Monday, November 5, 2012

Preparedness Review of The Walking Dead Episode 303: Walk With Me

Spoiler Alert!!!

Bruce Banner/The Hulk (in the Avengers movie, referring to Loki, but applicable to this episode):  That guy's brain is a bag full of cats.  You can smell crazy on him.

Synopsis:  The Governor is revealed, and at first seems like a reasonable guy just trying to help people.  This wins Andrea over, but Michonne remains unconvinced and is intent on leaving as soon as possible.  The Governor's true colors are revealed when he ambushes a group of refugees and later retreats to a study filled with aquariums hosting decapitated heads. Suddenly Shane seems dispassionate and reasonable.  Oh, and Daryl's brother Merle is back and working for the Governor as his right hand man.  Get it?
It is noteworthy that this is the first episode not to feature Rick Grimes.  This is a Michonne and Andrea episode and reveals the new main antagonist of the series, the Governor.   The episode opens with our pair of heroines, pet walkers in tow, investigating a crashed Army helicopter.  They find the crew dead or mostly dead, and the wreckage still smoldering.   Two SUVs drive up, and the occupants move through the wreckage site, killing walkers and securing the area.   Andrea and Michonne watch as the group rescues the lone survivor and drive knives into the skulls of the other passengers who are deceased.    The ladies haven't yet realized that everyone is infected and no matter how you die, you reanimate as a walker.  Michonne's pets get agitated and start making noise, so she decapitates them.  Then Merle -- yeah, that Merle -- shows up behind them and the girls are captured.

They are taken to the Woodbury community where they are treated for their illnesses and meet the head of the community - the Governor.  He's just a guy trying to keep everyone alive and "take back what's ours."  He informs them that they are guests and can leave whenever they wish.

The community seems ideal.   Battery banks have been installed in houses and are charged via solar panel or generators to provide power;  there is hot water, medical care and a security wall that no walkers have been able to penetrate.   Whenever a group of them ventures too close, guards with surpressed weapons take them out.   Scavenging runs go out regularly.  A strict curfew and light discipline (exactly the opposite of the farm environment last season) keep the number of walkers at night to a minimum.

While Michonne and Andrea convalesce, the governor meets with Milton, his science guy, regarding
The Governor: his elevator doesn't go all the way to the top.
the walker pets recovered from the crash site.  Milton theorizes that they were camouflage and cover.   The arms were removed so they would not grab, and the jaws removed so they would not bite.  Once they are incapable of eating, they lose the desire to eat, and since the Michonne and Andrea were traveling with walkers, they were not attacked.    The Governor is impressed.

He also interrogates the chopper pilot, who is fighting for his life.  He was part of a National Guard unit that was holding its own until someone inside turned and they had to evacuate.   The helicopter was on a transporter truck, and there are other survivors holed up off the highway waiting for him.  The Governor promises to bring them in.

The Governor finds the National Guard troops and ambushes them, killing them in cold blood and stealing their equipment.   Then he returns to Woodbury and tells the residents that the troops were already dead, but that they will use their equipment for the good of the community.

The episode ends with the Governor retreating to a private study. There he gazes upon a stack of aquariums filled with decapitated heads, including the heads of Michonne's pets the head of the helicopter pilot.


The Governor is doing a lot of things right preparedness-wise.  Woodbury has a secure perimeter, a competent guard force, practices noise and light discipline, and has restored basic services.   That's the surface.  Beneath the facade of civilization, however, lurks a dark heart intent on garnering power and controlling the survivors of the enclave.  Most living in Woodbury seem happy with the arrangement.  The guards and the Governor do the dirty work, and they reap the benefits.  All that they have to do is not question anything.

Merle and the other guards seem completely loyal to the Governor.  They are willing to ambush and kill soldiers, murder wounded, and do whatever he says.   That is never good.   While every group must have a leader or small cadre of leaders, blind obedience is a dangerous thing.   The guy saves heads for a hobby for crying out loud.

It makes the viewer wonder whether the group Randall was with last season came from Woodbury.  If not, then there are two rogue groups of bad guys out there.

Other than that, I didn't see much worth discussing preparedness-wise.  I admired the efficiency of the Woodbury enclave.   I abhor the psychotic leader and his guards.   This is going to be interesting.

Next week:  Glen asks, "Can't we have just one good day?"  Has he been paying attention?

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