We’re now over a third of the way throughseason 3 of The Walking Dead. The season began in such a fast pace that it almost as if the writers were trying to exorcise the demons of the very deliberate and pastorial season 2. The question that now arose was whether the writers will be able to keep the fast pace going through most of the season. There was bound to be some slow spots through the 16-episode run for this season, but the series seems to have avoided it, so far.
“Hounded” marks the sixth episode this season. Last week’s episode was a break from the action and this break continues with tonight’s episode. We get a pre-credits opening of Merle leading a small group of Woodbury tough guys on a hunt to find newcomer and resident badass Michonne. It would seem her suspicions about the Governor and the “idyllic” Woodbury was right on the nose. Before we can say “look it’s Evil Glenn” the Merle quartet was suddenly down two men, but Michonne gets winged by a Merle shot for her troubles.
After the intro credits we find ourselves back in the prison with Rick as he’s speaking to the voice on the phone which ended last week’s episode in a cliffhanger. Everything Rick ever wanted since the first season he hears from the female voice on the phone. A haven that’s safe from zombies, raiders and internal struggles. It’s a call from paradise that Rick has wanted for his family since he reunited with them midway through season 1.
The episode concentrates on these two paralleling storylines with some visits back in Woodbury to see how Andrea continues to fall under the Governor’s spell and just reminding everyone why she’s now the most hated character on the show now that Lori has exited. It’s these Andrea scenes that seem to slow tonight’s episode even more than it already has. It doesn’t help that the writers haven’t been able to find a way to course-correct the character after two season’s worth of a bungled job. Maybe it’s a character that’s broken beyond fixing or the actress portraying her (Laurie Holden) who always comes off in every scene as being too cocky for her own good. There’s still time to get this character turned around, but with Mazzara and company already making good on correcting the show’s past season mistakes both in it’s storytelling and in underused and underdeveloped character I don’t see much hope that Andrea will survive the season (plus she seems to be the last of the original Darabont veteran troupe hired for the show initially).
We find that the hounding of Michonne by Merle mirrors the hounding of Rick by those on the other side of the phone. While the former was one storyline that was a literal hounding the latter was a psychological one as Rick realizes that those he has been speaking to were not as he thought they were. We see Rick finally have the proper breakdown into grief at Lori’s death that the previous episode didn’t even attempt to do. We hear him confess his regret for not being able to keep his family safe and finally admitting that he still loved his wife and would do anything to get her back to tell her that.
It’s a lot to process and the episode suffered because of it. The scenes back in Woodbury did nothing other than make Andrea look even worst as she finally succumbs to the Governor’s charms. It’s this inconsistency in her character that has made her such a frustrating character to believe in. One moment she’s regretting not listening to Michonne then the next moment she’s in with the Governor. These scenes took away from the two storylines that dominated tonight’s episode. With just those two the episode was already stretched thin as it was.
So, tonight’s episode might have been a lot of set-up for what looks to be the long-awaited confrontation between Team Rick and Team Governor, but it also looks like it’s the third season’s first truly weak episode. We don’t learn anything new about any of the character old and new. We do get reminded that some of the show’s past mistakes still linger and keeps it from really taking off. So, the question about whether the writers will be able to keep season 3’s pace of quality tv has been answered. It’s just one episode but it highlighted just how much improvement the show still has to go. Fortunately, we’re not getting a sense that the writers intend to keep subplots from dragging along (the Sophia and Greene Farm being great examples of pacing killers). Now it’s time to see if the Mazzara Crew can get back on track with the final two episode of the season before it goes on a winter break.
- Tonight’s episode was directed by series newcomer Dan Attias and written by series regular Scott M. Gimple.
- Evil Glenn, we hardly knew you and now you’re gone.
- Andrea just will continue to be the new target of hate for fans of the show. She just seems to always have smug look on her face even when she has no reason to be smug about.
- Her skill in killing the zombie outside the wall did show that she’s probably one of the better killers in Woodbury outside of Merle and the Governor himself.
- Hershel looks to be taking over as the voice of conscience for Rick. He looks to be taking on the role in the show that was originally taken by our dear departed Dale Horvath.
- Rick must’ve really gone on a major killpocalypse in the prison in the previous episode if things were clear enough for Hershel to limp his way through safely.
- Merle builds the kid’s courage up and just as easily takes it away with a bullet.
- The Maggie and Glenn duo continue to be a very cute thing in a show that’s very lacking in the cute department.
- Maggie continues to be this show’s version of the comic book Andrea which means she’s the team’s female badass until Michonne comes along.
- Interesting how the show continues to deviate from the comic book’s narrative but still manages to create new scenes reminiscent of what was on that path not taken.
- Nice how Glenn stays consistent with how he treats outsiders after mentioning in last week’s episode that the group should be very wary of anyone that’s not part of the group.
- It seems like the show is setting things up to have a Dixon Brother showdown.
- Nice to see the writers making sure that subplots introduced this season that has a chance to slow things down considerably get some sort of resolution: missing Carol and mysterious phone call.
- Not many zombie kills this week, but the magicians over at KNB EFX still managed to make what kills there were memorable: zombie stomach sliced open and out slides out the goods.
- Zombie Kill Count of tonight’s episode: 5
Past Season 3 Episode Review
- Episode 1: “Seed”
- Episode 2: “Sick”
- Episode 3: “Walk With Me”
- Episode 4: “Killer Within”
- Episode 5: “Say the Word”