Hmmm, this latest episode was packed full of stuff. Some we liked, other stuff we didn’t. Mostly there were just questions like: What in the Kool-Aid is wrong with Andrea? Who is Merle really? And what does The Governor have on him? Also, the phone? Really?

We open last night’s episode with Merle and a small squadron going after Michonne. We get the impression that although The Governor let her go, he’s not one to want loose ends. And Michonne knowing exactly where Woodbury Stepford is and having left with a bad taste in her mouth about the whole situation, is a bit of a loose end. Merle it seems is in his element. He shows us the Merle we remember from the first couple episodes of the series; brash, indignant, cocky, and very much a son-of-a-bitch. Part of him sees looking for Michonne as a game, the other as hunting a worthy opponent. He likes being in the lead to do with The Governor’s orders what he likes. Outside of The Governor’s purview Merle is the man in charge. And he’s in full Alpha Male mode here. Well, that holds up until he starts to realize the kind of adversary Michonne is.

Merle’s group comes across a clearing with a message left by Michonne written in zombie carcass; the legs forming a “G,” the arms an “O,” and a torso flipped on its back to mean “Go Back.” Haha! Michonne was probably an award winning speller in the Alphabet Soup Olympics. It was this and Ginsu knife can opening. Merle finds this amusing, “She sent us a biter-gram, ya’ll!” Not everyone was impressed. A guy we have no idea how he got chosen for this mission, started having second thoughts about the success rate of trying to kill someone who has made it plain that she’ll fight to the death to maintain her freedom. While Merle tries to talk sense into his scared Deputy, Michonne leaps down from a tree, takes the head of one guy, and stabs another until he’s only used as a shield against Merle’s bullets. She gets nicked in the thigh before hauling ass back into the woods. This does nothing for Merle’s Deputy. This guy wants to “go back” and stop pursuing Michonne. Merle thinks this is a novice’s plan. Push on they shall.

Back at the prison, Rick is on the phone ordering a pizza. No, not really. It’s takeout Chinese food. He needs beef & broccoli and dumplings. Okay, fine. It’s a mysterious lady on the other end who tells him that she and others are in a safe place…away…from them. Rick is desperate to find out where this magical place is. It sounds like heaven! Truly. It sounds like a place not in this earthly realm [Fingies Note: HUGE WINK!]. He begs for him, his children, and the others he’s with, to be let in. The mysterious caller tells him that she’ll need to ask the others and will call him back. The nerve. Just why did she think Rick would just be sitting there waiting for two hours for her to call back. Maybe he had laundry to do. Maybe there were more bloated zombies to stick full of holes. Later a man calls back to do the second part of the phone interview. He wants to know how many people Rick has killed and why. He then asks how Rick lost his wife. Rick says he doesn’t want to answer this question, and the guy hangs up. [Fingies Note: Fingies screamed at the television, “JUST SAY YOU LOST HER IN CHILDBIRTH, YOU IDIOT!” (Yeah, I know.)] At some point Hershel wants to know what’s taking Rick so long washing all those socks and goes looking for him. He finds him in the basement staring at a telephone. He’s very cautious with his Bugs Bunny-esque, “Eh, what’s up doc?” Rick responds by telling him that a random woman called the prison and says there’s a safe haven out there. He hands old Hersh the phone. Hershel puts it up to his ear, and looks puzzled. [Fingies Note: Did you guys catch that?] Well, when someone is dead set against something, you kind of want to leave them to it. You know, you don’t want to De-Santa Claus someone too early and all. So Hershel leaves Rick to it.

Back in Woodbury, Andrea and The Governor are flirting yet again. She says she really didn’t like the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Chomp) spectacle he’d arranged the night before, but also says, “Hey, Gov. I’d like to do some shootin up on the old wall. How’s about it.” The Governor bats his eyelashes back, and tells her to go get some training. The training she gets is from Baby Jane Daryl Dixon. A fairly young woman who can handle a crossbow. Well, until a Walker shows up and she misses the thing TWICE! So, what was with all the bragging just seconds before? Anyway, Mortal Kombat Sonya Andrea jumps down and sticks the thing in the eye. Girlie with the crossbow shouts some nonsense about not going over the wall and that trying to shoot zombies with a crossbow and missing twice isn’t a game. Whatever, Baby Jane.

Merle, still on the hunt for Michonne is blindsided yet again when she appears out of nowhere and slashes Merle’s Deputy. She darts and dashes when a group of Walkers attack. As Merle fights a couple off, one has Michonne almost pinned until she cuts a deep cut into his belly and all his wonderful and we can imagine odoriferous intestines spill out on top of her. Luckily she gets away and finds out as we did in the first season that zombie guts are a nice little camouflage for oncoming Walkers. She looks surprised. [Fingies note: The same reason why your pets were good camouflage, is the same reason why the guts also work, Michonne.] And this was interesting; Merle now wants to call off the search. It’s almost as if a quitting bell sounded that only he could hear. He brushes off his pants and is like, “Whelp, that’s enough for today. We lost her. She’s gone into the red zone. She’s toast.” And the response from his Deputy who was scared to death just a half-hour ago wants to keep going until they get her, and doesn’t want to lie to The Governor. Yeah, well, Merle doesn’t like his authority being tested so he says, “Hey! What’s that? A bird?” Blam! Deputy Cargulio is dead.

At the prison Daryl, new guy, and Carl are clearing out another section, which prompts Daryl to start talking to Carl about the death of his mom. “She liked her wine, and she liked to smoke in bed,” said Daryl. “Virginia Slims.” We already know where this is going. Daryl, you see, grew up poor. He didn’t have a fancy bike like his buddies, so when the ambulance came to the scene at his home, he was the last of his friends to get there. What he found left of his mother was nothing. He says because there was nothing left it was almost as if it never happened, but regardless you don’t forget, and from what Daryl’s eyes say, you never truly get over losing your mom. This is true. But then Carl drops a little science on Daryl. He basically says in the most grown up voice we’ve ever heard from him, “I shot my mom in the head, so it’s pretty damn real.” Awkward shuffling of feet.

We don’t even want to talk about what’s going on over in Woodbury between stupid-face Andrea and The Governor. Andrea has like zero “red flag meter” when it comes to men. If a guy has power and we supposed isn’t married, she’ll start making googly eyes at him. And this is what’s happening between Andrea and The Governor. Of course this is what’s happening. This is what The Governor wanted from the very beginning. And with Michonne gone, he’s able to move in completely. The two share some libations in The Governor’s garden and then it’s between the sheets for the two of them. Fantastic. HEY ANDREA! HE HAS A ZOMBIE DAUGHTER AND KEEPS HEADS IN A FISH TANK ROOM! Urgh. We wonder if when she finds out all this if she’ll act like the boning never happened just like she tried to do with Shane. “Who me? I got kinky with the crazy dude? Nawww. You don’t know that for sure.”

Glenn and Maggie whose puppy love has given rise to tandem zombie apocalypse runs into deserted town for supplies, finds them in front of a market looking for baby formula and other sundry items. As they banter on in a cutesy, “Let’s grab that dirty duck for dinner” way Michonne has found herself in front of the same market. She watches the two with interest. And the cozier they get the more we see Michonne relax just a little. She hears that they’re planning to take the supplies back to the prison. And just when we think she may show herself to seek aid, Merle shows up. Shit. He recognizes Glenn and wants to know if Daryl is alive. Glenn tries to negotiate by saying that he’ll send Daryl to him. This is a no go. Stand off. Merle has a gun Glenn and Maggie can’t see and in an instant as Michonne looks on, Merle has Maggie hostage. He tells Glenn that they’re going for a ride. And we know just where they’re going, and so does Michonne who does nothing, but she spies the baby formula.

When they get back to Woodbury, Merle interrupts The Governor and Andrea and tells him that Michonne is dead. The Governor wanted proof, and seems not to believe Merle, but before he can dissect Merle’s story, he tells The Governor that he has two from Andrea’s old group. Which brings forth the question if Andrea finds out, where will her loyalties lie now?

Back at the prison, Rick is still waiting for the phone to ring. When it does he realizes that it’s Lori on the other line, and all the times before he was talking to group members who have died. Thanks, M. Night Shyamalan. Sheesh. This was terrible. We so did not like this little bait and switch. It would have been epically better if the call was coming from inside of Woodbury despite what the graphic novel says. It was lame! Everyone agrees that it was lame! Anyway, this is the thing that made Rick finally achieve closure, get his priorities in order, and go see his daughter (or Shane’s daughter.) We also find out what happened to Carol! Daryl found her knife in the throat of a Walker. He goes on a hunt and sees a door that’s flapping open and closed but caught on a Walker on the outside so it can’t open all the way. He first dismissed it as a Walker trying and failing to get out. Now he believes that the Walker is probably Carol. He sits for a minute working up the courage to see Carol as a Walker. Finally, he opens the door and finds an exhausted Carol sill alive, and not a zombie! Great! (This was also kind of lame.)

At the end, in a moment that was very, “Let the Sun Shine In” Rick goes out into the prison yard with the baby, but what does he see in the distance? He hands the baby off, and runs down to the fence, and before him stands Michonne with the basket full of baby formula and covered with zombie intestines still masking her from the other Walkers.

This was the best part of the episode. Everything else was a bit disjointed and worked really hard to fit a lot of keys into locks so that we can have an epic showdown in the last two episodes of the fall season. Didn’t think so, tell us in the comments.