Even though last night’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Say the Word,” was a bit of a scattered mess, it was still a pretty damn good time. There were multiple scenes of massive zombie slaughter, Daryl proving once again he’s the best character on the show (why wouldn’t you name a baby girl Little Ass Kicker?), and it sets the stage for the impending conflict between the survivors in the prison and folks of Woodbury.
Take a peek at next week’s episode, “Hounded.”
Rick (Andrew Lincoln) has had a pretty rough go of it the last couple of episodes, and his mental state is fragile at best. His wife, who he never really seemed to like that much, just died while giving birth to a child that probably isn’t his. His young son then had to shoot her in the head to prevent her from coming back as a zombie. That’s a lot for any husband and father to take in.
In this clip he takes a short break from killing every single zombie he can, in order to check in with the group. They’re worried about him, as you can tell by the kid gloves they treat him with, but he doesn’t have time for their concern. He just pops in, pats his son on the head—you know, hey kid, sorry your mom is dead, I’ll be going now—and gets back to business.
Spoilers follow for those of you who haven’t read Robert Kirkman’s comics.
Rick’s fragile mental state will become readily apparent the more you see him talking on the phone that rings at the end of “Say the Word.” It turns out that the phone is disconnected, and the voice on the other end of the line just so happens to be Lori…you know, his dead wife. That doesn’t bode well for anyone.
This move comes much earlier in the story arc than in the comics. In the source material, everything is over and done at the prison. Rick and Carl are alone, many of their friends are dead, and Rick is missing a hand. That’s when he really loses his shit. We’ll see if Rick actually copes with his loss or continues to push his emotions down until they manifest in violence.
After what you witness in Woodbury, and the escalating tensions in the prison, the stage is being set for an inevitable, brutal clash between the two groups of survivors.