SPOILERS AHEAD! Stop reading if you haven’t watched the December 2 episode of The Walking Dead.
It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Then it’s seriously awesome.
The Walking Dead Season 3, Episode 8, “Made to Suffer” midseason finale has come and gone, leaving us with nothing but gasp-and-clutch-the-pearls speculation until the series returns in February 2013. So it’s going to be really be irritating if the world does end later this month.
The Governor (David Morrissey) is down one peeper, and would be down for the count if not for the intervention of Andrea (Laurie Holden). (Bah! Try again later this season, Michonne?) Penny died a second time. Poor Oscar (Vincent Ward) also died, right when we were on the cusp of getting to know him. Shane (Jon Bernthal) briefly returned, to do what he does best — mess with Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) mind. Merle (Michael Rooker) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) had a lovely reunion in the Zombie Fight Club gladiator pits, where the warm-hearted citizens of Woodbury cheered to their good health. (Or not.). And Carl (Chandler Riggs) locked Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and his fellow newbies in the prison, which sucks for them but may be good news for Axel (Lew Temple), since he’d run out of girls to flirt with.
Oscar may not have been a huge death heading into the winter break, but let no one say Season 3 has lacked action, emotion, humor, gore, or anything else you’d want from a TV show — and we’re only halfway done! If anything, Penny’s full zombie death may have the largest repercussions, since The Governor is not likely to sit back and let that go unpunished. Michonne (Danai Gurira) my want to sharpen her katana for a second round, and the Dixon brothers may want to hold tight until the sanity challenged Rick and his merry band of travelers figure out how to help them. Unless The Dixon Bros. got this on their own? Will they manage to fight their way out? Will Andrea Who Now Understands turn on The Gov, help the lads escape and rejoin Team Prison? What do you want to happen next? We have plenty of time to chat about it!
Read on for the full midseason finale action:
A SCREAM FROM THE MIST
A nice nature shot starts the episode — just a peaceful morning mist in Georgia. But we hear a scream, then head into the woods to follow a walker lady ... who gets cut down by Tyreese. Hey, stranger! His group (including two women and two other men) gets attacked by a walker herd, but they spot the prison and decide to go for it. The healthy, non-bit woman, Sasha, doesn’t want to take the bitten woman into the prison, but they do it anyway. Yeah, that was probably a bad call.
WOODBURY IS STARTING TO GROW ON ANDREA
Like a deadly fungus. Andrea sees The Gov’s family photo in his room — the one with a wife and pre-zombie Penny. After Andrea leaves, The Gov goes into his dark man cave and talks to Penny. He puts on some soft music, as if that helps. Hey, maybe it does. She’s chained up with a bag over her head and keeps trying to bite him. She wants the human meat he brought, but he wants her to look at him. He screams at her. Oh, they part on bad terms. Major guilt trip ahead!
GLENN AND MAGGIE: AFTER THE TORTURE
Glenn asks Maggie if The Gov … “No, he barely touched me.” Kind of more than that, but he didn’t rape her. “Look at what they did to you,” she said. He said it doesn’t matter as long as he didn’t hurt her. They hug. Can we please stop torturing Glenn & Maggie now? At least one couple should be happy on every show and they deserve it, from now on. Glenn, always good in a crisis, rips off a dead zombie’s arm and strips off the skin to use the bone as a weapon. It’s like a prison shiv. Oh, Glenn. Even when he’s beat up, there’s no stopping his awesomeness. Team Glenn.
ASSAULT ON WOODBURY!
Rick, Michonne, Daryl and Oscar scope out Woodbury from outside the gates. They get irritated with Michonne when she doesn’t have immediate intel on the location of Glenn and Maggie. Why should she? Some guy finds them in a room and Rick interrogates him, with a gun to his head. He also gets knocked out and dragged away.
THE GOVERNOR CONSIDERS THE PRISON
He has no interest in taking it over, since Woodbury is more like “what it was” before the zombie apocalypse. But he does want to “take out the group that’s living there” and let the biters move back in. No! Merle said, the problem is, Daryl is in there. The Gov thinks Merle can make Daryl his inside man. Merle makes a deal — nothing happens to Daryl. What about Glenn and Maggie? Take ‘em to the pits. Merle, stop listening to this clown. There’s no way Daryl is going to rat out the prison group.
AXEL, YOU ARE A CREEPY OLD MUSTACHE MAN
Axel talks to Beth and says she’s good with the baby. Beth is only 17. Besides, Carl has a crush on her. She’s his cougar-in-waiting. Carol pulls Axel aside and tells him to stay away from Beth. “This isn’t about you trying to repopulate the earth.” Ha! Axel said there weren’t a lot of women in prison and there aren’t a lot of women around now. Maggie is with Glenn, and Carol is a lesbian... Carol says she’s not a lesbian. But “you’ve got the short hair,” he says. Love it.
Axes: “My, my. This is interesting.”
Carol: “No, it’s not.”
Nice. Besides, when a girl is carried out of a closet by none other than Daryl Dixon, she’s not going to slum with the likes of Axel.
Merle and Glenn fight, and Maggie pulls a gun on Merle and screams for him to let Glenn go. Merle says “OK,” but then some other Woodbury guys pull their guns on Maggie. Dang it. Now Maggie and Glenn have bags over their heads. Woodbury just has an unlimited supply of large sacks. Thankfully, Rick and company finally do come to the rescue, just in time.
WOODBURY UNDER ATTACK
The guy Rick & company knocked out is clearly not a soldier — he thought there were six or seven armed guys after him. These are untrained people, so the numbers may not help them that much. Did Merle just lie about the prison group killing one of their guys? The Gov wants Andrea to do house calls, but she’s one of the few actual warriors, so she wants to fight for Team Woodbury. Wrong team, girl!
DARYL KNOWS ABOUT MERLE
Glenn and Maggie inform Daryl that his brother is a sonofa — The Gov’s lieutenant, who tortured Glenn and abducted both Glenn and Maggie. Daryl wants to see his brother. Rick said he needs Daryl — he can’t just run after Merle. Daryl sticks with his #1 bromance buddy, Rick. It’s love!
SHOOT-OUT AT THE WOODBURY CORRAL
There’s a lot of smoke, so Andrea can’t see that she’s shooting at her old friends. She just saw Oscar in his prison jumpsuit, so The Gov thinks they’re escaped convicts. Daryl gives the group cover fire as they race to the gates. He gets left behind.
OMG IT’S SHANE
Shane with his Wolverine haircut approaches Rick and points his gun at Oscar. So Rick kills Shane AGAIN. Of course, it’s not really Shane, it’s one of Rick’s hallucinations. Bad time to lose it, son.
CARL MEETS THE NEW PRISON PEOPLE
Carl says Judith is the only family he has at this point. They hear a scream, so Carl decides to check it out. This is the problem with the A-team heading to Woodbury. Carl is the strongest warrior they have left. On his trip to track the screams, Carl kills a walker, then finds the newbie humans going to town on a group of walkers. He sees the humans and immediately tells them “Come on, hurry!” So he’s not quite on the Rick/Shane/Gov level of letting strangers fend for themselves.
MICHONNE, MEET PENNY, THEN FIGHT THE GOVERNOR
Michonne waits for The Gov in his room and hears a noise. She sees his creepy fish tanks with heads in them and it makes her eyes go big. She stops scowling for a second, which his impressive, but then goes right back to it. She finds Penny locked up, and initially thinks she’s a real little girl, just with a bag over her head, for some reason. She actually shows a soft side, telling the girl it’s OK, she won’t hurt her. (Ha.) She unhooks Penny’s chair, and takes off her hood. Penny shows her walker self, and Michonne prepares to slice her up. The Governor cries “Noo!” and tells Michonne not to hurt her. He puts his gun down.
Governor: “It’s me you want. There’s no need for her to suffer.”
Michonne: “She doesn’t have needs.”
Governor: “Don’t hurt my little girl.”
It’s kind of sweet. Michonne’s not having it — she shoves her katana straight through Penny’s head, through her mouth. The Governor attacks her and they have a serious fight. Michonne knocks down the fish tank heads, which do some awesome biting at her as they struggle through the glass on the floor. Michonne reaches for a shard and stabs The Gov in the eye. Nice one! Andrea stops her right when she’s about to kill him. Andrea asks what she’s done. They have a standoff — katana vs. gun, but no one makes a move on the other. Michonne just leaves and Andrea goes to The Gov. Then she sees the heads on the ground, from the fish tanks. Get it now, Andrea? She also sees The Gov sobbing as he cradles Penny. Is it wrong to feel a little sympathy for him in that moment? He’s just a dad who now has no hope for his daughter to come back to him.
CARL LOCKS THE NEWBIES UP
He’s doing them a favor.
ANDREA CONFRONTS THE GOVERNOR
Why was he fighting with Michonne? He asked Andrea to tell him, they were friends. (Probably because The Gov sent his goons to kill her in the forest.) Why did he have fish tanks? They prepared him for the horrors outside. And Penny? No answer. The Governor showed off his eye patch … to Merle, who had told him Michonne was dead. He’s maaaad as hell about that.
Rick wonders where Daryl is. And when Michonne shows up he’s pissed, wondering where she was while they were fighting Team Woodbury. Michonne tells Rick he needs her, to either get the folks back to the prison or to save Daryl. (Save Daryl!)
ZOMBIE FIGHT CLUB PART 2
The Governor, pirate patch and all, talks to the battle-scarred and scared citizens of Woodbury. They haven’t had a day like this since the wall was completed. They thought they were past it. “The fear we all felt then, we felt it again tonight. … I failed you. I promised to keep you safe.” That sounds like Rick’s speech after Lori died. They do have some similarities. They will meet up later this season, face to face. He admits he’s afraid. “I’m afraid of terrorists who want what we have. Want to destroy us. And worse, because one of those terrorists is one of our own. Snap! Merle gets called out. Then they drag out Daryl. Reunion! Andrea looks appalled, but she did say she loved the fights. The Gov asks the Woodbury citizens what they want — they want to kill the Dixon boys. Kill the "terrorists." What a loaded word. Any "other" can be turned into a terrorist if you put enough fear behind it. If only The Gov would mention how he and Merle tortured Glenn and almost raped Maggie, the citizens might change their idea of the real "terrorists."
COMING UP ON THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON
Carl wants Rick to stop being the leader? Is Crazy Rick on the outs with his own group? Andrea visits the prison folk. Is that Daryl in the woods? Where’s Merle? “He’s coming” sounds like The Governor is going to the prison. He’s not sure where Andrea’s loyalties lie. Good!
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Gina Carbone is a contributing writer at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @ginacarbone.