Entertainment Magazine

Review #3781: The Walking Dead 3.3: “Walk With Me”

Posted on the 31 October 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Bronzethumb

Written by Evan Reilly
Directed by Guy Ferland

Each season of “The Walking Dead” has introduced a new group of characters, starting with our protagonists, then the Greene family, and now moving on to the Governor and his clan. But this time around, that introduction has a deliciousness to it, a tangible sense that we’re about to delve into new territory and sink our teeth into the show’s first true villains. To that end, “Walk With Me” is written as a clever exercise in juxtaposition, leaving most of our protagonists behind for an episode in favour of holding up a dark mirror in the form of Woodbury.

Review #3781: The Walking Dead 3.3: “Walk With Me”

A crashed helicopter naturally draws the attention of Andrea and Michonne, still on the road with their walker companions, but when they arrive at the crash site, they find others with a similar interest. This chance event brings the pair to Woodbury, a fortified town where people live out seemingly-normal lives behind walls and armed guards, all presided over by a man known only as “the Governor”. He seems friendly and benevolent, and claims to have no designs on Andrea or Michonne, but his interest in the only survivor of the helicopter crash soon reveals his true nature.

The decision to keep Andrea and Michonne separated from the rest of the protagonists this season has finally born its fruit, because they effectively become Rick and company in this episode. “Walk With Me” carefully mimics the structure of the season premiere, “Seed”, in how it slowly draws the viewpoint characters into the hope of a sanctuary against the walkers. But unlike the dingy, overrun prison, Woodbury is bright and cheerful and populated by humans, yet those humans quickly prove themselves as mindless as the walkers. The protection quickly takes on an insidious tone, dressed up as concerns for public safety.

And then there’s the Governor himself. David Morrissey seems to be doing his best impression of Liam Neeson in “Taken”, but it absolutely works, because the Governor is going for a paternal vibe whilst concealing his violent streak. He’s a clear foil to Rick, looking fair and feeling foul (to paraphrase a great writer) and coming off kinder and gentler compared to Rick’s overtly dictatorial personality. It’s good that the writers decided to be upfront with the Governor’s true nature. Rather than string out the reveal, he becomes Hitchcock’s bomb under the table: the audience knows he’ll go off, but our heroes don’t.

The other characters in this episode don’t come off as well. All Andrea’s previous avenues of character development have been cut off over the course of season two, so here she’s just an aimless presence, exploring the town on the audience’s behalf. Michonne remains an enigma, again compassionate and dangerous, but while that’d be great in a larger ensemble, it doesn’t work here. She’s supposed to be the voice of dissent next to Andrea (again, strong use of character foils), but we don’t know enough about the character to really be on her side. Of the other characters, the only one who doesn’t come across as another obvious parallel to one of the heroes is Merle Dixon, making his spectacular return for what’s hopefully a meatier role than he had previously.

The first true villain episode of “The Walking Dead” was a qualified success, though it was less successful at fleshing out Andrea and Michonne after their separation from the main group. But what it lacked there, it made up for in spades with David Morrissey’s Governor, who promises to be an engaging new addition to the cast, whilst the introduction of Woodbury in narrative opposition to the prison creates both storytelling opportunities and a chance to keep exploring the central themes of the show, namely the question of how one lives among the undead.

Score: 8/10

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