Writer: Evan Reilly
Director: Guy Ferland
THE ONE WHERE Andrea and Michonne are found by the Governor’s men – and Merle – and taken to the town of Woodbury.
VERDICT This is one of those The Walking Dead episodes that’s a completely different experience depending on whether or not you’ve read the comics. Of course, that’s nearly always true to an extent, but the difference is particularly marked here, thanks to the degree to which “Walk With Me” confounds readers’ expectations.
In the new novel The Road To Woodbury (a prequel to the comics), the town has a fearful atmosphere; on entering you can immediately sense that something is wrong, if not what. The TV Woodbury is very different; with people strolling about in pastel polo shirts and shorts (did they raid a Gap?) raking lawns and tending to flowerbeds, it seems implausibly unspoilt. For a comics reader, the town is so different from what you’re expecting that you can’t help wondering… hmm, how to phrase this? Wondering whether the TV townsfolk entertain themselves the same way as their comics counterparts.
David Morrissey’s Governor is quite a surprise too – and not just because he’s missing the trademark moustache. This guy is a charmer , with barely a hint of menace; it’s hard to square this character with the madman whose idea of interior design is decapitated heads in fishtanks. Of course, that make the final scene (and the sequence where he and his men slaughter a bunch of troops) even more shocking.
Indeed, this take on the Governor is so smoothly persuasive and seemingly decent that you can see why Andrea is quickly seduced (she has a history of being taken in by assholes, too… remember Shane?) The only troubling detail is this: Andrea knows full well that Merle is a racist asshole. Wouldn’t that raise some doubts in her mind? What kind of a leader of a shining utopia would make Merle their lieutenant?
Speaking of our favourite redneck amputee, the long-overdue return of Michael Rooker is an absolute delight. As for Michonne… well, let’s hope that Danai Gurira gets to flex some acting muscles other than the facial ones that control pouting and scowling sometime soon. Given how impenetrable the character’s protective walls are, we might have to wait a good while, though.
If the episode has one big disappointment, it’s the speed with which the mystery of the helicopter is resolved. The fact that we saw the chopper fly over in both season one and season two seemed to suggest that it might have a greater significance than it does in the comic. When it transpires that its function is still just to transport in some cannon-fodder characters so that the Governor’s ruthlessness can be established, it’s a bit of a let-down.
All the same, “Walk With Me” is a success, holding your attention from beginning to end – despite the fact that we don’t so much as clap eyes on Rick Grimes for the entire episode. Hope Andrew Lincoln got to enjoy a few relaxing days off!
PRODUCTION DESIGN Although it’s not quite clear why there are loose wires dangling down in all the rooms in Woodbury (any electricians out there care to explain?) it’s a neat little touch that – like the sight of little fires dotted about the streets, in lieu of street lamps – quickly communicates that this is a community that’s been busy finding ways to overcome their day-to-day problems. These sort of details make you realise how much thought goes into making the show.
NITPICKS That steel sleeve on Merle’s stump looks laughably long – almost as if it’s covering up a hand! But CGI limb-removal is an expensive business, especially for a weekly TV series. So it’s forgiveable.
BEST LINE Merle greets Andrea: “How’s about a big hug for your old pal Merle?”
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Read our The Walking Dead: The Road To Woodbury review .
Read all of our Walking Dead season 3 reviews .