Spoiler Warning: If you haven’t seen this episode and want to keep everything a surprise, then turn back now! We’ll be revealing major plot points and twists that occur in The Walking Dead S3E5 “Say The Word”. You’ve been warned!
Say The Word
The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 5 “Say the Word” continues the shocking events that took place in last week’s episode: Lorie’s death while giving birth to her baby and T. Dog being overrun by zombies and eaten alive. The group has lost two of it’s main characters, bringing a shock that threatens to fracture their morale and may very well leave Rick emotionally damaged. Without Rick as their leader, the group may not be the same…
The episode switches from Rick and his band of survivors to Michonne and Andrea at Woodbury, much the same way the last few episodes have transitioned between the two on-going stories at the same time. The townspeople of Woodbury are preparing for a grand festival, and while the celebration holds promise, Michonne still holds deep resentment and is wary of the people and their leader: the Governor, who’s sadism and cruelty is masked by a smiling countenance.
Rick, like any other husband faced with the loss of their wife, isn’t faring too well after Lorie’s demise, held in a daze that eventually culminates in a brutal zombie-killing rampage. Rick normally has control and keeps calm during strenuous situations, however with the loss of his wife he loses control and grabs a nearby axe and tears through half a dozen of the zombis that overran them in the last episode. It’s quite chilling to see Rick in this light, however just about anyone else would do the same thing in his shoes.
Rick is dealing with the initial shock of Lorie’s death in his own way, mourning her not with tears but with the cold revenge that comes from dishing out the true death to the marauding undead, allowing him to unleash his fury and emotional turmoil in a physical form. This may be cathartic to him right now, however this kind of behavior is risky as it might ultimately change his persona and make him into something he never wanted to be…and now he has Carl and a new child to take care of, a burden that carries with it massive responsibility.
On top of all this, Hershel tells the others that the baby won’t survive long without formula adding yet another problem for our survivors to face. Daryl and Maggie jump to the call and go off in search of a nearby store–one that hopefully hasn’t been completely looted and raided–to help, doing everything they can in order to save the baby that Lorie gave her life for.
Michonne distrusts the Governor and everyone at Woodbury. Something is off about the place, and after breaking into the Gov’s office and retrieving her sword, she eavesdrops and overhears the Gov discussing an “experiment” with one of his head advisers. The adviser is worried about the amount of energy that the celebration is going to waste, and instead wants to procure the electricity from the generators for this mysterious experiment, and after overhearing all of this, Michonne makes her way to Woodbury’s makeshift laboratory.
It’s interesting to see Michonne as both a deadly femme fatale as well as a sleuthing detective, putting the pieces together and investigating to find Woodbury’s buried secrets. Any place run by the Governor is bound to have a few skeletons in its closet.
Upon investigating the laboratory, Michonne finds that the experiment has something to do with walkers, as she finds a locked pen full of undead. She utilizes her blade to make quick work of the pack, using the opportunity to practice her swordsmanship. Of course, this doesn’t make the Gov happy, as Michonne single-handedly interrupted the “experiment”.
Michonne also discovers that the Gov keeps his zombie daughter, Penny, locked away–at the very beginning, we see the Gov stroking Penny’s hair in a creepy display of affection–much the same way that Hershel kept his barn full of his family that had turned into walkers.
The Governor sits down with Michonne, and as he’s about to reprimand her, she easily takes her sword and turns it against him, holding it against his throat to show that she won’t be caged nor controlled, and making an enemy in the process. She doesn’t kill the Gov, rather shows that she has the power to do such and storms out of the building.
In the Mouth of Madness
Meanwhile, Rick is still inside the prison, which is now strewn with gore and pieces of walkers just about everywhere you look. That Rick prefers to stay within this dark horrifying area only goes to show of his state of mind, which is deteriorating, and he’s on the brink of madness. The shock of Lorie’s death to bring his daughter into the world, coupled with the fact that Carl executed her before she could turn, made him snap, and Glenn goes into the bloody recess to salvage what remains of their leader.
To say the least, Rick is now far more dangerous than an entire horde of walkers: he’s gone rampant, tearing through every last zombie in the prison, butchering them and waiting within the gloomy heart of the corridor, his mind blank with shock. As Glenn approaches him, Rick’s dazed eyes and slackened countenance key us into what’s going on in his mind: he’s unthinking and empty, overcome by emotion and instinct to the point that everything else has short circuited.
Glenn tries to touch him, and Rick promptly responds by restraining Glenn–this is a side of Rick that we’ve never seen before, a bestial and feral side that comes out only when his entire psyche has been withered away. He is, in essence, a wild animal, operating solely on instinct.
Rick went back into the prison to retrieve Lorie’s body, and to kill everything in his path along the way. But when he finally reaches the spot where Lorie died, he finds a shocking and gruesome mess…
Woodbury, Your Friendly Everyday Neighborhood
After Michonne’s encounter with the Gov, she is met by Andrea, who has been convinced by the Governor to help keep Michonne in line. Andrea has been won over by the promise of safety and lured by the Woodbury’s siren song of hope…however Michonne sees the town for what it is: a prison, one that you’ll never leave by choice. Michonne argues with Andrea and tries to convince her that Woodbury is dangerous, and that she’s being tempted and coerced with the bait of promises, that it’s too good to be true.
Andrea still isn’t convinced and wants Michonne to give the place a chance…however anyone who sees the episode has that distinct feeling that there’s something going on behind the curtains, and that something is off about Woodbury. Everyone knows that if something is good in The Walking Dead, then it must be too good to be true. There has to be a rusty hook in the bait somewhere.
Speaking of bait, one of Merle’s jobs is to retrieve walkers that have been caught in one of the many traps set out for the undead, as Woodbury needs test subjects for their mysterious “experimental research”. The show builds up the suspense and reveals tidbits as to what’s in store for the towns “festivities”, presumably something awful that has to do with the experiment itself.
After a heated debate with Andrea, Michonne ends up walking right out of Woodbury’s front gates. Andrea argues that Woodbury was the very place that had kept them going during their rough eight months of scavenging, foraging, and fear-infused nomadic lifestyle.
Michonne argues that Woodbury is a prison, that there’s something off about this place, and that the Governor isn’t to be trusted. At the end, Michonne ends up storming out of the place, leaving Andrea behind, guilty conscience and all.
The night of the festivities is when Andrea truly realizes the macabre of Woodbury, as the celebration revolves around a ritualistic and twisted gladiatorial competition where Merle and Martinez, the Gov’s henchmen slash guards, face off against chained walkers.
Andrea is sickened by this show, and when one of the men get bitten, she is frightened–however the Gov reveals that it’s all for show and that the “biters” have all of their teeth ripped out. This display of cruel and twisted sportsmanship disgusts Andrea, who sees the walkers as very real dangers, however the domesticated denizens of Woodbury have lost their fear and wariness of the undead due to their ritualistic festivities.
Andrea realizes that Michonne is right, that the people of Woodbury are all twisted, and that the Governor, their trusted leader and official, is completely insane…