On this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, peace talks are on the agenda. Rick enters a seemingly dark barn at his own risk, to be greeted by an empty table with two chairs. In a true villains entrance, The Governor appears, hands raised in surrender as he declares, “we have a lot to talk about.” Rick starts off with accusations whilst holding The Governor at gunpoint. Little does he know this guy always has something up his sleeve or hidden under the table, and Andrea lets it be known that she set up the meeting between Rick and The Governor which winds up getting her booted outside (perhaps now she will finally realize how little she really means in the big picture The Governor has in his head).
Outside, two warring sides are starring each other down as their leaders decide their fate behind closed doors. Daryl, the muscle, spars with one of The Governor’s henchmen. Ever the voice of reason, Hershel steps in and dials back the tension. Clearly, everyone is eager for a resolution to this war that has fallen into their laps at the hands of a mad man.
As The Governor and Rick dig in to their discussion, they share a common understanding of the duties of a leader. Rick attempts to feel out his opponent on equal footing, accusing him in subtle words of being too big for his breeches. In apocalypse-style ribbing Rick, accuses, “you’re the town drunk who knocked over my fence and ripped up my yard, nothing more.” Time for a drink.
Across the ‘verse, Glenn is still on power trip as they sort guns and stash bullets around the prison yard in prep for battle. Merle, still the untested outsider, watches from the sidelines. He suggests that they go to the peace talks and take out The Governor while his guard is down. The viper might have a point. As he stuffs a bag full of guns, Glenn stands up to him and a fight breaks out. This group is still loyal to Rick and his ideas, no matter how rational Merle might be.
In a quiet moment away from the group, Merle corns Michonne and tries to convince her to go with him to “shogun The Governor’s ass.” Michonne politely refuses. Meanwhile, Maggie joins Glenn on watch and they finally talk about Glenn’s attitude when they returned from Woodbury. All is forgiven as they forgo staring at walkers for some “recreational” activities.
Outside, as the talks between warring nations continue, Milton wants to help bridge the gap amongst the grunt men. Hershel sees his point in documenting the events for posterity, forming a fragile kinship between the two. As walkers make their presence known, Daryl has a pissing contest with The Governor’s lackey and wins – proving that egos still ring true, even in desperate times.
Hershel offers the only laugh of the episode as Milton asks to see his stump and he insists, “I’m not showing you my leg [I just met you … at least buy me a drink first.]” In a moment of tenderness, he hobbles over to Andrea and offers an olive branch, telling her she is welcome with her family, but that she knows what that decision will mean.
Sharing a drink, The Governor discusses his issues with their situation. In a moment of clarity, he utters a line about killing everyone they know which brings the audience into the understanding that, in fact, the will eventually kill everyone they know once they have died and turned. If that wasn’t weighty enough, he delves into a story about how he lost his wife, pricking the fragile memory Rick carries of Lori and her demise. With tears in his eyes, he takes a mournful sip of whiskey hoping to dull the pain of his loss and keep himself present.
Finally, we find out what it is that The Governor wants: Michonne. His vendetta all along has been vengeance, and Rick has simply been in the way. Is one woman worth all of the lives in the prison? Rick tries to rationalize which brings about the decisions that they will meet again in two days time to discuss it further. As everyone goes their separate ways, Hershel and Andrea share an understanding glance. Perhaps she will become a fixture at the prison as Merle has.
As our prison survivors are reunited, so too The Governor returns to Woodbury. The Governor stomps through Woodbury giving orders to Milton about how the next meeting will be a sneak attack. In Milton’s words, “a slaughter.” Rick takes a similar tactic lying to the group by omission. However, in his lie, he speaks the truth about The Governor’s true intentions. In a quiet moment between him and Hershel we find out just how much Rick is struggling with this decision: Michonne? Or his family?
Tune in next week when Andrea will try to stop the war and The Governor turns on those he once trusted.