AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 8: “Made to Suffer”
Directed by Billy Gierhart
Written by Robert Kirkman
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “When the Dead Come Knocking” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Suicide King” – click here
The mid-season finale starts off with a new, small group of survivors. They make their way through trees and forest, walkers, everything. Tyreese and Sasha Williams (Chad L. Coleman/Sonequa Martin-Green) lead the way with a couple others, one injured, following behind. Soon, they come across the prison and make their way inside. Will they come up hard against Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the others inside? Let’s find out.
In Woodbury, The Governor (David Morrissey) is further drawing Andrea (Laurie Holden) into his world. Aside from the world he doesn’t tell others about. The one with Penny, his dead, zombified daughter. He still shuts himself away in a secret room trying to get her to return to something normal, something human again. Somehow. Only she runs at him like any other piece of meat. He keeps her hooded and stuck in a caged, chained at the neck. But he still holds her and hugs into her as a child he loves. It is a tragic, sad, disturbing scene to watch. The little girl is a rabid undead monster, and still he tries to bring her back to something she’ll never ever be again.
Michonne (Danai Gurira) leads Rick and Daryl (Norman Reedus) into the town under cover of darkness. At the same time, Merle (Michael Rooker) tries to ensure The Governor’s plan to infiltrate the prison and kill anyone inside doesn’t get his brother killed.
Soon enough, the streets of Woodbury come alive. Glenn and Maggie mount their own escape, as gunshots blow up. This prompts Rick and Daryl into action, as well. They work their way through the town until coming across the place where their friends are being held. A tense few seconds see Maggie and Glenn being hooded, carried off, before Rick and the gang tear gas everybody and extract them to safety. On the streets, gunfire still pops off in the night. Andrea is trying to help, as The Governor scrambles to get things done: “You shoot to kill“, he tells a group of people. In the whole hustle of things, Michonne is cut off from the group, which doesn’t bother Rick as he’s mostly just concerned with getting Glenn and Maggie back to the prison. Glenn tells Daryl about what Merle did, that he’s a sort of “lieutenant” to The Governor; obviously the younger Dixon wants to try reconnecting with his brother, though, the others are eager to get out of Dodge.
Michonne sneaks her way into The Governor’s apartment and sits to wait for him, sword drawn. A confrontation is brewing. Whereas the comics had The Governor doing terrifying things to Michonne, their rivalry in the series is not near as heated. But nonetheless, their eventual stand-off is going to be something of epic proportions.
At the same time, Rick and Daryl and the others try to escape Woodbury. Bullets fly from every gun on the street, smoke covers the ground. One intensely hallucinogenic moment comes after Rick sees the vision of Shane (Jon Bernthal) walking up from out of the mist, a menacing, animal look in his eyes. Shooting him dead, Rick naturally finds it was only a dreamy image of his damaged, guilty mind. But an effective dream moment we don’t usually get from The Walking Dead.
Taking care of things at the prison, Carl (Chandler Riggs) tries to be the big tough man. While Hershel (Scott Wilson) and Beth (Emily Kinney) insist otherwise Carl goes down into the tombs. He hears voices far off somewhere. When he finds the source, it’s Tyreese, Sasha and their group. They try to fight off a pack of walkers, saved by Carl’s expert pre-pubescent gun skills. He brings the group back up near their cellblock, but smartly refuses to let them in where Hershel and Beth are staying.
Finally discovering the worst, Michonne comes across Penny. At first she thinks the girl is being held captive. Then she figures out Penny is a little zombie. The scene is interrupted by The Governor who holds Michonne at gunpoint begging for his daughter not to be finished off. Our confrontation begins. And when Michonne ignores the pleas – “Don‘t hurt my little girl” – and puts a sword through her mouth, The Governor attacks. They fight one another brutally, as he first tries choking Michonne to death, to which she retorts with a chokehold of her own.
The fight is a savage one, even seeing Michonne’s face smashed through the tanks holding walker heads, still chomping. A close call or two like that sees us hoping Michonne makes it out alive. Then she palms a shard of glass and puts it right through his eyeball. Right then and there, Andrea shows up holding a gun to Michonne; gun against sword they circle each other briefly. “What have you done?” asks Andrea, not knowing the kind of man she’s been bedding anyways. Eventually, though, away walks Michonne and Andrea goes to tend to her lover.
Watching Andrea look at the carnage, the walker heads and The Governor crying over his little girl, it is a strange sight. She can’t be stupid enough to keep drinking his Kool-Aid now. If you can imagine it, The Governor is now about to be more dangerous. His calm, thin veneer is drawn back and he is exposed to the world. Having one less eye has finally turned him into the monster he was inside, only this time he is that monster for all to see.
With Daryl separated from Rick and the others, Michonne offers to be the best help possible. Problem? Daryl’s been taken by the people of Woodbury.
The town gathers together, as The Governor gives them all a little speech about hard times, the old days, how rough things were once so rough when they sat “huddled scared in front of the t.v.” He truly is one of those Ronald Reagan types, spouting to the masses, acting and being a prop for all the bad things happening underneath. Now Merle is being called a traitor by his boss, the attack pinned on him, a perfect scapegoat. We’re further revealed the Dixon Brothers will face something nasty in the arena, for entertainment, for punishment, and for the sick mind of The Governor.
Next episode is “The Suicide King”, which originally picked up after mid-season break. Stay tuned, as I watch it over again and bring you another review.