SPOILER ALERT: This recap for the "Prey" episode of "The Walking Dead" contains storyline and character spoilers.
Be relieved, "Dead"-heads, if for only the briefest of moments … we've all been impatiently waiting for Andrea to make that final call on the Governor, the one in which she admits that he's not only crazy but that he's completely free of even the thinnest shred of sanity and must be stopped before he wipes out Rick and the entire cast of characters at the prison.
Well, she made that call in "Prey," and she was even -- again, finally -- ready and willing to do the job herself, with gun drawn and aimed right at his twisted noggin'. And then Milton stopped her. An action we fear they may both soon come to regret.
The action started with a flashback to Andrea's winter camping excursion with Michonne. The two of them were sitting around a campfire, sharing dinner and watching Michonne's "pets" -- those two armless, jawless walkers -- shackled to a tree.
Andrea asked if Michonne wanted to talk about who the pets had been, pre-apocalypse. Michonne shook her head no but told Andrea, "They deserved what they got. They weren't human to begin with," as a shot of their chains segued into a shot of another set of chains …
… held by the Governor, who appears to be testing out the strength of the pair of chains with shackles at the end of them. And whatever is running through his mind, the look on his face says he's enjoying it far too much.
From the inside of Crazytown, i.e., the Governor's head, to outside in Woodbury, where Martinez and the minions (good band name, BTW) are loading a truck with artillery. Milton wanders out and asks why -- Governor's orders, he's told -- and then goes off to find the city's leader for further explanation.
But that only serves to leave the Governor with more 'splainin' to do, as Milton walks into his little space, where he's meticulously laying out various implements, needles, pliers, scissors, dental equipment … oh, sweet Jesus, this motherfella's building a torture chamber.
Milton asks why, and the Governor explains it's "my workshop." Milton tells him he understands the Governor's feelings about Michonne but that he needs to let go of his hatred. The Governor brings up Penny, his zombified daughter killed by Michonne, and Milton tells him that's done; he has to let it go. It doesn't matter anymore.
"It's all that matters," the Gov answers, putting an end to any doubt that he can be reasoned with.
Deal or no deal
Milton finds Andrea and tells her the truth: Despite the meeting with Rick, the Governor has no intention of making peace with the prison crew. All he wants is Michonne, and he takes Andrea to a lookout spot so she can get a gander at the torture chamber, where the Governor has now added a large needle and thread and a tape recorder to his arsenal. This freak plans to tape the session so he can listen to it again and again. Whoa.
Andrea tells Milton the Governor is sick -- duh -- and that he has to be killed. She has her gun, and a pretty open shot, but Milton pulls her gun away. After they sneak out of their hiding place, she asks him why he's still protecting Woodbury's leader.
"I knew Phillip before he became the Governor," Milton says. "That man still exists."
Andrea's skeptical and asks Milton to leave Woodbury with her. He won't -- he belongs there, he says. She tells him that if he stays, he can no longer sit by and watch the Governor's reign of freakiness go unanswered.
Andrea then heads off to one of the Woodbury walls, where she has a run-in with guards Tyrese and Sasha. Martinez snagged her gun, so she's left with nothing but a small knife, which she pulls on them when they try to stop her. Just let me go, she pleads. Oh, and be careful, she warns … the Governor is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. And she's off, running down the street outside Woodbury, on her way to warn Rick and the others.
The producers and cast discuss "Prey":
Tyrese and Sasha rush to tell the Governor that Andrea ran off, and outside his meeting with them, Milton tells him to let Andrea go, that she just wants to be with her people. "Phillip" shoves him against a wall, demanding to know if he told Andrea about the deal, about Michonne. When he realizes Milton did, and that's why Andrea fled, he stomps off.
Martinez asks Tyrese, Sasha, Allen, and Ben to accompany him on an errand, and while Tyrese is beginning to have doubts about the Governor and Woodbury after Andrea's warning, he agrees to go along.
That errand? A trip to the walker pit, where Martinez has been charged with rounding up some biters for the big meeting with the prison group. Tyrese freaks out when he realizes the Governor plans to unleash the walkers on Rick and company, and he refuses to play along. That leads to a fight with Allen, who's ticked off that Tyrese once saved his wife's life (making him look ineffectual, he says), and is now also peeved at Tyrese's refusal to play along to get along. They scrap, and Allen nearly takes a tumble into the pit of hungry biters before Sasha convinces Tyrese to pull him away.
Meanwhile, Andrea's busy dodging a trio of walkers herself. She's jogging down a road when she hears a truck approaching … he's on her trail. She dives off into the woods, and as she breathes a sigh of relief, a walker attacks her from behind a tree, and two approach her head-on. In all these weeks while we’ve been frustrated with her wishy-washiness, perhaps we've forgotten just how tough a cookie she can be. Using nothing more than her pocket knife-size weapon, she takes all three out and continues on her way.
Andrea's still truckin' right along, and so is the Governor; he spots her running through a field and starts driving his truck right at her. She manages to run into the woods, and he turns the truck around. But at nightfall, she makes her way to an abandoned factory, just as he pulls up in the Governormobile.
She hears the engine and runs inside, he follows shortly after, and this begins a tense, nearly 10-minute-long segment that ends with the Governor trapped in an onslaught of walkers.
First, he tracks Andrea throughout the factory, in a game of cat-and-mouse that's punctuated for both of them by breaks to take out a walker or two. He's telling her, taunting her, actually, that her home is now in Woodbury, and that it's time for her to return home. He smashes windows inside the factory in an effort to draw her out of hiding, stops to destroy a zombie head with his shovel, and then finally corners Andrea at a door, where she has just spotted a stairwell full of zombies.
As he moves forward to, well, we're not sure to do what, because Andrea picks that moment to open the door in another direction, unleashing the stairwell full of zombies -- more than a dozen of them -- on the Governor. She watches through a broken window in the door for just a moment while he fights them off, and then she slips off in another direction.
The walkers move in on him fast and furiously, and though he's fighting them off at first, Andrea hears nothing but him screaming as she leaves the factory and continues her quest to reach the prison and rejoin her old friends.
Pan to the zombie pit, where someone is pouring gasoline all over the walkers in the pit and in the trailer nearby. That person (all we see is an arm) then sparks a fire and sets all the rounded-up biters ablaze before driving off.
And then pan to Andrea, who, at daylight, reaches the land outside the prison. She smiles as she spots Rick on alert at the watchtower. And then, as she stumbles toward the prison and begins to wave her arms and say Rick's name, he comes up behind her, covers her mouth, and throws her to the ground.
The Governor is not dead. Very, very much alive.
And he returns to Woodbury, lying to Martinez that he didn't find Andrea. Martinez tells him about the barbecued walkers, and the Governor tells him to get more. He also wants to meet with Tyrese, whom Martinez assumes is responsible for the fried biters, and his pals. The Governor meets with them, tells them he planned to use the zombies only to scare Rick and his friends, and Tyrese, still obviously suspicious of Woodbury's leader, nonetheless apologizes. He and his group want to remain in town, he says.
OK, swell, says the Governor (we're paraphrasing). But one more thing, the Governor says … where'd you get that gasoline you used to make the zombiecue (again, paraphrasing)?
"Come again?" Tyrese answers, revealing to the Governor that Tyrese and company did not set those fires.
And then the Governor meets up with Milton on the street in Woodbury.
"Is she dead?" Milton asks.
The Governor: "I hope not." (He really means that. Wait for it…)
Milton: "Are you OK?" (He may or may not really mean that. Wait for it…)
The Governor: "Never been better."
Milton: "It's a real shame about the pits." (Oh, no, he didn't!)
The Governor: "You heard about that, huh?"
Milton: "I hope you find out who did it." (The boldness!)
The Governor: "Already have."
And there's another entry on the Governor's enemies list.
Oh, and back to why the Governor sincerely does hope Andrea is not dead … it's because she's sitting in a chair, bound and gagged, the very chair, in the torture chamber, where he planned to carry out the freakiest of his many freaky plans on Michonne.
And now we all have to wait another week for the next episode, the penultimate Season 3 episode.
- Who else wondered why Andrea didn't try to take one of the abandoned cars when she jumped over the wall and fled Woodbury? Maybe the keys were in them, maybe not. Maybe the gas in them had evaporated, maybe not. But shouldn't she have at least tried one or two?
- Also, when Milton talks Andrea out of killing the Governor, saying if he dies, Martinez will just take over for him and go after Rick and company anyway … not so sure about that. Martinez is mostly definitely the Governor's minion, but the Governor's sole motivation at this point, as he told Milton, is getting revenge on Michonne. It's a very personal mission. If that is removed from the equation, isn't there every chance that Martinez and the remaining Woodbury citizenry would make peace with Rick and the prison dwellers? Especially after Martinez and Daryl kinda bonded.
- Wondering about that haunting song at the end of the episode? It's Voxhaul Broadcast's "You Are the Wilderness," and it is available on iTunes.
Now, what did our fellow "Dead"-heads on Twitter think about "Prey"?
Says actress @emmacaulfield:
And @erikalman is thinking way ahead, to the "Walking Dead" series finale:
Watch a preview from the next episode of "The Walking Dead":
"The Walking Dead" airs Sundays at 9 PM on AMC.