The Walking Dead: "Hounded" (Season 3, Episode 6)

Flabbergasted

Merle is still a jerk, Michonne is still a badass, the Governor is still a bad guy, and Andrea is still a truly dreadful judge of men. Meanwhile, Rick conducts a therapy session with himself. Yet despite these repetitions of theme, a lot actually happens in this episode. And, to use a science fiction pun, we finally see worlds colliding at the end.

We open with Merle and three other guys hunting Michonne down. So, yeah, the Governor lied when he said anyone who wants to could leave Woodbury. Remember, he’s still a bad guy. Michonne appears out of nowhere to kill two of Merle’s companions, then disappears into the woods. She’s still a badass, you know. Merle chases after her and shouts “We having fun yet?”

I think the two dead guys would answer no. Ratings to date would say the audience answers yes.

Rick picks up that phone that was ringing in the boiler room at the end of last week’s episode. It’s a woman who says they are somewhere safe, but she can’t say where. Rick begs her to tell him. He says that he has a family, that his people are good people. She says she’ll call back in two hours. Talk about leaving you hanging.

Andrea and the Governor continue their somewhat tedious flirtation. She wants to work the wall because she likes shooting guns, as we already noted multiple times last season. We later see her on the wall accompanied by a younger woman armed with a bow and arrow. A walker appears. The woman misses with her first two shoots. Andrea breaks Woodbury’s rules by leaping down off the wall to jab a knife in the walker’s skull.

Rick get his call two hours later. It’s a man this time, one who starts asking tough questions. Stuff like how many people have you killed? Rick answers honestly. Then, how did you lose your wife? Rick balks at that; the man hangs up. It’s pretty obvious at this point that Rick is talking to his own conscience.

Merle and his young tagalong cross paths with Michonne again. She and Merle having a brutal close-in encounter. It leaves both hurt, but then this show’s version of the bell ringing happens--walkers arrive. Take special note that when Michonne slashes one across the belly, it’s guts spill out all over her. This comes in helpful later (as those of you who watched the first season know). After Michonne vanishes yet again, Merle says its time to cut their losses: she’s injured and headed for a red zone, so she must be as good as dead. The younger guy, who Merle was ragging on to do the job earlier, says no. They have to do the dang job! Merle smiles at his dedication before shooting him in the head. Cuz‘, you know, Merle is still a total jerk.

Darryl, Oscar and Carl are clearing out more cell blocks. Darryl tells Carl a simply awful story about how he lost his mother. Like this show needed any more depressing anecdotes. Carl holds serve, however, by noting that he shot his mother in the face to keep her from coming back as a walker. This is like some twisted version of the dozens: “My life is so f***ked up because… Oh, yeah, well my life is so f**ked up because…” Anyway, they eventually kill a walker who has a knife in it’s throat. Darryl recognizes the knife as belonging to Carol.

The Governor and Andrea continue to flirt. They will eventually talk about the thrill of being alive in a post-Apocalyptic zombie holocaust. Then they will make out. Ugh. Michonne limps into four walkers who stumble right past her without attacking. Seems like they can smell rot (all those guts that spilled out over her) and don’t go for it.

The voice on the other end of the phone calls Rick by his name, which he hasn’t mentioned before, confirming that this is a call from himself. It’s in Lori’s voice now. Rick says he loves her, that he couldn’t put it back together before. He just needed Lori and Carl and the baby somewhere safe. Then there would be time. He finally comes to his senses, realizing his responsibility to Carl and the baby. He hangs up as the phone connection starts to break down.

Michonne limps up to an old general store. She hides behind a car as another car drives up. Wouldn’t you know it’s Glean and Maggie out looking for supplies. They wind up with a basket full, only to be confronted outside by a haggard looking Merle. Glen offers to bring Darryl to meet him if Merle will wait there. Merle chooses to draw on them instead. In the ensuing chaos, he takes Maggie hostage, his gun to her head. Glen has no choice but to drive him to Woodbury. Merle lies to the Governor about Michonne, then says he has two members of a group who must have some good supplies. Even knowing that Andrea knows them, the Governor has no problem letting Merle go sweat a location out of them. After all, he’s a bad guy, and Merle is a jerk.

Rick goes back to the group and finally holds his baby. He’s back to whatever passes for sanity these days. Darryl finds the still living Carol barricaded in a cell. Remember, I told you last week that she was still alive: no elaborate death scene, preferably gory? On this show, that equals alive. Darryl carries her to safety. We get a neat visual echo of that as we see Rick emerging into the sunlight, carrying his baby girl.

Then Rick stops, looks odd. He hands the baby off and makes his way to the gate, hand on his gun. Walkers stand on the far side. Among them is Michonne, still protected by her grotesque gut bath. She’s holding Glen and Maggie’s basket of goodies.

Worlds collide.

Will conservatives like this episode:

Sure. Michonne is a bad ass, we have real bad guys to fight, Rick talks his way back to sanity, and Darryl, the original red state caricature, gets to be a hero. He carries the blood-streaked lady fair to safety. Good stuff. And by the by, I’ll be abroad next Sunday, so I’ll do the last two episodes for this half season as one review.

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