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2/18/13

The Walking Dead: Home


Action-packed episode of the Walking Dead last night, throwing some curve balls at Team Rick and emphasizing how much they need the help of both Rick and Daryl to survive. An old pal rejoins the group and another leaves - permanently!

Really excellent episode - the last scene was one of the shows best - ever!

Brief recap and thoughts after the jump!


Recap
We start the episode with Rick on watch, scanning for walkers - he spots Ghost Lori and starts chasing after her, eventually following her outside the prison's gates. He's pretty freaking nuts at this point, and without Daryl around, the group's leadership has fallen to Glenn.

Leader by default Glenn is on the war path, trying to plan his revenge on the Governor - trying to hastily plan an assassination mission with Ninja Michonne. Hershel eventually talks him down. Maggie is still traumatized from her stay at Woodbury, and Glenn isn't really able to comfort her at this point, which pushes him further away.

Glenn eventually decides to head out on some kind of scouting mission - I wasn't sure if it was to check the far side of the prison, which they've realized is wide open, or if he was going to go look for Daryl or possibly Tyrese's group. He loads up in a truck and drives off alone, while the others make some lame preparations for an attack by the Governor.

Back at Woodbury, the Governor wants Andrea to lead the townspeople - at least for a little while - he needs a vacation. Andrea doesn't seem too eager. The Governor asks Milton the Mad Scientist to keep an eye on Andrea - he's unsure of her loyalties. Later, Andrea goes looking for the Governor - no one will tell her where he is, with Milton only saying he went on a supply run.

The Dixon brothers are wandering through the back woods, not getting along particularly well, when they come upon a Hispanic family defending against a walker mob and losing. Daryl hears a baby crying and springs into action...Merl, not so much. With his trusty crossbow and Busse knife, Daryl helps the family dispatch the walkers and saves their lives. After the walkers are down, Merl starts waving his revolver around and then digging through their car looking for something to take.

Daryl has enough of it and, crossbow to Merl's neck, gets him to stop and tells the family to leave. This leads to an argument between the brothers - with Merl ending up ripping Daryl's shirt and finding scars on his back from child abuse when he was younger. Daryl gets fed up and decides to head back to the prison - Merl eventually, reluctantly, follows after him.

Rick is still off in crazy land, and Hershel tries to talk some sense into him and get him to come back to reality because, well, they need him. Rick admits that he's seeing Lori and heard her on the phone, and claims he knows that they're not real. He refuses to come back inside the prison, though.

Axle has been helping Carol shore up the defenses and trying to come across as a nice guy; they're taking a break from working and he's telling her a story when, suddenly, he catches a bullet in the forehead.

The Governor has arrived, and he's brought friends! A gun fight erupts between the Governor and Team Rick, with the Governor's men quickly pinning down the good guys with heavy firepower. Carol takes cover behind Axle's corpse. Eventually Maggie shows up with some extra AR-15s and the tide of battle begins to shift, slightly.

Then, the Governor stops firing, and a bread truck roars in, smashing through the prison's outer gate and then stopping in the yard. And waiting. Everyone's watching - then the back opens, dumping out a small horde of walkers, right on the heroes' doorstep. The armored driver hops out and runs, making it back to safety with the Governor.

The gunfight continues. Team Rick takes down one of the Governor's men. Hershel is a long ways away from safety and has a horde of walkers coming towards him. Michonne charges into battle, making good use of her katana, slicing through walker spines and skulls as she runs to help Hershel.

Rick runs out of rifle ammo and switches to his Colt Python, which quickly runs dry, too. He's left using the pistol as a club, and is quickly grabbed by two walkers. One of the walkers is close to chomping down on Rick when a crossbow bolt shoots through the back of its head. Daryl and Merl have arrived!

Satisfied that he's wreaked enough havoc for one day, the Governor and his surviving men bug out.  Glenn arrives just as they are leaving - good timing! Team Rick regroups inside the prison's inner gates, while Rick, Daryl and Merl are left outside the main fences, with dozens of zombies between them and safety.

Great ending!

Thoughts:
The importance of strong leadership and having adequate manpower are highlighted in this episode. The group had neither, and so they were unprepared and nearly wiped out when the Governor showed up on their doorstep.

The gun fight was actually pretty darn good, minus maybe some of the cheesy cover shown deflecting gun fire (car doors, file cabinet drawers). But lots of suppressing gun fire, covering fire, etc. Pretty good, and a lot more realistic than most gun battles you seen from Hollywood. Thumbs up to the crew who put it together.

Rick showed the importance of having additional ammunition on your person, even during supposed down times. Full war gear may be excessive, but having a spare rifle magazine or two and a spare pistol magazine or two would be wise. Attacks tend to come when you least suspect them. If you're one of the group's fighters, you should be armed and dangerous most all the time.

Who on team Rick's group was on watch? Michonne? They should have had some advanced warning r.e. the attack, and probably should not have all been waltzing around the yard like there was no imminent attack coming from a one eyed psycho.
 They kinda had a QRF (quick reactionary force) going there with Maggie showing up with extra guns midway through the battle. Good idea to organize one of those - they come running and reinforce areas under attacks, leaving other defenders to watch their designated areas.

Edited to add - As many have noted in the comments, they also needed vehicle barriers. Couple big trees dropped over the road would have prevented the "zombie bomb". Fences don't do much against fast moving trucks.

What did you guys think about the episode? Let us know!

12 comments :

  1. I enjoyed that episode - Axel got same treatment as T-Dog. As they stated later on 'Talking Dead' - something about Carol attracts disaster. :^)

    Daryl proved himself when he went out to rescue Hispanic family. Meryle is proving to be a douche bag, and Daryl is finally seeing the light.

    Team Rick should have created some type of high speed vehicle barricade before. Pretty inventive dirty bomb. Next week looks good.

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  2. Glad to see Axel get it. He was creepy, he needed to go in my opinion. Why didn't they see the governor's vehicle pull up and park in broad daylight? Glad Daryl's back, he's a good one. Merle needs to follow Axel. He's too much of a liability. Looks like it's time to tighten up security at the prison, maybe make better use of the guard towers, slow down the high speed avenues of approach, and pay more attention to their surroundings.

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  3. Great episode!

    Glad Daryl and Merl did not get excluded a la Merl in the previous season(s?).

    I was enjoying Axel's character and the group needed some healthy adults but pulling off that attack without anybody getting injured would have been hard.

    Something like a Costa Leg Rig, war belt, a Kangaroo pouch or just a bandoleer slung around your neck to give 2-3 reloads would be mandatory outside of our immediate dwelling in a group I was in. As would carrying your rifle.

    The Merl and the group dynamic should be interesting. Especially since he is Daryl's brother. Daryl arguably being the only sane reasonably capable adult left in the core group and the glue holding it together while Rick chases imaginary Lori. Though maybe his realization this is a problem is a sign the tide will turn on that.

    They might need Merl (certainly they need Daryl) but then again they can't trust him and Glenn/ Maggie probably have some unresolved feelings around him to put it mildly.

    They need to bring Micharone in. She is not a psycho (Merl), is capable and has had their backs for awhile now. I get having trust issues but their worker/ fighter to well meaning camp hang around ratio sucks right now.

    Rick and the brothers outside of the walls with limit supplies will make for an interesting start to next weeks episode.

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  4. What cracks me up is how spot on accurate they are when shooting zombies, head shots every time from any distance, yet when they start shooting at live people, none of them can hit squat.
    Darrell is going to end up being the one to dispatch Merle. Probably on one of the Governors raids, Merle will make a try at sabotage and Darrel will pop him. Can't wait.

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    1. I agree. I do find that frustrating. The way they could stage that is for shooters to actively seek cover instead of standing in the open and just firing, e.g. guy in tower. That way it would be more believable that they were not scoring hits. How did no one hit the guy in the tower through the first say 60 rounds fired at him? Maggie had a scope but never put her eye to it. Rick had an Aimpoint... how about using it? A man sized target standing in the open (tower, Governor and bloke in the woods, all easy for even amateurs shooting from cover). Spray and pray looks great but if you're low on ammo, single fire with aimed shots is the winner. I guess the cinematography took over and they wanted to chew ammo for effect for the show. Minor gripes, doesn't take too much from the story.

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    2. YES! I mentioned that last night. All of a sudden, everyone is a marksman. But, given the circumstances, you'd have to assume that the only people alive would be those that were adept with their weapon of choice. If you couldn't make damn sure you were making hits (and, let's be honest, these were not long-range shots - panicked shots, yes, but close- to mid-range), you'd run out of ammo and get eaten.

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  5. They should have conducted a pre-emptive strike to take out the enemy's leadership. Lacking the time/capacity to do that, they should have listened to Glen and had a counter-ambush in place which could have prevented the relative success of the enemy's attack.

    They are breaking apart as a team and I'd not expect them to survive another 72/96 hours without some serious systemic changes.

    Colorado

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  6. So many plot holes! Filling any of them would have still allowed some action and drama. They have to realize people in the audience shout at the TV over some of the dumb decisions people make.
    Glenn really foreshadowed the problem of no guards when he shouted "who is on watch?" before he left. Where was the scoped hunting rifle Rick used to shoot the prison walkers in the season opener? Should have been in that tower with a friendly eyeball behind it. Where is Tyrese? If you read the comic, hopefully he isn't where he ended up in that showdown with the Govenor. What was Michone doing out at the bus, just polishing her sword? C'mon, man!
    Putting a vehicle chicane at the gate would have been easy, put two dead vehicles on opposite shoulders. One on the left shoulder, then 10-15 yards farther in put one on the right shoulder. Vehicle has to slow down to make the zig zag. Army bases used to do that post 9/11 using armco/jersey barriers. I'll give them that one, since the van was a good way to show how warped the Govenor really is.
    If anyone had used their rifle sights, more folks would have been hit. Rick even had Martinez in his scope, and then Rick promptly fired well before he was lined up.
    Best way they can replace the front gate is to put that grey bus back on its wheels, and use another vehicle or winches to roll it back and forth. Extend the body to the ground to keep crawlers out. Watch the "Road Warrior" oil well to see it in action.
    Hopefully the expression on Rick's face during the end scene was him getting pissed off and focused again. Or maybe even crazier?

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  7. I agree that this was one of the best episodes ever and I like how we got all of the action, like you said, but we also got some great plot development with the main characters. I love the show so much that I have been saving the entire season on my 2000 hour DISH Hopper DVR, so my friends at my DISH office can come over and we can have a marathon before the finale. Now I can save all of the seasons from now on since I have so much room to store my shows and movies, which saves me money.

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  8. Hi everyone, saludos de Argentina.

    Great show, and great blog!

    At first, I will never let Thyrese go! Those are extre-reinforcements! Anyone could see that, even CrazyRick!

    Also, is understandable that, they have no time to put a real defence on action, since the attack on Woodbury was yesterday. Don't forget the chapters are sometimes on the same 24hs day for a couple.

    For the gates, any bus, with adequate plates on the side, kind of Mad Max style of door should do the trick.

    One sniper on the inner tower! That is their pourpouse! See everything from above, and keeps you covered.

    The governor weapon is really accurate, wy are you shoting creazy? Aim-fire! And everyone gets stranded or killed.

    Anyway, its a great show, I like it a lot.

    Qlso, the spanish family could join the group, I will run to get them. You need arms, War is comming!

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  9. I think the two most glaring lessons are a) static defense requires patrols/observers "outside the wire" to provide warning, harassing fire, and counterattack opportunities for the defenders, and b) communications are really needed.

    Youd think with all that prison gear they could have found a couple Motorolas to use for 2-way comms. It's only by sheer luck they had forces outside the wire when the attack came.

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  10. As a firearm instructor it drove me INSANE that no one was using their sights when firing shots! That and almost no one got hit. It also bothered me that a truck could get into the prison by simply driving fast at a gate, which is unrealistic. Real prisons have counter measures for these sort of things. And it was too bad Axle died. I was expecting him to stay around a little longer.

    Regardless of all else. This is by far the best tv series I have had the pleasure of viewing. And each season seems to be even better than the last! I really hope they are able to keep this up for future seasons. They've set the bar so high, it'll be tough.

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