What a frustrating hour of television. Not because it's disappointing - I think this season has been the least disappointing season of Walking Dead since it started - but because STOP MAKING RICK BE CRAZY I DON'T LIKE IT AND I WOULD WAGER NO ONE ELSE DOES EITHER.
Rick's looking out of the prison through binoculars, which must mean he's on watch, which makes sense because by now he's actually clinically insane. He stomps outside, leaving chain link gates open in his wake. Michonne's like "aroo??" nearby in her sideways-prison-bus shack, but she doesn't stop him. Maybe she should just chop his head off and get it over with. At best, his mumbling and stumbling will attract zombies to the prison. At worst, he'll shuffle somewhere and fall headfirst into a barn full of zombies where little girls go to die.
However, I'd rather watch 1000 of Rick's spirit journeys than go to Woodbury, where Andrea and the Governor are holding a Boring-Off. "You're a good leader." "You're a good leader." "Are you making plans to do something to the prison?" "No." "Good, that's what I thought." "Status quo, you got that right." "Milton, come here." "Yes?" "Say something boring." "Will do." Why didn't Andrea leave when she saw the Governor pit Merle against Daryl? Didn't that present some solid evidence as to why it might be bad for her to stay?
Merle and Daryl do brother stuff in the woods, and Daryl's starting to realize how entirely lame Merle is. There's no game to hunt, so Daryl tries to be pragmatic, saying "we could loot a house or go fishing or go back to the prison where it's safe." Merle's like, "Boy howdy, we gonna catch us a skunk to eat, and I don't care if it's impossible!!! Yee haw!" Merle.
Without Crazy Rick or Loyal Daryl, the prison's de facto leader is Glenn, who really doesn't seem up to all this business. He wants to take Michonne to Woodbury for a sneak assassination, but Hershel shoots the idea down pretty quickly. Then Glenn wants to take Maggie somewhere with him and Hershel's like "you remember she almost got raped yesterday, right?" It's like a new generation of Dale naysaying Shane's ideas, but at least Hershel and Glenn aren't nearly as diametrically opposed. Where Shane represented savage-state humanity and Dale stood for blind civility, Glenn and Hershel's conflicts happen in more of a gray area. Should something be done to prevent the Governor from destroying the prison? Yeah, that would be smart. Would it bring about the deaths of more [innocent] people? Probably. What can be done with the resources we have? Not much. Should we leave? Probably not.
While the gang parses these tough questions, Axel strikes up a flirtation with Carol. He tells her he robbed a store with a toy gun, and the story sounds less like a cute confession than it sounds like the prologue to a gruesome death scene for Carol. He's practically wearing a sandwich board that says "Don't Trust Me," but I guess Carol can fend for herself. Especially now that Daryl's out of the picture. She eats it up.
Out in the woods, Merle and Daryl hear a family being attacked by zombies on a bridge. Daryl rushes to help them, but Merle literally says "They ain't never cooked me a meal." Most strangers haven't yet, Merle, so there may be a gap in your logic. As Daryl helps the stranded family fight off the walkers, Merle mopes and watches nearby. Then he forces his way into the baby car to find an "enchilada." GOD DAMN IT, MERLE.
Daryl lets it all out once the family drives off. "You asked for it," he says about Merle getting left on the roof in Atlanta. Sure, they were planning on robbing the camp, but Daryl found that just living with them was good enough. Merle tears Daryl's shirt for some reason, I guess because he thinks there are a million shirts just waiting to be worn in Daryl's pack, and we see that Daryl's been whipped so badly he still bears the scars on his back. And it's all because Merle left home when Daryl was too little to defend himself. Daryl heads back to the prison without his brother. He's had enough shitheadedness.
Hershel hobbles down to the part of the yard that's closest to Rick's psycho hiking path. He's hoping Rick can stop being crazy so that Glenn doesn't have to try to lead anymore. Rick's drenched in sweat, his eyes can't seem to focus, and he's probably gone 10 days without sleeping. But at least he seems to know he's hallucinating...so that's good enough for Hershel. Come on back to your throne, friend-king!
Axel says something flirty to Carol and all my roommates simultaneously observe that it's obviously going to be Axel's last line. He gets shot in the head, and soon the entire prison yard is a war zone. Governor Moron and his pal Martinez have arrived, and they're chomping on wet cigars as they fire billions of rounds into the air. Oh boy.
Somehow someone from Woodbury has infiltrated the watch tower and he's shooting at everybody. Rick's trying to shoot at Martinez from the Crazy Path, but nothing hits him. Soon a van crashes through the fence in front of the prison and releases zombies into the yard. They stagger toward legless Hershel. Yep, things are looking real bad at West Georgia Correctional.
Luckily for everyone, Daryl and Mopey Merle arrive just in time to (kind of) help. They get Hershel out of the yard and kill off a few zombies, and for now the Governor seems to have left. They can probably survive. They'll have to mend the fence, though, and I'M NOT SO SURE MERLE'S SO GOOD AT THAT.
Also, PS, that person driving the battering-ram van had stupid looking pants on. Pants that looked as stupid as...ANDREA'S??????
photos courtesy amctv.com