The Walking Thread

image of Andrea sitting on a bed with a journal in her lap and a pen in her hand
"Dear Diary: Still can't decide if I just like Gov. Cyclops, or like like him."

(Spoilers are lurching around undeadly herein. CN: Violence; rape culture.)

When last we left our struggling band of heroes [sic], things were falling apart pretty badly at Grimes Jail. Daryl, the only competent member of Grimes Gang, had run off into the woods with his oppressively obnoxious brother Merle, Glenn was turning into a murdery rage-machine because Governor Cyclops tainted his pristine property sexually assaulted Maggie, and Grimes was seeing the ghost of his dead wife, who he treated like shit while she was alive but now views as an angelic specter as she's dead and has no more agency that complicates their relationship.

On top of that, they're all pretty sure that the Unplesantvillagers are fixing to destroy them. So they can't stay put, but they can't run, since their tiniest new member is the human equivalent of a zombie whistle.

There are a lot of BIG AND IMPORTANT DECISIONS TO BE MADE, and no one fit to make them. Situation normal!

Anyway. The episode opens with Grimes spying on Michonne, who is living in a garbage bus on Grimes Jail land. Through his binoculars, he spies Ghost Lori at their makeshift graveyard, and he goes out to have a chat with her, but whooooooooops now Ghost Lori is outside the gates, which Grimes naturally leaves hanging wide open while he chases her into the weeds.

Naturally, Michonne closes the gates behind him, because she, like pretty much everyone else and moreso than most, would make a better leader than the bozo who immediately starts making out with a ghost in zombie territory.

Back in Unpleasantville, Governor Cyclops visits Andrea and fake-confesses that he is a terrible leader and fake-suggests she should be the new Mayor of Unpleasantville, which is an evident ploy to convince her not to go visit her old friends at Grimes Jail and hoodwink her into believing he's not about to go attack the fuck out of them. And Andrea believes this nonsense because she is very stupid. Except when the writers need her to be smart.

Governor Cyclops then pays a visit to Melvin Nerdly, and lets him in on his plan. Later, Andrea asks him where GC is, and Melvin Nerdly is all, "Uh, I don't speak English or whatever," which seems to tip Andrea to the fact that maybe GC is up to no good, in a way her previous observations of his behaving like a sadistic sociopath in at least seven different ways has not.

Meanwhile, Daryl and Merle piss and spit on stuff in the woods.

At Grimes Jail, Glenn and Maggie have a GREAT conversation in which she recounts being sexually assaulted by Governor Cyclops, and has to reassure Glenn that she wasn't raped. In the comic books, it was Michonne who was assaulted by the Governor, and she was raped, but in the show, Maggie is not. Now, I am obviously not a fan of rape as entertainment, but I'm also not a fan of writers shying away from rape (it doesn't need to be shown for it to have happened) because, as seems apparent to me here, they are afraid that their audience won't like a female character anymore if she's a rape survivor.

There was a really gross thread in that whole scene, in which Glenn seemed to serve as avatar for the audience, hoping Maggie wasn't raped primarily not because rape is terrible, but because it would have changed his/our feelings about Maggie. Yuck!

That, of course, happens to real survivors of rape all the time, and it was pretty foul for the writers of the show allow us the "relief" of Maggie not having been raped (just sexually assaulted without penetration), so our feelings for her wouldn't "need" to change.

Glenn, of course, still making Maggie's assault All About Him, then expresses feelings of guilt and failure over having not protected her, which reflects that interesting (ahem) piece of rape culture that deploys when there can be no victim-blaming of a male-partnered female victim: Chivalry failure. I should have been able to protect you from that rapist! (Sometimes also expressed by fathers, brothers, friends...) Which is another layer of inoculating rapists against the exclusive responsibility for rape: It is first a female victim's responsibility to prevent herself from getting raped, and then it is her male owners' protectors' responsibility to prevent her from being raped.

There is A LOT wrong with this trope, not least of which is that it entrenches narratives of male policing of female bodies, but I'll leave it there for now or I'll never get back to detailing EVERYTHING ELSE that's wrong with this show!

Daryl rescues some people on a bridge in the woods, who have come under zombie attack. Then he almost murders Merle for being a huge douche, and they fight about how their dad was a monster, which I'm sure came as a real surprise to everyone. I never would have guessed these two characters were meant to come from a fucked-up family! WEIRD!

Hershel tells Grimes, who is still wandering around the perimeter like a sweaty hobo, that he needs to come back because Glenn is being "reckless." LOL FOREVER. Yes, Rick, please bring back your solid leadership that is never reckless! Pull up your pants and get back to leading! You can hump that log you think is Ghost Lori another time!

Grimes Jail is in real trouble, because there is a zombie leak somewhere and zombies are getting in. There aren't enough people to help find the leak AND guard the jail! Too bad Tyreese and Sasha don't exist in this episode! Maybe they could've helped!

Carol shows Mustache Prisoner how to use a gun, and he compliments her on being a lady, which I guess? is supposed to be an improvement? from when he thought she was a lesbian? Yikes. Well, no matter. She immediately uses his corpse as a human shield (good thinking, Carol!) after Governor Cyclops and his minions show up and start shooting at Grimes Gang.

This begins a shoot-out at the Oh Fuck Corral in which suddenly all of these crack shots who can shoot a zombie in the face at one million paces are now terrible shooters with garbage skills. PERFECT. Perfect continuity.

A van barrels through the Grimes Jail fences and a bunch of zombies pour out, some of whom immediately pin Grimes against the fence. Luckily, Michonne is not a terrible person like he is, so she saves him, even though he wouldn't do her the same favor. And then Daryl and Merle show up HUZZAH! and save Grimes (boo). The war is ON, motherfuckers!

Finally, three random things:

1. I read the other day that Jonny Lee Miller, currently starring as Sherlock in Elementary, my new favorite show, was in the running to play Grimes. I bet Season One, he was all fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck, and now he's all LULZ YOUR GARBAGE SHOW!

2. Does this show take place in Seattle in the '90s? Why are so many of the zombies wearing flannel shirts?

3. My DVR won't let me delete the last episode of The Walking Dead. I hit delete, and nothing happens. It's just stuck there. The show itself is now a zombie. Is what I'm saying.


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