Last week’s episode of The Walking Dead was a high point for the show, so it’s something of a disappointment that episode 5, ‘Say The Word’, doesn’t live up to the episode that preceded it, and instead goes off in some extremely weird directions.
It would be an understatement to say that Rick isn’t dealing with Lori’s death particularly well; it would be more accurate to say he’s gone well wrong in the brain box, marching into the prison with an axe to get some bloody (very bloody) retribution. He spends the entire episode in a wordless rage, splicing and slicing walkers as he marches through the prison to find Lori’s body. Glenn tries to calm him down, but gets nothing but a hostile response from Rick, and leaves him to get on with whatever it is he’s actually out to achieve.
It gets even weirder at the end of the episode, as Lori’s body has gone, with a suggestion that Carl couldn’t shoot his mother in the head, or that he just missed. But while Rick does find a live, chubby walker and shoots it through the head before symbolically stabbing it in the stomach, there’s no sign of Lori, dead or re-animated (I’m pretty certain that walker wasn’t Lori, it certainly didn’t look like her). He ends the episode by answering a phone, but who is it from? It’s a very strange sequence of events for Rick, and it’s not really clear where this is going. The first four episodes of the season saw him much more in control and confident in his orders, now he appears to have had a total breakdown, potentially leaving the group under threat unless someone else steps up to lead (which would most likely be Daryl or Glenn).
While Rick is busy going nut-nut, the rest of the group have to find formula for the baby, or it won’t survive. So Daryl and Maggie head out on the road to try and find what they need, while Glenn digs graves for Lori, T-Dog and Carol. It’s weird that he’s digging one for Carol, as she just disappeared in the previous episode. There were no scenes of her being chewed up by walkers, yet the group don’t seem particularly interested in trying to find her, or her body. Maggie and Daryl do manage to find some formula, but oddly enough, they manage to do it without any kind of difficulty. They aren’t sidetracked by walkers, and they don’t come across anyone else, they simply find a house with a couple of tubs of formula and head back to the prison.
Meanwhile, we get to see more proof that the governor is a bit of a nutcase himself. Not content with having Milton experimenting on walkers and keeping their heads in fish tanks, it appears that he’s still got his daughter to look after, even though she’s now a walker and bits of her scalp have an unfortunate tendency to peel off when he brushes her hair.
Michonne continues to be suspicious (and as the last paragraph should clearly illustrate; she should be) of the governor and his little town, and she breaks into his home to retrieve her sword and do some snooping. She discovers a group of caged walkers and sets them free before stylishly chopping them up. But someone sent to feed those walkers catches her in the act, and the governor is less than pleased. He wants her to become part of his community, but she’s not buying it, drawing her sword on him before trying to convince Andrea that they have to leave. Andrea still wants to stay, despite Michonne telling her that they won’t be allowed to leave; but when they both walk up to the exit, Merle opens the gates without much of a fuss. Michonne is convinced it’s a trick, but still wants to leave, while Andrea thinks it has proven her wrong. So Andrea stays and Michonne goes, but it doesn’t seem like it will be too long before Michonne returns. The governor has been leading a day-long celebration, and that ends with Merle and another man fighting in a ring of walkers. We’ve seen Merle out rounding them up earlier in the day; they’ve dug a hole to collect walkers in, with Milton picking some for his experiments, while others are used for the fights. The fights are apparently staged, with walkers having their teeth removed, but Andrea is still disgusted by what she sees.
These things all add up to make a weird and not entirely successful episode of The Walking Dead. In some ways it feels like a bit of a filler episode, exploring new ideas before future episodes act upon them. It’s not really a bad episode, just a jarring change of pace and tone after a very strong start to the season.