Review: The Walking Dead - "Prey"

Warning: The following contains SPOILERS!

By: Heather Seebach

The Walking Dead continues to predictably alternate between intense and dull with each episode. This week's "Prey" lands on the former side with a tense story entirely about the Governor and Andrea. While Woodbury is preparing for war, Milton warns Andrea about the Governor's plan for the prison survivors, specifically Michonne. When they find the Governor's torture chamber, Andrea knows she has to kill him. But first, she skips town to go warn Rick & co., with the Governor on her heels.

The episode opens with a flashback of Andrea and Michonne in the woods, before the Governor found them. I thought this scene would deepen the two ladies' relationship for the audience, but instead it seemed to serve one purpose - inform us that Michonne's pets were not good people. In the comic books, one was her boyfriend and the other his friend. So I wondered if this ex-boyfriend/current-pet used to beat her, which could foreshadow some future abuse/torture in her story. However, the episode's final shot kinda soured that theory for me, but who knows.

My other theory is that it's simply a parallel for Andrea's poor choice of abusive boyfriend. The shot that follows the pet's chain back to the Govenor's own chains (where Andrea ends up later) certainly supports that. 

Next we see the Governor preparing his torture room. As a comic book fan, this scene gave me a bit of a nerd-boner. 

While obviously the book ventures into all-out sick territory, I think these moments on the show are enough to ascertain what the Governor is capable of. His orgasmic reaction to the chains (above) and the shots of his torture tools create a strong sense of unease that should please comic fans in lieu of an actual rape/torture sequence which many consider a) unnecessary, and b) too far for this AMC show.

According to The Talking Dead, the Governor's torture instruments included a bone saw, knives, needles, scalpels, and a few especially disturbing tools used to keep a person awake/alive: hemostats (arterial clamps), force-feed tube, catheter, pills, and gas. I love the ominous shot of the suture thread - multiple uses, all fucked-up.

Then there was this frightening thing:

Possibly a laryngoscope-type instrument used to intubate for anesthesia (can you tell I used to assist surgeries?)...or perhaps just an ice cream scooper! In all likelihood, it is what I fear most - a vaginal speculum. Guh. Perhaps the comic book version of the Governor is in there afterall. Of course, this is all just SPECULation ;)

After seeing the rape cave, Andrea attempts to shoot the Governor, but Smithers, er, Milton stops her. Her follow-up solution is to say fuck it and leave town, so she does. Fortunately, Tyreese begins to see through the Governor's bullshit and refuses to help "feed people to biters." Sooner or later, he is going to end up on Rick's side, which I am eager to finally see. 

So after some boring Tyreese vs. Allen drama, we get to the good stuff - the Governor hunting Andrea. He chases her down to a zombie-filled warehouse and proceeds to stalk her like a proper psychopath. Love the creepy whistle which, evidently, is the song he used to sing to Penny. It's no wonder where the episode's title "Prey" came from now. 

I cheered when the Governor killed the walker with the shovel because FINALLY a great practical FX shot! The last few zombie kills have been a CG-riddled joke (like last week's baseball bat head smash). I think the last great one was either Daryl smashing a zombie's head in the car trunk, or Andrea curbing that one (though it was dampened by the very fake-looking puppet). This one I love!

And later we were treated with more beautiful KNB FX here:

Speaking of the fire, it seems Milton is the one behind it. For a guy who so sympathizes with the living dead, he did a piss-poor job putting them out of their misery, eh? 

I thought for SURE Andrea was not making it out of that warehouse alive, but alas, she tricks the Governor and almost got him eaten by walkers. Then she makes it to the prison and OH SHIT the Governor is there, and once again I thought for SURE she would get strangled right there, just outside of Rick's view. But again, no. This bitch must have 9 lives. But it all works out when we see this Tales from the Crypt-esque sequence:

I always suspected Andrea might lose her hand the way (spoiler withheld) did in the books. While that may still happen, my new wish is that she be taken to the prison and made an example of like (spoiler withheld) in the comics. Like in the books, it would definitely hurt Michonne. Furthermore, the Governor has not actually killed any main characters yet. I think the show needs a really cold, vicious death to solidify how nasty the Governor is. 

I really hope the Governor survives this season because the show has only just begun to unearth his character's potential. Unlike the comics, where he was a psycho shithead right from the start, the series has gone back to his roots (like in the Rise of the Governor/Road to Woodbury books). I want to see this thing play out until he's every bit the maniac he is in Kirkman's comic books. And I am afraid next season will be completely dull without him. 

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