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'Walking Dead' mid-season finale recap, 'Made to Suffer'

Executive BranchGhouls and Zombies (supernatural entities)Jon BernthalWikimedia Foundation, Inc.The Walking Dead (tv program)The Wire (tv program)

Well THAT wasn't how the Dixon brothers reunion was supposed to go down!

For a second, right after the Governor accused Merle of being a traitor in Sunday night's episode, I was very scared that ol' Merle was going to get killed off right then and there. Thank goodness they just left us with a cliffhanger of the two staring each other down in front of a bloodthirsty crowd of Woodburians.

We'll have to wait until Feb. 10 for answers, and by then we'll be eating any Subway footlong sub we want for only $5. #FebruAny

I hope that Merle and Daryl go back-to-back, Roman gladiator fighting style, and brawl their way out of there, maiming the Governor in the process. Or they could stage a fake fight like Merle and Caesar did a few episodes back. It would be like Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart.

And then they can go to that bar where Hershel got sauced and reunite properly. I can't believe they took Merle's knife hand. How rude!

While the Dixon Bros. reunion was cool, that wasn't the only notable occurrence on Sunday night's midseason finale.

Humans and zombies were killed, new characters were introduced and old characters were stabbed in the eye.

With the rapid pace of this season so far, I kind of thought a more significant character was going down. Maybe Carol or Hershel. Instead, we said goodbye to Oscar. The joke around the Internet a few weeks ago when T-Dog died was that the show could only have one black male character at a time. I thought it was kind of a dumb joke, but look what happened: Oscar dies of a shotgun blast, and they introduce a new black male character, Tyreese.

Oscar was kind of a throwaway character anyway, and I think Tyreese is a great addition, in part because he's played by Chad Coleman, who was also one of my favorite characters on "The Wire," Cutty. Readers of the graphic novel are very familiar with Tyreese, a fictional Atlanta Falcon, as he was nearly as popular as Michonne.

In addition to Oscar, several other human characters died, but they might as well have been zombies, because they were hardly recognizable. There was that woman, Donna, that was with Tyreese's group, and there was that guard, Warren, that Maggie stabbed through the throat with a jagged zombie arm bone. That was awesome.

More importantly, Michonne found the Governor's man cave, ended his zombified daughter's existence, smashed up his aquarium head collection, and stabbed him in the eye with a jagged piece of glass. Not so pretty now, are ya Governor? BURN!

At least she got to see her pet zombies again. She presumably would have killed the Gov had Andrea not come in and told them to stop fighting. When Andrea sees Michonne, she's like "awkward!"

Woodbury was exposed as pretty weak against outside threats. Rick and Daryl and Oscar were out there in the woods, arguing and making a bunch of racket just a few dozen yards from the fence, and those dimwitted guards didn't even notice. Then Rick, Daryl and Oscar just waltz into town like they were antique hunters. And then that dumb guy in the funny sleeveless flannel shirt is like "Duh, who's in there!" before Daryl gives him a concussion.

The prison crew is just better at fighting. Those Woodbury fools were standing up on top of school buses like sitting ducks while Rick shrewdly takes cover behind that solar panel, picking them off.

What was up with Rick's Shane hallucination? Was there more significance to that than just that Rick is still slowly descending into madness? I bet it was fun at least for Jon Bernthal to get back on the set. I wonder if it was awkward between him and Andrew Lincoln. Jon Bernthal probably tried to take some finger sandwich off of a catering tray, and Andrew Lincoln was like "Uhh, Jon? Those are for regular cast members only, thanks ..."

Back at the prison, Tyreese and his group check in. Apparently, per Wikipedia, that girl Sasha is Tyreese's daughter. The other two are Allen and his son, Ben. Their arrival allows Carl to flex his leadership muscles in Rick's absence. I don't know, I still find it kind of ridiculous that a 12-year-old boy is bossing people around, all while wearing that silly oversized sheriff's hat. I guess the thinking is that he's grown up in zombie apocalypse, so he's best equipped to get by in this world.

Meanwhile at the prison, Axel reveals himself to be a bit of a perv. He's hovering over 17-year-old Beth (FYI in real life she's 22), licking his greasy moustachioed lips. *Shudder* Carol puts him in his place, but then when she tells him that — despite her closely cropped coif — she is not a lesbian, he gets all excited and starts hitting on her. She's like, "Uh, I'm holding out for Daryl, you creep."

Early on Axel seemed to be just a harmless, gearhead yokel. But now we're beginning to see the evil that lurks in his heart. I'm thinking that maybe Axel will go a little too far with his horndoggery and Carl will have to step up and take care of business.

Happy Holidays everyone! See you in February!

Did you notice/know?

  • The Governor's wife in that family portrait looks kind of like Andrea.
  • The Governor had a big bowl of meat that he was going to serve Penny. Was it man meat? And if so who did he kill to get it?
  • That lullaby that the Governor was singing to Penny was "Howard's Cradle Song," copyright 1883.
  • The sign on building that Rick and crew were holed up read "Let's Get Away! Bradley & Lewis Travel Service."
  • Tyreese's group repeatedly referred to Carl as "man" or a man.
  • Tyreese's daughter, Sasha, was wearing a shirt that said "Southern Gothic" on it.

 

Quote board

Maggie: "All this time running from walkers, you forget what people do ..."

The Governor: "What once kept prisoners in now keeps biters out ... now that's smart."

Axel: "17? Interesting..."

Carol: "This isn't about you trying to repopulate the earth."

Axel: "Maggie, she's with Glenn, you're lesbian, and I was just talking to her."

Axel: "You got the short hair. You're not a lesbian? My, my. This is interesting."

The Governor: "Sometimes biters get in through the side fences, no need to panic."

The Governor: "We're under attack. You find out and you find these people. Don't take any chances and try to take any prisoners. You shoot to kill, uh huh?"

Glenn: "Your brother's just a lieutenant or something."

Merle: "Some a--holes want what we have."

The Governor: "We gotta get out of the street. We're not soldiers, we're survivors. We'll wait 'em out."

The Governor: "It's me you want, huh? There's no need for her to suffer ... don't hurt my little girl."

Michonne: "She doesn't have needs."

Sasha: "Who the hell are you? How did you get in here? Who are you with?"

The Governor: "I made myself look at them, preparing me for the horrors outside."

The Governor: "I'm afraid of terrorists who want what we have, wanna destroy us."

The Governor: "It was you. You lied, betrayed us all ... you wanted your brother, you got him."

Winner: The Governor

 

Best zombie kill

How about when Michonne stabbed little Penny through the back of her head and her Bushido Blade sword came out of Penny's mouth? That was a pretty good one.

 

Creepiest zombie

That one that had its jaw all hanging down off of its face by just a few tendons.

 

Death count

Zombies: 13? For 162 on the season.

Humans: There was Oscar, Donna, Warren, and two other random Woodbury citizens, including the bearded guy that Rick thought was Shane, for 23 on the season.

 

Lingering questions

  • Where are Morgan and Duane?
  • What's in Milton's special tea? Some kind of serum or opiate?
  • How does Milton's awesome zombie-proof jacket work? It just looked like a bunch of duct tape to me ...

 

A look ahead to the next episode, "The Suicide King" (Feb. 10)

There is rioting in the streets of Woodbury, the Governor is suspicious of Andrea, Carl tries to usurp Rick's leadership, and the newcomers to the prison explore their new surroundings.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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Executive BranchGhouls and Zombies (supernatural entities)Jon BernthalWikimedia Foundation, Inc.The Walking Dead (tv program)The Wire (tv program)
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