Walking Dead: Season 3, Episode 5 “Say the Word”

Last week’s episode contained a whole lot of silliness.  But it was also jam-packed with big moments that put me in a forgiving mood.  I suppose after killing off two series regulars in one episode, it is natural to slow things down a little.  But “Say the Word” feels a lot like filler.  I’m not sure there’s enough meat to fill an entire write-up.  Like many of the worst episode last season, this one just kind of runs in place.

The episode starts off in Woodbury as the citizens prepare for a post apocalyptic block party.  Andrea still thinks everything is honkey dorey.  Michonne still thinks it stinks.  But she would rather glare at people than explain to Andrea the logical reasons they should get the hell out of dodge.  This particular storyline has been going nowhere for four episodes now.  We hit the same story beats every time we visit Woodbury.

Meanwhile, the governor is brushing his daughter’s hair.  No surpise she’s a zombie.  If you read the comic, you were expecting that weeks ago.  But I have to think even if you never read the comic, the picture was a dead give-away.  Hey guess what.  The Governor is crazy!  He looks out the window to see Michonne staring at him.  Once again, Michonne goes out of her way to get on the psycho’s radar.  Not smart.

While the Gov addresses the citizens of Woodbury, Michonne sneaks into his house and liberates her sword from his trophy case.  Then she starts snooping around and finds a book filled with names and page after page of creepy tally marks.  She hears footsteps approaching and hides.

The Governor walks in with Milton and Merle.  Milton is trying to conduct an experiment and wants to postpone the party.  Merle won’t hear of it.  The Gov decides to hear him out, but refuses to postpone the party 10 days.  Milton agrees to restart his experiment in the morning.  At some point during the conversation, Michonne ducked out a window.

From there, she discovers a cage full of zombies.  She sets them free and puts her samarai sword to bloody good use.  Someone comes out with a bucket full of body parts presumably to feed the zombies.  The bucket falls to the floor.  Michonne has been spotted.

Somehow, Michonne winds up back at the Governor’s house.  Did she surrender to the guy with the bucket?  We don’t know.  But the Gov has her sword again.  And once again, Michonne is confrontational.  She rubs what she knows in his face.  She even mentions “Penny” which elicits a reaction from the Governor.  The conversation ends when Michonne grabs her sword and sticks the point against the Governor’s neck.

Remember how last season Dale took every opportunity to piss off Shane even though he suspected Shane was dangerous.  Michonne is doing the same thing here.  How did that end up for Dale again?  Oh right.

The Governor seems strangely unfazed despite having been threatened with a sword.  He tells Merle to send in Andrea and to have the research team fetch some more “grist for the mill.”

The Governor and Andrea have the same conversation they have been having since episode two.  Then Andrea and Michonne have the same conversation they have been having for the same time frame.  Andrea actually tells Michonne that she needs to give her “more to go on” and Michonne doesn’t mention any of the mounting evidence.  Not the bullets and blood on the soldier’s vehicles.  Not the creepy journal.  Nothing.  No wonder Andrea is reluctant to believe her.

The research team pulls a few zombies out of zombie traps.  They kill the ones that look too dangerous and pull the teeth out of the others.  The entire enterprise is handled like a casual errand.  Merle is joking around and having a good time.

Later, Michonne and Andrea attempt to leave Woodbury.  Merle meets them at the gates.  He seems to be stalling them.  Michonne seems vindicated.  They can’t leave.  But then Merle opens the gates.  Unfortunately, this leads to tired rehash of the Andrea/Michonne argument #12.  Thankfully, this time it ends with Michonne walking out the gates alone.  I couldn’t have handled argument #13.

After Michonne’s exit, the Governor continues to woo Andrea.  It’s a picture perfect day on Main Street USA.  Unfortunately, the Gov’s idea of showing a girl a good time is to take her to a zombie cage fight.  Andrea is appalled to see Merle and some steroid case slugging it out in an arena lined with zombies.  So the Governor tells her that the event is staged.  The zombies have no teeth.  Kind of like this episode.

Andrea says the Governor is teaching people zombies are harmless.  The Gov says he is teaching them not to be afraid.  I say if Andrea doesn’t make a run for the gates soon, she deserves whatever she gets.

Meanwhile, not a lot is happening at the prison.  Rick has lost his mind.  He walks into the prison and just starts hacking up zombies at random.  Forget that his two kids still need him.  Forget that his newborn baby is a few feet away.  Rick is so devestated over the loss of the wife he could barely bring himself to look at yesterday that he goes on a meaningless suicide mission.

You kind of suck, Rick.

Everyone but Rick seems concerned about the baby.  Hershel, with all his medical training, points out that the baby will need to be fed.  “And soon or she won’t survive.”  What?!?  I have two kids.  They don’t explode if you can’t feed them right away.  I mean, yeah, you should get the baby some formula.  But I don’t think there’s really a timer on this situation.  Hershel always makes everything life and death.  Get this man a ham sandwich soon or he will die!  Hersh, you old drama queen, you!

Darly isn’t about to let any babies die on his watch.  He’s going on a baby supply run if it kills him.  Maggie is tagging along because “she owes it to Lori.”  I guess becuase she kind of gutted her delivering the baby.  Amazingly Glenn, who is an expert at these kind of runs, lets Maggie go instead of going in her place.

While they are gone, Glenn digs some graves.  Axel and Oscar continue to be the nicest prison inmates you ever met.  But Glenn is kind of a dick to them.  They start digging graves anyway.  Then Glenn has a heart to heart with Hershel.  Last season, Glenn was given a speech to make the loss of Sophia sound more dramatic than it was.  This time, he has to talk up T-Dog.

T-Dog!  I have to give Steven Yeun mad props for getting out his lines with a straight face.  He said T-Dog saved his ass a thousand times.  Must have happened off camera.  Because on camera, T-Dog was completely incompetent most of the time.  “He wasn’t just a good guy,” said Glenn.  “He was the best.”

At this point, I fell off my sofa laughing hysterically.  Well played, Glenn, you ol’ kidder.  T-Dog!  Yeah, he will be missed.

Eventually, Glenn goes into the prison after Rick.  Rick is covered in zombie blood and manhandles Glenn for no good reason.  You really suck, Rick.

Daryl and Maggie finally find supplies at a daycare.  Abandoned day cares are creepy.  You keep expecting zombie kids to show up.  Darly takes in the hand prints on the wall.  Each one has a kid’s name on it.  The camera centers on one thatg says “Sophie”.  Nice touch.

They hear some rambling in a cupboard.  Daryl readies his crossbow.  Maggie opens the door and Daryl fires.  He kills a possum.  “Hello dinner!” he exclaims.  Second best moment in the episode.

By the way, I hope Daryl and Maggie did more than pick up formula.  If you have ever had a baby, they need tons of stuff.  You’re going to want lots and lots of diapers.  Not to mention Mylecon and other baby meds.  A gassy baby makes a lot of noise.  I was running out to the pharmacy once a week and we didn’t have an apocalypse to deal with.

The best scene of the episode was when Maggie and Daryl returned with the supplies.  Turns out Darly is as good a nursemaid as he is a zombie killer.  He feeds that baby like a pro.  Carl starts suggesting names for his sister.  It’s pretty morbid as he names every woman who has died in three seasons of the show.  I had to struggle to remember who some of them were.  Naming your sister after your mom after you shot her is kind of a weird idea, kid.

Daryl suggests “Little Ass Kicker.”  Can Daryl just have his own show?

By the way, check out Oscar over Daryl’s shoulder.  He is smiling his ass off like they are all one big happy family.  Is there a more genuine, trust worthy guy than Oscar?  Why is everyone so mean to this guy?  He’s a big sweetie.  I don’t remember ever seeing T-Dog smile like that.  I’m just sayin’.

As the episode ends, Daryl places a flower at a grave.  Presumably, it’s Carol’s grave.  I said last week that I didn’t want to spend a bunch of episodes looking for Carol.  But maybe you could have looked for her a little bit.  Someone loses their head wrap and you presume they are dead?  Seriously?  God I would hate to be a survivor with this group!

The episode ends with Crazy Rick getting a phone call.  Those of us who have read the comic know who is on the other end.  I’m going to say that it was done much better in the comic when Rick really had lost just about everything that was important to him.  It doesn’t make sense here.  I mean, he just had a baby.  He’s a single dad of two.  He should be more motivated than ever.

But the producers wanted Rick at a low point before the conflict with the Governor.  So we get Crazy Rick now even though it doesn’t make nearly as much sense.  Oh well.

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Posted on November 11, 2012, in TV, Walking Dead and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. For whatever reason, I’d totally blanked on that “you need to give me more to go on” line. As idiotic as this game to extend the Woodbury plot has been, that’s a straightforward demand for the evidence, and it gets nothing back, even after Michonne has to know GINO has just filled Andrea’s head with who-knows-what about her. That’s two details about this ep I missed or blanked on–maybe I should start taking notes while watching the eps. I added a note to my footnote on that one, and gave you credit for it, anyway.

    What’s at work, here, is, as it was with the Shane thing last season, the the writers want to extend this storyline in order to eat up more screen-time, and, for this week, they wanted Michonne to leave and Andrea to stay. The writers lack the talent to create a credible scenario whereby either happens, so this is what they do. It’s the same thing they’ve done since the beginning of season 2. I’ve bitched about it constantly–every bit of forward momentum on TWD is made dependent upon the characters being written, at all times, like complete morons.

    The guy who caught Michonne hacking away at the zombies was carrying a bucket of gore, intent on feeding them. Zombies only eat live meat, or that which has only just died. Are these human body parts in that bucket? If they’re feeding the zombies animal meat, it’s meat the living could eat (the living in Woodbury, we’re told this week, aren’t exactly flush with supplies). If they’re feeding them humans, well, you get the picture. Under NO circumstances would this fail to immediately set off really loud alarm-bells. Unless you’re a TWD writer who wants Michonne to leave and Andrea to stay, and thinks it’s reasonable to have her leave that REALLY IMPORTANT detail on the cutting-room floor in order to accomplish this.


    • I wouldn’t waste time taking notes. You just end up with a big pile of nonesense. It’s impossible to know where to start when you try to sort it out in any reasonable way. Cartoons make more sense.


  2. Hate to admit it, but this episode has left me confused in a couple different areas. First, I completely missed that we lost Carol. When and how did she go??? Last I remember T-Dog saved her. Second, who was the fat zombie Rick gutted and where was Lori’s body? I actually Googled this one and the answer seems to be the fat zombie ate every last bit of Lori’s carcass which is why Rick stabbed the stomach over and over….ensuring her eaten self was really dead??? Every zombie tale I’ve ever seen, they only like there flesh fresh and alive. Yes the nonsense piled up in this episode. Oh well, like you guys I’ve given up waiting on coherent story lines here. For sharp writing and intricate, interesting plot lines I rely on American Horror Story.


    • I think I am going to chalk up the nonesense with the fat zombie to Rick’s fevered imagination. I am sure it was meant to be taken literally, but it makes no sense. So I am just going to assume that it is part of Rick’s hallucinations. (Although why he lost his mind to this degree is a whole other mystery.)

      Everyone is in the same boat on Carol. I assume some important scenes were cut. Because what we are being shown doesn’t match the info we have been given. Hopefully, an explanation is given early next episode. Either way, it’s just about as sloppy as you can get.

      AHS > TWD in every regard.


      • Greg Nicotero, who directed that ep, apparently confirmed, on “Talking Dead,” that fat-boy did, indeed, eat Lori (haven’t seen it, but that’s what everyone is telling me).

        They just assumed Carol was dead, and made no effort to even find any evidence of this, despite going so far as to dig a grave for her. Finding Carol was less important, even to Daryl, than finding baby food.


        • Yeah, I saw that on Talking Dead. Even the host said he didn’t get that from the episode.

          How long do you think Daryl spent looking for that flower? Longer than he spent looking for Carol I’d wager.


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