The Walking Dead "Hounded" Review: Collect Call from Crazy Town

By Tim Surette

Nov 19, 2012

The Walking Dead S03E06: "Hounded"

While I can say with much conviction that last night's episode of The Walking Dead wasn't my favorite episode of the season so far, I'm having an impossible time figuring out where to place it. "Hounded" was 99-percent set-up, putting people back in their places (Rick) and moving pieces around the board (Glenn, Maggie, Michonne) as we prepare for the inevitable showdown between Team Prison and The Governor's hoity-toity summer camp of love.

I'm not sure what "Hounded" was about, per se, but the most important thing it accomplished was ending Rick's bad day. Despite what the foundation of NBC's Go On would say, on a series like The Walking Dead, Dead Wife Grief Hysteria should last a maximum of two episodes, and Rick came out of this episode cradling his newborn baby (I'm going to name her Shania, if that's cool with you) and at peace with the horrible events of "Killer Within." The Andrew Lincoln crazy eyes are gone, replaced with those of a proud papa, and this is a great thing. There's enough craziness in the world of The Walking Dead that we don't need to see Rick crying in the corner by his lonesome. The show is stronger when Rick's at the front leading the charge, and while this two-episode detour of lunacy was necessary for continuity (his wife died, after all) I didn't want to see another hour's worth of sulking. Lori's death will sting for a while, but hopefully it can be used to motivate Rick into moving forward.

But the best method of fixing Rick is up for discussion. I'm going to lay it all out and state something y'all might not agree with: I can't stand hallucinations on television. Or dream sequences. Or hallucinogenic-induced vision quests (unless they involve Homer Simpson). All those things are especially tricky to pull off when they're played off as trickery intended to dupe its audience into thinking what they're seeing is real. The problem is that revealing hallucinations to be hallucinations, especially after we've become invested in thinking they're real, is incredibly anti-climactic, and that's exactly what happened in "Hounded." The ringing phone was such a huge moment in "Say the Word," but now if we ever go rewatch that episode we'll groan and grumble about the fakeout because it amounted to an empty cliffhanger. However, Rick does love to monologue into inanimate speaking devices, so talking with dead characters at peace in Heaven does fit well into the series' canon. Also: With those dead people telling Rick that essentially he would be joining them in the afterlife soon, were they calling from the finale of Lost? Hey Lori, put Sawyer on the phone!

What Rick (and The Walking Dead's writers) need to do is give Carl a little more attention. When Carl left the room after shooting Lori, it was such a powerful glimpse of innocence utterly destroyed that I was sure it would dominate later episodes. But since that traumatic event, the emphasis has been on Rick. Daryl's story about his own mom is the only therapy Carl has received, and Carl's response was a dry, "I shot my mom." There's so much drama to play with here, and so many ways to handle it. I like that Carl being unaffected is an example of what it's like to grow up in this world, but that's something the show has mostly glazed over. I'd like to see Carl talk about what he did and absolutely lose it. Let's see Chandler Riggs show off some acting chops and break out the water works or stare blankly into the face of his shattered childhood. At the very least, let's see something. Rick's biggest concern right now shouldn't be Lori's loss, it should be the potential loss of the son he once knew. The son who shot his mother in the face!

Thank goodness Merle Dixon got a lot of action in the episode, because he's as real as it gets. Michael Rooker is cementing himself as one of genre TV's all-time best nutjobs, and his unpredictability is keeping things fun. His methods might be questionable (chasing a katana-wielding maniac in a forest full of biters and attacking two people with guns trained on his head weren't exactly smart moves) but that's just how Merle rolls, and as long as the writers keep him consistent we should all just eat some popcorn and let him go as crazy as he wants.

Taking Glenn and Maggie hostage and bringing them to Woodbury catapulted the story into the next gear, but for all of Merle's entertaining theatrics (tattlers stay in the woods, Neil!), we were left with the feeling that not much else happened. Ditto goes for Andrea and The Governor, who spent the hour yapping and flirting their way into bed. It's not easy seeing Andrea engage in adult wrestling with the man we know keeps heads in tanks because a) Andrea is fine and we want to hit that for ourselves and b) it just seems so, I dunno, irresponsible and dumb? But again, this is Andrea. The woman can't wait to move her panties to the side in the presence of powerful and mysterious assholes, and we all know this can only end badly.

Huge, important things happened in "Hounded," but they happened in largely unexciting ways. We may be seeing the strains of The Walking Dead's expandsion to a 16-episode season as things move forward at a slower pace. But at least things are in place and the forecast calls for a shitstorm.



NOTES

– I imagine Rick seeing Michonne just walking around among zombies falls somewhere between seeing Bigfoot and a unicorn. Rick's mind = blown. And how badass was it that she delivered the baby formula? Eat it, Pink Dot!

– How did Neil go from being a pants-peeing scaredy cat to WE MUST HUNT HER DOWN IN THE WOODS so fast? I can't say that I'll miss him.

– Sooo... Carol was just hanging out in a room this whole time? Hopefully there will be more to the story than just, "I was hiding from zombies." Good to have her back, though!

– With Michonne now at the prison, does that mean we definitely won't get that horrific scene from the comic book?

– Will someone give Beth something to do please?

– Maggie, don't say "It's a great day." That's a jinx, don't you know that by now?

– Think of all the fun bitergrams you can send to your friends by following Michonne's "Go Back" lead: Lend me a hand, break a leg, use your head, etc. What fun!

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  • ionee24 Nov 23, 2012

    It was a smart move: when in doubt, used the zombiegram!

  • TrueTvWatcher Nov 22, 2012

    Great episode and loved Michonne's Bite-o-gram!

  • Marburg66 Nov 22, 2012

    Yeah, that was gruesomely cool & for me was a great moment of rare comic relief.
    Well, I laughed my ass off at least. Comedy is where ever you find it I s'pose ::shrug::

  • PedroCoelho1 Nov 22, 2012

    In the end of the last episode I was going crazy about the phone call but when I heard the second call the jig was up. The "something" Beth will be "doing" is gonna be Carl. In the past episodes Beth and Carl shared a fair number of smiley looks, to me that smells like future romance.

  • Grazzy Nov 22, 2012

    I laughed out loud when I saw that Michonne was carrying the pink basket! I like the way The Walking Dead has these little jokes from time to time - like when Daryl said he understood those guys in prison because he grew up with that kind - but would leave them on the road just the same.

  • Michonnespet Nov 22, 2012

    Saywer would actually wonder off and get turned. Who do u think would fit best.....from LOST?

  • Shikady Nov 21, 2012

    Question for those who read the grafic nobel... Do you still enjoy the show knowing what's going to happen?
    I liked this episode a lot. Michone is so badass...she's now one of my favorite characters. Andrea should get a bullet in the brain...she's hot I'll give you that but so damn annoying. I bought the call for a couple of scenes...It was really hard to believe but with help of a little something called suspension of desbelief had me til Hershel picked up the phone. Sure, y'all ready knew it was an hallucination...so there's no fun in that. I do think it was rushed in some parts...Like the transition from this dude that got killed by Merle...way to damn fast as you point out. Also Daryl waiting outside that room to find this chick named....IDONTREMEMBERHERNAMERIGHTNOWSHESKINDAANNOYINGANDDIDNOTHINGBUTCOMPLAININTHEENTIRESHOWANDWHENSHECOULDHAVEBEENHELPFULDELIVERINGTHEBABYGOTLOST was kinda out of the blue.

    The crew is getting smaller every episode -.- I guess next season will get a couple of new additions...

  • Marburg66 Nov 22, 2012

    My answer to your question is yes, I read the series and enjoy the show even though I know what's going to happen. It's no different than watching some other show or movie that's based on any given novel I've read. Where it IS fundamentally different is the style of enjoyment that comes out of it. When I watch the show, my enjoyment doesn't come from wondering "OMG! What's going to happen next!?" It comes from seeing how they handle the adaptation of the story & characters onto the screen. (...but there are enough differences 'tween the two that I DO occasionally have some OMG moments anyway.)
    The old saying "The book is better than the movie." applies here, but that doesn't diminish the show's coolness, it's just a different type of cool.
    I remember during the 1st season hoping to myself that the show survives long enough to get to the prison & the Gov...& now that it's playing out already, I'm lovin' it hardcore geek-style.
    Funny thing too: As cool as the show is now, it's nowhere near as cool as it's going to get later in the future...but it ain't about having a map & knowing the destination anyway. It's all about the roadtrip itself, y'know?

  • Shikady Nov 22, 2012

    I for once I don't think I ever view a movie about a book I read...The only exception that I can think of is The Lord of The Rings. I did read Harry Potter for example...didn't even finish to watch the first movie. It's just so damn annoying knowing how it will end. I'm a spoiler free guy, I hate spoilers, I commit to watching a tv show or reading the comic/manga/book, almost never both and if I do I watch the movie first and then I read the book.

    IDK...

  • CiaraOHagan Nov 22, 2012

    I really enjoy watching the show even though I read the comics but the only issue is when there are great characters who've been reduced to pitiful impersonations of themselves. I thought Lori was bad but Andrea is a stupid bitch and I hate her.

  • ionee24 Nov 21, 2012

    Phone calls have been used since The Ring in 2000. Rick simply used it to resolve things with the dead instead of getting killed by his inner demons

  • GirishStewart Nov 21, 2012

    Seems like many shows are on a hallucination binge right now. This episode was awesome, except for everything concerning the Governor and Andrea. And that weird kid with Merle. Michonne's sword techniques make me laugh. Jumping from a tree and beheading the guy was hilarious. I'm sure it wasn't meant to be perceived like that. But the 'GO BACK' was brilliant!

    Please don't substitute Maggie for what happened to Michonne in the comic!! I'd be so angry!

  • 24treehills Nov 21, 2012

    Hallucination was uneffective for the viewers but effective por Rick in order to come back to life , I am just hoping they don't use this resource again anytime soon . Michonne and Merle were the highlights of this episode .

  • bluemorphotat Nov 20, 2012

    'Tis a good thing that Andrew Lincoln's Hugh Collinson character got killed in the first series of Strike Back because I think this is one the best roles he's ever had! And in a horror tv series go figure!
    Yes, this felt like a chess game... pawns died right & left LOL!
    Now, how about that phone therapy!!! And I spent a fortune with a shrink!!!!

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