Another week out from the season (and possible series) high-point of Clear, The Walking Dead seems to be falling back hard into the old habits I had hoped would be long forgotten by now. Unfortunately, with Prey, we get what could be one of the most pointless, needlessly drawn-out episodes in the whole of season 3. In a strange way, however, this episode both betrays and enforces the final scenes of the last episode, and proves how flawed the storytelling of The Walking Dead really is.
In this episode we stick almost entirely with Andrea, that most loathed and pointless of all The Walking Dead’s characters. Between generally being a wet blanket and point of needless antagonism throughout the show, Andrea’s alignment with The Governor has only further served to make her at one intolerable and yet disspiritingly pitiable. She’s a blind, thick, unnecessarily obtuse character who seems to exist only to complicate situations and ideas as a means of padding out run time.
This episode attempts to humanize her a bit and strengthen her bond with Michonne (perhaps the only aspect of the series shortchanged by the time jump between season 2 and 3) by beginning with a flashback. Michonne and Andrea exchange walker-related small talk over a meager meal. Oddly enough, Andrea gets the most words, but Michonne is the only one of them who escapes with some character development, remarking that her two walker companions weren’t much human to begin with. It’s an enigmatic line, and Danai Gurira sells the long buried pain and anger behind them. Sadly, despite the fact that Michonne is now a bargaining chip between Woodbury and the prison, this is all we will see of her.
Which, honestly, makes no sense from a narrative standpoint. Last week ended with a montage which brought us to the cusp of battle, leaving Michonne hanging in the balance and leaving both sides preparing for battle. Speeches were given, threats made, and promises of the war to come were thrown around. It was unearned, but it pantomimed the beats of a penultimate moment right before a visceral climax.
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