THE WALKING DEAD Episode Recap: “When the Dead Come Knocking”

by     Posted 1 year, 143 days ago

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It’s hard to believe, but there’s only one episode left of AMC’s The Walking Dead before the show goes on a mid-season hiatus until February. The break is going to be unbearable enough without what is sure to be one hell of a cliffhanger on next week’s episode. And while tonight’s episode was a set up of the coming conflict, it was done with style and substance; I only wish more shows were as solid week-to-week as The Walking Dead. 

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 and Emily Kinney, AMC’s The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9.  Hit the jump for my review of “When the Dead Come Knocking.”

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

The lines separating Woodbury from the prison have finally begun to blur, but we’re not quite there yet. Glenn and Maggie suffer through a variety of torturous interrogation techniques at the hand(s) of Merle and the Governor, only to have Maggie give up information on Rick’s group. Andrea and the Gov continue their tryst and Andrea helps the resident scientist Milton (Roberts) perform an ill-conceived experiment. Meanwhile, Michonne has made her way to the prison and is brought in by the gang to tend to her wounds. An uneasy truce is reached when Michonne informs them about Glenn and Maggie’s kidnapping, the Woodbury compound and the psychopathic Governor who runs it. Though they’re attacked   by a pack of Walkers during their scouting mission, Rick’s recon party makes it to the walls of Woodbury just as the Gov is about to send out his own scouts to survey the prison.

For an episode that’s setting up the mid-season finale, this one was pretty damn good. The whole season so far has been really solid and has also been slowly building to this inevitable climax. Perhaps the most interesting facet of this conflict is the fact that there are questionable loyalties on both sides: can the Governor trust Merle if his brother Daryl comes to storm Woodbury? Will Michonne continue to be a team player or will she go off on her own mission, either of revenge or of escape? What about Oscar and Axel? Will the former prisoners stand with Rick’s group or switch sides if presented with a better offer by the Gov? And what exactly will Andrea do?

Andrea is arguably the most interesting question mark in this whole mess. She hasn’t exactly gotten along with Rick’s group in the past, choosing instead to go off on her own. She has no loyalties to them. Then again, her loyalties to the Governor may only be mattress deep and it’s hard to say which way she’ll turn if/when she finds out the Gov has been interrogating Maggie and Glenn. Plus, Michonne’s presence with Rick’s group would certainly go a long way towards influencing her decision. Andrea clearly still has her head on her shoulders where her own survival is concerned, as her reaction to Mr. Coleman’s reanimation certainly showed. But in the heat of what appears to be quite a pitched battle, just which way will her allegiances swing? (The look ahead at next week’s episode showed Andrea firing a gun, I believe, but at who/what, I don’t know.)

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Speaking of Mr. Coleman, I really thought The Walking Dead was going to land this “mad scientist” angle, but sadly it’s come up short. Milton is rather bumbling and squirrelly, even after all of the exposure to Walkers that should have desensitized him by this point. I liked the fact that Milton is curious about a person’s ability to retain any of their humanity after turning, but whether this is his own interest or only that of the Governor’s remains to be seen. I’m guessing the latter considering the Governor’s daughter, who is way beyond help. I also didn’t appreciate the fact that good ol’ Milton is smart enough to be Woodbury’s “scientist” but dumb enough to unstrap a freshly turned Walker. This has been the only glaring “Glenn in the Well” moment so far this season.

Ah, Glenn. Did the guy show up for this episode or what? Yeun had so few lines but didn’t need any of them because his performance spoke volumes. You can’t help but admire Glenn’s resolve, whether in the face of a brutal beating by Merle, a life-threatening Walker attack or even a gun to his half-naked girlfriend’s head. But it was all for naught as Maggie spilled the beans as soon as Glenn’s life was extra-threatened. (You have to feel bad for Maggie in one sense for being sexually assaulted. On the other hand, I hear that what happens to a different character in a similar situation in the comics is much, much worse. Compared to Glenn and that character, Maggie didn’t fare too poorly.) For as smart as Glenn is, he slipped up when he told Merle that Andrea was still with Rick’s group. As for Maggie, the Gov doesn’t know whether she’s lying or not when she tells him they only had 10 people in their party that cleared the prison. For some reason, this seems to strike the Governor as an impossibility. I guess we’ll find out why next week!

Rating: 9/10

walking-dead-season-3-steven-yeun-lauren-cohanMusings & Quotes:

  • “You were an asshole out there.” ~Merle to Glenn, referring to him leaving Merle handcuffed to a roof in Atlanta.
  • Nice to see that Merle is still incredibly racist.
  • The reunion with Carol was bittersweet, but chock full of heartfelt emotion. Here’s hoping that Michonne recognized the sincerity of it.
  • “I’ll bake a cake with pink frosting.” ~Merle to Glenn, who says that Rick and the others will come for him.
  • “Daryl’s been calling her ‘Ass-Kicker.’” ~Carl to Rick about the newest addition to the Grimes clan
  • Baby Ass-Kicker gets a real name! And it’s…Judith. No offense to any Judiths out there, but it was a bit odd how they settled on that name. The dialogue between Carl and Rick was in the vein of “man talk,” in which you say what you need to say without really saying anything. I get that. I also get that Rick wanted Carl to have some say in his baby sister’s life. But one of Carl’s teacher’s names? That was just a little off (unless I missed something here).
  • “Take off your shirt or I’ll bring Glenn’s hand in here.” ~The Gov to Maggie. Worst pick-up line ever, Governor.
  • “Do what you’re gonna do and go to Hell.” ~Maggie to the Gov
  • “Remember the Alamo?” ~Daryl
  • “Blood’s blood, right? Makes me wonder where your loyalties lie?” ~ The Governor. “Here.” ~Merle
  • Props to the musical cues this week! There was a distinct and building pulse that picked up within the last few minutes of the show that really upped the tension in the final scenes.

Zombie Kills:

17

Casualties:

1 – the random guy living in the shack in the middle of the woods

Best Kill:

Glenn’s “chair fragment to the temple” move.

Best Zombie Effect:

The herd of Walkers feasting on the recently deceased man our heroes tossed out of the shack. Was it high tech? Nope. Just good old fashioned, old school sloppy gore. Romero would be proud.

Check back with us next week when we review the mid-season finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead. 

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  • Leo

    I’m not gonna bother writing a long comment because Collider’s Commenting system is utter trash. I just wanna say that it seems incredibly dumb that Andrea didn’t explain the whole brain shuts down and then only the Stem turns back on that they learned in Season 1 during their time at the CDC. She should clearly know from scientific proof that everything that there once was in the person’s mind is gone for good and she should have flat out said that to the scientist, scientists loves science.

    Also I thought it was a terrible way to name Judith. I understand that the writers wanted to keep the name the same as in the comics, and I don’t know how the comics arrived at that name, but given there was no previous Judith ever mentioned in the show, They still could have come up with something better than the 3rd grade teacher that Carl must have had the hots for or something.

    Come on Collider, I’m counting on you, don’t screw it up again. Please for the love of the holy prophet post this comment.

    • Fed23

      From what I can gather, Carl didn’t want his sisters name tied with the memories of the apocalypse. When he ran through the laundry list of names a few episodes ago, they were all tied to agony, heartache, and tremendous loss since each of the women had died or were presumed dead during the zombie uprising. Using a name from his past (that he has fond memories of) allows him to, in a small way, exclude the baby from the madness of the new world – even if it’s by name only.

      • shyanne

        even if he had named the baby from his past what would it bring just another bad memory because of his mother who he had to shoot in the head and sofie who he turned into a walker and they had to kill so that kid does not have a happy life and that baby wont cause she is in a word full of bad memorys and thaose memorys will never get better

  • Bb

    Your dumb, Andrea never chose to leave the group.. And she will certainly side with michionne knowing that they attacked her. Also, the mad scientist thing? How is he supposed to be a mad scientist? He shouldn’t be desensitized because if you paid attentions, he told Andrea he never saw dead turn walker. Get your facts together and pay attention. And “for a character as smart as Glenn is he slipped up” how in the world would that question if he’s smart. There’s no way to prevent that, you could just as easily say Shane was a slip up just in case someone knew somehow.

  • LEM

    This was another awesome episode and wow that scene with Glen trapped with the Walker was incredible. I was never a big Glen fan but that changed last night. I think the best thing this show has done was quickly kill off main characters because when they’re in trouble you don’t know if they’ll make it on this show.

    • Anonymous

      well its a show and theyh need to have some action in it or the show wont be good and glen has alway had some major moments in the show so why just say that you have know when he has equal partd in the show unless you are just rasist tword him being ashin

      • LEM

        I’m a racist because I didn’t like a character who happened to be Asian? I can’t stand Carl either so I guess by you’re logic I hate all kids right? It’s the way they portray the character and that has nothing to do with race and the Glen character has made amazing strides since the beginning.

  • nico

    I laughed when Merle told the Governor that Glenn pissed him off ,and that’s why he thru the walker at him. Merle is such a loose canon. It says alot about the Gov, if this is what he needs to run his business.

  • Joseph McNulty

    The show is apparently written by chimps. Nothing in it makes sense (except when Andrea or Maggie take off their shirts).

    • RunnerX13

      What exactly didn’t make sense to you?

      • ScaredForMovies

        This seasons actually been pretty good so far at avoiding some of the stupidity of the past. The Well scene comes to mind as one example. The only nagging issues I have with this season are the zombie C-section and the Walker that ate Lori. There’s no way he ate all of her. It’s impossible. No Skull or bones left at all? I wasn’t sure if it was a plot point and Carl didn’t shoot her or if it was just a mistake. But the longer the season goes on the more I think it was just an error. Any thoughts on this or am I over-thinking it?

    • blakeavon

      Not sure what show you are watching but given you havent taken time to write examples means its more trolling than insight. As the comment below about the eating of her body, does it really really matter? For me it was a bit of a silly idea but once i saw Ricks reaction to it, the last thing i was thinking was the logic of it. Its a show set during a Zombie Apocalypse a certain level of suspension of disbelief is needed.

    • LEM

      Mcnulty you’re drunk again.

  • Anonymous

    eveyone pisses merel off because he has a short line of so much he can handle and that why i think that why they had kicked him out in the vary first season because he was always putting the group through hell so why bring him back and its ironick because they had brought him back as a bad guy like he is but he is an asshole throught evey shpw he is in so why kow you say something about him

    • Anonymous

      say what

  • Scavenger

    Totally agree on Daniel’s comment about Steve Yuen being a totally convincing tough guy. Is it too late for him to replace Cruise as Reacher? Since they dont care about the Reacher novels’ physical description of the character, I would really rather see Steve in the role. He has been exceptional in this series- cant wait to see this actor in more productions.

  • Baroquejen

    I really liked the naming of Judith. It says so much about Carl, it makes us think about what his life has been like as a 10 year old subjected to what he has been subjected to. Aside from the fact that this teacher is a link to a world before everything went to hell, kids spend a lot of time with their teachers, and good teachers can make a huge difference. Carl can remember this teacher as she was before everything went south, there is no post-zombie intrusion of reality – it stops in happier times. I thought it was perfect – it means Carl has hope that this baby will get the chance to make a difference as well.

  • Ehle.

    The governor reminds me of how the government operates. Like a mafia on the inside, and a war machine on the outside. He needs loose cannons, because like all governments, he doesn’t really have control of sheeet. He just thinks he does. Also, I’m wondering, how in the hell did the hermit in the woods have no idea what was going on. Is that man straight retarded? One of my friends called him a red-shirt, and we had some star–trek laughs. That seemed like some twisted ethics in my opinion. If I were Michonne, I wouldn’t trust their group after that. What if they throw me in a pit of zombies to get away. : D I think it should have been different, but I’m still watching the show later.

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