Where we left off: Welcome to Woodbury, Michonne and Andrea. We met The Governor, who may or may not be a good person. Probably not, because he gunned down the National Guard and keeps a Man Cave full of dismembered heads floating in aquarium tanks. Also: our old friend Merle is back, minus a hand.
Where we pick up: Oh man. Oh man oh man oh man, this episode is a doozy. When I spoke to Andrew Lincoln before the season premiere, he mentioned that episode 304 was when things got really good. I’ve greatly enjoyed this season so far (laters for you, Search for Sophia), but this episode just seriously kicked ass. And broke my heart. And made me cry, and squeal, and scream. BRAVO, Team Walking Dead Producers! This was the best episode yet.
The episode begins with a mysterious someone feeding dead animals to the walkers. And cutting open the chains keeping the gates secured. And leaving a heart on the ground.
Rick and Daryl and T-dog and Carol are strategizing, moving their vehicles around and getting ready to burn the corpses. They need some more help so they call for Glenn and Maggie who are making the beast with two backs in the guard tower. The group on the ground wants to know if they’re coming. Are they? Bwa ha ha. Sex joke on The Walking Dead! Good one!
Axel and Oscar approach and plea to join the Still Alives. They can’t handle living with all the dead bodies of their prisoner friends. Axel tells Rick that they’ll do whatever they need to do to join the group but Rick responds that the deal they made was non-negotiable – the prisoners either stay in their cell block or they hit the road, Jack.
The group discusses and T-dog argues that they should let the prisoners join them. Massive character development and so much more dialogue for T-dog than he normally receives! Hooray for T-dog!
In Woodbury, Michonne examines the newly-looted booty from the National Guard. The guns are out of ammo and there are fresh bullet holes and human blood on the trucks. The Governor asks Michonne to stay and be a soldier for Woodbury, but she calls him on the fact that the blood and the bullet holes just don’t seem to add up to the story he’s telling about how the National Guard all died before he could rescue them.
Beth and Lori bring crutches to Hershel, who is eager to go for a stroll. Everyone is elated that Hershel is up on his feet – er, foot.
Michonne and Andrea discuss their travel plans. Michonne wants to head to the coast because it will be safe. She wants out of Woodbury because her gut tells her that something is totally off about the Governor.
Glenn gives a box of food to Axel and tells him it’s enough to last them for a week on the road. Axel says "Thank you, bro." Oscar gives him shit for saying that.
Rick, Glenn and Daryl walk around the prison yard as T-Dog and Carol move their vehicles into formation. Hershel takes his first triumphant steps outside and everyone cheers. Not so loudly! Your cheers will draw the zombies, you silly! Lori and Rick exchange a glance that seems almost loving. Let’s call it actually loving. It’s delightful.
But then – holy shit! Walkers! So many walkers! Where did they come from? SHIT. Rick and Daryl and Glenn run back to the prison as Carl and Lori attempt to save themselves. Beth and Hershel make it back to the prison and slam the gate closed. Maggie rescues Lori and Carl and leads them inside. The prison is also filled with walkers and they don’t know where to go. Suddenly, the prison alarms start blaring. And if you thought a measly "Hooray" was going to draw the walkers, then just see what happens when prison alarms go off. T-dog is bit, bad. Fuck fuck fuck.
Andrea gives Merle a map describing where she last saw his brother Daryl. Merle wonders why they never hooked up back in the day. Most likely because he was a racist asshole who called her a whore. Oh, that. Merle tells Andrea that they have a lot in common because they were both left behind. And not in a rapture sort of way.
The Governor hits golf balls off the tall, tall walls, aiming at lurching walkers. The Governor golfs while Rome burns, so to speak. He wants to bring women to Augusta and let them play and break tradition. Fuck your sexist golf tradition, Augusta! Top priority when the world has turned to shit! Merle asks the Governor for permission to go look for Daryl. The Governor is skeptical that he could still be alive eight months later but says that if he can get more information, he’ll go out with Merle himself.
Lori knows the baby is coming. Maggie tries to help because she knows a tiny bit about birthing babies. Lori is in bad shape. She tries to push but ends up covered in blood. She asks Maggie to cut the baby out of her using her old C-section scars as a guide.
T-dog tries to guide Carol to safety as they’re overrun by zombies. He is brutally and gorily attacked. So long, T-dog. You were a good guy even if they forgot to write dialogue for you for the first two seasons.
The Governor shares a drink with Andrea, who has lost her tolerance for hard liquor. They talk about their lost families – his wife died in a car accident before the zombpocalypse began and it’s just him and his daughter. Andrea, who looks really pretty now that she’s healthy and clean, exchanges some meaningful glances He tells her that she’s welcome back to Woodbury anytime. He also tells her his real name: Philip. He steps towards her like he might just kiss her, but instead he opens the doors and says goodbye.
The fighting Still Alives, along with Axel and Oscar, try to shut down the generators to get the sirens to shut off. Andrew (the tiny prisoner Rick left to die out in the prison yard two episodes back) tries to kill Rick. Oscar ends up with a gun and aims it. Andrew cries "Shoot him! We can take back this prison! This is our house! Shoot him!" But Oscar shoots Andrew instead, because Oscar understands life and death and remembers that Andrew was one of the bad dudes.
Lori knows she’s going to die but she wants the baby to live. She tells Carl to be a good man and always do the right thing. I’m sorry, I can’t write anymore about this scene because I was weeping and weeping and I couldn’t see the screener video on my laptop. Maggie manages to cut the baby out – a raw C-section with no anesthesia. My ladyparts cramped in empathy. The baby is delivered safely, but Lori is gone. Carl has to shoot his mother in the head to prevent her from turning into a zombie. I don’t think there are any therapists left in this world, but if there is, he should probably try to find one someday.
Rick and Daryl and Glenn try to find the rest of their people. They see walkers eating what’s left of T-dog, and discover Carol’s headscarf. Oh man. Carol, too? Before she ever got to explore her romance with Daryl?
Maggie carries the baby into the prison yard. Without Lori. Rick absolutely loses his shit and it’s the most heartbreaking display of anguish we’ve ever seen on this show. Hand Andrew Lincoln an Emmy, please!
Here is a horrible tally: We’ve lost T-Dog, Carol and Lori. We’ve gained a tiny baby.
And Con-ed just called to say the power is back on in my apartment so I can go home without worrying about zombies. It was pretty scary there for a week. Until next Sunday, zombiefriends! Stay safe and be well.