I can understand Scott's ambivalence about Michonne, who is more of a comic-book character than anyone we've seen so far. But I would only point out that we're watching a live-action comic book. And I have to note that Scott must have a high tolerance for the crazy in remarking that "it feels like Michonne dropped in from a looser, crazier than the one we've been watching." Dude, this is a show about the zombie apocalypse, caused by a disease that reanimates the dead and turns them into cannibals. This is not Mork and Mindy. (I know, I'm dating myself.) I think Scott makes a good point, though: Rick's overly precious effort to stay human, even when it means repeatedly risking the lives of his loved ones, seems less annoying to me when I'm reminded of exactly what survivors of a zombie apocalypse would most likely have to become to stay alive.
John, your point about the decision by the group not to turn Hershel's farm into a survivalist compound (or non-decision--it doesn't even seem to have come up) is an excellent one. Over and over again I've asked myself such questions as: Why aren't they all skinny as sticks? Where do they get the batteries to power their flashlights? How did they find clean water over seven months of running? I think these questions attest to the fact that the show is realistic enough (within its insane framework, obviously) that holes in its logic are worth questioning. And yes to silencers! Or anything! By the way, I think the reason we're so focused on the practical aspects of survival in a post-apocalyptic environment is that we work in journalism, so we already know all about living through the apocalypse.
Now to the killing. I think this episode advances a disturbing idea that I haven't yet seen (though maybe I just missed something). In the group's initial foray into the prison, they seem, for the first time, to be enjoying the killing. This struck me as a realistic response to their work, and also, for some reason, incredibly disturbing. Maybe it's just the beginning of a crucial pivot. Which is to say, the survivors, in order to survive over the long-term, can't simply play defense. Eventually, they're going to have to eradicate the zombies if they're to re-create civilization in some sort of meaningful way.
Anyway, like I said, too much to discuss. One last question: The show is getting way more disgusting, no? Or do I not remember Season 2 very well?
As far as grossness goes, I don't know, Jeff; it'll be tough to top that bloated zombie in the well from last season. But it's pretty impressive that Greg Nicotero keeps finding ways to take his insanely good makeup and effects work to the next level.
You guys were far more forgiving of The Walking Dead's pacing problems last season than I was. To be clear: I complain because I love. I spent most of last year annoyed that The Walking Dead was a good show that should really be a great one, because its narrative and pacing problems were so easily fixable. As I reviewed the second season week-to-week, I felt kind of like a parent with a smart kid who was getting C's. Come on, Walking Dead, you could accomplish so much if you would just apply yourself!