The Walking Dead is rapidly becoming A Tale of Two Crazies: given the choice between living under The Governor or living under Rick, I’d go with Daryl and Merle’s decision to light out into the walker territories, because in their current states of mind, the two opposing bosses are just going to end up getting a lot of people killed.
At least The Gov hides it well.
Rick begins episode 10 in a bad way. Peering through his binoculars, he spots Lori hanging out by the graves, so he naturally decides to go and chase her into the woods – as one does when one sees the ghost of one’s dead wife – leaving the prison gates wide open, and Michonne watching with as much of a WTF? expression as she’s capable of mustering.
This is not what the motivational speakers call Inspiring Leadership.
At least Rick doesn’t keep a bunch of aquariums full of heads. The Governor appears (key word: appears) to have been rattled by Rick’s assault on Woodbury. He says as much in his mea culpa to Andrea, complimenting her on her rousing speech to the Woodburians, promising that he won’t go after Rick’s people, and offering her the job of Governor while he goes and gets his head together. Andrea seems just as surprised as the rest of us at this turn of events. When she goes to ask Milton where the Gov’s gone off to, he responds with a sly “On a……………..er………..ah……….run?”. A regular George Smiley, is our Milton.
Most of the rest of the episode deals with the fallout from having these two whackadoos in charge. Back at the prison, Glenn decides to step up and assume command; his first act as the group’s leader will be a solo suicide mission to Woodbury, where he’ll go out in a blaze of glory trying to kill the Governor. Hershel respectfully disagrees; Woodbury has too many folks with guns, and the group’s best course of action is to pack up and hit the road. “We can’t run,” Glenn argues, and it’s hard to disagree – the prison is a veritable fortress, and who’s to say that the Governor’s men won’t chase after them anyway? Also, Hershel can’t run because Hershel is missing a foot. All of Glenn’s macho bullshit isn’t sitting well with Maggie either; she calls him out on his attempts to make himself feel better over what happened to her in Woodbury by carrying out his revenge fantasies. Meanwhile, Axel has a moment with Kiss-Of-Death Carol; she shows him how to use a gun, he tells her she’s quite a lady, and thus his fate is sealed.
Whither Daryl and Merle? Not all who wander are lost, but Merle is pretty sure they are, even though Daryl knows that the river they’ve found is the Yellow Jacket River. The two are arguing about the usual stuff that ex-criminal rednecks argue about – ”I was gonna Daddy.” “No, I was gonna kill him first” – when they come upon a group of walkers attacking a Latino family. There’s a baby involved; that sound you heard last night as Daryl rushed in to rescue the baby was every female Walking Dead fan’s ovaries lighting off at once. Daryl and Merle dispatch the walkers efficiently (hatchbacks are surprisingly handy in a zombie apocalypse), but of course Merle’s gotta be Merle, and starts in with the racial epithets and the looting. Daryl turns his crossbow on Merle; the family drives off, and while Merle was undoubtedly an asshole about the whole thing, you’d think they could’ve at least given the Dixon boys a granola bar or something. The important thing here, though, is that there’s been a power shift: when Daryl informs Merle that Merle lost his hand because he’s “a simple-minded piece of shit”, it’s clear to Merle that Daryl is calling the shots. And Daryl is heading back to the prison. (Yay!)
Meanwhile, things at the prison continue to unspool. Glenn has taken off to kill the Governor. Rick is still wandering around in the forest. Hershel has no one to lecture, and chasing after Glenn’s truck on foot (literally)(because he only has one foot) is out, so he decides to talk Rick off of the ledge. Rick tells Hershel that he’s been seeing Lori, that he knows she’s not really there, and that his hallucinations of Lori mean something, but he can’t quite say what. And it’s at that moment that Axel gets shot in the head. And the chest. And the legs. And the chest again. The Governor and some of his guys are attacking the prison! There’s lots of shooting, and it seems that Team Rick is outgunned (certainly Carl isn’t helping, running around with that pistol. Jesus, Rick, what kind of Zombie Apocalypse Dad are you? Teach your kid to go for the nearest assault rifle when rival survivors attack from long range! Sorry, trying not to be Judgy McJudgerson here, but really). And then the Dixon brothers show up. Along with some guy driving a van; the van crashes through the fence, the back door opens up, and it’s like a Clown Car but instead of clowns it’s walkers, which are much less horrifying, but still. Clever! And when the Governor and his guys retreat and the smoke clears – along with, it seems, Rick’s head – the look on Rick’s face says it all. It. Is. ON.
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