Where we left off: Rick took Carl on a guns ‘n’ ammo run back to their hometown of Kings County, Georgia. Michonne came along and finally clicked with other humans, helping Carl rescue a beloved family portrait and confessing to Rick that she also used to see things that weren’t there. Back home, Rick reconnected with Morgan, his long-ago savior from the early days of the zombcopalypse. Morgan’s mind clouded over after his son turned zombie, and now he spends his days booby-trapping the town and keeping it clear of walkers. Rick and company refused to stop to help a backpacker and after he bit it, or rather, got bit, they snagged his pack and added it to their new stash of supplies.
This week: Daryl makes a new friend! Hershel and Milton hit it off! And Michonne’s time with the Prison Gang might be drawing to a close.
So, somehow Andrea managed to set up a summit between Rick and the Governor. Maybe she drove to the prison and handed them an invitation, maybe she sent a carrier pigeon, or maybe she used smoke signals. However she made it happen, Rick meets the Gov in an empty barn. Rick’s allies, Daryl and Hershel, wait outside, along with the Gov’s two best bros Milton and Martinez. The Governor drops his weapons to show Rick he’s serious about truce-talking, although of course he’s taped another gun to the treaty-making table. (Spoilers: He never actually uses this weapon. Chekhov’s gun theory – finally disproved!) Andrea storms into the barn upset that they’ve started the negotiation process without her. After all, before the zombpocalypse, she was a lawyer. So she’s well-versed in these sorts of meetings and she wants to run the show. The Governor shoos her away because he has no time for womenfolk intruding on his serious man-to-man time.
Rick offers a proposal: the Prison Gang gets the land west of the river and the Woodburians get the land to the east. No one crosses the boundary lines, no one trades, no making friends. The Governor is not into this kind of negotiation. He wants one thing and one thing only: Rick’s surrender.
Rick tries to appeal to the Governor’s sense of moral duty to his people – they’re both leaders and they both want to keep their posses alive, so oughtn’t they try to lead correctly, Mister Governor? The Gov plays dirty, bringing up Baby Judith and her uncertain paternity. Low blow, sir. Luckily, he brought whiskey so let’s get drunk and hammer out the terms of this deal! Right on!
Outside the barn, Hershel and Milton start to bond over scientific research and discovery when we hear some fearsome zombie snarls. Daryl and Martinez sniff each other’s butts while taking out walkers and grudgingly earn each other’s respect due to their hardcore zombie-killing skillz. It’s nice to see some solid male friendships developing on this show. Man time! Bro down! Let’s smoke zombie cigarettes and talk about girls and beer! They acknowledge that this summit is a load of total bullshit – no matter what happens inside that barn, there’s still going to be a massive showdown. Milton grills Hershel about his amputation and asks to see his stump. You’ve gotta buy a man a drink before you ask for something so intimate, buddy! Chuckles abound.
Hershel strikes up a chat with Andrea after she’s kicked out of the barn. She’s having a bit of an existential crisis, especially after Hershel reveals that the Governor almost did some very dirty and nasty stuff to his daughter. What will she do? She’s dating a very deranged man! Hershel insists that she belongs with the Prison Gang – will she give up her plush bed and all the comforts of Woodbury and her boyyyyyfriend to rejoin her friends? Her friends might also be crazy, but mayhaps they are slightly less cray-cray than the Governor. After all, they don’t keep zombie heads floating in aquariums. (Yet?)
The Governor knows that Rick brought back a massive haul of weapons from his daytrip to Kings County. And he knows that any future battle will take out most of his people. He takes off his eye patch and shows Rick his gory wound. The Governor wants Michonne. If Rick gives her up to the Governor, this standoff ends today. One woman’s life for the lives of everyone else. Oh fuck. Just when we’re starting to like her!
Back at the prison, the Still Alives stash weapons and ammo all over their fortress in preparation for the eventual battle with Team Woodbury. Merle insists that they need to seize this opportunity and attack, taking out the Governor once and for all. Glenn insists they can’t put Rick’s life in danger. Merle does not like it when other people question his authori-tay and shit gets heated. Merle doesn’t need Glenn’s permission, especially when his beloved baby brother’s life is on the line. Merle tells Glenn to nut up. Glenn refuses. Merle beats up Glenn (again). Someone fires a shot! It’s Beth, the farmer’s daughter, (Beth, the lovely farmer’s daughter), strapping on a set of ovaries and taking charge.
Glenn steps outside to stand watch and Maggie joins him. Glenn is still trying to protect her after everything that happened to her when they were hostages at Woodbury. They finally reconnect and start making out in front of all these zombies. Gross! Glenn leads her inside and things get hot and heavy. The whole time they’re making out, I am screaming at my TV. You can’t have sex in a zombie movie! That’s a basic rule of horror films! If you have sex, you’re going to DIE. But they love each so much that they’re able to get jiggy with it and still survive. That’s the power of love! (Cue the Huey Lewis). I just hope they picked up condoms on one of their supply runs because unprotected sex when you’re living in a prison surrounded by zombies is really Bad Idea Jeans.
In the treaty-barn, the men are getting tipsy. Rick wants to know why the Governor wants to kill Michonne so damn badly. They strike a bargain – if Rick gives up Michonne, the Governor will stop trying to kill the Prison Gang. He gives Rick two days to think about it, and then they’ll reconvene in the barn at noon.
The Gov takes his men (and his girlfriend) back to Woodbury, and Rick and his team return to the prison. The Governor tells Martinez to take out the entire prison gang when they return, keeping Michonne alive. Milton is upset about this impending slaughter. The Gov thanks Andrea for her lawyering skills but refuses to discuss the terms of the deal (or his secret plans to massacre her friends). Rick tells his people that he had a long chat with the Gov, mano-a-mano. He lies and tells them that The Gov wants the prison and wants to kill all of them – so this means war. RIGHT ON. The Prison Gang vs. Woodbury! It’s so fucking on!
Hershel finds Rick to discuss their plans for this upcoming battle. Rick confesses that the Governor gave him a choice – if Rick gives over Michonne, then they can prevent this war. Is that the right answer? Will the Governor just kill them all anyway? Rick lied to his people because they need to be scared. (Excellent leadership skills.) Because if they’re terrified, then they might be okay with handing over Michonne. But Michonne has saved everyone’s life and she’s earned her place in the prison. But would either of them sacrifice their own children’s lives for Michonne? Moral quandary. Rick hopes Hershel can talk him out of this decision. There must be another solution, Rick! Or take a cue from the Governor and just plan a massive ambush! How about a big double secret ambush from both sides? You can wear camo and paint your faces and go all Doomsday Preppers on each other? Please? Because, dear Rick, if you turn over Michonne to be tortured and murdered and probably a lot of mean, nasty things in between, you’re a pretty horrible dude. Search deep inside yourself, lawman! There must be some shred of humanity hidden somewhere in that still-beating heart of yours.