See last week's debrief here.
See memes for this episode here.
WARNING: EPISODE 3x06 SPOILERS AHEAD!
* Some have expressed controversy regarding Michonne, even going so far as to call her a "ninja", and while her sudden arrival amidst Merle's search party was a bit of a stretch in terms of believability, it was still good fun. I can't imagine this scene will further endear those struggling to accept her character though.
Click "READ MORE" below to continue with the debrief...
* Merle's mean streak - interesting to see that, while relatively a bit cuddlier in earlier episodes, there is a darker side to Merle (perhaps we'll see more of that next week too). He isn't above murder to suit his own means, nor lying to his boss. While Daryl has thrived when out from beneath Merle's shadow, he has always maintained a line in the sand - indeed he's become more human as time has passed - so it's interesting to see the flip side represented in Merle.
* The phone - it was good that this wasn't played out too long. Wisely they kept it to a mere episode-and-a-bit, but it was a nice touch to have Hershel also hear that the phone had a tone to it, which temporarily gave credence to the possibility that we might see a departure from the comic version of the phone subplot. Probably better too that they didn't overplay the 'insane Rick' card as that could have worn thin if left to dangle too long. It was also good to see Rick go through a range of emotions - his own path of accepting Lori's death - from utterly desperate to escape the prison, to realisation and acceptance of his failings.
* Andrea's blood lust - interesting to see that Andrea isn't so squeaky clean. To be fair, she doesn't know that The Governor has a bunch of severed heads in fish tanks, nor his zombified daughter, locked up in his safe room, and hypnotised by the possibilities of the good side of Woodbury, it's entirely justifiable that she would gradually move closer to The Governor - a man who is practiced at patient poisoning of hearts, minds, and souls. Andrea was eager to learn how to shoot, and her innate skill with a firearm was found relatively late in season two - might we see her blood lust being nurtured, rather than utilised for survival?
* The new girl - she's no Daryl Dixon with a crossbow, but will she eventually become a main cast member? I'd be up for that happening ... as long as it wasn't at the expense of a longer-serving cast member. We've already stacked up considerable losses.
* One of the best things about Daryl Dixon is that we get mere snippets of his back story at rare occasions, but they're so well drawn. Efficient snifters of information to gradually shade in the details - and, again, a chance for the human characters to cope with death. It's important to not let these characters become flippant about the losses of those closest to them.
* "You know, end of the day, relaxing" - Oscar got perhaps the best line of the episode. That moment really made me chuckle. That said, Merle struggling to say the name of one of his men and just settling on "Neil" instead was a decided smirk-inducing exchange.
* There was an interesting sense of hope to the climax of this episode too, despite the prospect of horrible things to come - Rick's moment with his new-born daughter, and Daryl finding an exhausted Carol (good that they didn't drag out the "where's Carol?" plot line too).
BEST GORE MOMENT:
Walker guts waterfall - in a sticky spot, Michonne slicing open the gut of a walker was gleefully icky. Likewise, Michonne's "GO BACK" message - crafted from body parts - was rather inventive.
BEST TWIST ON THE COMICS:
It looks like we'll be seeing a subtle but potentially powerfully dramatic twist in the next episode - Glenn and Maggie have been captured by Merle and are being interrogated. In the comics it was Glenn and Michonne - this is an interesting tweak, particularly because this will get personal for Glenn. How exactly they'll handle what's to come will be fascinating - things got pretty damn dark in the comics around about this point.
Michonne, clad in zombie guts, arriving at the prison is seemingly all a part of tying these two disparate story lines together in a sort of 'character exchange'. The 'zombie smell' element used in 1x02 "Guts" is back - which might be a bit controversial for some viewers - but it does prove to be a memorable image, not least for Rick's viewpoint as his first introduction to this stranger carrying a shopping basket.