After the tense emotional content of last week’s episode of The Walking Dead, one might expect the pacing to pick up a bit. This week, however, is pretty much just as slow as the previous. This time around, instead of dealing with the mental crisis of a friend, Rick has to face off against the group’s biggest enemy, the Governor, in an effort to barter peace before the real warfare begins.
Pretty much the entire episode revolves around Rick the Governor talking terms and conditions of the two camps living peacefully side-by-side. The Governor isn’t having it though, and he wants nothing more than the surrender of Rick’s group. When he realizes that tactic isn’t going to work, he tries something else - asking Rick to hand over Michonne in exchange for peace. The truth of the matter is, of course, that the Governor is just trying to kill off a few more opponents before he begins his full assault.
In the background, Daryl and Hershel chat with a few of the enemy camp and we’re shown that the members of both sides of the conflict are just human. In the end, it’s only the leaders who are perpetuating the war. We are left with the impression that if Rick and The Governor weren’t there, the two groups would be getting along fine. Aside, perhaps, from Merle, who insists on trying to ditch the prison so he can go take a shot at the Governor while the negotiations are going on. The rest of the group back at the prison stops him in his tracks, so he’s left to brood.
It was nice to see the two generals of this small war finally meeting face-to-face. It makes for a good set-up for the inevitable bloodbath that is to come. The pacing of the episode conveyed the message well and created a tense pause before the last three episodes roll the season to a close. I’m looking forward to seeing how this all finally plays out, particularly who will live, who will die and where everyone is going to end up once the smoke clears.