After five extremely fast paced episodes, Hounded slows the series down a little. Luckily, the episode isn’t too slow. However, this episode serves the single purpose of setting up the mid season finale, which is coming in two weeks. This episode was essential to move characters into the positions that they need to be in fort he mid season finale, which I’m stoked for.
Towards the beginning of this episode, we get some really great action, with Merle and two others going after Michonne, who left Woodbury last episode. Apparently people aren’t as free to leave as it appears. But this provides for some great action, as within the first couple of minutes, Michonne has already killed two of Merle’s men. And how cool was that scene, with her dropping out of the trees and cutting them down?
And the one survivor (Like Merle, I can’t remember his name for the life of me) was a really interesting character. It was mentioned that this was his first mission, and he was a pretty dynamic character. He didn’t seem to be as cold as Merle, and I could have seen him winding up at the prison. And I was really quite surprised when Merle killed him, so that he didn’t have to go after Michonne.
In this episode, we finally get that Merle has ulterior motives to working with the Governor. Killing the last survivor, and leaving Michonne alive, proves that he really is on his own side, despite the Governor saving his life.
Back at the prison, Rick picks up the phone that began ringing last episode. In the comics this didn’t occur until after they’d left the prison, but, then again, Lori didn’t die until as they were leaving the prison, so the sequence of events makes sense here. This story line plays out similar to how it does with the comics, with the one exception being that Rick doesn’t only talk to Lori, but other fallen members of the group they’re lost as well.
At one point, Hershel comes to talk to Rick. I don’t remember Rick telling anyone about the phone in the comics (He may have told Carl, but I don’t remember, it’s been a while since I read volume… what was it? 8? 9?), but he obviously feels comfortable telling Hershel about it. It makes sense, since he probably really does think that what he’s hearing is real. Other than Rick sulking in this little room, the only other thing that happens at the prison this episode is Daryl opening up to Carl.
We haven’t really gotten much of Daryl’s past on this show (aside from the fact that he grew up with a dysfunctional family) but he tells Carl how his mother died, in the hope that it will help Carl deal with his loss. That’s the key event that happens with this part of the group, and it works great, adding some more emotion to the show. Other than that, there are a few zombie kills, and Daryl finds Carol’s knife embedded in a zombies skull. And guess what? He finds her too, in a little closet. So she is, in fact, not dead. Which is good, because as much as I like a small cast, this one was getting too small.
Back in Woodbury, meanwhile, rather ridiculous events begin to unfold. Andrea asks to do something to help, and goes on the wall, and listens to a stuck up teenager brag about how good with a bow she is. This dialogue comes across as a bit stiff, to be honest. And when all that bluster falls apart, as the girl misses three arrows, Andre leaps off the wall, and kills a zombie. Seriously, the only good archer on this show is Daryl.
Afterwards, there’s some really cheesy dialogue between Andrea and the Governor, where Andrea admits to liking the fights. And that somehow means that they need to have sex. Whatever. It all came across as being really cheesy. Luckily, it’s interrupted by Merle, who is sent back out.
And this leads to quite the turn of events. He runs into Glenn and Maggie, while Michonne watches. Both Glenn and Maggie draw weapons on Merle, and Glenn really should have shot him. Seriously. He knew what Merle was capable of. A few rounds in him would have helped all of them. Especially since not shooting him lead to the capture of both Glenn and Maggie, who are now being taken back to Woodbury.
What I found odd is that Michonne just watched. She could have easily taken out Merle when he had Maggie. It seemed really out of character for her. But they did have to get her to the prison somehow, but how she knew it was there, I’m not really sure.
All in all, “Hounded” was an episode filled with ups and downs. The beginning had some awesome action, with Michonne battling the Governor’s men and then all of them being attacked by zombies. Rick’s telephone conversations were as intriguing as in the comics, and offered a good story line. Daryl opening up to Carl provided some great insight into the character. But the mis-characterization of Michonne in the parking lot and the Andrea/Governor were definite down points. However, this episode, while not exactly filler, is obvious set up for the mid-season finale in a week. I can guess what it is, and, for that, Michonne has to be with the group, and the Governor has to have a hostage of some sort. This was the seasons weakest episode, yet still a good episode. The next few episodes probably won’t be as slow, and will hopefully be a lot better.