Poor Rick. After last week's outburst against Tyrese's group, he's left on a one-way journey to crazy town. Now he can't stop seeing visions of Lori, graceful and elegant in a virginal white dress, as she pops up in various locations around the prison.
The Governor's assault on the complex is almost a blessing in disguise. Obviously that attack isn't good for the group, with the inspired Trojan horse of zombies unleashing the undead across the prison grounds, but the action injected some much-needed energy into a fairly flat episode and will hopefully awaken Rick to the dangers the group face.
Glen steps up
At first Rick is in no condition to lead, chasing the ghost of his dead wife and admitting to Hershel, "I know it's not really her, but it's got to mean something". In his absence, Glen has tried to take charge, though his leadership is questioned. We know he has a grudge against the Governor for what they did to him and Maggie, but his initial plans to assassinate the tyrant of Woodbury come across as naïve and irrational.
His relations with Maggie have been strained ever since the traumatic torture they endured. The unnecessary scene where Maggie makes it clear to Glen (and the viewers) that she was not raped serves no purpose other than to highlight the difficulties of trying to maintain a relationship in an inhospitable world.
The same is true for brothers Merle and Daryl. At first delighted to be reunited, things between the two soon turn sour as they realise how much time spent with their respective groups have changed them. Upon encountering a group of Mexican survivors overrun with zombies, Daryl goes against his brother's wishes and rushes in to rescue them. When Merle sees this as an opportunity to rob the group Daryl has to pull his crossbow on him and warn Merle that they are not like that any more.
Daryl's compassion seems to have beaten Merle's mercenary tendencies, as the younger brother convinces the elder to come back to the Prison. In a contrived scene of Daryl ex Merlechina, the two arrive just in time to rescue Rick from certain death at the hands of the undead hordes. It will be interesting to see if Glen and the wordless Michonne can put their grievances with Merle aside to deal with the much bigger threat of the Governor.
His reclusiveness last week appears to have only been a stopgap before he recovered his senses, as this week the Governor was up to his usual Machiavellian mischief. He soothes Andrea's concerns by saying he has no thirst for revenge, or power, and that she should lead the group by saying, "These people need you...we need you".
But behind her back he is cajoling and coercing the other townsfolk into making sure that Woodbury, with him at the helm, exacts revenge. He tells Milton to spy on Andrea, and when she wonders where the town's militant leaders are, they are evasive as to his whereabouts. Little does she know that they are off to attack her former friends.
Whilst the surprise assault certainly pits the group in danger, and highlights how vulnerable the prison is to attack, it will hopefully rally the group back into action. If Rick can come back from cuckoo land, and have Daryl and Merle as allies, they should be able to recover and form a plan against the Governor. The group must face that they are now at war, and must band together in order to protect the prison if they want to keep it their home.