'Walking Dead' Recap: You Gotta Hold On - Rolling Stone
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‘Walking Dead’ Recap: You Gotta Hold On

Andrea tries to broker a peace treaty between Woodbury and the Prison Gang

'The Walking Dead''The Walking Dead'

'The Walking Dead'

Gene Page/AMC

Where we left off: Rick went AWOL and traipsed through the woods, hiking through Crazytown in search of his visions of his dead wife. Glenn tried to take control of the Prison Gang while The Governor allegedly abdicated his Woodbury power to Andrea. The Governor and his soldiers ambushed the prison, laying waste to Axel (RIP, Axel) and delivering a cargo truck full of ravenous zombies. Daryl rejoined his friends, bringing his nasty-ass brother Merle back to the prison. After the gunfire battle, The Governor retreated, leaving Rick and the Brothers Dixon on the outside of the prison yard with a sea of zombies separating the remaining Still Alives.  

Oh, wait – did last week’s episode appear to imply that Rick and Dixon boys were possibly in trouble? Because – scratch that! They’re all safely inside the prison, arguing about what to do next. All righty then. Merle warns the rest of the Prison Gang that the Governor has all sorts of mean and nasty tricks up his sleeve and that they’re no longer safe. Rick attempts to storm off and Hershel scolds him like a naughty child. “You’re slipping, Rick!” he chides. If Rick’s going to continue his Ricktatorship, he needs to get his head together and take charge. Rick, of course, takes this advice in stride and stalks off to continue using his magic binoculars to search for the ghost of his dead wife. This just won’t do, Rick. Carl makes a heartfelt plea to his father to give up the leadership role. Let Daryl and Hershel take control because Rick really needs some rest. Ouch. When your tween son groks reality in a way that you can’t, it’s probably time to take a nap.

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And so. What happens this week? Michonne speaks in full sentences for possibly the first time! Actually, everyone speaks a lot. There’s an awful lot of talking and not a lot of zombie action. Le sigh.

In Woodbury, The Governor asks Milton to round up an army of all the able-bodied men and women. And by “men and women,” he means everyone over the age of 13. So any Bar Mitzvah boys are eligible to fight! Great, middle schoolers and guns are a perfect match, sir! Andrea begs to go visit her friends in the prison to stop all this fighting. The Gov snaps back that she can go to the prison, but then she’d better well stay there. Humph. Andrea enlists Milton’s help to go on a secret prison rendezvous. Milton immediately scurries back to The Gov to tattle on her, but Captain One-Eye tells him to go along with Andrea’s plan.

Andrea borrows Milton and gets his help to employ Michonne’s zombie-pet technique, hacking off a walker’s arms and jaw to use it as a distraction. Ack. The jaw-stomping is pretty grim, even by The Walking Dead’s standards. But, wait! There’s a rustle in the woods! Who could it be? Hi, Tyrese! We missed you last episode! Milton offers to bring Tyrese and his people back to Woodbury, while Andrea continues onwards to the prison.

The Governor and his sassy new eye patch are all peaches and cream and sugar and spice and everything nice to Tyrese and his people. He offers them sanctuary in Woodbury and is thrilled to learn that they’ve already made the acquaintance of the Prison Gang. Tyrese’s people are none-too-pleased with the way Rick treated them, and they’re happy to join Woodbury’s side in this feud. Karma’s a bitch, Rick.

At the Prison, Carl and Maggie are on watch when Andrea arrives. The Prison Gang unlocks the gate to let her in, but they don’t welcome her with open arms. Rick throws her against the fence to frisk her, demanding to know if she’s alone. She’s alone, Rick! Let up! Why don’t you have a nice reunion and apologize for that time you left her alone during the zombie invasion at the farm? Everyone should hug and reminisce about old times! Instead, they have a supremely cold and concise catch-up: So Lori and Shane and T-dog are dead, Hershel lost a leg, and meet this baby girl named Li’l Asskicker.  Oh, and you’re sleeping with the enemy? Great! Good catch-up, gang. Better than using facebook.

Michonne tries to smack some sense into Andrea, explaining that her boyfriend sent Merle to kill her after she got away. Andrea tells her to go to hell. This reunion is going really well. Carol asks Andrea to play Mata Hari – she should have super amazingly mind-blowingly awesome sex with the Governor and then kill him while he’s sleeping, putting an end to this feud once and for all. Andrea insists that she can broker a peace treaty, and the Prison Gang gives her a car so she can return to Woodbury and force everyone to make nice-nice. Rick gives her a knife and a gun. Will she do it? Will she take out her boyfriend? Which side is she on?

The soldiers atop the Woodbury Wall stop Andrea’s car but stand down when they realize their blonde friend is back. She goes straight to the Governor, confessing that she went to visit the prison. She tells him that her friends are all broken and living in despicable conditions and that he should call off his war. The Governor wraps his arms around her, telling her she came back to him because she belongs in Woodbury. They kiss and end up in bed. Post-coitally, Andrea slips out from between the sheets and retrieves her knife. Naked, she stands over One-Eyed Willy and holds a knife to his throat. But she balks and lets him live. I kept expecting the Governor to wake up and grab the knife and slit her throat, but he keeps on sleeping in the depths of post-orgasmic slumber. A word of warning to anyone out there getting jiggy with it – while you’re asleep, it’s entirely possible that your partner is standing over you with a knife. Sweet dreams!

Back at the prison, Beth sings Tom Waits’ song “Hold On.” Rick holds his baby in his arms and plans on making a run to Woodbury. He’s going to bring Michonne with him, and take Carl because his son is apparently ready for a real fight. Huh? Guys. Guys. Chill out for a second and listen to Tom Waits. Just because the Governor is creating a child army doesn’t mean you need to bring Carl into this quite yet! He’s just a boy. You gotta hold on. 

A bit of a bummer of an episode! The Governor wants to take out the Prison Gang and the Prison Gang wants to take out the Governor. Someone had better make a move, and soon, because more episodes like this will be pretty damn yawnsville. And please give up on the magic binoculars, Rick. Go take a really long nap and stop hallucinating your dead wife because none of us liked her when she was alive and she’s even more annoying now that she’s a ghost. Thanks, buddy. 

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