"I've ... I've been ... I've got ... stuff out here. Stuff." -- Rick
With a title like "Home," one would think the 10th episode of The Walking Dead Season 3 would be at least a little bit uplifting. Those of you who tuned in to AMC last night know it was nothing of the sort, as the Governor has finally exacted the first step of his revenge on the Prison.
That included the death of the last of the new prison characters, Axel. As we learned through his conversation with Carol, he didn't even deserve to be in prison but that didn't stop him from being the shocking first victim of the Governor as he got a bullet straight to the head. At least he lived longer than Oscar -- and made a great human shield.
"Home" wasn't a total downer, though. Things got worse before they got better for Daryl and Merle, but at least they did seem to get better. The Dixon brothers weren't doing especially well for themselves out in the woods, and after rescuing a family from a walker attack, Merle showed his true colors by trying to rob them at gunpoint. The irony here is that not long before Merle had mocked Daryl for scrounging at abandoned houses, but we'll let that slide.
Daryl finally held his crossbow to Merle's head to make him let the family go, and the two fought over Merle's actions in the woods. Some family history was unearthed when Merle saw his little brother was physically abused the same way he had been, which is likely what pushed him to stop running and follow Daryl back to the Prison.
Also getting worse before it gets better is Maggie and Glenn's relationship. The couple had been so happy and healthy during the first half of Season 3, which itself should have been a sign things were destined to go downhill. Glenn and Maggie finally talked about the Governor almost raping her, but that didn't make her any less pissed off at her boyfriend. Hopefully now that the threat of the Governor is hanging over their heads they can expedite the road to reunion.
Hershel got a chance to come to the forefront in "Home," which was a nice change after seeing him relegated to cripple duty for the past few episodes. Not only did he try to advise Glenn about his actions and anger, he also was the only one who seemed able to reach Rick.
Rick, of course, is losing his mind pretty steadily, as he now is seeing visions of his dead wife in her wedding dress. That continued throughout Episode 10, and this time he actually made contact with Lori. Hershel did his best to help the group’s leader find the answers he needs, and at least Rick did admit he’s having visions. But any resolution they might have had was destroyed by the Governor's surprise attack.
There weren't many Woodbury scenes in "Home," but those relative few helped set the stage for the Governor's revenge. First he needed to make sure Andrea felt obligated to stay in Woodbury, so he tricked her into leading the townspeople like she did in "The Suicide King." That permitted the seemingly emotionally defeated Governor to "get myself together," aka lead an assault against her friends.
The Governor then turned to Milton, asking whether he’d be willing to take a bullet for him. Milton said he would, and with the man of science firmly in line, the Governor was able to take Martinez and some other able-bodied men and wreak havoc on the Prison. Hopefully Andrea doesn't stay ignorant of what's happening long, because it's about time for her to act in a way worth rooting for this season.
Axel's death was a major turn for "Home," even though it happened toward the episode's end. That put the Prison residents in their most vulnerable situation ever, and that was only exacerbated when one of the Governor's men drove a truck through the Prison's gates to let loose a group of zombies. Although the Governor and his cronies eventually returned to Woodbury, the Prison's defenses are now weaker than ever, and the survivors have to deal with a new pack of biters.
As for the Governor, he's clearly gone off the deep end -- and good riddance. This is the closest to the Governor from the comic books that David Morrissey's depiction has come, and the actor seems to be relishing the opportunity to go pure evil. This clearly is just Act 1 of whatever he has in store.
A lot of events that will hopefully shape the rest of Season 3 were set in motion during "Home." Daryl and Merle saved Rick from walkers, so Merle will likely be accepted into the Prison crew. The Governor's attack not only puts them in a very weak situation but also should push Glenn's revenge plot into actually happening. Then there's the fact that Rick has admitted to having visions of Lori and Shane, which hopefully will bring him one step closer to getting himself together. After all, maybe this attack was the sign Rick was looking for