23rd Mar2013

The Walking Dead 3×14 – “Prey” Review

by Nathan Smith

‘Prey’ is an effective episode setting up the endgame to come in the dawning war between Rick and The Governor. It smartly focuses on one half of the equation and barely even registers with the prison group save for the cold open with Michonne by the fireside and a brief but unsettling apperance by Rick at the episode’s end.

There are some parts of the episode that don’t click and feel like they take all the time away from the real driving force of the episode. One of which, is the aforementioned scene with Michonne is a little frustrating because for every two steps forward the writers take with Michonne, they step back by not having her talk. It makes sense in the timeline that she’s a little reticent to speak but it’s hard to believe that she spends all that time with Andrea and still hadn’t opened up to her versus how she was outspoken and being fun with Carl and Rick a few weeks earlier in ‘Clear.’ The second half of this is all the business with Tyreese and his group that we met way last season. They try to drag some half-baked storyline to cook up emotion with them but it all doesn’t matter in the grander scheme of things. We just don’t feel the emotion towards them, especially when the characters flip-flop emotionally (one minute they’re questioning The Governor, the second they’re saying they want to stay). It could be out of self-preservation, or it could be inability to move anything forward with this group we’ve barely had a chance to meet. But sending The Governor to hunt Andrea by ratting her out, isn’t a way to endear up to them.

But, they’re at least pulling Milton around to who The Governor is becoming, even as it was a little late in the game. It’s interesting to think of a time when they were together in the beginning of all of this mess, but for him to acknowledge that Philip is a tyrant and yet to not let Andrea kill him makes sense, because all of the events in Woodbury have been set up like a loaded gun and any pushback, especially any attack against the leader would cause a war before the war. But, to have Milton backbite and burn up the walkers makes sense because this is the perfect way to get back at Philip without killing him. It’s all about being calculating rather than upfront. The only stretch is that their isn’t any mystery to who burned up the pit because it had to be someone who mattered to The Governor, and the coy way they revealed that Milton did it was quite nice.

The scene where The Governor stalks Andrea throughout the episode, and later the abandoned building was a great exercise in suspense. As the truck prowls the land, it gives The Governor the appearance of being a shark, and he smells his blood. The scenes in the building are actually reminiscent of a great thriller from the early 90’s, “Mute Witness.” It’s almost done in complete silence with nary a word of dialogue spoken at least until the very end of the scene. The sound is what sells it though. The foley artist must have had a field day with those crackling sound effects, all shuffling feet and broken bottles. But as the scene went on, the possibility that Andrea could actually die seemed to actually become reality. Now, The Governor dying was never a possible outcome this week because he’s the main antagonist of the season even with a hallway of zombies being foisted upon him. But Andrea dying could have made sense because the character hadn’t been useful in quite a while.

More than that, there wasn’t anyway in hell she was going to make it to the prison to warn Rick and company because that would start the endgame far too fast, and that couldn’t happen just yet, so of course she was going to be kidnapped by The Governor and brought back to be held hostage. But that still didn’t make the scene where she was at the outskirts of the prison intense as she barely avoids being seen by Rick’s sniper scope in the tower. And Andrew Lincoln sells the suspicion that something strange was afoot but ignores it. The end was a little predictable because we knew that she was going to be held in that chair reserved for Michonne. Because as useless as a character as Andrea HAS become, she still wouldn’t die offscreen.

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