After “Seed,” I found it hard to believe that The Walking Dead could pull off the sheer brutality of the comics for more than three episodes in a row. Turns out I was right. While this episode has its moments, it pales in comparison to last week’s “shit happens.”
“Walk With Me” starts with a helicopter full of military personal going down near where we last saw Machonne and Andrea. They spot the smoldering wreckage and start heading in that direction, looking for any survivors. Turns out they weren’t the only survivors that spotted the helicopter go down.
While a mysterious group of armed men look around the wreckage, Machonne and Andrea take refuge behind the thinnest patch of foliage I’ve ever seen. Seriously, it’s tissue paper thin and close enough to the wreckage where in any realistic scenario they would have been spotted by the armed men the moment they pulled up. At one point, Machonne even stands directly up and kills her two walkers when she fears they may have been compromised. How an entire group of armed men (with scoped guns, no less) didn’t see that or hear the walkers demise is entirely unbelievable.
Shortly after the girls think they are in the clear, someone sneaks up on them and tells them to put down their weapons. Turns out our old pal Merle was the one who got the drop on them. What he did to his hand is an Army of Darkness level of epic badassery. He wrapped his nub in a steel casing and attached a blade on the end, so he can quickly dispatch walkers and not be a burden like most other limbless survivors of the apocalypse. Merle is a badass and he’s holding a grudge toward Rick. Why, I couldn’t imagine, but it’s quite clear Merle plans on seeing his little brother again and taking down the man responsible for handcuffing him on that roof back in Atlanta.
I was surprised at how much Merle changed since we seen him last. While he’s still an alpha dog, he manages to come off as humble and caring in this episode. The fact he was seen interacting with black people without dropping the “n-bomb” once is equally surprising given his history of trailer park adequate.
Turns out the group inspecting the helicopter crash were from Woodberry, a fortified settlement that manages to maintain a normal and civilized lifestyle, or so it would seem. Fans of the comics know Woodberry is the worst place imaginable and I can only hope that the towns true colors shine through soon. The pure awfulness of that place makes for one of the most memorable story arcs in the comic, I can only hope it maintains half of its brutality. It shouldn’t be too long now since we were finally properly introduced to the Governor this episode.
Up until the end of “Walk With Me”, the Governor came off as a stellar guy. He offered safety for the girls and told the last surviving solider of the helicopter crash that he would go bring his comrades back to Woodberry. But after he has their coordinates, he goes out and slaughters them all and takes their weaponry. It’s obvious his perfect little town was built in the most savage ways possible. Well, that and propaganda. When he gets back to Woodberry, he tells the entire town that the solders he just slaughtered in vain didn’t have the walls and protection Woodberry has, and that they should never take what they have for granted, all while failing to mention that he and his team were the ones that killed them. Scare tactics are a good way to keep people in line.
We didn’t get a single second of airtime with Rick’s group, which was more than disappointing. I know a lot of people love her, but I’m not the biggest fan of Machonne, or Andrea for that matter. While it was nice to see Merle again and finally get a look into the mind of the Governor, “Walk With Me” was unable to maintain any of the emotions that “Seed” managed to invoke.