Zombie daughters in cages. Fish tanks filled to the brim with zombie heads (fresh or salt water?). Betrayal. One-eyed tears. Walker bone knives. If you missed Sunday night’s episode of The Walking Dead, you missed all that and more. Granted, none of what I’ve written here has been spoilerific… yet. But, it will soon!
WARNING: A hoard of spoilers is about to come your way. You’ve been warned! There’s no turning back now.
Last week I wrote about how Rick and Philip (The Governor) weren’t so different. They embody the definition of the word ‘nemesis’. They are so similar in wants and needs that they clash like two similar-sided magnets. For if they weren’t so similar, they wouldn’t have a problem and this season would be nothing but fireside sing-a-longs and gentlemenly head nods as they cross each other in passing. As we saw last night, though, head nods are for pussies.
In the middle of this all out war are a cast of character that I haven’t talked about yet this season. Daryl, Merle, Andrea, and Michonne have all played large parts in this season’s conflict. If any one of them had died before this point, it’s hard to say where the story might end up. So, I’d like to break down each character if I may, and spell out some of my thoughts on each.
Looking back, none of us imagined that we’d fall in love with the greasy Daryl Dixon. He was a chopper riding, pill popping roughneck who seemed to be in the group solely because it benefited him and his brother. But, when Merle disappeared and Daryl was left without the negative influence of his older brother, he started to change. While hallucinating in the woods after falling on his own arrow, we find that Daryl had always been the kinder brother while Merle had been more ruthless.
Daryl finally stepped up in the group after Sophia had gone missing. He took it upon himself, risking life and limb, to find her one way or another. He started to break down his wall to let people in, especially Carol. When the inevitable happened and Sophia was found to be a walker, Daryl took her death harder than the death of his own brother.
Now, Daryl is virtually irreplaceable. Without his tracking and fighting skills, the group would have never made it off of Hershel’s farm or into the prison. There was a lot of worry that when he found out that Merle was still alive, he would defect to Woodbury to be with his brother. But, Daryl has too much blood, sweat, time, and energy invested in his group now to just turn his back on them. Remember, this is a new world they live in. I can see Daryl trying to save Merle and bring him back to the prison, but there is no way he’ll leave everyone behind to go off alone with Merle. Well, that’s if they can escape Woodbury alive, that is…
Merle “Knifehand” Dixon
It will be a cold day in hell before I admit that I like Merle Dixon. He is the type of person that would thrive in the zombie apocalypse for all the wrong reasons. Merle’s cruel, cold, and heartless. So, it’s safe to say that I didn’t shed a tear when his racist ass ended up missing in season one. But, I did shed a tear when I found out he was coming back this season. Like a maggot to a pile of trash, where trouble is, Merle is soon to follow.
NOTE: I love Michael Rooker. I just put that out there so he won’t come clawing up my bed tonight with a buck knife in his teeth and revenge in his eyes. Because, you don’t play a character as crazy as Merle Dixon without being a little crazy yourself.
When he turned up in Woodbury, knowing what I knew about the place from the comics, I knew it was a perfect fit for him, like a finely sharpened bayonet at the end of an arm stump. But, I was shocked to see it all blow up in his face during the mid-season finale. Although we had seen very little of Merle before this season, it was easy to tell that he was always looking out for his own best interests. That’s why he stayed at Woodbury. There, he could have power and that’s what he wanted. It was that power and they self-centered thinking, however, that got Merle in the middle of the battle ring. If he had only told The Governor that Michonne had excaped…
What do you really say about Andrea? What can you say about a character that has done nothing but get herself in trouble? Even Carl, who has managed to stay in the house a staggering negative 12 times, somehow escaped Hershel’s farm with the group. But, the gun-toting, self-appointed badass Andrea could not? What is she really good for anyhow?
Where Carl was the whiny adolescent boy, Andrea was his female counterpart. Her arguments with Dale over if she should go out on runs with Shane or if she needed to carry a gun around camp (she pulled the “my real dad game me this gun” card on Dale, and he bought it.) with everyone else armed to the teeth. But, midway through season two we found out why Andrea wanted to go with Shane on runs. She, uh, had to help him shift gears in the car, if you catch my drift?
I think I’m sensing a pattern here.
While some in the group try to show their worth by helping out or showing initiative, Andrea chose the path of sleeping with the enemy. I think that her lust for bad boys has to be part of some sort of power grab. She, uh, serviced Shane’s engine because she thought that he was either leaving or was about to take over the group. Her logic, from what I’ve gathered, is that it’s better to be below a leader’s belt than at the end of his gun’s barrel (no, that wasn’t an innuendo). At least that’s what she’s doing with The Governor right now.
She has a particular set of skills. Skills acquired over a very long career. But, at least this never happened on the show…
Michonne was a fan favorite that sent fanboys into a cold sweat at the end of season 2. She is a badass babe with a katana and a law degree. Armed with her pets (yes, that included Andrea for a time) she set off into the apocalypse with every intention of surviving alone. Above all else, though, it is great to see a strong female character for a change. Don’t get me wrong, Maggie is pretty tough, but she turns to mush when Glenn is threatened with harm. Michonne would have killed Glenn herself, and ate his flesh for nourishment.
Underneath all those dreadlocks and toughness lies the heart of a woman that wants to be in a group, because, since meeting Andrea, she likes having warm bodies around her for company. Above all else, she wants to feel safer that she did before. Remember, she isn’t a stupid lady (law degree!) so she knows what she is doing when she attempts to convince Rick to let her stay. I think she will prove her worth in the second half of the season. We’ll see that she’s worth 10 Oscars, 2 T-Dogs, a Jim and a Glenn all tied together. I just hope that she gets the chance to kill Andrea herself.
You know, like she did her other pets…
This second half of the season promises action. The prison versus Woodbury. The Governor versus The Ricktator. The “right” versus the “wrong”. Although we know that Rick and his group will win, it is hard to tell who will pay the ultimate price for victory. Will the deaths that take place on the show mirror those of the comic books? Will our excitement for the arrival of Tyrese be spoiled a few episodes into the second half of the season with his untimely death? How will Daryl escape Woodbury and will he take Merle with him? Will we ever figure out how Andrea keeps her hair bleached during the zombie apocalypse? Is Rick really mentally stable or is he just going through the motions?