt that Milton was the one who went all Bobby Flay on the walker pit?
Has Andrea finally caught on that the Gov may be a bit of a butthole or is she willing to give him another shot?
Didn’t you think that one roasted walker looked more than a little like Darth Maul?
Was anybody else concerned that when that bow-chicka-wow-wow blues music started playing at the end of the episode they were about to segue to another naked MMA bout between Glenn and Maggie?

And what lies ahead for our survivors?
Will Rick give Michonne to the Gov?
Will Morgan make a surprise appearance in the role of calvary-coming-to-the-rescue?
Has no one at the prison seriously noticed that there are tons of riot gear and protective equipment just lying around to be used?
Will the Gov’s mutton-chops continue to grow until he begins channeling Martin Van Buren?
Will someone give Merle a cough drop? (No, seriously; will someone please give Merle a cough drop? He sounds like he is about to cough up a goat…)

Tune in next week…
jcs

 

 

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avatar J. Christopher Smith (10 Posts)

Chris is a lifelong fan of anything dark + macabre, beginning with the old classic black-and-white horror movies (that he had to sneak and stay up and watch) as well as campy TV fare such as The Addams Family, The Munsters, and The Night Stalker. That led at an early age to the writings of Stephen King and Peter Straub, then onward to the works of artists such as Edgar Allen Poe, Edward Gorey, Thomas Harris, Carl Hiaasen, Chuck Palahniuk, and of course, Dr Seuss. Chris was born + raised in Middle Tennessee, received his further education at Western Kentucky University, and currently lives among the moss-covered oaks of historic coastal Southeastern Georgia. In past lives he's been a long-haired bass player in college rock bands and an over-worked restaurant manager, but currently crunches numbers and curb-stomps spreadsheets for a Fortune 500 company. Chris enjoys spending time at his spooky marsh-front manor (dubbed the Monster Plantation or Monsta P) with his lovely wife Melanie, their dogs, and a monkey butler named Amos Moses.


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