As always: major spoilers ahead.
“You’re slipping, Rick. We’ve all seen it” growls Hershel at the start of episode 12. And he’s damn right, too – our hero’s mind is torn and he’s losing respect all round. Carl offers some guidance about relaxing for a while but whilst this is a caring thought from a loving son, it’s by no means realistic with the Governor’s malicious “knock” on their door.
Episode 11 is less action packed than the previous and analyses the opposing groups as they plan out tactics for war. This is mostly an Andrea-focused episode as she becomes the middle-man (gender-specifications gone to hell there) between the two camps. Andrea has gradually turned into an iconic female-figure of the series but her worrisome tidings between either the Governor, Milton or Rick et al does make her somewhat dull.
The Governor’s ultimatum to Andrea that if she goes to the prison, “stay there”, couldn’t be more desirable if a fan-boy started writing episodes. Andrea needs to be back with her original group so it’s unfortunate that as she quickly settles back in after travelling over, she decides to head back to Woodbury by the end of the episode. More disappointing is the Governor’s pull on her that a tried assassination fails – her plan to stab him in his sleep would end all the conflict (though, it would also leave The Walking Dead with little going on) and break his spell on her. Alas, the Governor lives for another day and another episode, surviving to add some more drama.
Adding tension in the prison is the inclusion of Merle. As Glenn understandably wants him out, Rick and Hershel see him as either useful or just simply tied to Daryl. Hershel is one to pacify the situation by talking to Merle one on one. In this scene we learn a little more about Merle, mainly his learned library lessons. Momentarily, we see him as a neutral sort in amongst the crowd, offering his services to better the situation for his brother (and maybe the others if he’s found a new respect for them).
As Rick’s group has a crisis of opinions, the Governor’s army is building. The Tyreese-led group has left after Rick’s outburst and have found the company of Milton and Andrea. The former takes them back to Woodbury and they exchange words of hate for the violent Rick. It’s now a big band of aggressors versus our little troop of heroes.