“Home” is the episode of The Walking Dead that should have aired last week for the mid-season premiere, holy shit. I know I wasn’t the only one who thought “The Suicide King” episode from last week was a lacking a bit, but the show more than made up for it this week with “Home”.
Things started off a bit wonky as Rick continues to lose his mind and wander off outside of the prison walls. He’s still seeing ghost-Lori floating around in her wedding dress, as he slowly descends into madness. And it’s because Rick is starting to lose it that Glenn feels the need to step up as the leader, but he’s also not in any sort of mindset to lead the group. He won’t let anyone help him, he’s on a zombie-killing rage, and at the same time doesn’t want to comfort Maggie after the whole ordeal they just went through with The Governor. It’s almost as if Glenn is made at Maggie for what The Governor did to her, and in his mind, things were much worse than they were. It seems as though Glenn just assumed that since Maggie was standing there without her shirt on when they were brought into the room together, that The Governor raped her… and somehow that was her fault. Little did Glenn know, which he finds out this episode, that she wasn’t raped, and merely took her shirt off and was bent over the table because if she hadn’t, they would have cut Glenn’s hand off (which I think is a nod to the comic books in which Rick’s hand is cut off in the same situation). Also, in the comic books, Michonne is the one held captive next to Glenn and The Governor is much harder on her than he was on Maggie. All of the things that Glenn though The Governor did to Maggie, he actually does to Michonne… repeatedly, while she’s tied up. This is why I feel The Governor isn’t coming across as brutal in the show as he is in the comics.
Speaking of The Governor, we see a bit more of him this week as he tells Andrea he believes she’s a better fit as a leader to the people of Woodbury than he is. I really think this is all a ploy to keep her busy while he plans what he’s going to do next; he doesn’t need Andrea breathing down his neck the whole time. However, the people guarding the walls don’t seem to want to take orders from Andrea any. The Governor also enlists Milton to keep an eye on her while he’s taking care of other things, but Milton is a terrible liar and pretty much came out and told Andrea what he was up to. And what was he up to you ask? We’ll get there… but first lets talk about Daryl and Merle.
I was so happy that the story continued to follow the Dixon brothers as they ventured out on their own. And I’m even happier to see that Daryl is realizing that while his brother may be blood, his real family is back at the prison. We also find out that Merle has always thought solely of himself, even when they were kids. Their father was apparently quite abusive, and instead of helping his younger brother out of a bad situation, Merle just took off on his own leaving Daryl to take the brunt of the abuse. Merle apparently had no idea this was going on until he rips Daryl’s shirt and sees all the scars on his back. Which leads me to wonder how, or why, Daryl ever met back up with Merle in the first place. If my brother abandoned me and left me to take all of the abuse from my father, I’d be pissed at him. Thankfully Daryl figures that out as the two of them are saving a family they come across that are overrun by walkers on the bridge. Which by the way, is the bridge that runs over the river that Daryl thought to be close, but was told otherwise by his brother.
They rescue the family, well, Daryl rescues the family as Merle sits by watching. The only bullet Merle fired was to take out a walker that was getting too close to Daryl, he could care less about the Mexican family Daryl was trying to help. Once all the walkers are dead, Merle starts digging through the family car, while the mother and baby are crying in the front seat, looking for some food since they are having no luck catching anything. Daryl realizes that he doesn’t want to be like his brother and pulls his crossbow on him. The threat is enough to get Merle to back out of the car and let the people go, and it’s enough to make Daryl realize that his brother is a piece of shit and that he’s needs to back to the real family he has at the prison.
Back at the prison, Glenn has driven off to go see where the breach in the wall is that’s letting the walkers into the tombs of the prison (the same way that Tyreese got in), meanwhile Rick is wander outside of the fences looking for ghost-Lori when he’s confronted by Hershel who hobbled his way down to across the yard to talk to him. Back up in side the gates, Carol and Axel are setting up metal tables as cover in case The Governor decides to retaliate, or rather for when The Governor decides to retaliate. Carol actually seems to be forgetting about Daryl for the time being as Axel and her start joking back and forth and Axel opens up to her a little bit about why he was really in the prison… armed robbery with a water gun as opposed to tax fraud, which he originally told the group. But of course Carol wasn’t going to be able to find someone that easily…
As Carol and Axel are talking and laughing, Axel’s head explodes from a bullet. Carol looks up to see The Governor with a long range rifle just outside the fences. At the same time Rick starts getting shot at from the edge of the woods by one of The Governor’s men, Martinez I believe. And if that weren’t enough, Hershel is down in the yard near the fence after having hobbled down there to talk to Rick; combine that with another guy who someone managed to get into one fo the guard towers, and it’s just a shitty situation for everyone. A full on gun fight erupts as Carol falls to the ground and uses Axel’s body for cover. Maggie hears what’s going on and brings more guns out so they can try to defend themselves. I really thought Maggie would be a better shot than she was this week, but she eventually takes out the guy in the guard tower, but as soon as she does, another issue presents itself.
A rogue ice cream truck comes barreling out of the woods and through the front gates. At first I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but after a second look you could could see that there was a ramp being held up in the back of the truck. I really thought that it was going to be a bunch more guys with guns that came running out of there, but in reality it was a handful of walkers, which definitely left Hershel at a disadvantage as there is no way he was going to out-hobble the walkers coming towards him; and even if he did get up he would have been shot. Once the walkers were let out and the driver of the van, dressed in full riot gear, got out and made his way back to The Governor, those guys took off leaving the prison in shambles. Michonne manages to take out a good amount of the walkers, but I’m surprised she didn’t just run around and take out the rest. Instead, Glenn comes up flying up in the car he took around the back and scoops up Michonne and Hershel and brings them back up near the rest of the group.
Meanwhile, outside of the fence, all of the gunfire has brought quite a few walkers down on Rick. He manages to take out a handful of them before running out of bullets, but he soon gets pinned against the fence by two of them. But just went you thought he was a goner, an arrow comes through the back of one of their heads as Daryl (and Merle) come to his rescue. Obviously Rick is happy to see Daryl, but I don’t think he’s happy to see Merle.
I thought this was a great episode and I know they had to move the story along last week, but I really think this should have been the mid-season premiere. It had a perfect blend of drama, story and action; maybe they should have just made last week a 2 hour mid-season premiere, I think everyone would have been happy with that. I can’t wait to see how Rick reacts to The Governor’s attack. I really hope that this snaps him out of the weird “I see dead people” mood that he’s been in, and I hope he sets out to find Tyreese and his group because they are going to need a lot more help defending the prison when The Governor comes back to actually take it…