The Walking Dead: Arrow on the Doorpost

Andrea: “Let’s end this. Save the bullets for the real threat.”

Another developmental episode but I didn’t mind. Someone was asking why we like this show and this episode reminded me. This type of show encourages us to reflect on who we are and who we might become if the world went to hell.

We all like to think that we would be good and noble and hang on to our humanity, but the reality is that we would probably be dead, or if we survived, someone that we didn’t like very much anymore. The Governor was nobody special, but this catastrophe has let him shine. He says he didn’t want the job, but it is obvious that the death of his wife and child and the end of the world let loose a psychopath that was deeply buried in civilization. It is amazing how well he reads and manipulates people. I watched him use his vulnerability and loss again to try and manipulate Rick. He gave Rick the one opportunity that he couldn’t pass up but which will rip the group apart and make them even more vulnerable. If he gives up Michonne, Rick loses another part of his humanity, but how can he not? Being noble gets you killed very quickly in this world.

Rick may be crazy - what really happens to noble people who survive huge losses - but he’s not stupid, thank goodness. I enjoyed watching him follow the Governor’s ploys and not be taken in by them. I think it might have been a different story a year earlier but maybe not, he was a cop. Rick tried a few of his own tactics, but the Governor is a master. He just put the devil’s choice in front of Rick and stepped back. I’m glad that Rick was smart enough to not tell his group what the Governor actually said and to confide in Hershel. I really hope that Hershel talks him out of any deal with the Governor.

There is a lot of tension in this episode between doing the right thing and doing the necessary thing. Andrea has called Rick and the Governor together for a truce talk, but should Rick have just shot the Governor? Should they have let Merle go take him out? Why did the Governor risk going to meet Rick on his own? He had a gun taped to the table (I was actually pretty sure he was going to use it) but he would have been dead before he could get to it. He actually trusted Rick to not kill him, to want to talk it out. And he didn’t kill Rick and everyone in the prison when he had a chance, and he could have ambushed Rick at the truce, but he didn’t. I’m just not sure why. It doesn’t seem that he is hanging on to any sense of what is right, so is he just playing with them?

I know I go on about gender but the macho posturing in this episode was pretty flagrant. Rick and the governor talking about surrender and come and get it, etc. made me think of young boys on the playground as did Daryl and Martinez showing off their zombie fighting skills. Andrea’s look of disgust said it all. I wish they would just put their you know whats back in their pants and start to use their brains. Asking Andrea to leave, the only one who seems to have any sense, was also a macho, bonehead move. Daryl and Martinez connected over killing the zombies, but they will kill each other if “given the word”. I just find that frustrating. Hershel and Milton seem more reasonable, but we will see if they actually are. Will Milton tell Andrea about the Governor’s plans? If he does, will she do anything? I certainly hope so. I’m not sure why she hopped into the Governor’s car, but I’m hoping it’s because she means to be useful.

Back at the prison it looks like Glenn is the one in charge when Daryl and Rick are gone. He took on Merle which, considering their history, was very brave. He needed Maggie and Michonne to help him, but still. I was glad it was Beth who stopped the whole thing. Merle says that the people at the prison are not killers, but he hasn’t really seen them in action. Michonne has and she seems pretty confident. It looked like Merle, Maggie and Glenn have come to some kind of understanding which seemed to hold even after Merle tried to leave. I was particularly happy that Glenn finally did “nut up” and apologize to Maggie. He didn’t let Merle’s taunts get to him and he recognized Maggie’s strength while owning his own feelings.

This episode had me asking more questions than getting answers, but that was the point. There are three more episodes and I am hoping they are full out, although I'm worried they may draw out this confrontation to the point of boredom.

Bits and Pieces

Tension plus! I thought the silent opening was well done and it set the stage for an episode where I kept waiting for something terrible to happen.

The Governor has the most smarmy smile I’ve ever seen. Good acting by David Morrissey.

Milton is recording a history. He is thoroughly convinced that the human race is going to make it through this.

The Governor obviously has spies. He knows about the guns they brought back. I wonder if he knows about Morgan?

Merle let Michonne go. I wonder if he really would have executed Maggie and Glenn?

Glenn couldn’t make love with the zombies watching. They were on watch and I kept thinking they would miss something horrible.

Things I could live without - well, of course, the macho posturing and maybe the smashed zombie heads, although such things aren’t bothering me so much anymore. Not sure what that means.


Daryl: “Great, he brought his butler.”

Martinez: “You know this is a joke, right? They’re not going to work anything out. Sure they’ll do their little dance but tomorrow, the next day, they’ll give the word.”
Daryl: “I know.”

Governor: “I thought you were a cop, not a lawyer.”

Rick: “You’re the town drunk who knocked over my fence, ripped up my yard.”

Governor: “This fight, it will go down to the last man.”

Merle: “I must have been seduced by your sterling personality.”

Milton: “That is a slaughter."

Hershel: “Why are you telling me?”
Rick: “Because I’m hoping you can talk me out of it.”


Jess Lynde said...

I found this episode wonderfully tense while I was watching it --- they've done such a good job of convincing me that (almost) anyone can go, at any time --- but after the fact, I was troubled by a lot of the questions you raised, Doc.

What the hell is the Governor doing? Is he really just the big cat playing with its food a bit before he eats it? Because his plans don't seem to make any sense. Why not wipe the prison out before? Why bother with truce negotiations at all, if he has no intention of following through? He's just so sure of his ultimate victory that he wants to have some ego-stroking fun first? He just doesn't think he can get Michonne taken alive with a full-on assault?

And on the flip side --- Rick clearly saw that the Governor is an untrustworthy douchebag, and he has to realize that with that man in charge a truce would be unsustainable. So why not take him out then and there? Too many uncertainties about getting everyone else out of there alive? Or about who might rise up to take his place?

I'm also not clear on what Rick wants Hershel to talk him out of. When I watched the episode, I thought he wanted Hershel to talk him out of going to war. To tell him that he should trade Michonne's life for their families' lives. But apparently a lot of folks read the scene the exact opposite --- that Rick is now considering handing Michonne over, and he wants Hershel to talk him out of doing that. I guess I need to watch it again.

Ultimately, I'm finding it hard to accept that everyone isn't on board with Carol and Hershel's "get the hell out of Dodge" plan. I know the road was hard on them, and that it could be harder now with a baby and with Hershel losing his foot. BUT they managed out there for 8 months with no losses, and those odds seem a lot better than the certain losses they'll face if they go to war with Woodbury. They consistently been losing people since they arrived at the prison, and it just doesn't seem to be a place worth fighting for at this point.

One thing that did make sense to me: Andrea opting to go back. Hershel gave her two important nudges in their brief conversation. He let her think the absolute worst about what the Governor had done to Maggie, and then he told her that if she came back to the prison with them, it would all be over. In other words, she would have no further opportunity to nip this in the bud before things get even worse. So she went back to Woodbury to take out or otherwise undermine the Governor from the inside. Once more unto the breach!

Enjoyed reading your thoughts, as always, Doc.

Anonymous said...

This episode was too boring for my taste and did not help to move the story forward although I did enjoy some scenes (Daryl & Martinez, Hershel & Milton, Rick & Hershel). The parlé could have been also more intense.

Jesus, Andrea is just annoying and it might have been a dick move to send her out but I would have done the same. Her speech was just awful and annoying.

I don`t understand why you want to bring Hershel to a meeting when there is a possibility of a fight? And why does Daryl always carry his crossbow to gunfights?

I hope M&M will survive the fight and become part of the prison gang.
And I want a change of location. I am sick of the prison. The second half of the season is suffering from lack of pace and the story of the fight is unnecessarily dragged on.

Anonymous said...

I am with Jess on the prison issue. Why not just find a new place. And the road can`t be so bad anymore since they have so much experience with the walkers (who aren`t really scary anymore). Why not go back to Rick`s town?

HellBlazerRaiser said...

I am stunned! STUNNED! Two strong episodes in a row!

That written, I'm fed up with Brits doing bad Souther drawls. Either cast actual southerners for the roles or make the character British.

Lauren Cohan is the only one who's maintained consistent accent and sounds authentic.

David Morrissey can't maintain it. I think he should use his real accent. That would add to the inanity of the Governor.

Andrew Lincoln is still a bloody buggery awful actor.

Anonymous said...

I would love to know how this whole zombie thing started. Where the virus and all these dead people came from all of a sudden.

But I think the creator said that he won`t reveal that :(

I find it interesting that it has come to the point where the humans are more dangerous than the zombies.

Tim said...

This is the seventh time you've railed against Andrew Lincoln's 'bloody buggering' acting.

We get it. Really, we do.
You don't like him. Let's move on.

In other news, thanks for the consistently great reviews, drnanamom.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm agreed with Tim. I don't know what Andrew Lincoln has done to you in particular, but saying the same thing over and over doesn't make it true. Unless you are Mr. Mxyzptlk.

Billie Doux said...

Anonymouses and Tim, I'm pretty sure at this point that HBR is just teasing me. :)

TheShadowKnows said...

"Lauren Cohan is the only one who's maintained consistent accent and sounds authentic."

As an authentic Southerner, I'm afraid I have to disagree. Her accent sounds like incomprehensible mush to me. She sounds drunk or like her tongue's swollen, rather than "Southern"; I literally have to turn on the captions to understand what she's saying! Lincoln and Morrisey actually sound somewhat more "Southern" in a generic way (albeit neither really sounds like someone from Georgia). Lauren Cohan is great to look at and a pretty good actress; I just wish they had allowed her to use her normal accent instead of slurring her speech to the point that I can't even follow what she's saying.

(Every time I start to complain about the ludicrous lack of Southern accents on The Vampire Diaries - set in Virginia! - I remember the ones on this show and the atrocious grab-bag of assorted quasi-Southern accents on True Blood. That shuts me up in a hurry.)

Henrik Bennetter said...

I'm so annoyed with what the governor is doing also. Why the "kill-a-few-then-go"-thing. Like you said, if he means to take the prison anyway - just do it already.
This back and forth is just feet-dragging. I have to say this part is much, much, better done in the comic - where the Governor is a REAL threat.
This whole story has made the show lose it's pace and tension.

Anonymous said...

i thought (and this is only IMHO btw) that the gov asked andrea to leave so he could show his true colours to rick. He obviously believes that she is still buying his bullshit, they are still f*cking and shes only called him out on a few things not calling him as the untrustworthy psychopath who is a bit of a dick which only Andrea, ricks group and the viewers know he is.

Elfie said...

This episode, despite being slow-paced, was quite decent. It was super tense and I kept waiting for something bad to happen. I guess that's just how this show is, if something bad *doesn't* occur within those 45 minutes, you're just rendered surprised. xD

To be honest, I really like this show, but sometimes I find myself questioning why I keep coming back for more. I'll binge watch episode after episode, and then I'll feel pretty depressed (although sometimes I even feel good because no matter how bad life gets at least I'm not living in a zombie apocalypse!) it's just that this show seems to me like such a missed opportunity. It would be SO much better if they took the Lost approach, gave us some insight on who these people were before the world went to hell, and actually took the time to show us how this outbreak actually occurred and where all these zombies came from. Like... Did it start out as just some strange stories on the news or was it quicker than that? How did our characters react to it all? It's interesting to see this post-apocalyptic world but it doesn't have to solely FOCUS on the 'post' part, it can be very well effective -- in fact, it would be so much more effective if we got to see how everything was like "before" as well. Including our characters. It would breathe some life into the show for sure.

Anwyway, I just wanted to say I'm a long time lurker and I read this website's reviews for a lot of shows including Buffy, Doctor Who, Arrow, Flash, TWD etc and I finally wanted to make myself known. ^.^

Billie Doux said...

Hi, Elfie, long time lurker! Why have you been hiding comments like this one? :)

I don't think this is a spoiler -- are you aware that a spinoff is in the works? I think that it's going to be what you were talking about: the beginning of all this.