Well, that didn't take long. Andrea and the Governor have barely gotten to know each other and they're already finding time for a little nookie. Yes, tonight they engaged in some hot, steamy sex.
Apparently, all of the Gov's passionate talk of life, liberty and the pursuit of walker-free happiness held a seductive sway over Andrea. As for the brutal, bloody action at the Woodbury octagon? It didn't repulse her as much as she initially indicated. In fact, it was kind of a turn-on.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Season 3's sixth episode, "Hounded," was notable for things other than the Woodbury Quickie. In fact, it featured crucial action on several fronts, including the prison, where we follow up on Rick's mysterious phone call and learn the fate of Carol; and in the woods, where Merle gets a first-hand lesson in just how tough and lethal Michonne can be; and in town, where Merle has a violent reunion with two members of our survivor party.
First, let's head to the woods: Merle is leading three other men on a hunting expedition for Michonne, when they make a grisly discovery. The severed limbs -- and the trunk -- of zombies have been placed on the ground to spell out "Go Back." Merle, of course, knows he's looking at the handiwork of Michonne.
"It's a biter-gram!" he says, trying to inject some levity into this scary trek.
Of course, they're not going back. After all, they're four mighty manly men with guns. And she's just one little chick with a sword. What's there to be afraid of?
Big mistake. Faster than you can say "Merle's a red neck idiot," Michonne swoops out from the trees to swiftly behead one of the men and fatally stab another. But a Merle does manage to get a shot off and Michonne is forced to scamper away with a bullet in her leg.
"Are we having fun yet?" a ticked-off Merle shouts.
Meanwhile, back at the prison, Rick, still in a stupefied state, is talking on the phone. It turns out that a woman is on the other end, speaking of how she and others have found refuge in a safe place "away from them." Rick pleads with her to reveal the locale and to take in his beleaguered band of survivors in. But she's hesitant. "I'll call you back in two hours," she says, and hangs up. Rick is sorely disappointed.
When the phone does ring later, a man is on the other end and he's asking some uncomfortable questions. Are you dangerous? Have you killed anyone? How'd you lose your wife?
The last one, of course, is a stunner.
"How do you know I had a wife?" Rick replies, before saying, "I don't want to talk about that."
Cut to: Woodbury, where Andrea has been given permission by the Governor to work the wall with another woman. But her first -- and last -- day on the job doesn't go well. Andrea's trainer is an Olympic-caliber archer whose dad taught her how to shoot. And when a walker approaches the wall, she expertly plants two arrows in him.
But the walker stubbornly refuses to go down, so Andrea jumps off the wall, pulls a knife and embeds it in the walker's eye. A look of orgasmic satisfaction comes over Andrea's face.
"That's how you do it!" she exclaims.
But her trainer is livid. Woodbury rules state that you NEVER go over the wall. "This isn't a game!" she snarls.
Meanwhile, back in the forest, it's Round 2 of Michonne vs. the guys. Michonne first sticks Merle's partner and then engages in hand-to-hand combat with Merle, But the fight is interrupted when a clot of walkers emerges. Michonne again scrambles away.
By now, Merle has had enough. He realizes that this super-warrior woman is more than he can handle. So he hatches a plan: They'll return to Woodbury and tell the Governor that they killed her. She's as good as dead anyway, he reasons, because she's headed toward the red zone.
But in a startling character change that makes no sense to Merle (or us), the man refuses to back down. Only moments earlier, this guy (named Garjulio, or something like that), was practically peeing his pants during the hunt and Merle had to order him to man up. Now, suddenly, Garjulio (Merle calls him Neil), after seeing two of his friends taken out by the female killing machine, wants to go after her?
Merle will have none of it, so he does the only thing left to do: Shoot him in the head.
Merle then continues on alone and his path eventually leads him into the abandoned town, where -- wouldn't you know it? -- he happens to come upon Maggie and Glenn, who are on a run for provisions. This of course, is not the happiest of reunions. Merle asks if his brother Daryl is still alive. They tell him yes and Merle demands that they take him to him.
Not wanting to reveal their locale, Glenn makes a counter-offer.
"No, we'll bring him here."
Of course, this angers Merle, who takes Maggie hostage and forces her into a car.
Meanwhile, back in Woodbury, there is love in the air. Andrea, after being briefly chastised for her actions on the wall, has admitted to the Governor that she actually liked the town fights. Oh, kinky. The governor pops open some whiskey and begins to talk about the good things in life. It's like cat nip to Andrea, who has experienced too many of life's horrors. They lock lips and eventually wind up in bed ... only to have their time together cut short by a knock on the door.
Our blade-fisted red neck lies through his teeth, telling the Gov that he managed to kill Michonne, but the other three guys in the hunting party met their doom. The Governor, like the wicked queen in "Snow White," wants a trophy for proof.
Did you get a head ... or her sword? he wonders.
No, Merle replies. They were caught in a walker attack and he had to flee. But "I've got something else for you," alluding to Maggie.
Back at the prison, Rick has gotten another phone call. This time, it's a woman again. "How do you know me," he asks ... and then slowly, gradually, we realize that the voice on the other end belongs to ... LORI!
Rick is in anguish mode now -- the kind of scene that actor Andrew Lincoln absolutely excels with. He's tearing up. Filled with remorse and regret. (And, of course, hallucinating).
"I loved you," he says, his voice cracking ... "I couldn't put it back together" ... "I should have said it." ...
The voice on the other end is reassuring. He has a son and a new baby to take care of. He must move on. This is the closure Rick needs. Apparently ready to take back his role as noble leader, he hangs up the phone, returns to his group of survivors and, yes, holds his baby for the very first time.
That alone would have provided a satisfactory ending to the episode, but we've got two more twists: While Rick had been in the boiler room playing phone tag, Daryl has been roaming the prison in an attempt to clear it of walkers. He came upon a fallen walker with a knife planted in his neck and immediately recognized it as belonging to Carol. After a little exploring, he finds our AWOL survivor holed up in a little room ... still ALIVE.
The episode then winds down with a scene that has Rick strolling out into the prison yard, where he sees a woman, surrounded by a small group of walkers, poised at the fence.
It's Michonne. ... (Fade to credits)
So there you have it. Episode 6 -- various factions coming together as we figured it would. What did you think of "Hounded," and where do you think we're headed from here?