The Walking Dead episode “Hounded” starts with Merle and gang walking in the woods of the South. They find bloody bodies in a pattern. They observe the pattern and the nerd in the background realizes the bodies spell “Go Back”. Merle then says that Michonne sent them a bitergram. Bitergram: the undead Instagram. I need an account stat. The decoder boy looks scared and says that he can’t believe this is happening. Merle threatens him if he continues to act scared. Merle then asks his name and he responds “Gargulio.” Redneck Merle tells Gargulio that he will just keep calling him Neil. Atta boy, Merle. They hear a noise and draw their guns. Michonne drops from the trees, chops off the head of unknown Woodbury guy # 1 and stabs Evil Glenn in the chest. Neil hides and Merle shoots at her, grazing her thigh with a bullet. She runs into the woods and Merle yells, “Are we having fun yet?” I would say that no, she probably isn’t having too much fun with a bullet in her leg. But a great opening scene!
Rick talks on the phone to an unknown woman. He asks where she is and she refuses to tell him where she is. He asks if it’s safe and she says yes. He tells her he has a family. He wants her to take him and his group in. She says that she needs to discuss it with the group. He begs her to take him in and she hangs up. It’s believable that now that Rick has a broken mind, that he thinks others will easily take him in. He has never easily taken anyone in the group in.
Carl, Beth and Hershel are eating around the table and Rick walks in, looking clean and in new clothes. He got dressed and showered awfully quickly. Hershel asks how he is and says he cleared out the boiler block. He says that he wanted to check on Carl. Again, Carl is really the only reason Rick is living. There is a little bit of our leader in this broken man. He tells the group he is going to finish the rest of the block.
In the woods, Neil gets sick from the fight and the shock. Merle literally kicks him while he is down. He tells Neil they never let their own turn and stabs Evil Glenn in the head. This is the sign of humanity we see in our group. Looking out after our own and not letting them become of one of those. But this group would turn on another in an instant, which Rick’s group would not. The Governor and Andrea walk around and she tells him that she gets why he lets people punch each other in the face. She knows its an escape, but she says it is “brutality for fun.” But she tells him that she still wants to stay and contribute. Wait, what? She wants to stay?! After all that, staying still seems like a good option? She really can’t survive out there by herself. She only cares about herself, and does not have very many morals left in her. She tells The Governor she wants to be on the wall because she’s a good shot. He asks her to use a bow and arrow and will find someone to teach her.
Rick picks up the phone and quickly hangs it up. It then rings. A man asks if Rick is who “she” talks to. He says that it is perfectly safe and that Rick could be dangerous. He asks if Rick has killed anyone and how many. Four. This is Rick’s remorse. He talks of Shane and how he lost it. He lost what he was. Rick can directly relate to this in this moment. Rick, too, has lost himself. The man asks how Rick lost his wife. Rick questions how this could be known and the man mentions Rick’s children. Rick tells him he doesn’t want to talk about that and the man hangs up the phone. Rick screams and slams the phone down.
Andrea and redneck chick sit on the wall. They talk about shooting bows and arrows. The conversation moves to killing the ones they loved because they weren’t who they once were. They see a walker and redneck chick shoots and misses twice. Andrea goes half cocked, jumps the wall and stabs him in the head. Andrea, as always, acts before she thinks. Although, she was right to kill the zombie. At least this time she knew it was one unlike when she shot Daryl. Redneck chick tells her that it’s not a game. This is true. Andrea has been very lucky at the end of the world. She thinks life is a game. One in which she only thinks of her own gain.
Rick paces and Hershel enters the boiler room. Hershel talks about being able to still feel his foot. Rick apologizes and Hershel says that Rick saved his life. He then tells Rick that Lori was sorry for everything. He tries to console Rick by telling him he was a good leader. Rick tells Hershel that someone called him on the phone. Hershel clearly is alarmed. He picks up the phone and there is no tone. He tells Rick that he will sit with him and Rick says no. Hershel crutches away. Rick is really trying to be normal again. But like Hershel’s foot, he still feels something that isn’t there. He wants to, but it doesn’t exist. I love this comparison and how subtle the writers can be.
Back in the woods, Merle and Neil run with guns drawn. Michonne cuts Neil in the chest. Michonne and Merle go head to head. The noise attracts walkers. They all get attacked. Michonne cuts one open and lets all its guts poor out onto her. I would rank it as number 2 reason why I don’t eat while I watch the show. Number one is well zombie for sure. Neil kills the walker that is on Merle and Merle kills the last of the three. When they look around, Michonne is gone. We can all be enemies when the world ends, but we can all be friends when our brains are for dinner.
Oscar and Daryl walk through the prison to kill more walkers. Carl is with them and Daryl and Carl talk about Daryl’s mother. Daryl talks about not having a bike like all the other kids. One day, there were sirens and everyone rode to see why. Daryl ran after them. The sirens were at his house. His mother had burned down the house with her cigarettes. He said it was better that way. Carl tells Daryl that he shot his mom. “I ended it. It was real.” A very poignant scene.
The Governor makes hatch marks in his notebook. Andrea comes into his apartment and he closes the book. Andrea tells him she wanted to practice by killing the walker. He tells her she isn’t on the wall anymore. She then says that she liked the fight and The Governor confirms that he knows she did. She is shocked that he knew, but he tells her that she could have left. Again he reels her in by suggesting she likes him. Of course she does. It is the only reason she has stayed. There is nothing for her in Woodbury really except for him. She hasn’t exactly made friends there. But I truly don’t believe she liked the fights. She just wants a way to stay fed and sheltered. And possibly have sex.
Merle and Neil argue about whether to go after Michonne. Merle tells Neil they are going to tell The Governor that Michonne was killed because she is pretty much dead already. This was Merle’s mistake. He shouldn’t have lied to The Governor, because he sees it as disloyalty. It really isn’t, it’s just Merle’s assumption and stupidity. Neil says that he will go after her. He refuses to lie to The Governor. Merle asks his name again and this time repeats Gargulio. Then he shoots him in the head, takes his weapon and repeats his name. Merle is not disloyal to Woodbury, but he, just like most every other character, thinks of himself as number one. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s survival instinct. But it can get you in trouble.
Michonne gets surrounded by walkers, but soon realizes they don’t notice her at all. She is covered with the stench of gut spilling walker and is not untraceable to them. Back on the phone, Rick tells a woman that he did not want to talk about Lori’s death. This woman’s voice is different than the first woman, something that Rick doesn’t immediately pick up on. And something many viewers didn’t either, I’m guessing. But then she calls him Rick. She says, “It’d be good. You should talk about it, Rick.” This is Rick’s own mind trying to break through. He knows he needs to talk about Lori’s death. We aren’t given much of a time on when all of this is happening. I would guess only a day or two. It seems soon to talk, but everything in this world happens faster. Rick realizes that she knows his name without him telling her. She hangs up and Rick looks on terrified.
Michonne finds an area with cars and hears one coming. Maggie and Glenn get out of the car and it is very reminiscent of when they went to the drug store in season 2. Doing the errands are the few moments they have just the two of them. They get out of the car, this time very armed. They kiss and stare into each others eyes. It’s very sweet. They break into the store with bold cutters. Very impressive.
Andrea and The Governor and share a drink. Andrea asks about The Governor’s old life. He says he wasn’t proud of his life. She compliments him on building Woodbury and says it is unbelievable he wasn’t proud of anything in his old life. He tells her he was proud of certain things. He asks her how long it’s been and quickly asks since the last time she had good whiskey. Innuendo anyone? He says he wants to forget the old life, even the good times because he wants to be here. It is strange. But this is the life where he is king. He can do whatever and whoever he wants. As much as he may love Penny, he likes it better this way. It is terribly disturbing. He tells her he just wants to talk to her and she responds that she feels special. They continue their conversation and at this point it doesn’t matter what they say because they stare into each other’s eyes and then ewwwwwww… they kiss. Passionately.
Glenn and Maggie get a lot of food from the store and head back to the store. Merle comes up behind them and points his gun. Now watch closely because the next scene moves pretty fast. Glenn and Maggie point their guns at Merle. Glenn confirms Daryl is alive. Merle says that if Glenn takes Merle to Daryl there will be no hard feelings. We all know this isn’t true. Glenn tells Merle that he will bring Daryl to Merle and Merle says that Glenn can trust him. Again… no. Merle is this guy who kicked the shit out of T-Dog. So go Glenn for not trusting Merle. He telle Merle to trust him. All the while Merle keeps walking towards them. Merle then shoots the back of their car, grabs Maggie and puts his gun to her head. He tell Glenn to get in the car and take them all to Merle’s camp. They are forced to leave the food and all the while Michonne watches. Now why wouldn’t she have just saved them then? Well two reasons: because she is looking out for her own well-being and also, the next two episodes wouldn’t have happened if she did.
Oscar sees slippers in a cell and gets very excited. I love that the littlest thing that would have made him happy in prison still makes him happy in prison. He says its to relax. Classic. A walker comes up and all three warriors turn and shoot at it. Daryl finds a knife in it’s neck and realizes it is Carol’s. He cleans it. The phone rings again and Rick is reluctant to answer. When he does he asks how she knew his name. Again, it is a different woman’s voice. She tells him it is because he knows them. It was Amy, Jim and Jacqui he spoke to before. The fallen. The ones he regrets. And the woman on the phone now? Lori. The one he feels the most personally responsible for. But there really is no way he was responsible for any of their deaths. Especially Lori’s death. He falls to the floor and cries, hyperventilating. She asks what happened. He tells her that he loved her. And then he says what he really regrets; that he couldn’t put their relationship back together. He wanted his family back together and keep her alive. Keep them together. What he wanted more than anything was his family. Without Shane. Without knowing that she was ever with him. Lori tells Rick that she loves him and asks if he can do this. Keep living. And then she cuts out. It is maybe one of my favorite scenes of Rick’s . It is him at his most human. Everyone wants to survive. But more than anything, everyone wants a family. Everyone wants to feel loved and important. Even before Lori’s death, Rick didn’t feel his family because of Lori’s infidelity. For him to long for it even after her death is natural and it is important that he feels all these emotions because it may be the only way he can keep on being Carl’s father.
The Governor and Andrea roll around in bed, and we see A LOT of Andrea’s legs. Merle knocks on the door and tells The Governor that the men are dead and then the lie. Michonne is dead. The Governor asks for her head and the sword. Merle says that they got caught up in a crowd of walkers. Merle then offers Maggie and Glenn as a consolation prize.
Rick comes back to the group as they are making dinner. He takes the baby from Hershel, holding her for the first time. He may not be perfect, but he’s slowly getting there. Daryl sits in the block hammering Carol’s knife into the ground. He gets up and kicks the door he thinks a walker is behind. When he is ready to kill it, he instead finds Carol. It is a strange love they have. It isn’t exactly romantic, but they love each other. He picks her up and carries her. Rick and rest walk outside and from a distance Rick notices something strange among the walkers. Something red. He goes closer and there is Michonne. Bloody and holding the basket of baby food. Among the walkers, she grabs at the gate with her dirty hand….
Written by Adrian Puryear