'Walking Dead' recap and review: 'Hounded' brings us the collision we've all been waiting for

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When a television series sets up two parallel stories in two separate locations, as ‘The Walking Dead’ has done with Woodbury and the prison, it’s not a question of whether or not the two threads are going to meet up, but when.  ‘Walking Dead’ pulled the trigger on that particular gun this week, and I think that the fact that it happened a bit sooner than we were expecting (as have many things in season 3) makes for an exciting choice.  Michonne’s at the prison now, the Governor has Glenn and Maggie, and here...we... go.

Let’s backtrack a bit, though.  The episode begins with Merle and his cronies (including Neil something-or-other, whose last name Merle can’t pronounce) hunting down Michonne, and it’s a nice reminder right at the top of the episode of what a psycho the Governor is.  Michonne no longer poses any real threat to him, but he’d rather send his hit-squad out to kill her than take any chances.  I like that we don’t see the Governor make this call, but it makes sense when you think back to some of his earlier behavior.  I think that it’s a reminder that we needed, after watching him make googly eyes at Andrea for four weeks (which I’ll talk more about in a bit.)

The action in this whole episode was a lot of fun, which is something that this show’s always been pretty good at.  This was our first real taste of people fighting other people to the death (the staged fights from last week don’t count), and it was pretty badass.  Michonne took down two of Merle’s goons no problem, but it got a bit more complicated when some Walkers showed up.  She took a bullet in the leg, Merle figured ‘good enough,’ and then put a bullet in Neil’s head when Neil had the balls to disagree with good ole’ Merle.  

Glenn and Merle

Merle’s quick little almost-sword-fight with Michonne was neat, and while we could still get to know Michonne a little better, there’s definitely fun to be had by having a superhero like Michonne on the show.  Hopefully we will learn more about her character soon, but in the meantime it sure is nice to watch her slice and dice.  I’m pretty excited to see her interact with the folks at the prison, and showing up with the baby formula should go a long way towards getting her in with the group, even if they’re not going to like her news about Glenn and Maggie.

Speaking of Glenn and Maggie, they thought they hit the baby formula jackpot, when their old buddy Merle popped up to ruin their lovely day.  Glenn is immediately (and understandably) distrustful, and Merle seems at first to be cooperating.  However, he sees from the very beginning that the way to get at Glenn is to go for Maggie, and once he gets a gun to her head it’s game over.  Michonne sees the whole thing go down, but in her injured state is unable to do anything but watch as Merle takes our favorite couple back to Woodbury, where no doubt much horror awaits them.

Oh, on a side note:  Carol’s alive because... of course she is!  Daryl finds her half starved behind a door, but only after finding her knife and assuming the worst.  I never really had any doubt that she was around, but it’s nice to see that they hadn’t brutally killed another major character off screen.  Plus, Carol gives Daryl someone to bounce off of, so that’s nice.  Daryl’s little moment with Carl, where they apologized for each other’s dead moms, was a fun little bit of character work, although I still can’t really believe how tolerable Carl is this season.

Andrea and GovernorLet’s talk about Andrea and the Governor for a bit, as much as I’d kind of rather not.  First of all, Andrea has a habit of jumping into bed with every villain on the show, apparently, and it’s kind of odd.  Admittedly it’s not like she’s the most likable or sympathetic character on the show right now anyway, but boning the dude who has zombie head fishtank and regularly hangs out with his undead daughter certainly doesn’t help.  The scene where Andrea goes rogue on the wall and stabs a walker in the face was pretty fun, although I’m sad that because of it she gets denied a job as a sentry, where she would have had a chance to do more cool stuff.  But such is life, I suppose.

I thought that the Andrea/Governor stuff was easily the weakest storyline of the episode, largely because of the dialogue.  The idea that they would end up in bed together is one that I think makes a lot of sense, but I found the execution of it to be a bit clumsy.  I’m sure a large part of it is the ‘meh’ characterization of Andrea, but every scene between the two of them this week just felt like they were putting off the inevitable.  I do have high hopes for the situation in Woodbury now that Glenn and Maggie are there, though, especially considering that the Governor is keeping this info from Andrea.  No doubt this will incite conflict between her and dear Phillip, and hopefully provide her with an opportunity to redeem herself, both as a person and as a character in the eyes of the audience.  

Rick and the ghost phoneThe other major thread of the episode was Rick on the phone, and while it did all turn out to be a hallucination, as I think we all probably felt that it was, I am pretty glad that they never felt the need to show us that the phone was, like, unplugged from the wall or something.  When the big reveal came, and we were told by the voice of Ghost Lori that we’d been hearing Amy, Jim, and Jackie, it made a lot of sense, and it ended up being a creative, enjoyable way to watch Rick work through his grief over losing Lori.

In addition to allowing Rick some closure over the fact that they weren’t on good terms when she died, it let him move past it to the point where he can be a contributing character to the story again instead of running around crying and hitting zombies with an axe, but in a way that didn’t feel like he was just all of a sudden over it.  He has a baby to worry about now, and a group of people that still count on him to keep them safe.  It’s okay to grieve, but it’s not okay to let your grief consume you.

ll told, this was an exciting hour of ‘Walking Dead’ that was only slightly bogged down by the Andrea Romance Adventure Fun Time in Woodbury.  Now that the lovebirds and the samurai have traded places though, it’s only a matter of time before things explode, which they seem to have a habit of doing quite spectacularly on this show, don’t they?

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Eric Zipper Eric Zipper is a writer and comedian living in Los Angeles. When he's not making you laugh, playing video games, or watching movies, he's probably sleeping. Follow him on Twitter @erzip
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