'Walking Dead' Premiere Recap: Blood Is Thicker Than Water - Rolling Stone
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‘Walking Dead’ Premiere Recap: Blood Is Thicker Than Water

Daryl chooses his brother over the other Still Alives, Tyrese comes at a bad time

The Walking DeadThe Walking Dead

Laurie Holden as Andrea in 'The Walking Dead'.

Gene Page/AMC

Where we left off: Michonne led Rick and his gang to Woodbury to rescue Glenn and Maggie. We barely got to know Oscar but then he bit the big one while Rick was busy hallucinating his former bestie Shane. Michonne shoved a shard of broken glass into The Governor’s eye and killed his zombie daughter, Penny. We met a new bunch of survivors when their leader Tyrese brought them to the prison, which apparently never had a back wall. (What?) The Governor captured Daryl and set him up for a death match with none other than his snarly stabby-handed brother Merle. It’s been so long! And I need my zombietime! Welcome back, The Walking Dead

Where we pick up: The Brothers Dixon: reunited and it feels so very uncomfortable! The people of Woodbury egg them on to beat the frak out of each other. The Woodburians are pretty strange, right? Everything seems relatively hunky-dory whenever they have garden parties, but then at night they really enjoy watching gruesome fights? Don’t they have books there? Maybe they would like to read some novels instead of rooting for people who have already survived a zombie plague to kill each other? Andrea breaks through the (awkwardly staged, right? Like they couldn’t hire enough extras to make this scene look better?) crowd at the fight night to try to save her friend Daryl. Her one-eyed boo The Governor doesn’t care.

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The Gov announces that he wants Merle to prove his loyalty to Woodbury in a brother-to-brother fight to the death. Merle wallops on his little brother (of course he does) until the Woodburian Games Master leads shackled zombies into the fighting octagon. Oh, but this is just a Merle-y ruse! “Follow me,” hisses Merle, as sharpshooter Maggie sprays the crowd with bullets. She snipes out the zombies and the brothers Dixon escape with Rick’s gang, but not before Daryl is reunited with his beloved crossbow. Oh, crossbow! You came back!

Rick’s gang flees through a hole in the Woodbury fence, leaving a gap just conveniently wide enough for a zombie to enter. 

On the road, Michonne and Glenn relax against their fancypants (and spotless) mint green car, waiting for the rest of their crew. Trip trop, trip trop, here comes Rick! Michonne and Glenn are not exactly pleased to see Merle, who instantly taunts Michonne about her late zombie-pets and her feelings about Andrea. Back down, Merle!  How about a nice reunion instead of spewing your nastiness around? Just don’t be a dick for two minutes? Rick knocks him out with a blow to the head.

At the prison, Doc Hershel bandages Allen, one of Tyrese’s men. Beth enters with the baby and it’s all Children of Men around here. “I never thought we’d see another baby,” marvels Sasha. Lo and behold, it turns out that Tyrese’s neighbor was a doomsday prepper and they survived on his supplies and joined a camp until they were overrun. Tyrese laughs that he’s first brother in history to break into prison. Rimshot! Tyrese seems like a good dude? But Hershel warns him not to get too comfortable here. 

On the road, the Still Alives argue. Rick doesn’t want to bring Merle back to the prison – heck, Daryl is part of the family and Merle is not. Not to mention the fact that they haven’t seen him since chaining his wrist to a zombie-infested roof. The Still Alives stand off – Daryl can go with them back to the prison, or he can go with his brother. Daryl chooses to go with Team Dixon. Poor Carol will just have to understand. Rick wants to negotiate, but Daryl and his super crossbow won’t leave his brother again. And so the brothers depart. Come back, Daryl! I love you! So Daryl is gone, but Michonne gets to stay – Hershel will patch her up and then she has to leave. And hey! Nice ride, Rick!! That mud never even touches your whip! 

At the prison, Tyrese and Allen carry the Donna-the-dead-lady’s body outside to bury it. Allen spies Carol and Carl in the field and decides this is a golden opportunity for their group to take over the prison. Allen’s son Ben is totally in. But Tyrese is all, “Hold up! These are good people.” Axel and Beth show up with some shovels. They are more or less like: “Hiiiiiii, here are some shovels in case you would like to bash our brains in!” Luckily, cooler heads prevail. 

Rick’s gang discovers Bella Swan’s pickup truck on the road and Glenn does some series skull-stomping on its zombie inhabitant. Glenn is pissed off that The Governor is still alive. He wants some Governor revenge because he is so revolted by The Gov’s almost-rape of Maggie. Glenn also misses his buddy Daryl. Glenn is being a real snottypants.

Back in Woodbury, Andrea tells us that nine people are injured after the skirmish. The Woodburians protest – they don’t feel safe and they want to leave. Andrea tries to take control and stop the riot, and she’s Little Ms. NLP as she calls them by their names. Hi, Karen! Hi, Martinez! So nice to meet you! But oh no – the zombie who sneaked into Woodbury eats a dude. Andrea takes out the walker and is faced with the dying, zombie-bitten Woodbury Dude. She hesitates. The Gov storms out of his house and casually fires a bullet into that dude’s brain. He is a man of few words, that one. 

Andrea confronts her boyfriend about his behavior in front of the Woodburians. The people are scared, but The Governor is just planning for war. War! War against the Prison Gang! Andrea is shocked that the Prison Gang – her friends – are all still alive. The Gov kept that a secret even while they were doin’ it. Although admittedly it would be awesome if during a moment of intense passion, the Governor screamed out “ALL YOUR FRIENDS ARE HERE AND I SORT OF WAS GOING TO RAPE MAGGIE BUT THEN I DIDN’T.” Alas. Wasted opportunity, writers.

Milton the Nerd tries to calm down the Woodburians, but Andrea ends up taking charge and making a stump speech about rebuilding the community and their hearts and minds. The Woodburians pause to let this sink in and they almost go into a slow clap. Way to go, Andrea! You inspired people! But The Governor does not look happy about your new role as inspirational speaker!

At the prison, Carol muses philosophically about how much she misses noise pollution. Carl feels bad about being mean to his dead mom. The mint green car arrives, saving us from any further Carl musings. Rick reveals that Daryl ran off with Merle. Poor Carol is distraught, all emo and sweaty, and she doesn’t even have a purple headscarf. Someone please find her a Cherokee Rose. 

Beth hands the baby to Rick and notes that she has her mother’s eyes. Rick stares at his infant as the soundtrack gets all sorts of trippy. 

Doc Hershel tends to Glenn’s wounds. He thanks Glenn for looking out for Maggie and tells him he’s like his own son. Awwwwww. Doc Hershel limps out to check in on Maggie and to urge her to reconnect with her boyfriend. Maggie stoically doesn’t want to talk about what happened to her at Woodbury. Her dad tells her she has her mother’s spirit and stubbornness. (But not her eyes! A zombie ate those.) 

The Prison Gang needs reinforcements in case The Governor retaliates. Rick finally goes to meet Tyrese and his crew. Tyrese volunteers to help out and defend the prison, but Rick won’t have any of it. Hershel commends Rick on his leadership skills but urges him to give Tyrese and his people a chance. Seriously, Rick. Your numbers are dwindling pretty damn fast. Rick pauses, seemingly thinking about it. But then . . . oh COME the fuck on. Suddenly there’s a ghostly Lori apparition and Rick loses his shit. The whole group watches as he goes through a psychotic break and screams at the ghost to get out. Rick blows a gasket. Because he’s seeing a ghost-bride version of his dead wife who’s apparently decided that phone calls from beyond the grave are just too “Are You Afraid of the Dark” and needs to visit him in person. All righty then. Come back to us, Sheriff Rick. It is no fun when you are a mess. 

It is also no fun to see Ghost Lori! Lori is dead! She is double-dead, in fact, because her beleaguered son shot her corpse in the head to prevent her from going zombie. Go away, Ghost Lori! Go far, far away.

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