THE WALKING DEAD Episode Recap: “Arrow on the Doorpost”

     March 10, 2013

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With only three episodes left in the third season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, we’ve unfortunately gotten to the point where everything is set up for a big showdown and now we’re just stalling for time.  Last week’s episode was a great example of how a well-written show can use that to its advantage and work in some exemplary character development.  This week’s episode?  Not so much.

Starring Andrew Lincoln, David Morrissey, Chandler Riggs, Melissa McBride, Laurie Holden, Danai Gurira, Michael Rooker, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Scott Wilson, Dallas Roberts, Emily KinneyChad Coleman and Lew Temple, AMC’s The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9.  Hit the jump for my review of “Arrow on the Doorpost.”

walking-dead-season-3-michael-rooker[Spoiler Alert: All reviews and recaps come with a general spoiler warning from this point onward.]

First of all, I’d just like to thank last week’s hitchhiker on behalf of the cast since apparently his pack provided Hershel, Rick and Daryl with shiny new duds. I’m sure the ladies will find some way to update their post-apocalyptic style soon as well (zombie fashion show?).  Anyway, the bulk of this episode centered on a meet-and-greet between Rick and the Governor in order to discuss terms and see if both sides could get along.  Doesn’t look like that will be happening.  A side-plot was the continued butting of heads between Glenn and Merle that developed a bit of tension and then fizzled out.  At least Glenn and Maggie got to patch things up in a sexy fashion.

About this meeting between Rick and the Governor…it’s tough to maintain the tension in a scene like that when you stretch it out for 45 minutes of a television episode broken up by commercials.  It didn’t work for me.  Though the writers tried to shoehorn in some intrigue with the Gov’s hidden (literally Chekhov’s) gun, it apparently went unnoticed by Andrea and was unused by the Gov himself.  Unless it becomes a plot point in their eventual reunion, this was a wasted effort.

However, the conversation between the two leaders did reveal quite a bit more character from the Gov.  He’s very adept at mind games and is charismatic to a tee.  He used Rick’s weak spot for families to trick him into drinking some whiskey and reminiscing about the good ol’ days.  It turns out that the Gov doesn’t want to kill everybody or even take over the prison (so he says), he just wants Michonne.  And Rick, unfortunately, is debating whether or not to use their new recruit as a bargaining chip.

david-morrissey-the-walking-dead-season-3While the head honchos were hemming and hawing, Milton and Caesar were sizing up Hershel and Daryl with Andrea stuck in No Woman’s Land.  Her arc has been an unfortunate one this season and it’s looking like it’s not going to get any better.  Milton just came off as a complete creep in this episode, but I really loved the contentious relationship forged between Caesar and Daryl; they were like two foot-soldiers on opposite sides just passing the time before the coming battle.  Seriously though, is there ever a time where you don’t like Daryl in a scene?  I thought not.

Back at the prison, Merle gets the surprisingly tactically-superior idea to storm the meeting and take out the Governor before he has a chance to form up and come at them in force.  He’s stymied by Glenn, Maggie and Beth before being abandoned by Michonne.  At that point, Merle gives up on the idea and apparently settles in to be part of the team…at least for now.

Overall, this was a subpar episode of the season, especially compared to last week.  Neither the plot nor the characters advanced much at all and it was a wasted bit of effort to set up tension that’s expected to be maintained over the next three episodes.  Unfortunately, I expect more of the same next week.

Rating: 6/10

Zombie Kills: 7

Casualties: 0

Human/Enemy Deaths: 0

Best Kill: Has to go to the rapid-fire kill competition between Caesar and Daryl – the brutal bat, the double crossbow bolt kill and the throwing knife.

Best Effect: The Governor’s missing eye.

danai-gurira-the-walking-dead-season-3Musings and Quotes:

  • I love the nearly-silent opening sequences.  It’s nice to just be drawn into a show and hear all of the fantastic ambient sounds, which becomes more intense as you know there could be a Walker or other danger around every corner.
  • The Governor to Rick: “We have a lot to talk about.”
  • Daryl: “Who the hell are you?” Milton: “I’m Milton Mamet.” Daryl: “Great, he brought his butler.”
  • Daryl to Caesar: “You better watch your mouth, sunshine.”
  • The Gov: “I thought you were a cop, not a lawyer.” Rick: “I don’t go around pretending to be a Governor.”
  • Hershel: “That makes sense.” <- Is this not Hershel’s signature phrase at this point?  Add it to the drinking game!
  • Milton apparently has a stump fetish…
  • Hershel to Milton: “I’m not showing you my leg!  I just met you…at least buy me a drink first.”
  • Merle to Michonne: “I musta been seduced by your sterling personality.”
  • Merle to Michonne: “You shogun the Governor’s ass.”
  • Glenn to Maggie, while they’re trying to be all sexy in front of the creepy Walkers: “I can’t do this.”
  • Rick to the group: “So I met this Governor…”
  • Rick: “We’re going to war.”
  • Hershel to Rick after he reveals the Gov’s true intentions: “Why didn’t you tell them?” Rick: “They need to be scared.” Hershel: “They are.” Rick: “Good. Cuz that’s the only way they’ll accept it.”
  • Hershel: “Why are you tellin’ me?” Rick: “Because…I’m hopin’ you can talk me out of it.”

Be sure to tune in next week for our continuing recaps of AMC’s The Walking Dead.  And if you missed our recap of the Paleyfest Walking Dead red carpet, click here.  We got some new info on season 3 and 4.

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