'Walking Dead' Recap: Welcome to Woodbury - Rolling Stone
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‘Walking Dead’ Recap: Welcome to Woodbury

Michonne and Andrea discover a brave new world

Walking DeadWalking Dead

The Governor

Gene Page/AMC

Where we left off:  Hershel survived his insta-amputation and did not turn into a zombie.  Rick and T-Dog and Daryl taught five prisoner survivors how to attack zombies but now there are only two prisoner survivors left. Carol did some C-section practicing on an undead lady. Very pregnant Lori worried that she is a horrible mother while her son Carl was off being a total bad-ass and liberating the prison infirmary’s supplies. Caught up? Great! Get ready for some almost-Halloween ZOMBIETIME.

Where we pick up: Remember the second season of Lost when we stopped following the main crew and turned our attention to the “Tailies?” This episode is just like that, except without the infuriating Ana Lucia. Forget about Rick and Hershel and the gang. Now we’re in a brave new world. A brave and somewhat scary world behind very big walls.

We hear the sound of a chopper. Is this the beginning of Billy Joel’s epic “Goodnight Saigon?” Where are we? Is this a flashback or realtime? The helicopter is filled with army dudes and they’re in distress. They radio back to someone (?) and issue a mayday call, but it’s too late. The chopper goes down, hard.

From the road, Andrea and Michonne and their armless, jawless zombies regard the smoke from wreckage.  They set off to explore the accident. Andrea is still in really bad shape – whatever she’s sick with is making her vomit and she’s pretty frail and clammy.  Michonne chains her pets to a tree while the ladies survey the scene. She hands Andrea a gun and gingerly walks into the clearing to investigate the helicopter crash and the carnage. Suddenly, two white pick-up trucks pull into the meadow. Michonne scurries back to their hiding place as they watch these BRAND NEW PEOPLE take out some walkers.

A big tall dude seems to be in charge. Let’s call him The Governor, shall we? The Governor’s men do some zombie head-smashing while they rescue the one helicopter survivor. The crash draws zombies from the woods and Michonne’s pets snarl and hiss in excitement.  The ladies watch in astonishment as The Governor plunges a knife into the skull of one of the crash victims. Apparently, they’ve yet to get the memo that we are all infected with zombie plague. Michonne’s pets get restless and attract the attention of the brand new people, so she katanas their heads right off. Whoa. The Governor tells his men to roll out.

But someone with a very familiar voice approaches Michonne and Andrea and tells them to put down their weapons and spin around with a nice little twirl. Holy shit. It’s Merle! (That rhymes). Our old pal Merle, last seen chained to the top of a skyscraper in Atlanta, is back and better than ever!  With only one hand! (Remember? He was being a racist dick and Rick chained him up and then left him for dead until he had a change of heart and when Daryl went to free his brother, Merle was gone? This is that very same Merle! Good ol’ one-handed Merle!)

And now we’re in some sort of house where Doctor Stevens tends to Andrea while Michonne demands their weapons back.  Merle and Andrea catch up. Andrea hasn’t seen Daryl in seven or eight months, ever since she got separated from the other Still Alives and teamed up with Michonne. Merle wants some appreciation from the ladies and Andrea finally thanks him for bringing them into (apparent) safety. Michonne shoots Andrea a side-eye of rage. I love this woman.

Andrea and Michonne confront The Governor about that whole knife-into-the-dead-guy’s-skull thing. He breaks the news that however we die, we all turn into zombies. NEWSFLASH. The Governor tells the ladies that they’re free to go, but Andrea needs a solid night’s sleep because she’s so sick. He offers them their weapons back, along with food and meds and a vehicle if they want one. He leads them outside to show them where they are: Welcome to Woodbury. Holy shit, welcome to Woodbury.

Woodbury is an actual-factual functioning little village surrounded by mega high walls and armed with heavy artillery. It’s like a new part of Disneyworld, complete with a main street and well-manicured lawns.  Andrea asks about The Governor’s name and he says it’s a nickname. “Buzz is a nickname,  Governor’s a title,” responds Andrea. “There’s a difference.” They watch as Merle dispatches a few walkers who approach the walls. The Governor says they’ll get the bodies in the morning because they can’t leave them to rot or else the odor makes people uneasy. What people? Oh boy, apparently there are more people.

The Governor shows Andrea and Michonne to a room where there are fresh clothes and lots of food and even a hot shower. The ladies seem shell-shocked at this point. The Governor assures them that they’re safe even without Michonne’s katana. Andrea wants to ask more questions but The Governor has work to do. He leaves them until the morning.

And it’s a beautiful day in Woodbury! A lovely Brunette Lady gives the ladies the tour, explaining that there are 73 residents, and the walls haven’t been breached in a month. Woodburians live under a strict curfew – no one’s out after dark and they keep noise and light to a minimum. Andrea appears charmed by the town but Michonne is extremely wary.

The Governor and Doctor Stevens tend to the helicopter pilot. He explains that zombies invaded his camp and everything went haywire and he left his group behind to scout the area in the helicopter. The Governor tells the pilot (Lt. Wells) that he’ll go bring in his men and keep them safe. He promises that he will usher them to safety and sanctuary. This guy is a little scary but he seems like a nice dude. Right? A total nice dude who runs an idyllic little town.

The Governor storms into some sort of science-y laboratory where our token-nerd (Milton) is conducting experiments on his “homework assignment.” He’s examined Michonne’s pets and concluded that headless, armless zombies can be kept as docile walker-repellent. Ding ding ding! They’re so docile that The Governor sticks his hands right into the zombie’s mouth. Milton wants to talk to Michonne and Andrea and get more answers about the my-pet-zombie phenomenon.

Andrea and Michonne eat breakfast with The Governor and Milton. Milton pries into the secret of Michonne’s pets and she doesn’t want to answer him. How did she know those two walkers? Who were they to her? She’s not telling us anything.  The Governor explains how Woodbury functions – the inhabitants have homes and jobs and medical care and food. They’re a community with a lot of ammo and some really big walls. Andrea is looking much better and she’s back to her smugface. How I missed you, smugface!

The Governor announces that they’re going to take back what’s theirs – civilization. Humans will rise again, only this time they won’t be eating each other. RIGHT ON. This all sounds so pragmatic! Let’s raise a toast to civilization!

Andrea and Michonne explore Woodbury. Michonne doesn’t trust the Governor, but then she barely trusts anyone. Andrea wants to chill out and get her shit together. Michonne’s always had her shit together. Touché. Andrea presses her on her pet zombies – who the fuck are/were those people? Michonne stays silent.

The Governor drives up to the army convoy waving a white flag. He tells the men that he’s rescued Lt. Wells and he wants to bring the rest of them into safety. What a nice guy, this Governor! He is so sweet and well meaning and just wants to rescue all of humanity! Except – oh shit. He opens fire and his men emerge from the perimeter and take down the entire camp of army men. HOLY SHIT. Wait, what? YOU WERE GOING TO RESCUE THEM AND YOU JUST KILLED ALL OF THEM. YOU BASTARD. The Governor and his men scavenge the army’s weapons and trucks and supplies. “Let’s see what Uncle Sam brought us, shall we?” he quips. That witty jerk face.

The Governor and his men return to town. He climbs on top of a truck and delivers a heartfelt speech about how they wanted to rescue the survivors but they all turned into zombies because they lacked the protection that Woodbury provides. Sad trombone. Andrea asks about his real name and he tells her that he never reveals it. Never. Never ever. Ever.

In The Governor’s house, he nurses a drink while a naked lady sleeps in his bed. He opens a door into his man cave. It seems like a regular man cave, as he sinks into his comfy man chair. This seems pretty normal, right? Except this man cave is filled with aquarium tanks full of dismembered heads. Oh, totally normal. Who are these heads? Do we know these people? Oh shit! That’s Lt. Wells. But he was recovering from his injury! Why is his head in a tank? WHAT IS GOING ON WOODBURY? Aaaaaugh.

Hoo boy. This Governor, whoever he is, is a fucked up individual. What will happen to Andrea and Michonne? How far is Woodbury from the prison? What the fuck is up with all those floating heads? Will we all have terrible bad dreams about them? Happy Halloween, zombiefriends! Try not to have nightmares about the fact that we are all going to turn into zombies when we die. (Bwa ha ha ha).

In This Article: The Walking Dead


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