'The Walking Dead' recap, episode 305: 'Say the Word'

Daryl (Norman Reedus) has a sick stoner poncho, bro.

The most disturbing occurrence of this week's episode of The Walking Dead had to be when Rick — still grieving the death of his estranged wife, Lori — finds the room of the prison where she recently gave birth to their baby via fatal C-section, crawls around on the floor running his hands through what appears to be the afterbirth and finds the zombie that presumably gorged on her corpse sitting against the wall with its belly bloated from the grisly feast, like it had just gorged on five Taco Bell Big Box Meals. Rick shoves his revolver into its mouth (it appears to have some of her hair still stuck to its face) and pulls the trigger, and then repeatedly stabs its swollen breadbasket containing her remains with his KA-BAR.

Yes, this is actually a show on television. Can you imagine going back in time and finding some family watching Leave it to Beaver or Little House on the Prairie and being like, "Excuse me folks, I'd like for you to check out this show real quick."


At first they'd be like, "Wow, it's in full color!" and then their faces would go slack and turn white, and the little son would be like "Daddy, why did the man stab the rotten man so many times?"

This was the first episode of the season directed by Greg Nicotero, who's in charge of all the ghastly make-up and special effects on the show, so you knew it was going to be a festival of carnage.


There were actually only 13 zombie kills this episode, a low number by this season's standards, but there were some pretty good ones: Rick's aforementioned cathartic assault, a few head splitters and the time when Michonne chopped one's entire torso in half (see best zombie kill below).

In terms of plot development, this episode was not terribly eventful, but it would have been foolish to try to match the bombs dropped in last week's episode anyway, so I'm OK with that.

Michonne did finally blow the popsicle stand called Woodbury (sorry I think I've called it Woodberry a few times), which is good because that storyline and all her brooding was starting to drag a little bit, sort of like the infamously slow search for Sophia last season.

This episode did feature a bit of a wild goose chase when Daryl and Maggie went off to find baby formula. I mean, I don't know the first thing about parenting, obviously, but can't they just feed the baby canned green beans and Wonder bread? Then when it gets a little older they can move on to Kid Cuisine meals.

The only purpose that mission seemed to serve was to kill some time, and to make Glenn look bad as Daryl drove off with his babe. Maggie's whole explanation for insisting on going was that she had to do it "for Lori." And Glenn's just like "Oh, OK." Wait, what?

We also got to learn a little bit more about the Governor and Woodbury in this episode. We now know that he keeps his zombified daughter, Penny, around so that he can brush her pretty, pretty hair oh so lovingly, even if a piece of her decomposing scalp does fall off every once in awhile. The Governor needs to let it go. Maybe he should just try to find a Cinco Boy instead.

Later on, we see that Woodbury stages comical gladiator battles to entertain the populace, using detoothed zombies as a ring. It's like a WWF lumberjack match, except instead of Hacksaw Jim Duggan and the British Bulldog serving as the lumberjacks, it's some zombies. Merle is more of a bar room brawler, while Ronnie employs a hybrid capoeira fighting style like Eddy Gordo from Tekken 3.

I also noticed that this episode went out of its way to draw a comparison between Michonne and Rick. Both of them seem to only be happy when they're slaughtering shuffling bags of bones and both of them push away anyone who tries to get close to them. I don't know the significance of all this, but I wouldn't be surprised if Rick and Michonne cross paths sometime in the next few episodes, that's all I'm saying. And maybe they'll kiss.


I know that the cliffhanger ending, when Rick answers the ringing phone, seems kind of intriguing, but if you've read the books, you have an idea of who's on the other end of the line.

Did you notice?
  • Andrea called Michonne by her pet-name, "Meesh".
  • The backwards hat guy who we're starting to see more is named "Ronnie," and he was wearing a shirt with the No. 23 on the back and a stylized lion on the front. Does anyone know what his hat says?
  • When Glenn tracked down Rick in the prison, Rick was breathing really viciously, kind of like Shane was right before he and Rick fought to the death! I think the producers have been doing that intentionally to subtly suggest that the latent zombie infection that everyone has sometimes affects people's behavior, even if they haven't turned into a zombie yet.
  • One of the names of the children on the wall at the daycare center was Sofie. Not Sophia, but Daryl did seem to give it a long look.
  • Other signs in the dayacre center were "Miss Sue's room" and "Immunized kids".
  • There was a store in Woodbury called Crabapple Books.
  • There was a cornhole board on the sidewalk in Woodbury. There should have been two dudes in flip flops and visors nearby sipping Corona Light and blasting O.A.R.
  • Ronnie and Merle walk past Milton at the beginning of the episode talking about their fight coming up later that night.
  • The baby noises were really creepy. I know they probably just get them from some sound effect service, but they sounded like they were coming from a much older baby and it just really weirded me out.
What was that song?

That was playing before the big throwdown between Merle and Ronnie? It was Saturday Night Special by Lynyrd Skynyrd. People on seem to think that song is about gun control.

Why does everything remind me of Lost?

At the beginning when it showed that kid playing with the dog I thought it was a flashback for a second. And then I realized it was Woodbury and I thought that Woodbury reminded me of the Others village from Lost. Do I just think about Lost way too much, or are there similarities between the two shows?

Hey Michonne you catch more bees with honey than vinegar

First Michonne shoulder checks some dude walking through town, and then she jabs the Governor in the neck with her Shinobi sword. I know she's suspicious of Woodbury and all, but at what point do you just have to accept the fact that she's being a jerk and the Governor is a good guy?

The Governor is a beer snob

The Governor has boxes of Terrapin Golden Ale and Hop-lanta in his quarters. I would never want to play beer pong with the Governor. He'd be like "Busch Light? Colt 45? Ugh! You're going to have to drink all of our cups!"

Diary of a Madman

Michonne finds the Governor's book and the first couple pages are like "Schedule annual Woodbury bluegrass festival", and "Meet with Milton re: personalized zombie-bite-proof jacket". But then she keeps turning pages and it turns out to be the Diary of a Madman. I wish it had played that creepy high-pitched violin music from The Shining when Wendy discovers Jack's typewriter. What do you think all those hashmarks mean anyway? How many people he's killed, or zombies, or both? Maybe how many golf balls he's hit or how many bottles of bourbon he's polished off?


A few things you actually could read in the notebook were:

  • "Respond back to Anthony Smith's email as soon as possible" (obviously he started this diary before the apocalypse)
  • "TO DO: find more eggs"
  • "We gave you the ... whiskey glasses"
  • "Make notes on what to tell the town, they need to stay calm — power sources, water supply"
  • "Today made me wonder if being the governor or being the man in charge makes the people feel like they actually have someone to look up to / feel like they're being taken care of. Sometimes I doubt that. I believe I'm a good leader. Sometimes I just need to relax. I love talking about my town and supporting it... Sometimes I just need to find a way to relax, like a bottle of scotch and some classic Sinatra."
  • "Sanitation: Garbage trucks for city. Check into hospitals, get information on superintendents of sanitation. Judiciary: finalize the budget for the second half of the year, i.e. st. repair - road signs, new pavement, etc. Laws cancelled due to primary legislation. Guards: crime has increased 20% I want my town to be completely crime free. -update police enforcement. -new cars? -enforce more public security. Food rationing: prices on various types of food -increased 40% -Hopes of decreasing at least 20% of that inflamation w/in the next year. Activities: Town meeting to be held every Thursday evening. GOALS TO BE ACCOMPLISHED -tighter community -ideas for future events. get ideas from townspeople. Hearings: trial about sanitation laws."
  • Then there were all the names (which I won't list) and hash marks.
  • There was some other writing that gave me a headache when I tried to read it.
Tom Savini would not be pleased...

The director of this episode, Greg Nicotero, is famous for being a protege of "The Godfather of Gore," Tom Savini, who always used practical special effects. I know sometimes computer effects are necessary, but I thought that on a few of the zombie kills they were a little too obvious and cartoony looking, like when the one got its head sliced in half by Michonne. I wish they had just made a fake zombie head out of paper mache and filled it with spaghetti and meatballs and let Danai Gurira slash that thing up with her Samurai Pizza Cats sword.

What a sissy

Daryl brought some baby doll back from the daycare center to give to the new baby, and also put a flower (a Cherokee Rose?) on one of the graves (Lori's?). I don't like how they try to make Daryl look all tough with his motorcycle and crossbow, and then they try to make him look all sensitive and thoughtful. And then he tries to make some dumb joke like, "Hey let's name the baby Little Asskicker!" and everyone chuckles, and I'm just like, "Shut up Daryl, why don't you go pick some posies and write a poem about rainbows."

In this week's commercial break infographic, they listed Norman Reedus's favorite lines of dialogue, and here they are:

  • "Choke hold's illegal!"
  • "You take that stupid hat and go back to On Golden Pond!"
  • "Merle! Get your ugly ass out here, got us some squirrel. Let's stew 'em up."
  • "Rick Grimes? You got something you wanna tell me?"
  • "Am I the only one zen around here? Good Lord."
  • "Glenn, you comin'?"
  • "Listen to me, Olive Oyl...."
  • "How about a hug for your old pal Merle?"
  • "Someone's playing' games."
  • "Little ass-kicker? Right? That's a good name, right?"

Wrong. Dumb.

What the heck happened to Carol?

I know everyone's scrambling around to get stuff for the baby, but is anyone even concerned about finding Carol? Did I miss something? She went missing last week and no one seems remotely interested in finding out where she is, if she's alive or dead, or what. It's like they want to just stand around making dumb jokes about the baby and smiling at each other. I don't get it.

Odds and ends
  • When the Governor and Andrea sit down at the wrasslin' match, Andrea is like "It's a little loud!" and I wish the Governor had been like "Sorry grandma, why don't you turn down the sensitivity on your hearing aid!" Zing!
  • They really missed an opportunity for something cool when they went to the daycare. They should have had toddler zombies. They would have looked like the kids from The Brood.
  • Merle was making me awfully nervous when he was handling those zombies in the big cargo net like they got tangled up at the end of Ninja Warrior. I was like "Merle, don't get bit buddy! We need you and your crude attitude!"
  • When they asked Carl what he thought the baby's name should be, he acted like a sweet young man and said all the names of the deceased women he knew. I wish that he had acted like a normal ten-year-old and said that the baby should be called "Nintendo" or "Pizza" or "Rad Dude".
  • When Michonne michonned on out of Woodbury, it definitely should have played this song...
  • When Glenn goes to find Rick, he should have been doing something much more disturbing and demented than just smearing blood on the wall. He should have been sitting at some table with some muzzled zombies dressed up in Lori and Carl's clothes, forcing them to have an imaginary supper with him. Then he would be like "Oh, hi Glenn. This is my new family. Won't you come join us?"
  • What did the title of this episode mean? Say the word and they can leave Woodbury?
Quote board

Governor: "The first time we gathered there was nine of us holed up in an apartment with Spam and saltine crackers. Well look at us now!"

Milton: "I love a party as much as the next fella, trust me, I love a party … I like fun!"

Glenn: "There's a Piggy Wiggly on 85."

Governor: "You've broken the rules. If I don't do anything I invite anarchy."

Michonne: "This place is not what they say it is."

Glenn: "Part of me wishes that we killed all of the prisoners on sight."


Governor: "I'm saying what works out there doesn't work in here. We're not barbarians."

Glenn: "When the evacuation started T-Dog drove his church van to the home of every senior he knew, just in case they needed a ride. He saved my ass a thousand times. He wasn't just a good guy, he was the best."

Andrea: "Eight months on the road moving place to place, scavenging, living in a meat locker. That was no life."

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Michonne: "You'd just slow me down anyway..."

Andrea: "You go for a jog to blow off steam. This is sick!"

Governor: "We're shining a light on the monster under the bed, it's fun!"

Winner: Milton

What everyone is up to

Rick: Starting to lose his mind, going on a zombie killing spree and throwing Glenn up against the wall.

Carl: Playing Mr. Mom and trying to name the baby after a bunch of dead ladies.

Glenn: Getting tossed up against the wall by Rick and watching Daryl drive off with Glenn's woman on the back of his motorcycle.

Daryl: Going on a mission to find baby formula with Maggie, shooting an opossum for dinner, and stepping up to lead the group since Rick is losing his mind.

Carol: MIA

Hershel: Standing around smiling, holding hands with Glenn through the fence.

Maggie: Going on a motorcycle mission with Daryl.

Beth: Being put in charge of keeping an eye on Carl, who should be distraught at his father's behavior and the death of his mother.

Andrea: Holding hands with the Governor and parting ways with Michonne.

Michonne: Poking the Governor in the neck with her sword, brooding and leaving Woodbury.

The Governor: Having Daddy-Daughter Day with his little princess.

Milton: Wearing an awesome zombie proof jacket, acting like a square and trying to convince everyone what a party animal he actually is.

Merle: Hamming it up for the crowd like Ravishing Rick Rude, doing one-stumped push-ups and sick crescent kicks.

Axel: Banging a shovel against the fence, telling the zombies "Come on! You want some of this?"

Oscar: Digging graves for Glenn because he feels bad for him.

Best zombie kill

When Michonne cut the crap out of that one's body and it siid in half like this was Tom & Jerry or something. When she stomped on the one's head and it smashed like a rotten jack-o'lantern, that was pretty cool, too.

Creepiest zombie

The one whose mouth Merle jammed his knife arm into, and whose tooth they plucked out with a Leatherman PST. It looked like its name would have been Ebeneezer. When they were tearing its tooth out, it was like "Hey, I heard our dental plan wasn't as good this year, but this is ridiculous!" and then it was like "Hey what are you, the Tooth Fairy? Hey, let me put that under my zombie pillow and I'll get two quarters in the morning, no..."

Death count

Zombies: 13, for 139 on the season. (Michonne killed six, Rick five and Glenn two)

Humans: None this episode! But 14 on the season.

Opposums: 1 (LOL, I know he killed an owl earlier in the season too, but I'm only going to leave this up for this one week, cause it's just to be silly :-)

Lingering questions

  • Where are Morgan and Duane?
  • What's in Milton's special tea? Some kind of serum or opiate?
  • What happened to Carol?
  • How does Milton's awesome zombie-proof jacket work? It just looked like a bunch of duct tape to me...
  • Who's on the phone? (If you read the books, you know, but just humor me)
A look ahead to next week's episode, "Hounded"

Andrea jumps over the wall. Michonne duels with Merle out in the woods like they're a couple of larpers. Daryl looks for Carol, and Andrea has another meeting with the Governor and drinks more liquor. This time they also make out. The prison crew shares a meal, and Rick acts all crazy around them