Posted by: pop-break | November 11, 2012

Reviewing the Dead: “Say the Word”

luke kalamar slices some zombies up…

Plot: Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) worst nightmare has come true. His beloved wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), one of two people he would give his life for, has died giving birth. This shatters his mental state immensely and he goes on a zombie killing rampage. In his absence, Daryl (Norman Reedus) steps up to lead the group. His first course of action is finding formula for Rick’s newborn daughter. Meanwhile, Michonne (Danai Gurira) discovers a dark secret of The Governor (David Morrissey) and his paradise town of Woodbury. Andrea (Laurie Holden) refuses to accept Michonne’s desire to leave, but even she can’t hide from the truth forever.

If you were to describe this episode in one word, it would be “aftermath”. Last week was one of the most explosive episodes of this entire series, so exploring the outcome of those events in “Say the Word” was absolutely necessary. I like to imagine that writing this episode must have been a very difficult task. Lori’s death is one of the most significant events to date and finding a way to accurately depict its believable effect on Rick’s group is not an easy feat. How does Rick respond? How does the group move forward? What psychological trauma will Lori’s death cause? These are only some questions that needed answers as quickly as possible. “Say the Word” does an excellent job answering these questions, but some mystery from “Killer Within” still remain.

As a whole, this episode primarily focused on developing three major characters. The first is obviously Rick and his downward spiral into insanity. Rick has always projected the persona of a responsible leader who only kills when really necessary and usually prefers to talk things out first. Normally this would make his violent rampage throughout the prison completely uncharacteristic. Considering what just happened, his actions make perfect sense now. Imagine doing everything you can to protect the woman you love, only to lose her in the worst possible way. I personally really enjoyed Rick dispatching zombies with furious rage, and I’m officially excited to explore his collapsing psyche even further.

The next character is The Governor. Even though the Prison this week was all about dealing with the aftermath of a major event, Woodbury was all about shedding more light into what lies beneath its surface. The disturbing nature of who The Governor really is started to make an even bigger appearance this week. I’m very glad the writers are keeping so many elements of his character and Woodbury as a whole alive on the small screen. Trust me when I say that a zombified child and a battle arena are only the tip of the iceberg. I wasn’t sure how much of The Governor from the comics we would see on the show, but now I’m expecting the “fully messed up” package.

Daryl is the third character to get a significant focus and growth in this episode. Up to this point, Rick was always the leader with Daryl as his right hand man. It only made sense then for Daryl to intermittently take up Rick’s duties as group leader during this crisis. Within the first five minutes of the episode, Daryl is throwing out orders to keep the group together and find formula for Rick’s daughter. He doesn’t miss a beat and adapts the surrogate leader role with ease. It’s the first time we see him as a leader and not a follower, and I loved it.

Despite the very enjoyable development of these three characters, there were some missed moments in this episode. One was the total lack of concern for how Carl is doing regarding the death of his mother. This is a kid that just shot his Mom in the head and watched her die. Why is no one asking him how he’s doing? Daryl briefly told Beth (Emily Kinney) to watch over Carl in the beginning, and yet that was never explored. I found that extremely bizarre.

The other missed moment was the disappearance of Carol (Melissa McBride) from the previous episode. Several hours went by in this episode, and yet apparently that’s not enough time for her to reunite with everyone. I’m not surprised that the group believes she is dead considering what happened in “Killer Within,” but I find it strange that she didn’t find her way back. The preview for the next episode showed that the Prison group will find signs of her survival and I certainly hope that leads to them finding her. I don’t want another “Where’s Sophia?” situation involving Carol.

Regardless of the missed opportunities, this was another fantastic episode. Other memorable highlights were Michonne showing how much she can kick ass, and Andrea finally shedding some light into why she loves Woodbury so much. As far as I’m concerned, Season 3 is currently 5-0 this season with not a single disappointing episode so far. I hope this quality continues!

Rating: 9/10

all photos taken by gene page/twd productions…

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Responses

  1. I agree I would have liked a scene where Carl talks about his mom’s death to Beth. Great review!

  2. I noticed two things missing. And by things I mean Laurie and Carol’s bodies. We knew T-Dog was out for the count the second he got bit and even further when his throat got ripped out. Laurie was “shot” in the head off-screen. I say “shot” because you see the bullet on the ground. Maybe he shot the ground next to her to throw off Maggie. There is that hint that the bloated walker nearby ate Laurie…but where would her bones be?
    I’m almost waiting for Carol to have showed up a minute later, stitch Laurie (who has a fading pulse) up and take her off to care for her. Though I doubt it because of the “phone call” waiting for Rick.
    I love how they are setting up Daryl more as a character, which will culminate in the Dixon reunion.
    I am also really impressed with how they handled Carl. You can see him quickly maturing and that was something his character needed. Unlike Rick, he never really had a mission, a person he felt responsible for protecting. Now he does with the baby (though if her destiny is anything like the comic, that won’t last long).
    I didn’t like the concept that the defanged walkers were now harmless. I always thought the deadly fever infection was based on scratches and/or bites. And what about bodily fluids passed via open wounds?

    • According to Greg Nicotero, the director of this episode, the bloated walker did in fact eat Lori. I’m assuming the rules still apply regarding open wounds though!


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