"The Walking Dead" is a very good at starting an episode off very slowly and making it seem like almost nothing is going on before suddenly breaking into all out action. This week's episode, "Home" was no exception to the rule, with about 80% of the episode consisting of dialogue with an awesome Daryl zombie killing marathon in the middle and a fantastic action filled ending.
Let's get down to the talking and dialogue bit first. The episode began with Rick once again seeing Lori (and this time we got a full view of her face!) and immediately leaving the prison to follow her ghost outside of the gates, where he spent most of the episode putting the group in danger and not being a leader in any capacity. It's cool that Rick wants to be the only leader of the group and is insanely picky about who gets to join it, but he doesn't act like the leader, and actually it was good to see Glenn step up and try to be the leader.
Glenn was really the only member of the group to see a problem with the fact that there is a giant hole in the back of the prison that both walkers and people can enter, and it was nice to see him actually go and try to do something about it. Glenn however is also still upset over what happened at Woodbury, and seems to desire nothing more than revenge against the Governor. Glenn was finally told by Maggie that she was not raped, but the tension between Maggie and Glenn is still there and it's clear that their relationship has suffered deeply.
Speaking of Woodbury, not too much occurred there this week. Milton was asked by the Governor to spy on Andrea, and the Governor blatently lied to Andrea and told her that she should be the leader, saying that no one else was capable of doing so, and on a side, why does Martinez keep getting mentioned? He seems like such an irrelevant side character and it almost makes it seem like in a desperate attempt to fill the gap left by Merle in Woodbury the Governor just chose some random dude.
Andrea quickly finds that the Governor and the aformentioned Martinez have left Woodbury, and it becomes obvious that no one wants to tell her anything and that they don't trust her. It's not really surprising that they don't trust her, considering that she had sympathy for Daryl even though he attacked the town and that she was once part of the prison group.
Michonne tells Glenn about the Governor back at the prison and the two prepare for a raid on Woodbury, but are stopped by wise old man Hershal (who seems to look more like Santa Claus every episode, by the way) and told not to go. Glenn then insists that he is going to check on the outside wall, alone, and Hershal clearly doesn't like this but really isn't in any position to stop him.
Hershal has a conversation with Rick, and Rick confesses that although he realizes that the ghost of Lori isn't real, it's still trying to tell him something. Rick is clearly a broken man, but once again it's nice to see Hershal serve as the moral compass of the group.
Meanwhile, Daryl and Merle travel the woods where they come across a group of survivors being attacked by walkers. Daryl decides to help them and takes out a bunch of walkers, and in his best kill on the show yet, closes the trunk of a station wagon onto one's head. Merle refuses to help and then desires a reward for what they have done, at which point Daryl draws his crossbow on him, and the two let the other survivors go. It's become clear that Daryl has grown the most out of any character on this show, and it's nice to see that Merle really hasn't changed him.
Merle and Daryl get into a fight at which point Merle sees the scars on Daryl's back from his father's whippings. Merle reveals that he was unaware of that occurence, and seems to feel bad. Daryl leaves to head back to the prison, and Merle joins him, realizing that he has no where else to go.
Axel, the last surviving prisoner, finally got characterized this week, and surprise, he also got killed. Seriously, Walking Dead, you have to characterize characters a few episodes before you kill them. This led to an all out shoot out between the Governor's forces and Rick's group, and then the Governor let a truck full of walkers into the prison yard. Things didn't look good for the group until Glenn showed back up to rescue Hershal and Michonne (although Michonne was doing pretty well against the walkers, and honestly there can never be enough samurai sword walker killing), and Daryl and Merle rescued Rick from certain death. The Governor quickly retreated, and most of the prison group made it back inside, with Rick, Daryl, and Merle still outside the gate.
This week's episode may have been slow at the beginning, but the end more than made up for it. It's great to see Daryl back at the prison even if he wasn't gone for long, and the end of the episode put the pieces into place for a fantastic episode next week. All and all, The Walking Dead is showing no signs of slowing down, and the second half of season three should be just as good as the first half.