WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS. DO NOT CONTINUE IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN “HOUNDED”
The following is my review of Season 3: Episode 6 of The Walking Dead, entitled “Hounded”. I decided to skip episode five, because it’s out of date and not quite worth me going back and writing about, not like episode four was, so I picked up on the most recent episode, which happened to be, in my personal opinion, quite exciting.
The episode is called “Hounded,” for reasons that become obvious to the watcher by the time they reach the opening credits. The villainous Merle is leading a group of men into the woods, searching for all of our favorite warrior, Michonne. His search party includes a man named Tim, a man named Crowley, and a new face named Gardulio, the latter of whom seems to be a new recruit. It becomes immediately clear to the audience that the Governor never planned on letting Michonne and Andrea escape to safety, and while Andrea has no way of knowing that, it’s obvious to Michonne because she left a warning for the men. On the ground lies a mutilated walker in the form of a message. The arms are twisted into a G, the legs are bent into an O, and then there’s a torso flipped over onto it’s stomach, revealing it’s back. “G O BACK” It’s such a fantastic idea, I would have loved to share a photograph, but I was unable to find a good one on the internet. This was never used in the comics, and it’s a great innovative addition. Merle refers to it as a “biter gram” and laughs about it, but it scares Gardulio. It should. Michonne doesn’t mess around, and they soon see that as she jumps out of the tree from above them where she had been hiding the entire time. After dealing with so many walkers, they had grown careless to what could have been above them, and they paid for it.
Jumping down, she sliced off Crowley’s head before he realized what was what, and then she quickly stabbed Tim. If this wasn’t enough to kill him, she then used him as a meat shield to protect herself from several shots that Merle fired in her direction. Running away to safety, Michonne did take one bullet to the leg, however, and I’m sure viewers everywhere gritted their teeth just as I did, worried about our heroine. This is a welcome change in pace from the usual survivor vs. walker battles that we see in every episode. We love to see our heroes take down the filthy flesh eaters, but it needs to be shown how separate groups of humans clash in times such as these. It was depicted in “Nebraska” towards the end of season two, and it’s obviously being led up to with Woodbury vs. The Prison, and we know how that plays out in the comics, but this was great to see. Michonne and her sword versus Merle and his gauntlet. Now that’s something I want to see!
I mean, Jesus Christ, right? This is a fight I’ll gladly watch. While the idea of the arena is cool, I’d much rather see this pirate-esque battle between two warriors over a half assed scripted fight between Merle and Martinez where we know no one will die. This is this type of thing that gets me to the edge of my seat and keeps me there. I’ll watch human vs. human with a background zombie threat looming in the back of their minds all day.
In their second meeting, Merle saves Gardulio’s life, only barely pushing him out of the way of Michonne’s blade. Gardulio then returns the favor and saves him from a walker. Michonne manages to get away, but not before something important happens. She slashes open a walker, spilling it’s guts out all over herself, apparently something that she had never done before, because not long later, she realizes that she now has her very own cloak of invisibility when it comes to zombie senses. We thought she was a strong, un-killable survivor before? Now she’s practically immortal.
Merle ends up shooting Gardulio in the head, and this shows us something very important. Merle hasn’t changed. While this entire season may have led us to believe he had become more civilized, only giving us small glimpses into the man he used to be, he overall seemed to have made an enormous improvement over the Merle we knew and hated from season one. The same Merle that visited Daryl in his hallucination, proving that even his own brother viewed him as an evil bastard. There was a small glimmer of hope for some of us that Merle had changed for good, and was possibly going to be brought to the good side by his little brother, but it’s very obvious now that it’s hard to teach on old bigot new tricks. He not only shot Gardulio, but he also kidnapped Glenn and Maggie, taking them back to Woodbury. Thankfully, Glenn was strong enough to hold from giving Merle the location to the prison, but now he and his lovebird are in deep trouble. In this comics, the governor has Glenn, Rick, and Michonne held captive, and he shows his true colors by not only cutting off Rick’s arm, but also raping and torturing Michonne. We’ve had several glimpses into the sick bastard that he really is, but will Maggie now take Michonne’s place in his torture room? What will that mean for these young lovers, who everyone holds out hope for? Fortunately, Michonne witnessed the kidnapping, and can convey the terrible news to Rick and the others. So we have our fingers crossed that there is a chance they will escape unscathed, but it is very, very unlikely. Robert Kirkman himself said in a recent interview that the two wouldn’t escape unscathed but he didn’t provide any details more than that.
I will spend very little time discussing Andrea and her current story arc with the Governor. The only reason I’m even touching on it at all is because she’s one of my favorite characters in the comics, and I’m still holding out hope that it’s not impossible for her to become that person. In the comics she was fairly useless, just as she is on AMC, but that changes when she gets traumatized. She gets attacked in the prison and ends up with a scar on her face, and she goes through a transformation to become a badass sniper who Rick can thoroughly rely on. Since she’s not in the prison, but rather, she’s spending all of her time in Woodbury, I can only speculate and hope as to what will happen. I HOPE she will get too close to the governor and discover something she shouldn’t. The zombie daughter or the fish tank filled with heads would be a nice place to start. Or maybe she won’t like what happens to Glenn and Maggie. I HOPE he catches her and ends up torturing or hurting her because of it. I HOPE she barely gets rescued by Rick and Michonne and I HOPE she becomes the person we know and love from the comics. That’s a lot to hope for, but my fingers are crossed.
While we’re talking about Woodbury, I want to mention the addition of the new girl. Andrea was on the wall talking to a girl who was giving some of her own backstory, talking about killing her father and her brother, which helped Andrea relate to her due to the situation with Amy. The reason I want to bring attention to this girl is because although they didn’t say her name, she bears a STRIKING resemblance to Rosita from the comics. That is, of course, if you can manage to get past the fact that she’s not Mexican. If this does indeed prove to be her, then they may have to change her name, just like they did her story. I didn’t expect her to be introduced so soon, especially before and without Abraham, but thinking about it, she may use her “I sleep with people for safety” thing on Tyreese, since Tyreese won’t be with Carol. So, we’ll see. Anyways, I searched and found someone who thought the same thing as me, so I’m going to share their pictures.
Above is the girl in the episode. Below is the girl from the comics.
These girls are wearing the same exact outfits. Considering they said there would be new female cast additions coming up, this could be one of the people they were talking about. Sure, Doctor Stevens in the comics was a man, and Doctor Stephens in the comics is a woman, but she has barely said two words so far, if she has even spoken at all. Alice is a nurse at Woodbury in the books, but she still hasn’t been introduced, so they may be avoiding her altogether. My thoughts? Rick and Michonne are going to Woodbury, and they’ll be coming back with Tyreese, Rosita, Martinez, Milton, Andrea, Glenn, and Maggie. That would be ideal anyways, I’d love to hope for zero casualties. I do say Milton because he’s done nothing but disapprove of the Governor and Merle and I think he would be more than happy to alienate himself from the savages and work in the prison with their generator.
Getting back to the Dixons, I want to mention Daryl. His relationships have been growing with several of the characters. He’s Rick’s best man, and he had a heart to heart with Carl in this very episode. Not to mention he found Carol and carried her to safety. He is continuously making ties to this group, which is good for us, because his brotherly love storyline is just around the corner. When Daryl and Merle finally collide, he will have to choose between his old life and his new one. I personally think he will eventually have to overcome and kill Merle for the good of the group, but we can only wait and see.
Finally, I have to at least touch on Rick’s descent into madness. His phone calls with the dead was something anyone who read the comics saw coming. In the books, this story arc happens after the prison, but it only makes sense for it to take place directly after Lori’s death, when Rick is still feeling the most guilt, because he of course feels directly responsible for her fate. The way the phone calls progress, it shows us that he also feels guilt for every other member of the group that was lost, even the ones he hardly knew. At first, I couldn’t tell who the voices were on the other end, even though I had just rewatched the first two seasons. After I did learn the identity’s to the first three callers, Amy, Jim, and Jaqui, I was slightly confused. I thought of all of the people that could have been on the other end of that line. T-Dog, Shane, Dale, hell even Patricia and Jimmy had more of a relationship with Rick than Amy did. I’m honestly now even sure Rick spent more than a day or two in the company of her, and I don’t know that he ever really talked to Jaqui at all. I eventually realized that it was necessary to show him talk to them, because now you know that Rick has never forgotten even the least important of the people he’s lost along the way. He knows what his decisions lead to. It’s important that we understand that even in the thick of his madness, he’s completely conscious. I was glad that they contained the crazy phone call story arc to one episode, because we needed Rick back, and now we have him.
The end of the episode left me with a gigantic smile on my face. It was love at first sight and Rick and Michonne are finally breathing the same air. Sure, it’s going to take a minute for him to trust her, but she is something he desparately needs right now. And with her injury, she needs him and his fortress. Witnessing the beginning of a beautiful friendship was great to watch, as I’ve been waiting for it all season. Once he’s got Tyreese at his other side, we’ll have a team we can really root for.
So, I’ve already made most of my predictions for the next episode throughout this post, Here’s an image from Episode 7, “When The Dead Come Knocking”, premiering this Sunday.
It looks to me as if Rick is taking the strongest members of his group down the road to Woodbury to bring back the members of his team that have been kidnapped. Daryl and Michonne are his strongest warriors, and Oscar is a pretty big guy as well. They’re strapped and ready to take names, which makes me excited for what could happen. First of all, this means Daryl will meet Merle, and very soon. What will happen then? One will have to join the other. I already shared what I thought. There is one thing that has me worried, though. Who is left to protect the prison? Herschel, who is an old man with one leg, can barely hobble around on crutches. Carl is a tough kid, but he’s still a kid, and his transformation isn’t complete. There’s the unnamed baby… Axel, who seems like a good guy, but who might be a creep. He was okay in the comics, but anything could happen in the show. Either way, he’s not the toughest looking man. Beth is a young girl, and I don’t recall her ever carrying a weapon. Carol is in a whole other state of mind, unable to speak or walk last time we saw her. I feel as though I’m forgetting someone, but that may just be because the group has dwindled to such a small number. Regardless, it’s a bold move, and it could mean bad things for the people who stayed behind. We all want to see the group reach the prison in the next episode. and for Glenn and Maggie’s sake, I surely hope they do.
I would give “Hounded” a rating of 8.5 out of 10. Everything with Michonne and Merle was fantastic, but no one wants to waste as much time as we did on Andrea’s love life, and Rick’s descent into madness was sort of slow and dragged out throughout the episode. I’m being critical because I must, but I did really like the episode. It was one of the best this season, but it couldn’t touch episode four. “Killer Within.”