Each week I review the latest episode of AMC’s television series, The Walking Dead and pick three scenes or characters and breakdown the differences or similarities the show might’ve had with the comic book series. For those that are privy to the comic book and the show, this is for you. Unfortunately, if you have not seen the episode or read the comic, this will spoil everything! You’ve been warned!
Season 3 – Episode 5 – “Say The Word”
This week’s The Walking Dead was chockfull of bloody, juicy bits and entrails as the show finally dives deeper into the manipulation and the darkness of The Governor. We also discover that the citizens of Woodbury may not be the post-apocalyptic-Norman-Rockwell-slice-of-Americana-style utopians that we had thought them all to be as they sheepishly cheer on the gladiator of Woodbury, Merle! As if that wasn’t enough, upon realization of Lori’s death in last week’s episode, Rick goes into berserker mode and ventures back into the prison on a ravenous search for reconciliation and Lori’s body, while the rest of the gang tend to the dire need of acquiring formula for the newborn baby.
We are delightfully treated to some similarities between the two genres of the television series and comic book series in this episode, as fans of the comics can be rest assured that this show did not lose its focus entirely and is still able to retain some of those fond moments that we’ve previously enjoyed. Here we go!
“Daddy Dearest” or “Don’t Call Me Daughter”
So, the opening scene with The Governor brushing the hair of his zombie daughter, Penny, was pretty chilling. It was very creepy to see David Morrisey’s rendition of The Governor, gently brushing Penny, until a big chunk of her hair falls off and the zombie child goes wild! The Governor struggles to subdue her in her straitjacket and puts a bag over her head and whispers sweet nothings to her in an effort to calm the zombie. Then, just nanoseconds before the opening credits kick in, you’re left with your mouth wide open and wiping drool from the corners of your mouth trying to wrap your head around what you just saw.
Though it may lack a lot of the perversion of The Governor, as far as faithfulness to the comics, I feel like this sort of nailed the same beats that Robert Kirkman originally had intended. The only thing is that in the comics, The Governor shows his affection for his daughter in a much different way.
Now there is still plenty of show left and opportunities for this scene to take place, but I’m more willing to think that The Walking Dead show runners had expressed what they meant to establish for The Governor’s character in that opening scene. Besides, I think the zombie daughter love/incest angle might make things a little too convoluted for the TV show’s storytelling. Although, we were also had a small glimpse into The Governor’s journal when Michonne is snooping around his home. This didn’t happen in the comic books, and if it’s revisited in further episodes, it could be a great way to provide some supplemental exposition for The Governor.
“The First Rule of Zombie Fight Club…”
The zombie fight arena was probably one of my favorite scenes to be rendered into the television series from the comics. I really feel that this scene in the episode really captured just how enamored the people of Woodbury were by these events. The citizens chant Merle’s name like a gladiator in the Colosseum and we start to understand just how a low-life like Merle can retain any sort of power or influence in this community. It’s obvious that he’s Woodbury’s champion.
The difference here between the comics and the television show isn’t necessarily the zombie fight arena itself, but how it’s used. While The Governor does mention that the use of walkers are purely for “entertainment” in the TV show, Andrea contends with The Governor that he is teaching the citizens that zombies aren’t dangerous. The Governor emphatically disagrees and states that he’s teaching them not to be afraid of them.
In the comics, as The Governor is explaining the arena, he uses it more as just an entertaining distraction to the people of Woodbury.
All in all, I find it a graceful derivation as it edifies the story and made me a believer as to why a dumb, racist, redneck could actually have a respectable position amongst the town of Woodbury.
Are You There, God? It’s me, Rick.
Lastly, after Rick finds a zombie with a full belly and that looks like he ate whatever remained of Lori for Thanksgiving dinner, a telephone rings!
Now, we don’t have much to go off of because the episode ends just as Rick picks up the phone and answers, but I have to conclude that because Rick is psychologically off-the-deep-end and the fact the phone rings after Rick kills the zombie that ate his beloved wife, the person on the other end is Lori! Fans of the comics know that Rick engages in these phone conversations with his dead wife as a coping mechanism to deal with all that’s happened to him. I found these moments in the comic books to be some of the saddest and sympathetic sides to Rick, and I also found it to be a great way to provide exposition to Rick’s character without the use of narration.
I really hope they continue this dialogue in the series because it may give a chance for the people who hated Lori on the show, a chance to redeem herself.
Be sure to tune in next week when we investigate more similarities and differences, as well as the promiscuity of Andrea?
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