Monday, November 12, 2012

The Walking Dead: Season 3: Episode 5: "Say the Word"

After last week's episode of The Walking Dead ushered in a new level of intensity with the deaths of two major characters and the birth of Lori's (Sarah Wayne Callies) baby, "Say the Word" is comparatively stagnant. This makes it consistent with the narrative rhythm that the writers have committed to since the show's second season: After a dramatic turn of events, everything slows down, often for several episodes. "Say the Word" fits comfortably within that broader framework, but it makes better use of its quieter interludes than similar episodes and also offers a handful of isolated standout moments.
One of these is early on, when the Governor (David Morrissey) is listening to soothing classical music and brushing the hair of his zombie daughter in his secluded second-floor abode. She struggles, but the Governor wrestles the girl's contorting body into a position in which he can safely hug her and tell her how much he loves her. The scene is somewhat of an extension of last season's thread involving Hershel's (Scott Wilson) insistence that walkers are human. Though given what we already know about the Governor, like how he watches the jangling severed heads floating in water tanks for his own pleasure, his hair-brush routine conveys more than simply denial. Rather, the Governor's secret fixation on reliving the past signals a deep level of psychosis masked by his seemingly fair-minded leadership of the Woodbury community.

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