THE WALKING DEAD EPISODE Recap: “Prey”

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Only two more episodes in season three of AMC’s The Walking Dead.  Tonight’s story felt like a retro horror movie at times but for the most part was a chore to slog through.  For fans who love Andrea (or just love to hate her), this episode was for you as the main crux of the plot centered on her and the mobilization of the forces at Woodbury.

Starring Andrew Lincoln, David Morrissey, Chandler Riggs, Melissa McBride, Laurie Holden, Danai Gurira, Michael Rooker, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Scott Wilson, Dallas Roberts, Emily KinneyChad Coleman and Lew Temple, AMC’s The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9.  Hit the jump for my review of “Prey.”

walking-dead-season-3-michael-rooker[Spoiler Alert: All reviews and recaps come with a general spoiler warning from this point onward.]

I fully expected tonight’s episode to be filler, but much like with the episode titled “Clear,” they could have done more with the side characters.  There was an effort to flesh out Tyreese (Coleman) and his crew with a little bit of backstory and some conflict; unfortunately this was overshadowed by Andrea’s decision to flee Woodbury and The Gov’s obsession with bringing her back.  It’s looking like next week is somehow going to be even more filler, probably taking place at a parallel time to tonight’s episode but occurring at the prison instead of Woodbury.  I have faith in writer and new showrunner Scott Gimple, who wrote “Clear” as well as next week’s installment, “This Sorrowful Life.” Let’s take a look at what did (or didn’t) happen in “Prey.”

For some reason, the writers decided to focus on The Gov and Andrea, two characters who can’t really develop much more past the point they’re already at without a major event taking place.  After much urging from the fans, Andrea finally gets the idea to leave Woodbury and warn Rick and the others about the thunder that’s about to come down upon them.  Unfortunately, her plan, ie “run through Walker-infested woods to the prison armed with only a TSA-approved knife,” is not the most well-conceived idea.  The Gov soon tracks her down to some sort of warehouse/factory/horror show.

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At this point, I enjoyed the cat and mouse game between The Gov and Andrea if only for the retro throwback to horror movies of old.  Sure, the prey makes a lot of stupid moves (and so much noise) that eventually lands her square in the sights of the predator. It reminded me of similar scenes in 80s slasher flicks where you just want to scream at the teenage girl for being so stupid.  Not sure if that’s what the writers intended here, but if so, well done. You get to do that once.  Please don’t do it again.

My major issue with tonight’s episode is that it was another wasted effort showing that yes, the Governor is crazy and that yes, Andrea made a mistake.  We get it and we knew that already.  Time could have been better spent focusing on Tyreese and his group rather than shoehorning them in for bits and pieces here and there.  I would have almost welcomed a series of flashbacks with their group’s journey showing how they arrived at the prison and then proceeding to Woodbury rather than watching Andrea run through the woods and hearing the Gov whistlin’ Dixie.  Hell, I would have rather watched Carl doing his chores at the prison while attempting to flirt with Beth and get on Hershel’s good side, anything but what was shown tonight.

The ending does have some pretty major implications for Andrea though, and Milton, too.  Since Andrea is now being held hostage in the Gov’s creepy “workshop” and Milton is clearly the one responsible for setting fire to the Walker pen, both of them are either going to get out of this thing together or are going to be the show’s next two casualties.  Time will tell, but I hope the Andrea and Milton-haters will be appeased one way or the other.

Rating: 5/10

laurie-holden-the-walking-dead-preyZombie Kills: 12 (at least…hard telling how many The Gov killed in his escape)

Casualties: 0

Human/Enemy Deaths: 0

Best Kill:

Gov impaling a Walker head on the machine

Best Effect:

Crispy-fried Walkers in the pit.  (The rest of the effects in this episode were surprisingly bad.)

Musings and Quotes:

  • Michonne talking about her Pack-Walkers: “They deserved what they got. They weren’t human to begin with.”
  • I would have welcomed more of an exploration of the above statement and even a flashback to Michonne’s life pre-apocalypse as well.
  • Milton: “What is that?” The Governor: “My workshop.”
  • Milton to Andrea: “Killing the Governor doesn’t save your friends.”
  • Why would you ever pick a fight with Tyreese?!
  • The Walkers in the woods and in the factory were just some of the highlights of a vintage horror film in which threats come out of nowhere and the main antagonist survives sure-death experiences again and again.

Be sure to tune in next week for our continuing recaps of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

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  • Mickey

    I’ll take filler Walking Dead episodes over pretty much any other lame television show any day.

    • TheEman22

      Incorrect, filler episodes of the walking dead are so poorly written, so boring, and so useless. I rather watch anything else because at least those will be humorously bad

      • Doug

        I have to agree. “Clear” was a great episode, but this one was kind of a waste. The whole time the Governor was hunting Andrea, I’m saying, “Well nothing is going to happen to either of them, so there’s no real tension here.” Her initial escape from the warehouse was pretty cool, though.

      • blakeavon

        Its called character development. maybe thats a bit too advanced for some people to understand. The show isn’t an action with people each week trying to kill many Zombies in more exciting ways. It is a drama in which the whole point is to show how the human ‘animal’ is far worse of a villain than the real monsters that are actually trying to kill them.
        @TheEman22 what in your opinion is actually a good show, that nails it week after week?

    • Roamer

      Compared to Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad – Walking Dead is pretty damn lame.

      • James

        I wouldn’t say lame, but it is definitely not as good as either one of those shows.

      • Roamer

        yeah fair enough. It just annoys me when Walking Dead is on the cusp of becoming really good and then it just backslides.

  • Matt

    Maybe, but call a spade a spade – this show is horrible. The acting stinks. The writing stinks. Put a paper bag on the zombies and it loses anything of interest.

    • Matt

      Interesting. Yet you bother to watch it, and comment on it.
      You might consider other viewing options on Sunday nights.

      • Joe

        Did this guy just reply to his own comment!? That would be the only thing sadder than someone who obviously hates the show, watching it, reading recaps and commenting on it.

  • Jason_NYC

    I’m not going to waste time defending this show because those of you out there who don’t like, well, there’s nothing I’m going to say here that’s going to change your mind. Anyway, to the fans of the show, did anyone else assume that Morgan had come back and burned the zombies? When I saw that scene I was actually like, “Cool, Morgan’s back.” After all, burning the zombies does fit his modus operandi of “clearing” the world of zombies? When they showed the guy who did it though, it wasnt Morgan, unless he found a wig and grew 10 years younger. I also read that it was Milton who did it, but I don’t think so as well. Any actual fans of the show out there have any guesses?

    • k

      I am very much an “actual fan of the show” and I also disliked this episode and last week’s very much. Just because people are critical does not mean they are not fans – I love the show, have read every issue of the comic (and did so BEFORE it was a TV show) – in other words, I LOVE the Walking Dead, but some episodes are better than others and that’s true with any show on TV.

      Regarding the walker bbq – I do think it was MIlton but we will have to wait and see – they still haven’t revealed who was driving the truck full of walkers that crashed into the prison, maybe they will eventually. I am still waiting to know what the hell happened to the truck in season 1 – they said Merle took it but obviously he didn’t…..hmmm….makes you wonder.

    • Dancing Llama

      No no no. They never showed who did it. The black afro guy who showed up to the scene came AFTER the burning, plus he’s one of the Gov’s men, he’s not the one who did it. Also why would you assume it was Morgan? He has no idea that walker pit is even there, plus he’s not even in the area. It was implied heavily that Milton did it. Also, lIke what “k” said, you can still be a fan of the show and not like this episode.

      • Jason_NYC

        For the record, I agree it was a crappy episode. Unfortunately, there is very little story left to tell until the war between the prison and Woodbury actually happens. Regarding the zombie burning, I thoguht it was Morgan because it fits in with his mentality of clearing the world of walkers. Plus, he could have just followed Rick and found the pit. I could be wrong, though. I would be surprised if it was Milton, given that he’s kind of a sissy when it comes to actually going out and facing the zombies.

      • Spanky

        Dude.. just how much of a hint do you need as to who it was?

        Like hit in the face with a shovel!!

        Did you not clue in to what was being said when Gov and Milton were talking?? Good lord man..

    • LEM

      Well you certainly think outside the bun but no I never thought it was Morgan though you will see him again in the finale. I assumed it was Milton but also thought it could be Merle who does know about the pit and the tactics the Governor uses.

  • Danny

    I have to agree with the others above. You know something is wrong when the plot of an episode is so thin you can basically summarize it in a couple sentences. Another filler episode stalling for the inevitable showdown between the Gov and the prison. Also, why the hell couldn’t Andrea leave that warehouse as soon as she heard the Gov enter? She should have bolted out another exit, cut the tires to his car, and ran to the prison. Dumb.

    • Dav

      Okay, how in the heck would that work? Lets see let me cut their tires and run for it! Even though I have been running for hours and have not even camped or taken a break yet, and the other guy has been riding in a truck the entire time I have been running. There is no problem there. My bet is he would catch up with her pretty quick, heck I wouldn’t delude myself into thinking I could out run him after that long and I am in pretty good shape. In reality if she would have stuck to the woods she never would have had to worry about him.

  • LEM

    Good recap and breakdown of the continuing problems this show has. It feels like there’s no cohesion or synergy between the writers. I get that they just dole out episodes to various writers but they may want to allow all the writers to know WTF is going on with the characters and who they need to progress in order to allow for tighter writing without repetitive character drama. I still would rather watch a bad episode of this show than most other show especially on a Sunday night.

  • Lance

    Lot of criticism of this week’s episode! But why? It’s not like this episode was substantially worse than many of Walking Dead’s previously acclaimed episodes. A lot of episodes of Walking Dead are basically just our gang walking around, running into walkers every now and then.

    And I call baloney on the person who posted that they knew “nothing was going to happen to Andrea or the Governor.” Like Game of Thrones, I think this show has earned the right to say that you never know who’s going to die next on the series.

    I didn’t think this episode was so bad, and like Dave said in his review, it was like watching an old 80s horror flick.

    I suspect the only reason people thought it was lackluster is because people are impatient already to see the WAR. Rumble with the Governor! We’ve been waiting for it all season. If it weren’t for that most of the people here panning the episode would have loved it.

    • tobymiggy

      Exactly everyone is waiting for the war and its been building up and moving so slowly toward it

    • Great white hype

      C’mon man. There was no way the Govenor was going to die without a confrontation with Rick. And if Andrea died it would have made all her Woodbury escapades meaningless. There was absolutely no suspense, just a couple of jump scares. It was the definition of a filler episode. The bulk of which was Andrea trying to escape and than at the very end, low and behold the Govenor catches her just before she gets to the prison. Might as well have been a dream sequence.

    • James

      Absolutely nothing was going to happen to the Governor. The entire season has been built to him confronting the people at the prison. As for Andrea, it’s gotten to the point where I wouldn’t have cared if something happened to her. She’s obviously an idiot who refuses to see something even when she’s beaten over the head with it.

  • tobymiggy

    I love TWD but its starting to become one of those shows that is really good but it is much better to watch an entire season in one sitting or else it just seems to drags on really slowly.

    This episode also bulled out every horror movie cliche in the book: trips falls, runs into an abandoned building, creepy whistling, and mainly the typical dumb girl running around bullshit.

  • Bob

    I knew this post would be of little or no merit when the writer likened the episode to “Clear” to emphacize his view it’s weaknesses. “Clear” is one of the seasons and series best episodes that finally gave us some closure on a loose end from season one and was relevant in being a wake up call to the emotionally spiraling Rick. Episodes that explore characters that we are invested in and their actions and motivations leading up to the major events that I guess the nay sayers believe must be part of every episode are not fillers but in fact add emotion and gravitas to the major events. Last night’s episode was an excellent example of how this show builds suspense and keeps us on the edge as we sincerely worry about people we have become seriously emotionally invested in.

    • Dave Trumbore

      I liked “Clear” quite a bit and gave it a 9/10. http://collider.com/the-walking-dead-season-3-episode-12-recap/

      In fact, I wanted this episode to be more like “Clear,” which focused on a side character and did some exemplary work with it. It’s because of “Clear” and the fact that Scott Gimple wrote that episode that I have faith in the next one, which he also wrote.

  • Hey.

    “Why would you ever pick a fight with Tyreese?!”

    Maybe because he’s an indecisive pu$$y who’s kinda soft and not the Roadblock from GI Joe like he is in the comic. Everybody who said that was perfect casting is dumb.

    P.S. This episode sucked.

    • Jake

      Tyreese turned into a badass in the comics when his daughter committed suicide, this is what he was like before that happened in the comics. The actor is perfect.

      • @Jake

        You are completely correct. I went back and looked at the comics that Tyreese was in and he does look like the guy on the show. I don’t know why I was picturing him like Roadblock. I still think he’s too naive on the show, though. Not Andrea naive, but then again nobody is that naive. Hah!

  • Anonymous

    Agreed, the writing for this episode (aswell as a few too many others) was subpar & prevent the show from being considered one of the true greats.

    Dont get me wrong i’ve loved many of the episodes (so swings & roundabouts), but those have usually been suspensful, character driven, yet fast-paced (season 1, early part of this season). This ties in with my love of the fantastic comics – which are incredibly break-neck, but well told, detailed stories.

    I fully recommend anyone who hasn’t (& by gum, why havent you) watch Breaking Bad (if you watch it in its entirety, try not to look on in disgust at other shows)!

    • Nmaster

      the comment above was in agreement with @ matt

  • RunnerX13

    Very harsh critique. If we judged the episode for what it was, and not what you wanted it to be, it was one of the best this season.

  • Matt

    It was a pretty good episode. By season 2 standards, it was almost as good as the barn burner. By season 3 standards, not quite as good. Sounds like progress.

    All in all, the Walking Dead is still very strong. A few hiccups, but better than 98% of anything else on TV.

  • Anonymous

    i just love this show and eveyting in it

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