It's The Walking Dead: Guantanamo style as this week launches into some of the darkest territory from the comics...
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
For weeks I have been wondering whether they would go there. The Walking Dead comics are populated with some of the most monstrous characters ever (their callousness by no means numbed by the fact that they communicate through speech bubbles), and The Governor is perhaps the most iconic and disturbing of these. Whereas he was depicted in the comics as a purely menacing, sadistic character, David Morrissey has gone for a more subtle (but equally disturbing) approach.
Fans have been speculating about how far the show will take the Governor's actions - those who have read the graphic novels understand the depths his character will go to, and this week's episode provides an interesting and successful twist on canonical material, as Maggie and Glen are interrogated separately. It's a smart deviation from the graphic novels, and one that comes perfectly timed in the wake of Lori's departure. With the end of Rick and Lori's relationship (which has been central since the show's inception), the title of Most Important Romantic relationship automatically shifts to Glen and Maggie, now the show's longest-running and most satisfying depiction of post-apocalyptic companionship.
For that reason, The Governor's interrogation of Maggie is even more upsetting; the way he forces her to remove her top, while she struggles in vain to resist his sickening advances. It's played in a dark, dreary room that's in complete contrast to the Pleasantville-esque demeanour of Woodsboro, and the viewer can't help but feel frighteningly redundant as The Governor runs his hands through Maggie's hair and sniffs her body while making his decision about how far he will go with his reign of terror.
|Carl, Herschel and Rick come to Michonne's rescue in The Walking Dead|
In the end his threat is implied but not acted upon, but I couldn't help but remember William Goldman's adaptation of the Stephen King novel, Misery - sometimes you don't need to see the violence depicted as graphically in the book. After all, there's a fine line between taking your viewers to the dark places where stories sometimes reside and alienating your audience altogether. While some may not like the deviation from the comics' narrative, I think it was intended more to forewarn the audience of what may occur in later installments (after all, we're still not quite halfway through the season) and The Walking Dead has always favoured plot advancement and character development over shock tactics.
If Maggie's scenes depict a character we love at the mercy of a sociopath, Glen's interrogation gives us one of the scariest confrontations with the undead in the history of the franchise to date. Strapped to a chair by Merle and already suffering from a savage beating, Glen is locked in a room with a salivating walker and is forced to fight for his life. It's a genuinely terrifying torture technique, brilliantly played by actor Steven Yeun, who surely deserves points for taking down a bloodthirsty zombie while severely weakened with limited use of his hands and legs. Looks like someone caught up with all the Bonds before the world ended. The next few weeks will reveal whether Glen and Maggie make it out of Woodsboro safely.
It's almost as though an unintentional trade has taken place. While Glen and Maggie are suffering at the hands of The Governor, Michonne arrives at the prison and narrowly avoids being a zombie buffet (with a little help from Carl and Rick, of course). It seems that TWD is employing a little of George R.R. Martin's structure with Game of Thrones, scattering his most popular characters and having them unintentionally cross paths (and often just missing each other). We the audience know that Andrea is still alive and that Michonne is the key to linking the separate groups back together, but maddenly this never comes up in their discussions. Although this technique wasn't wholly successful, it did offer me the opportunity shout at my TV some more (which, one of these days, is going to start shouting back).
It was another solid episode of undead mayhem, and while it may not have reached the heights of Lori's departure a few weeks ago, it certainly disturbed, compelled and enthralled me in all the right places.
What were your thoughts on this week's 'The Walking Dead'? Will Maggie and Glen make it out of Woodsboro alive?
Leave your thoughts below!