THE WALKING DEAD Post-Mortem: “Prey” Episode Recap
Greetings zombie lovers and fans of zombie barbecues…this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Prey”, was a considerable improvement over last week’s episode, but ultimately felt like unnecessary filler that never needed to exist in the first place.
The central conflict between Andrea and The Governor, and to a lesser extent, Milton and The Governor, drove all the action and character interactions within the episode “Prey”. All the scenes with Milton worked like gangbusters; he knows The Governor is becoming consumed by his desire for retribution, and he knows building cozy little torture chambers is not a thing rational people do. The Gov’s zombie daughter Penny was the last tether of his humanity, and ever since Michonne killed her he has been slipping further and further into madness. But here’s the problem/big revelation: Milton knew The Governor before the apocalypse, and I think it’s safe to assume they were buds. It’s the Shane and Rick conflict all over again, Rick wasn’t able to see what Shane had become because of their past friendship, and it appears that’s what’s been going on with Milton and the Governor all this time as well. Milton see’s the monster rearing its ugly head but is unable to let go of the memory Philip Blake, the man he used to know. It’s why he prevents Andrea from killing him, it’s also why he burns up the zombie pits, Milton’s moral compass won’t allow him to sit by and do nothing, but he can’t do what actually needs to be done. He doesn’t have it in him to kill The Governor. Although, I’d be willing to put good money down on the theory that he’ll be the one who eventually kills The Governor in the finale.
**P.S. I think Milton killing The Governor would be about the most boring, safe, and predictable way The Governor could meet his end. I can see it now: The Governor is about kill Carl, who’ll just happen to be holding baby Judith as well, and Milton shots him from behind…with tears in his eyes as he pulls the trigger. SNORE to that I say. I sincerely hope the writers go another direction. Have Rick Put a bullet between his eyes, have Michonne take his head off with her sword, or Daryl put an arrow through his chest. I’m telling you, The Governor needs to have a grandiose and gruesome demise, and someone from Rick’s group needs to be the one who does him in. Not his freaking lackey.
Andrea’s escape from Woodbury to reunite with team Rick at the prison, resulted in a chilling extended chase sequence between her and The Governor. Of course, this is the show doing what it does best supplying the audience with visceral thrills. The Governor mercilessly pursuing her through the fields and the abandoned ware house was gripping and well-executed. I could question the logic of how The Governor could have plausibly manged to escape from the zombie booby trap Andrea lead him into… but there’s still have two more episodes to go, and there’s no way The Governor is meeting his end before the finale. And that’s the problem: as good all these scenes were, they’re undermined by the fact they only exist to stretch out the plot even further. So what if Andrea got captured? It’s just another story-line being drawn-out much longer than it needed to be.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed “Prey”. It was a tense, suspenseful, and entertaining hour of television, the performances were all strong and the writing was good. Really, that should be all I expect out of The Walking Dead. We know that writers will never be allowed to do episodes like the spectacular “Clear” on a weekly basis, and there’s only so much one should expect out a standard non-premiere, penultimate, or finale episode. However, while I watched “Prey” I couldn’t help but think that the halved 16 episode structure The Walking Dead employed this season (and will continue to employ in season 4) isn’t working. Imagine if season 3 consisted of 13 episodes that built towards a grand and genuinely thrilling confrontation between Woodbury and The Prison, and never lost the propulsive narrative momentum we experienced back in the fall during the first half of season 3. The question you have to ask yourself is do you want longer Walking Dead seasons, or quality Walking Dead seasons? For me, it’s quality, and if that means fewer episodes, so be it.
*** If AMC is going to continue with the 16 episode order per season for The Walking Dead, maybe they should do this: keep the regular season at 13-14 episodes, and then use the last two-three hours to create a TV movie/miniseries that could air sometime in the summer between seasons. These films could be used develop the world of The Walking Dead even further. They could be prequels, they could be side story’s set in the present that focus on individual characters, or they could adapt certain story-lines from the comic that the previous seasons overlooked. They could do anything with them really. I think this would be a much better way to give people more of The Walking Dead, while allowing the 13-14 episode seasons to be leaner, meaner, and better.