It was the lack of Tyreese (Chad Coleman) which led me to wait an extra week before delivering up to you my latest take on The Walking Dead.
February 17th brought us Epsiode 10, “Home“ and as mentioned above, Tyreese and his motley crew were noticeably absent from the action. Not really surprising considering Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) little episode at the end of “The Suicide King.”
Instead, “Home” centred around the now fragile community of Woodbury and the mounting tension amongst Rick and the gang. It was an episode of heavy character development with a frenzy of action right at the end that I am sure left many viewers biting their nails. The episode investigated the paranoia of The Governor (David Morrisey) and the loyalty of Andrea (Laurie Holden) and Milton (Dallas Roberts). Just exactly what the Governor wants from Andrea is very unclear. On the one hand, he’s telling her he needs her to lead Woodbury, and then on the other hand, he’s asking Milton to keep tabs on her and making sure all of the armed militia don’t give her any information about his plans for retaliation. It’s hard to work out exactly what game The Governor is playing, however one thing was certain by the end of this episode, he’s even creepier now he’s only got one eye.
Back at the prison Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) aren’t dealing with the scars of their captivity in Woodbury well, Glenn’s angry and Maggie’s filled with resentment. Hershel’s (Scott Wilson) pleading to try and start making smart plans are falling on deaf ears and Rick is out chasing phantom Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) around. The group is in chaos and of course it takes danger and tragedy to bring them all back to reality.
For me the biggest tease of the entire 10th episode is how willing the writers are to get you cozy with a character only to kill them off 30 minutes later. The budding romantic relationship which was beginning to develop between Axel (Lew Temple) and Carol (Melissa McBride) is snuffed out with one gruesome and pretty graphic bullet to the brain as The Governor and his crew make their first assault. But can we give props to Carol for being the kind of sister who uses there love interest as a shield against machine gun spray? I think we can.
The relationship betweel Merle (Michael Rooker) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) is also cemented in this episode, and not just because the two Dixon brothers return together to save Rick from the field of walkers. The interaction between the brothers was the perfect combination of bitter nostalgia and dry wit, with only a few words each Daryl and Merle conveyed to the audience the trials they endured as children and showed us that despite all their faults with one another, they’re bond is not one that will be easily broken.
Episode 11 “I Ain’t No Judas” aired on the 24th of February and I don’t think I am alone in my opinion that this baby goes down as the best episode of the season. The title is a clever one and the viewer’s are left wondering who precisely it could be referring to. Andrea, Merle and Milton can all easily take up the mantle of a Judas in this unfolding story, but perhaps the real Judas is yet to be revealed? Either way everything is moving towards its conclusion, although what precisely that is we can’t be sure of just yet. Still, Episode 11 has given us some of the most tender and grisly moments we’ve seen to date. It is Carl (Chandler Riggs) who really shines in this episode, his heartfelt words to Rick outside, “You’ve earned it” completely strip his request for his Father to step down from the leadership role from any negativity. Rick has earned a rest, and deep down he knows it. Although whether or not he’ll be able to step down and take a back seat to Daryl and Hershel still remains to be seen.
Merle’s character is given a twist in this episode, I don’t think it is a stretch to say most of the audience had written Merle off as a red neck antagonist, but his intimate moment with Hershel quoting Matthew shows a new depth to Merle, and maybe he isn’t the uneducated white trash bully we pegged him for. “Woodbury had a damn fine library” is what he tells Hershel, and you can’t help but be surprised that those words are coming out of Merle’s lips. It’s hard to say whether his attempts to bridge the divide between him and Michonne (Danai Gurira )are genuine or just based on wanting to survive amongst the group, either way the first move was made by Merle and it’s hard to tell if Michonne is going to accept it or reject it…
And on the subject of Michonne, “I Ain’t No Judas” is a big episode for her, we’re slowly learning more and more about who she is, although her past remains a mystery, we’re learning about her loyalty, and also her methods of vengeance. “I knew it would hurt you” Michonne tells Andrea, explaining to her former travelling companion that she did what she did to expose The Governor’s true nature. But does Andrea really see? If the end of the episode is anything to go by that answer might be no. But then maybe Andrea has the stomach to crush a zombie’s face against a rock and hack off it’s arms, but still can’t bring herself to stab a man while he’s sleeping. Ah, the shreds of humanity our survivors cling to!
As I mentioned at the start, I staved off this review for an extra week in the hopes I’d get some more Tyreese time. In the comics Tyreese is a hugely important character and I’ve been expecting him to play an important role in the series whenever he did finally show his face. To my surprise, Episode 11 didn’t have much Tyreese time at all! He’s on the screen long enough to get let in to Woodbury and to offer to help the Governor take down Rick and Co. Will Tyreese become The Gov’s new right hand man? Or are the writers gearing up to make an unlikely hero out of him? Will it be Tyreese who does what Andrea can’t and eventually put an end to the Governor’s madness?
What is going to happen next episode is anyone’s guess. The teaser trailer that AMC have left us with doesn’t give us a lot of clues. With only 5 episodes left to go in this season, we can be sure that every moment from now until the finale is going to be an action packed thrill ride.