THE WALKING DEAD: 3.05 “Say the Word”
After all the action and emotional trauma we were subjected to last week, it should be no surprise that this week’s episode was a little slow moving. Necessary, perhaps, to let some emotional wounds begin to heal, or at least stop bleeding. Rick goes crazy with grief, and plunges back into the zombie filled corridors of the prison, chopping up every walker he can find. Poor Carl and his new sister (who I believe has been dubbed Lil’Asskicker by a surprisingly maternal Daryl) are left with the rest of the group and no one seems quite sure what to do with them. It’s clear, though, that the baby is going to have to eat soon, so Daryl and Maggie drive out into the wilderness looking for some baby formula.
Meanwhile, we learn a bunch of interesting things about the Governor’s pristine little town:
- The Governor’s daughter is a zombie, and he keeps her around the house and restrained, taking her out occasionally to ritually brush her hair (and accidentally pull off a piece of scalp in the process.) This is not a sign of a stable psyche.
- The people of the town keep a stable of detoothed walkers around so they can use them in some sort of ritualistic fight club. Andrea is horrified when she witnesses this. It’s barbaric! she claims, while the Governor seems puzzled that she can’t appreciate the fun. I’ll agree with Andrea; it is barbaric, but I can think of a few things that could have been worse and more horrifying. What if the Governor had been feeding petty criminals and dissidents to his zombie collection as punishment? That would have been really depraved.
Anyway, Andrea realizes there’s some moral rot beneath the beautiful surface of the Governor’s world, and she’s probably wishing she cut and run with Michonne when she had the chance.
Our feeble, weekly ray of hope shines in at the end of the episode when Maggie and Daryl return with dinner: two cans of formula for the baby and a dead possum for the adults. I can’t imagine those two cans will last for very long, but at least the baby has something to eat for now, and the adults have a little person to fawn over.
Finally, the show saves its most interesting part for last. Deep in the bowels of the prison, surrounded by hacked up zombie pieces, Rick is roused from his catatonic state by the sound of a phone ringing. He stands up, moves across the room, and finds an old looking black phone, ringing steadily every few seconds. Rick seems as surprised as I was. A ringing phone? Hasn’t civilization collapsed? Hasn’t all the electricity been turned off? How can this be? Who could be on the other end? Answers to those questions, if there are any, will have to wait to next week, because the show cuts to black right as Rick picks up the ringer.