‘The Walking Dead’ – “Say the Word’

If you’ve been watching “The Walking Dead” this season – and the huge ratings would indicate it’s likely that you are – you’re probably thinking the show is a big improvement over the second season, which spent way too much time with the characters hovering around Hershel’s farm and wondering where Sophia was.

In the first five episodes of this season, including tonight’s episode, “Say the Word,” we’ve seen quite a bit of action by comparison. The bulk of the survivors are holed up in the prison while Andrea and Michonne are in the town of Woodbury, run by the Governor – who likes to keep human heads in aquariums – and Merle, single-handedly scary as ever.

Last week, of course, we saw T-Dog and Lori meet gruesome ends and Lori’s baby born. Was there same plan to keep Lori alive through a C-section under even the best circumstances?

By the way, they’re sure coming up with a lot of creative ways to kill walkers. I counted at least two heads-split-from-top-down tonight. It’s a nice contrast to the top-of-head-cut-off move that the show has been doing.

It’s startling how fast-paced this season has been, and how many concepts were introduced in tonight’s episode alone:

The Governor’s daughter. The leader of Woodbury not only has a room full of fish tanks with heads in them. He has his zombie daughter in a cage.

Daryl as loving nurturer. Wow, the inevitable contrast – and conflict – between the two brothers when Daryl and Merle are reunited will be mind-blowing.

Zombie Fight Club. Merle and a series of contenders fight in a circle of walkers. The Governor assures Andrea it’s just for show. But what do you want to bet that, maybe in the second half of this season, Rick or Daryl – maybe especially Daryl – will be taking on Merle in the zombie squared circle?

The phone. Who the hell’s on the phone that Rick answers? I’m not sure if this plot point is in the comic books or not.

And not addressed tonight: Where’s Carol? She’s got a grave, but is she in it?

Three more episodes this year, followed by eight more early next year. Good stuff.

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