The Walking Thread

[Content Note: Violence. Spoilers are lurching around undeadly herein.]

image of my hand holding a flyer featuring a drawing of a straight white couple from behind, gazing at a wall of family photos, accompanied by text reading: 'Can the dead really live again? Would you say... -yes? -no? -maybe?'

The above is not a screen cap from this episode of The Walking Dead. It is an image of a flyer stuck in my door this morning by a local religious organization. But it seemed appropriate, what with its ability to convey white privilege, heterocentrism, patriarchy, and rising dead all in one concise little package.

Anyway! On to the recap!

Ohhhhhhh noooooo. An entire episode about Governor Cyclops?! HOLY SHIT THIS SHOW. Just when I thought this show couldn't possibly get any worse, we're served up an entire episode based on Governor Cyclops' "What I Did Over the Summer" essay. Fuuuuuuck.

We pick up back at the scene of Governor Cyclops mowing down his own people in a super reasonable way because he is nothing if not the picture of measured decision-making. He and his minions then go camping, where he presumably introduced his new S'mores Initiative, but we don't really know, because all of this is seen in montage while some totally trenchant country song is playing.

His minions fly the coop in the night, so he takes off on his own and wanders the countryside for "a few months" (?) (that does not seem to match the timeline at Grimes Jail) (who can even tell with this show where time is measured by how cavernously Carl the Hat's head is engulfed by his hat) and grows out his hair and beard, and contemplates whether maybe he crossed ALL THE LINES during his tenure as Governor of Unpleasantville.

He reads the side of a barn on which have been spray-painted messages to some dude named Brian Heriot, and he decides to adopt this as his new name. Get it? Because he's a new man now. In case you are hard of metaphoring, they painted it literally on the side of a barn for you.

Ambling down the street in some little town, looking virtually indistinguishable from a zombie, Governor Cyclops sees a little girl in the window of an apartment. Luckily, we were reminded in the opening of the episode that he had a zombie daughter and lost his eye trying to keep her zombie-alive, which is the most important motivating feature of this terrible character.

Governor Brian Heriot (GBH) goes into the apartment building and finds the apartment, where two young, thin, white women greet him, wielding a baseball bat and a gun. He hands over his gun, and they invite him in and he broods and chews the scenery.

Having established that he is suffering from a raging case of man-angst and that the women are definitely willing to risk any potential threat he may be in order to nurse his soul, GBH retreats to another apartment to stay the night. He opens a can of tuna for supper, but is interrupted by one of the sisters bringing him a plate of SpaghettiOs. As soon as she leaves, he dumps it out the window and eats the rest of the tuna. Terrific scene. A+.

Later, GBH drops by to return the plate, and we learn that the two women are taking care of their dad, who is dying of lung cancer and running out of oxygen. He is the only person who can make his granddaughter Megan smile, because of course he is. She also isn't doing much talking these days—and, when GBH carries him into his bedroom (since his daughters became immediately helpless as soon as a man arrived—Pappy asks GBH to fetch a backgammon board from his old pal's apartment.

He retrieves the game, encounters a zombie, yawn blah fart, takes a gun and some ammo on his way out. He gives the game to Pappy and Megan. The SpaghettiOs sister, Megan's mom, who is clearly crushing on him, asks him if he'll run to a nearby nursing home to get some more oxygen. The two women aren't versed in the ways of the zombiepocalypse, because they've been living off of the contents of the food delivery truck their dad was driving when the shit hit the fan. A food truck that they do not guard 24/7, but somehow has not been raided or stolen by wandering bands of pillaging survivors. Sure.

GBH heads off to the nursing home and he is so angsty! He sneaks around quietly, and tries to get out of there with a buttload of oxygen tanks, but manages to escape with only one or two when the zombies descend on him. This might be a nail-biting scene in another show written and edited by other people, but, in typical "no one can spoil The Walking Dead better than The Walking Dead" fashion, there is literally no tension, because we know via his appearance at the end of the previous episode that he survives it.

GBH gives the grateful sisters the oxygen tanks for Pappy, and then he has a great conversation with Megan about his eyepatch, and she totally smiles. Because that's the magic of men, bitchez.

It looks as if GBH is going to be there for awhile. Cut to GBH chillaxing with his new family, clean-shaven and having exactly the same haircut he had before. AMAZING! It's almost like he just had his hair tucked under a garbage wig from the set of a Nicolas Cage film.

Pappy dies, and GBH has to horrify everyone by smashing his brainpan with an oxygen tank. Ha ha! It saved his life; now it is the instrument of saving their lives! GET IT?! DO YOU GET IT?! ARE YOU GETTING ALL THE MEANINGFUL SYMBOLISM IN THIS SHOW, PEOPLE?!

Sure, it was tough watching GBH zombie-kill Pappy, but the sisters reassure him that Pappy would have been grateful to GBH for saving them from Zombie Pappy. Megan is too young to understand and regards GBH with fearful suspicion.

Later that night, GBH burns a photo of his family. More symbolism. He decides to hit the road, but SpaghettiOs sister tells him he has to take them with him. It would be irresponsible to leave them without a patriarch, so he agrees. They take off in the food truck, and, that night, literally right next to her sister and daughter, SpaghettiOs sister does it with GBH. RIP Andrea. This guy gets laid like Clooney during the zombiepocalypse!

In the final scenes, which I can only imagine were written by a writer dared by someone to squeeze as many horror plot tropes into one scene as possible, the food truck breaks down, Non-SpaghettiOs sister falls and badly twists her ankle, the zombies descend, and Megan clutches her plushy toy and only barely escapes by running to GBH at the last second—because if there's one thing that all little girls learn eventually, it's that even when you're creeped out by a violent patriarch who you saw harm a gentle male presence in your life FOR HIS AND YOUR OWN GOOD, one day you're gonna be a damsel in distress who needs that violent patriarch to rescue your ass.

These and other essential notes on Ladies: Doing It Right in upcoming episodes of The Walking Dead.

Anyway. GBH runs through the brush carrying Megan, and they fall into a human-made pit. To the sound of machine gun blasts, GBH slowly fights off three resident pit zombies. He then assures Megan that he'll keep her safe. "Holy shit," says a voice from above the pit. It's one of GBH's minions.


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