Although I’m not sure if she ever really trusted them enough to give her name, Michonne decided to lead Rick, Oscare, and Daryl to the Governor’s fortress in Woodbury (in The Walking Dead episode 7: When the Dead Come Knocking) in an attempt to rescue Glenn and Maggie. Along the way, they stumble across an odd little cabin in the woods with a dead dog and a delirious mountain man who looks like he may have slept through a bad hangover and the end of the world at the same time. After a short standoff, mountain man ends up dead and zombie bait, so that Rick and his group can escape from the horde that has been chasing them. The episode ends with Rick and his little paramilitary group, armed with guns, flashbangs, and teargas, hiding outside the walls of Woodbury, looking for a way in.
Meanwhile, in Woodbury, Merle tortures Glenn in the hopes that he’ll reveal the location of the prison. When he refuses, Merle locks a walker into Glenn’s room while Glenn remains duct taped to a chair. In one of the most tense action scenes of the show’s history, Glenn manages to harness a pure animalistic sense of survival as he breaks out of his chair and stabs the zombie to death with a broken chair leg. In the aftermath, he lets out a scream of victory, which really helps emphasize how far and how much stronger Rick’s group of survivors have come and become (and maybe serves as a preview of the damage that Rick and his team will inflict on the Governor as payback for the kidnapping.)
Meanwhile, Maggie, locked in her own isolation room nearby, gets to experience the the Governor’s charisma. When his soft, reassuring talk fails to convince her to reveal the location of Rick’s settlement, he threatens, with few words and a lot of creepy leering and gestures, to rape her. I’ve heard that the Governor was a truly brutal, evil character in the comic books, yet so far in the TV show I haven’t gotten a good sense of his corrupt darkness. He certainly seems to be at his most creepy and nasty in this episode, but I’m still not sure I’m getting full blown-evil from him. Anyway, while he ultimately doesn’t follow through with his threat, Maggie strong and defiant in the face of such potential brutality. Only when the Governor gets tired of waiting and threatens to shoot Glenn does Maggie finally reveal how to find the prison. The Governor dispatches a small group to check the place out, disbelieving that a group of ten, as Maggie tells him, could clear all the Walkers out of such a large space. With Rick and his crew nearly battering down Woodbury’s doors, the Governor’s expeditionary team could cause some real problems for Carl, Herschel, Carol, and Axel (though who knows; Carl’s becoming quite the shot with his pistol).
Finally, we also got to see Andrea helping the Governor’s research assistant with a little project; to see if a newly turned walker could retain any of its former memories or humanity. Unsurprisingly, the experiment is a failure; once a walker, forever a walker.
This whole episode 7 (especially the final minute or so, with its pounding, distorted bass beat that slowly built in intensity) led up to what will likely be a tense and probably extremely violent mid-season finale next week. Will Daryl take Merle’s side, or Ricks? Who will Andrea cast her lot with (she’s become a bit annoying, so at this point I wouldn’t mind if we never see her again)? How will those left behind at the prison deal with the Governor’s men? This season has so far been more effective than the last, and I’m definitely looking forward to finding out the answers to these questions.