As the third season of AMC’s The Walking Dead slowly slugs its way to the final episode, it’s safe to say that the run has been a bit of a quality roller-coaster. After the failed peace summit that took place during last week’s ‘Arrow on the Doorpost‘, it felt like we were due for another battle between Rick and the Governor before the season finale. Sadly, though, it seems like that ramp up episode is going to be next week, because episode 14, “Prey”, is really just filler to pad out the season. That is unless you’re level of enjoyment of this weeks The Walking Dead hinges on just how emotionally invested you are in Andrea’s story arc and if you are okay with Tyreese remaining underused and underdeveloped.
Your spoiler filled rundown of season 3’s “Prey” starts after the jump.
The episodes cold opening, a flashback to Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Andrea’s (Laurie Holden) time on the road before the season started, had my hopes up that we would see both characters developed a little more. While Andrea has had a more central role this season, she still doesn’t seem to be anything more than the hapless outsider that she’s been since season 2. As for Michonne, other than her interaction with Carl a few weeks back in “Clear”, she still seems to be a two dimensional/two sword wielding death machine that mainly responds with steely eyed death glances. So, what do we get beside that particular dying fire? Andrea awkwardly interacting with Michonne as she glares back at her till she shuts up.
This all transitions into the present day, where the Governor is setting up his ‘workshop’ in anticipation of Rick turning over Michonne. Does focusing on the fact that he has a speculum in his creepy torture chamber count as character development? Don’t get me wrong, the show has done a great job of taking David Morrissey‘s villain from a dick, to an evil mastermind, to a down right sickening psychopath. I think we all understand that the man is officially a sadistic son of a bitch and the villain we were promised at the start of the season.
We also get a little more of Milton (Dallas Roberts) and his gentle turn against the Governor’s plans, but we’ll touch more on that later.
Now that Andrea has (finally) figured out that Woodbury is not a sleepy little haven amid hordes of the undead and that the Governor is, as previously stated, a psychotic dick; she starts to make plans to escape and warn Rick about the pending bullet storm headed towards the prison. She takes a moment to let Tyreese and his sister Sasha (played by Chad L. Coleman and Sonequa Martin-Green respectively) in on the terrible truth about their new home. A great time to flesh out Tyreese, right? Well, maybe not. After a classically awkward Andrea exchange, Tyreese still seems to be comfortable coasting on the side lines and not making waves, no matter where he and his group are.
Even after being exposed to Woodbury’s biter pit and the Governors rather weak explanation for keeping zombies on hand, he still seems content to go with the flow. This is the character that’s supposed to eventually join back up with Rick and the prison group and become a leader, right? If this is all he is going to be for the show, it seems odd to adapt the character for the TV show. He has to get in the game at some point, but the wait is getting frustrating. Also, whoever the hell Allen is, please kill him off screen. I don’t care about that subplot and we’re running out of time.
I am going to give props to the episodes director, Stefan Schwartz who’s also done work on Luther and Dexter, for handling the warehouse cat and mouse game between Andrea and the Governor very well. Yes, it did have a bit of a stock horror movie feel to it, with the Governor being all batshit crazy and expressing his hatred of windows while Andrea ducked behind cover in the middle of a fear induced asthma attack.
When she traps him with the writhing horde of hungry undead — marking, at least, her fourth failed attempt at killing the man — it had a chilling taste of tension that the show has lacked for over the past few episodes, not to mention actual zombies which seem to have taken a backseat this year. Of course this lead to the eventual crushing blow of Andrea finally making it to the prison only to be dragged back by the Governor, her fate hidden from view till the final few seconds of the episode. A bit cheesy, I’ll agree, but it worked for what the episode was trying to do.
Now, to whoever roasted the zombie pit, thank you. The image of charred half-undead corpses writhing their burnt limbs and gnashing (oddly) white teeth was one of the best zombie related images in the show’s history.
Was Milton’s role as the likely zed=pit firebomber really a mystery though? Milton has been a slimy worm since his introduction, and Roberts portrayal of the character is quickly becoming one of my favorites of the season. His motives are in question though, is he really turning against the Governor on some weird moral basis? Lets not forget that we were introduced to the character with his Dr Mengele-esque experiments on the undead.
Still, Milton helped Andrea, and he clearly has grown to hate the Governor and his actions. What will become of Milton, especially now that the Governor knows he can no longer trust him? As is the case with everything in this table-setter, we’ll have to wait and see.
Actually on the topic of the Governor and his growing trust issues…
So the Governor brought Andrea back to his creepy bad-touch funhouse in secret. He didn’t even tell his new right-hand man, Martinez, that he’d captured her. A sign the he now officially trusts no one? Does he intend to do things to Andrea that would turn even his most devoted followers against him?
And that shot, in the end, with Andrea bound and gagged with a look of sheer terror in her eyes — horrifying, but a fitting wrap up to the episode.
While “Prey” did little to develop any of the characters it contained and really just inched the story line forward, it was an average episode that delivered a few memorable moments and helped set up the finale that we are all waiting for.
Here’s a look at whats coming up next week in The Walking Dead season 3’s penultimate episode “This Sorrowful Life”.