Michonne and the Rest [The Walking Dead]
I’ve been following the latest series of The Walking Dead and enjoying it immensely. I’ve also been too lazy to write up a regular review. But today I wanted to talk about Rick’s big decision in the last episode, Arrow on the Doorpost. Spoilers and biters ahead!
It would seem that Andrea was unable to kill the Governor in part because she still believes there can be peace. She was successful in getting the Governor and Rick together for a sit down, then was immediately kicked out of the talks. It seems that trying to walk the middle of the road means you’re not fully trusted by either side. But the end, she knew her place was with Rick, but instead returned to Woodbury. Someone needs to keep an eye (ha ha) on the Governor. I suspect she considers her role to now be the woman on the inside.
The Governor, of course, continues to be a very bad man. He tries time and time again to play Rick, using a variety of tactics: vulnerability, insults, power, threats, alcohol, and finally his trump card: the dead wife. I haven’t read the comics, so I don’t know if the story of the Governor’s wife is true, but last night I didn’t buy it for a minute. The Governor knows from Tyrese’s crew that Rick was starting to lose his mind, and he knows that Rick has a recently dead wife. He knows exactly what Rick’s trigger is, and he built to it nice and slow.
There’s also a clever bit of lighting here to drive home how deceptive the Governor is. He has only one eye, and through much of the talks, it is completely in shadow. He isn’t showing the truth about anything. His true motivations are hidden, behind an eyepatch and darkness.
By the end of this dance, the Governor offered his ultimatum: he wants Michonne. Turn over the woman who took his eye (and killed his zombie daughter), and everything will be okay. After wearing Rick down, it is a very tempting offer.
But here we get to the most interesting and telling moment. When Rick returns to the prison, he lies to his people. He suspects (rightly so) that the Governor is lying and that the conflict won’t end with Michonne. But rather than explain all this, he cuts right to the fact that the Governor is coming to kill them all. Why?
His people are scared. He’s scared, too. If he were to tell them about a way out, I think that a few characters (Merle in particular) would instantly demand that Michonne be marched over to Woodbury. Telling them would divide his crew, and that’s the last thing they need. Rick’s group needs solidarity more than ever, and that can be achieved by pointing at the enemy. It’s us versus them, and we need to stick together.
Rick confided the truth to Hershel, his moral compass, but he also did NOT tell Michonne. If she knew her presence put these people in danger, she would leave without much hesitation. She’d probably run off to Woodbury to take on the Governor herself. One of her defining traits is that she is a loner. She does not want to depend on anyone else, nor does she want to be responsible for anyone else.
In the end, Rick showed us that his leadership skills are back. He might be doubting himself, but in the end he made the right call. I’m sure the truth will come out at some time, and Rick will need to answer for his deception. The Governor is guilty of lying to his people as well. However, the Governor lies to protect himself. Rick lied to protect them all.