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!
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.
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!