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The Walking Dead: 305 “Say the Word” Review

Reviewed by Rich Jepson, cult TV enthusiast and author of 24: Terrorism Through Television.

Following on from Lori’s shocking exit last week, Say The Word was an episode tasked with dealing with the aftermath of the season’s biggest death so far. The episode split of into a series of sub plots with Daryl and Maggie on the hunt for baby formula for the groups newest member, Rick ‘hulking’ up and slaying his way through any walkers left wondering the cell block and the rest of the group picking up the pieces left from last week’s battle. Over in Woodbury, the story is beginning to gather pace with Michonne deciding to leave the settlement, and Andrea behind. The fate of Carol is still a question mark lurking over the show, as nobody knows her whereabouts – perhaps she’s doing a Sofia and waiting for the mid-season finale to emerge.

Things immediately picked up from where they left off at the end of Killer Within, with the group forced to deal with Lori’s death. Rick’s reaction was both expected and unpredictable in many ways, I guess it’s hard to know how anyone would react in such as situation, especially during the apocalypse. The decision to let Rick run riot inside the cellblock was gruesomely entertaining, letting him chopped down walker after walker made for much better viewing than watching him laid on a prison cell floor crying for the entire episode.

With Rick very much out of the mix, the spotlight was cast on fan favourite Daryl. It’s been clear to see that since the demise of Shane and between the second and third seasons of the show, Daryl has become Rick’s right hand man. This has been evident during all the action sequences inside the prison, where Daryl’s been no more than a few feet from his new best buddy. As a character Daryl’s also become a lot more rounded as an individual whilst maintaining enough flair to keep him popular amongst fans. Letting him take centre stage in this episode, during Rick’s absence, was a smart move and it worked out well as he and Maggie rode off to find some baby formula.

Over in Woodbury, Michonne’s deep paranoia about the seemingly imperfect community exploded, as she took a sword to the Governor’s throat. This was a surprising move so earlier on in their story but surely this isn’t the last time the two will meet. Andrea is starting to become annoying again, as she did with Shane, her gazes and ease to manipulate really frustrates this part of the story. Particularly when she didn’t even question the fact that they’re keeping ‘biters’ in a secluded part of town. After everything that happened on the farm, Andrea doesn’t even bat an eyelid? Surely she should have approached the Governor about this rather than completely ignoring it.

Seeing the Governor’s zombie daughter come into the episode so early on was a great move. The reveal was well placed and executed, showing him brushing her hair only to have a large part of it come off was both sentimental and vile.

Like the Governor’s daughter, the Woodbury ‘arena’ was another element of the comics that’s made the transition to the small screen with positive results. This played out like an un-dead episode of Monday Night Raw with Merle and co showboating and ‘exchanging’ punches. Andrea’s reaction was much better than her annoying exchanges with Michonne, making her seem a lot more aware of her new surroundings than just playing into them.

Back at the prison, we still haven’t seen Carol or had any reference to her since the last episode. Is she dead or not? We need to see a sign either way otherwise a return from her isn’t going to have much shock value.

The closing shot of the episode finally drew a word (hence the title) from Rick – “…hello”. But who’s on the other end, fans of the comic know where this is going and will no doubt be relishing in the fact that they know – so wouldn’t it be great if it went a different way and surprised everyone?

8/10

Scene of the Episode: The Arena – Andrea took her first step to seeing the truth behind the title of the Governor. Her turn in this episode was somewhat irritating in regards to Michonne but this scene saved her from becoming the same Andrea that was so helplessly fascinated with Shane.

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