'The Walking Dead' recap: Sometimes the zombies aren't the most dangerous part of a zombie apocalypse

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"The Walking Dead" -- "Made to Suffer"

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) in "The Walking Dead" episode, "Made to Suffer."

SPOILER ALERT: The recap for the "Made to Suffer" episode of "The Walking Dead" contains storyline and character spoilers.

"All this time, running from walkers, you forget what people do," Maggie told Glenn, which turned out to be a preview of all the shocking violence that was about to go down in the third midseason finale.

[Related: We talk to Steven Yeun about what's next for his 'Walking Dead' character Glenn]

First, the good news, which, in typical zombie apocalypse drama fashion, will be brief. We met "Walking Dead" comic book favorite Tyreese ("The Wire" star Chad Coleman), as he and his own group of survivors fought their way through a walker-stuffed wooded area and found what they thought was a safe haven at the prison.

They also had to almost immediately put down one of their own, who'd been bitten, and, after some assistance from Carl, were locked into their own section of the prison (Carl again, protecting the interests of his people). We can be certain Tyreese and company will be major players when Season 3 resumes in February.

Now, on to the players we know, love, hate, love to hate and hate to love, who were inflicting far more damage on each other than any human-hungry walker could.

The showdowns:

  • Maggie and Glenn vs. Merle and Woodbury citizen Warren: After reassurance from his beloved that the Governor didn't carry through on his threat to rape her, Glenn ripped the arm off the zombie he killed last week and broke it apart to fashion weapons for him and Maggie. They went on the attack against Merle and Warren and managed to off Warren before getting overtaken by Merle and assorted other minions. That's where Rick and the gang came in…
  • Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and Oscar vs. Woodbury: The prison gang arrived just in time to toss some smoke bombs and whisk Maggie and Glenn out of Merle's clutches, but that led to a chase through town, with the prison crew shooting at the Governor's men, while the Governor tried to keep Andrea from reuniting with her friends. But the Governor did end up in a battle of his own with Michonne…
  • Michonne vs. the Governor: Michonne broke off from the battle on the streets of Woodbury and sneaked into the Governor's house. It was perfection to have her, one of the most unflappable survivors, find his wall of floating heads, because the look on her face was wide-eyed shock, and, again, if Michonne is shocked, then there is something really shocking afoot. Then, she opened that closet door in the Governor's lair and found Penny, his zombified offspring. The Governor arrived and tearfully begged Michonne to spare his little girl, even dropping his weapons to entice her to let Penny go. Michonne, of course, rammed her katana right through Daddy's little girl's mouth (from the back of her skull), which sparked what will certainly remain one of the series' most memorable fights. The Governor and Michonne threw each other around the room, choking and pummeling one another until Michonne grabbed a shard from one of the broken fish tanks and jammed it into the Governor's eye. He would have been dead if he had not been saved by…
  • Andrea (vs. Michonne): Andrea walked into the basement with her gun drawn and pointed it at her friend, the friend who had kept her alive for months after she was separated from Rick and the others. Andrea and her gun stood against Michonne and her sword, and as Andrea looked around the room at the snapping zombie heads and broken fish tanks, Michonne fled and the Governor cried and scooped up dead Penny in his arms. And on the streets of Woodbury…
  • Rick vs. Woodbury: Daryl was separated from his friends as Rick engaged in a shootout while Maggie, Glenn, and Oscar tried to flee outside of Woodbury's fences. But in a momentary hallucination, Rick thought he saw Shane (who curiously was rocking a Wolverine-esque haircut and facial fur) coming at him, and his loss of focus lasted long enough for Oscar to take a bullet. Poor Oscar … first time the dude had a chance to leave the prison, and he takes a bullet. R.I.P. Oscar.
  • Woodbury vs. the Dixon brothers: Another iconic image straight from the graphic novel series flashes onscreen when the Governor, full of fury and itching to get on with his vengeance, turns around in the infirmary and bares his bandaged eye. His look says someone is going to pay for his eye, his dead daughter, and the fact that his tightly controlled world has spun out of control, and he wastes little time revealing who that will be when he gathers the townfolk in the arena. The town has been infiltrated he says, and he can no longer promise to keep his people safe. Worse, he announced, one of their own is to blame … Merle! Merle Dixon has turned on them, the Governor claims, and his proof is dragged into the middle of the arena: a hooded Daryl, Merle's brother!

Merle's shocked to see Daryl, Daryl's shocked to see Merle, and Andrea is shocked to see the Dixon brothers standing in front of a crowd chanting for the Dixon brothers' deaths.

[Related: 5 things you didn't know about 'Walking Dead's' Norman Reedus]

All of which leads us to lament that we're made to suffer the wait until new episodes premiere on Feb. 10, 2013.

There is one moment of levity in the midseason finale that will help us bridge these lonely, "Walking Dead"-less Sunday nights for the next few months, though:

  • Carol vs. Axel's libido: Axel was putting his best -- by which we mean creepy -- moves on Beth, when Carol took him aside and threw salt on his game. Axel pointed out he was merely trying to get his groove on after being locked away for so long, and Beth was his only option since Maggie is with Glenn and Carol is a lesbian. You know, because of her short hair. An amused Carol pointed out that 1) she isn't a lesbian, but 2) in response to Axel's sudden interest in her, she may as well be one as far as he goes.

But what did our fellow "Dead"-heads on Twitter think about "Made to Suffer"?

We met Oscar, and T-Dog died shortly thereafter. We met Tyreese in "Made to Suffer," and Oscar died in the same episode. @jayroberts33 may have had a point when he tweeted:

We concur completely with @KyleRobinson127, who tweeted:

And our favorite "Walking Dead" tweet of the season so far comes from @gracelancy:

Watch a preview of what's to come when Season 3 of "The Walking Dead" resumes in February: