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

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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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  • hg

    wow this reviewer is a moron this episode was phenomenal

    • wayne

      Some would argue that you’re actually the moron. Because it wasn’t. It was stale and lifeless.

    • D

      I loved this episode.

      In my opinion it was one of the most intense I’ve seen this season (although I watched it without commercials).

    • Milo

      Wow, The new showrunner sucks!! really sucks..The episodes are getting worse and worse…
      Booring…!! Fire AMC heads!

  • jr

    this episode sucked….what happened to all the excitement??they should have followed the comic a little more so it would be more exciting………..

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  • Travis

    This episode was much slower than last week, even though last week involved far less characters. Honestly, the only thing I enjoyed about this episode was the brief dialogue between Daryl and Caesar.

    Does anyone really thingk Michonne will be offered up? No. If it happens, color me stunned. This was a classic case of a filler episode leading up to the finale.

    It happens.

    • Travis

      Sorry for the god awful typing. Thought I fixed it.

    • Tommy

      If this was Reddit I’d give you an upvote.

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  • Danny

    It’s pretty convenient that MIchonne all of a sudden became likeable last episode and in this episode Rick has to choose between giving her up to the Gov. or going to “war.” TWD is one of my favorite episodes but sometimes the writing is so bad. Plus it didn’t really help that the Gov and Rick spent this whole episode talking. It’s like the writers can’t think of what to fill the episodes with so they’ll stretch plot points as much as they can.

    • Danny

      *favorite shows

  • LEM

    Yeah the episode was pretty pointless and when I realized they were going to spend the whole episode at a sit down I was not happy. It easily could have been the initial stand off and then once they kick Andrea out the Gov says give me Michonne. The rest of the episode should have been them securing the prison for a battle and having Rick and Michonne together and him sizing up the options as they fight through zombies. They seem to go back and forth between actual great episodes and just dragged out nonsense.

  • Timothy

    **COMIC SPOILERS**
    [spoiler]I was really hoping this would be where The Governor would cut off Rick’s hand. Maybe when they meet again in 2 days?[/spoiler]
    **END COMIC SPOILERS**

    This was a slow episode that moved a few characters. The two groups got to mingle a little, and made it more obvious that this is more of a war between Rick & Michonne vs. The Governor than the Prison vs. Woodbury. Anyone besides the 3 characters listed are just collateral damage.

    • LEM

      There is no way they’ll have the star of the show without a hand. I guarantee that will never happen and even Kirkman has said he wished he didn’t do it in the comic.

  • FoonZeeS

    They missed out on a great opportunity to have some good back and forth acting between The Gov and Rick during the sit-down. The episode could have been saved if their meeting would have been fleshed out more and actually had some substance to it.

  • REALLY?

    Flashbacks to last year when Rick was having a father/son chat in the farm and I couldn’t help but say to myself “GROAN!”

    And was I the only one who found it insanely cheesy when Daryl and Caesar bonded over killin’ a couple zombies? One second they were ready to kill each other and the next Caesar is telling Daryl about his dead family and how he prefers menthol cigarettes.

  • drewby-doo

    Just be glad this isn’t on NBC or one of the other networks. Then the season would be 26 episodes long and 22 of them would be filler.

    last night’s was a decent episode, not one of my favorites, but not as bad as some of the ones from season 2.

  • Brian

    Did anyone else notice when Rick said something to the effect of, “You’re the town drunk that tore up my lawn” to the Governor, or did I just imagine that?

    • LEM

      It wasn’t literal as if he knows him from before the world went to hell. He was referring to smashing the gate down and attacking them days ago.

  • Cryder555

    I’m rooting for Merle to kill the whole group starting with Glenn. At least it would move the plot forward.

  • daveyboy

    You had to know going into this episode that not much was going to happen. They were meeting up yet there are still a couple of episodes left, so there was no way this episode wasn’t going to be filler.

  • dogg

    The baseball bat to the head was the best effect they’ve ever done. That should raise the grade a few points all on its own.

  • Shoerki

    Some morons are trying to sound intellectual by calling this one of the most intense episodes of the series. Of course is horse crap.
    The series is , i guess, trying to save budget and building up for a bloody showdown, and it better be good, because so far the whole thing is going downhill is a serious hurry. 6 is even too much for this boring dragging episode. Nothing happened that couldn’t have been resolved in 20 minutes.

  • jerry

    I thought it was a great episode. Really good character development and fun to watch. I saw it with no commercial breaks, maybe that helped with the flow?

  • cherie

    Love the paragraph about caesar and daryl. Exactly how I feel. Only good part of the episode and it’s true; any scene with daryl is always a good scene. It’s amazing how that is actually. Go daryl dixon!

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