The Walking Dead Full Recap: Merle's Girls

The Walking Dead Walk With MeThis week's episode opens as soldiers riding in a chopper appear to lose contact with whoever it is they're talking to on the ground. Suddenly they lose control of the chopper, too, and it crashes to the ground, trailing smoke behind it. On a deserted road, Andrea and Michonne see smoke billowing up from the forest after the crash and take off after the downed aircraft.

They arrive, and Andrea collapses to the ground right away, vomiting, prompting Michonne to go check out the crash site. Before she can get too far into it, though (she sees only two dead soldiers, and there were four total in the craft before the crash), a vehicle pulls up--it's the same tan truck that's been popping up in photos of Woodbury all summer long. Michonne heads back to Andrea's side and waits in some trees to watch what happens.

A group of survivors, including The Governor himself, start to clear away the bodies from the chopper and take out walkers as they shamble onto the scene; finally, one of the soldiers--severed in half at the waist--reanimates and The Governor "kills" it with a knife to the head.

It's an interesting counterpoint to Rick, of course--the first time we saw the leader of "our" group of survivors, he was unsure of himself, and apologetic to the first pathetic wretch of a zombie that he was forced to destroy. Our first impression of the Governor is ruthless, silent and violent.

The Walking Dead Sneak Peek MerleMichonne's "pets" grow restless, there are sounds around them, and Michonne kills them both.

It's not long before there's a voice behind she and Andrea. Michonne considers drawing her sword but is advised against it, as Andrea seems to immediately recognize Merle's voice. She turns, and he's surprised to see her, but not enough to distract him from dispatching a walker with a blade attached to the stump where his right hand used to be.

"How's about a hug for your old pal Merle?" He offers Andrea, and she passes out.

Next comes the scene we've all seen teased this week--wherein Andrea and Michonne travel, blindfolded and in the back of the car with Merle, to Woodbury. Only brief glimpses, through a blindfold, give Andrea and so the viewer a sense for what the place might be like.

Soon, the pair find themselves in the Woodbury infirmary, where Andrea tells the nurse that she wants to leave and is told that she's too ill and they'll have to stay the night. Asking where they are, Andrea is informed it's not the nurse's place to say.

"He'll talk to you," she says, and Merle enters.

He gives a little speech, revealing that the Woodbury survivors found him nearly dead and contemplating suicide.

Andrea tells Merle that Rick and Daryl went back for him; she tells him about the group's dead, including Dale and Amy. "She was a good kid," Merle says of Andrea's sister. "I'm sorry."

The conversation also reveals that it's been seven or eight months since last season ended.

Finally, she asks what he wants from them. Merle accuses her of being ungrateful, saying that he saved them, to which Michonne points out that he had a gun on them. Merle scoffs at the accusation, saying that's a pretty common thing in the world of The Walking Dead.

"I think I'd piss my pants if some stranger came up with his mitts in his pockets," he says. "That'd be the S.O.B. you'd really want to be scared of."

The Governor enters, says something inaudible to Merle, who leaves. Michonne demands their weapons back, to which The Governor responds that they can have the weapons on their way out of town. They both want to leave, but The Governor convinces them to stay the night and get their strength; during their conversation, it's revealed that they were distrustful of The Governor because they saw him stab the soldiers' corpses through the heads. He reveals to the pair that anyone who dies will return as a zombie, not only those who are bitten. He tells them to rest, and that when they want to leave he can provide them with food, medicine and a vehicle.

The two go to sleep, and when they wake, stay in town for the day rather than immediately leaving.

The pilot, it turns out, came from a base where soldiers and others were holed up in a way not dissimilar to Woodbury. When someone got sick inside the walls, though, everything fell apart quickly and now there are only about ten people left, including those who died in the chopper. The Governor convinces the pilot to give him the location of the other survivors so that they can be rescued and recruited to Woodbury.

Merle and another man--who appears to be a scientist--are together in a room, having a heated disagreement when the Governor comes in to calm them down. The Governor asks Merle to talk to Andrea and try to find out anything they can. When Merle leaves to do so, The Governor turns his attention to the scientist, who has the bodies of Michonne's pets. He's impressed by what she did with them, and explains to The Governor that harmless zombies could be use to camouflage the community.

The scientist also tells The Governor that he doesn't think Merle is the right person to handle Andrea and Michonne; moments later, the pair are at dinner together with the ladies. When the scientist pushes too hard for information on who the pets were before Michonne started using them, she refuses to answer. The Governor tells them that the secret to success in Woodbury is moving on with their lives and trying to get back to normal. As he talks more and more, it seems obvious that Andrea wants to believe what he has to say, while Michonne just wants to get out of town.

Offsite, The Governor approaches a group of soldiers, making clear his innocent intent, waving a white linen out the window of his car as he approaches. He tells them that they recovered the chopper's crew, and that one had survived and sent for them. They're not easily sold on the idea, but after a minute they're at ease and ready to go--that's when The Governor shoots one of the soldiers, and the rest are cut down by a barrage of bullets from The Governor's troops in the trees around the area.

Plunging his blade into the skull of a dying soldier, The Governor advises one of his young followers, "Never waste a bullet, son."

One last soldier springs out around the rear of some machinery and tries to escape, but The Governor shoots him down, too.

When the Woodbury force return to the city with the weapons and vehicles stolen from the dead soldiers, The Governor gives the townsfolk a rousing speech about how those men never would have been overcome by zombies if they had lived behind secure walls. After the speech, he's stopped by a seemingly-star-struck Andrea, who asks his real name, which he tells her he'll never tell. She advises him to never say never.

Back at his place, The Governor is drinking whiskey with a naked woman wrapped in his covers. He passes his old family photo and heads into another room, where he sits in a plush armchair and stares at a a wall of aquariums, each filled with the heads of walkers, including Michonne's pets and the pilot.