THE WALKING (and Talking and Talking and Talking) DEAD

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Season 3, Episode 13 “Arrow On The Doorpost”

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[photos: Gene Page/AMC]

Walkers - The Walking Dead - Season 3, Episode 13 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Time has not been kind to Riff Raff and Columbia, but still, every Friday, they do the Timewarp again.

DUSTIN: So here’s what I think.

TIMOTHY: And what, pray tell, is that?

I think the show has been the best it’s ever been over the last couple of episodes.

I agree. “Clear” might have been one of the best of any of the episodes.

Are you ready for my first prediction?

I’m… a little afraid. I’ll be honest. But proceed, sir.

  • They are setting us up for a fall. The show has been lulling us into a false sense of security. It’s about to go downhill. And fast.

Oh God. I’d like you to be wrong, but…

  • Michonne, now that she has begun to develop a personality, will also begin to bake cookies.
  • The Governor and Rick’s meeting will involve the two of them making tactile barbs at each other while Andrea thinks she is doing a great job as a moderator.
  • Daryl will spend another episode as Lil’ Asskicker’s nanny.

Cookies?

Cookies.

Eh. We’ve seen things that make less sense. Ladies and Gentlemen! As you’ve noticed, Mr. Adair and I are here, with our very own studio audience (wave at the kids at home, Anne-Marie) to speak of many things, of shoes and ships sealing wax, and the adventures of Team Zombie, on AMC’s The Walking Dead. What follows is a recap, a review, and a rant of generally inappropriate nature. It hath SPOILERS, and you… you hath been warned.

And we’re at a … silo? With Daryl, Rick and Hershel.  They are all armed to the teeth while they run around the place looking for something. What you might ask? Well, I don’t know, but since every preview for this episode ever made shows Rick and The Governor sitting down for a chat, I’m going to go head and assume that Google Maps lied to them and told them this is the location of the Starbucks where they are supposed to be meeting him.

But then again, they could be scouting out a new source for grain. What do I know?

Well, if Michonne is going to be baking now…

Oh, Hershel has a gun in his stump. It’s pretty fantastic.

Rick and Daryl arrive at a barn where they discover a walker lying dead in front. Daryl heads around back as Rick enters the front door.

Rick cocks his gun and enters the dark room.  There is a table and chairs set up.

Oh, I get it now! The Governor has opened up a quaint little post apocalyptic bistro and he asked Rick to be the customer!

Oh, if only this was reversed, there’s a Casablanca joke in there somewhere. Ah, well.

The Governor emerges to take Rick’s drink order. Don’t order the bisque, Rick, there’s pee in it.

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Welcome to Chez Guvs sir! As you can see, we clean our hands thoroughly before preparing your food.

The Governor smiles and holds his hands up and says they have a lot to talk about.

Why couldn’t we have gone back to Rick’s home town? Morgan had done a lot of work. That place looked pretty clean. Just saying.

Because we don’t do logical here. Please see the subject known as Andrea.

Rick starts out by complaining about how The Governor’s men attacked the prison. Jeez, Rick get a new story; this one’s a little boring at this point. The Governor counters with the fact that the attack was basically a warning shot, and if he wanted to, he could have killed everyone there.

Ha, warning shot. Tell that to Hillbilly.

Hey ho! We’ll be here all week folks, try the veal. So you finally watched the episode?

Nah, but I did read your recap…. Aren’t you glad I’m back?

… get on with it.

Anywho. The Governor says that he wants to negotiate, and I can’t help but wonder: How did this meeting come about? I mean, who sent out the Google Calendar invites? These two dudes are both pretty high-strung and I bet there was quibbling over the location and time of the meeting and who was bringing the snacks. Now I’m not saying that I want to see all that, but it kind of doesn’t sit right with me that after arguably the best episode of the season, they are coming back with this meeting out of nowhere.

This is somehow Andrea’s doing, you know that, right?

The Governor puts down the gun, that honestly until this very moment I didn’t even realize he was holding and sits down at the table. I guess I’m just so used to people on this show having weapons that they don’t even register with me anymore.

Of course after the big show The Governor makes of putting his gun out of arm’s reach he sits right next to a gun he has taped to the underside of the table.

Outside, Daryl and Hershel are talking about how this whole situation feels off when another car approaches containing one of the Woodbury Guards (someone we have seen before, but whose name I’m not even going to pretend to know), The Scientist, and Andrea.

Daryl is all pissed and barks at Andrea, asking how come The Governor arrived at the meeting place before everyone else. Duh, Daryl, he had to set up for the lunch rush.

And clearly it’s paying off, look at the crowd gathering! I bet the menu is amazing.

Andrea seems shocked that The Governor is already there… well, dear, he didn’t arrive with YOU, did he? Sometimes I swear this show isn’t even trying.

That she would be surprised by this… sigh.

Did anyone else notice how hot and bothered The Scientist was by Daryl’s beautiful triceps? Am I projecting? Moving on.

Andrea enters the barn in a huff and starts her “We are the world” speech.

Rick completely ignores her and tells The Governor that he knows all about him, and The Governor tells Rick he knows all about him, too. Of course this is the point where Andrea would look at her feet and curse her big damn mouth if she had any self-awareness, but in this universe: No. In fact, she kind of looks like she just met both of them for the first time today.

Outside, Hershel offers to go inside and get a takeout menu but The Scientist says that no one should go inside while the grownups are talking. Daryl and The Scientist snipe at each other for a minute and I can practically SMELL the sexual tension.

Back at the prison, Glenn is in charge. He is preparing the rest of Team Zombie  for an attack. Merle suggests that they take some of their nice new guns and head out to The Governor’s bistro and kill The Governor. Everyone looks at him for a second, considering, but finally Michonne says that they should just follow the plan as Rick laid it out.

She is really trying to earn her keep on Team Zombie with loyalty, isn’t she?

Carl says that Rick can take care of himself. Maggie is wearing more clothes that I think I have ever seen her in. Merle kind of throws a little fit, but Glenn says they are staying put and that’s final.

TWD_GP_313_1009_0234
What do you mean there aren’t S’mores? Our friend Merle had S’mores here last week!

Meanwhile, back in The Governor’s quaint little eatery, Andrea talks for hours and hours about how they are both great men and great leaders and how she is sure they can figure out a way to coexist in peace and harmony.

Because Andrea is living in a little world where these things happen. One where, apparently, nothing in this season happened at all. Good God, really?

Rick suggests that they should have a border along the crick and each should stay on their side of the line. The Governor basically laughs in his face and tells him that the only reason he is there is for Rick’s unconditional surrender. Andrea is shocked! SHOCKED I TELL YOU!! at this turn of events.

There is a lot of posturing and the men finally send Andrea out of the room to rustle up some grub or have a million babies or cry during her period, or whatever it is womenfolk are good at.

God, it really is “Run along honey, the men are talking now”, isn’t it? Poor Andrea. Her tombstone is going to read “Means Well, But Dumb As Hammers.”

All I can say is that I hope The Governor’s bistro has a good Zagat rating.

Well, unless the theme is post-apocalyptic chic, then I think they’ve lost a star.

Anne-Marie is going to be really pissed when Rick doesn’t shoot the Governor at the end of this episode.

Well that would make sense, and, in fact, it would have made sense to have shot him already, because there is only one other person outside who might try and stop him, and Daryl is watching him, and you know what? There is actually no reason at all to not kill him right now. But no, no, that’s not going to happen, is it?

Rick spends a little time making fun of The Governor’s name. Rick says that The Governor is beholden to the people in his constituency and Merle was his lieutenant. The Governor lies about how he was trying to figure out what was going on with Glenn and Maggie and the whole ‘Kidnapped and tortured’ thing when Rick attacked Woodbury.

You know, this whole thing would have been better if we had not just spent a WHOLE SEASON learning what a monster The Governor was. But no. We know he’s lying, so we just get to be bored that The Governor is lying.

The Governor then makes fun of Rick for being a cop. He asks if Rick had ever misjudged someone? He brings up the fact that Lil’ Asskicker might be not be his baby and that Shane is a perfect example of Rick not seeing the danger right in front of him.

OK, I know what I’m thinking right now, and from the look on your face…

There is so much wrong with this I barely know where to start. Well, let’s start with Andrea’s giant mouth. Her pillow talk must just be non-stop verbal diarrhea when you consider all the stuff The Governor knows about Rick and his family and its make up and Lil’ Asskicker’s possible parentage. I wonder how long it took The Governor to learn to filter out the important stuff from Andrea’s opinions on the last season of Gossip Girl and how she thinks flowers are pretty. Your turn.

Why the Holy Hell would this even come up? We’ve never seen the Governor and Andrea have this conversation, and for good reason… who the hell tells people about that sort of thing? Oddly, and I’m probably wrong, I can’t shake the feeling that this is something Andrea wouldn’t actually know anyway, but I’m not going back to do the hunting to see if I’m right. When did this conversation happen is another interesting question, because if it happened after the attack on Woodbury, then Andrea is more of an idiot that I thought she was.

Wait. I am right. Andrea didn’t even know Shane was dead until she visited the prison, and after that she knew the Governor was lying and she almost killed him in his sleep… so yeah. Dear writers: This is stupidly lazy. Stop it.

Also: Rick was not blind to the danger Shane posed. Rick spent a long time trying to rebuild his relationship with Shane before he finally shanked him.

Aside from that: RICK SHANKED THE @#$% OUT OF SHANE!! It killed him to have to do it, but he did it. Rick recognized the danger that Shane posed to the group and took him out, and in that moment, he learned his lesson about not allowing someone who is OBVIOUSLY DANGEROUS to put what he cares about in jeopardy.

So in closing: The Governor thinks he is dealing with someone who will not shank a bitch. The Governor is wrong.

They stare at each other.

The Governor finally offers Rick a drink. It’s nice to know that the bistro has its liquor license.

And of course, taking a drink from someone who clearly wants to kill you is always a good idea.

Outside:  The Scientist offers to work out the issues between the henchmen. He says that he has been recording things since the beginning of the plague and he and Hershel begin to nerd bond over history and record keeping. I can’t wait to read the section on the murder of those soldiers. Riveting, I bet it is.

Daryl and the guard start to get bored around the fact that other people know how to read when they hear the telltale noises of walkers in the distance.

Sigh. I miss the Stealth Walkers.

Happy just to have something to do, Andrea, Daryl and the guard head off in search of dead things to kill. The walkers are in between two silos and the guard and Daryl pretend to be civil to each other about who should take the first kill, but really neither one of them wants to put his back to the other, just in case of, you know, murder. Finally Andrea has had enough of men and their penises, so she takes the first step and stabs a walker to death with a pocket knife. It was pretty awesome, I’m not gonna lie. This is the Andrea I want all the time.

But this Andrea is a strong-willed, decisive, take no @#$%, and interesting character. That would never do.

Finally assured that the other is not going to kill them, Daryl and the guard both join the fight and make short work of the walkers. Somewhere along the line, Andrea disappears into a wondering plot hole, leaving the two men alone to discuss the fact that they are both just men. Soldiers really, on different sides of battle lines they did not draw. (Well, the guard has  been in The Governor’s kill parties every time, but let’s not hold that against him. He was just following orders… right?)

Their attempts at making the Woodbury contingent sympathetic really don’t work all that well, once you think about what we’ve seen them do. And where did Andrea go?

Daryl finds a pack of cigarettes in one of the Walker’s pockets and lights up, because nothing is as delicious as a cigarette that has been on a rotting corpse, exposed to the elements for a nearly a year. That’s flavor country.

TWD_GP_313_1012_0006
Hey! Did someone say S’mores? I have fire…

Yick. And yet neither one of them reacts at all to what must be a really awful taste. But hey, why have anyone react like they would in real life? That would just be silly.

Meanwhile The Scientist and Hershel are talking about how Hershel had his own leg cut off to save himself from a bite. The Scientist gets all excited and asks to see the scar. Hershel says on the second date, maybe and they laugh.

Meanwhile the party poopers are talking. The Governor says that their fight is a failure of leadership on both of their parts, and while he would like nothing more than to leave Team Zombie alone, the issue has become a political hot potato. The Governor says that they have to choose whether or not they are going to fight and kill or I don’t know, do some crochet.

I have no idea what is happening.

The Governor tells us a story of how his wife died while he was at work one day and how sad that was. It’s all about regret and sadness and how he’s full of both really.

Rick thinks this is a boring as I do.

They drink together.

Again, Rick, drinking what the crazy man gives you is dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. And why is the Governor’s story so… dull? It is boring. It’s possibly the worst, “I lost someone I love” story of all time. Oh David Morrisey, I hope they are paying you really well to have to speak this awful dialogue.

Meanwhile at the prison. Merle is about the go cock everything up. Maggie and Glenn say that he can’t go, but of course Merle is his own man and he is gonna make everything worse if it’s the last thing he ever does.

Oh, and his brother is out there on the front lines and blah blah blah, protection blah.

He turns to head out the door, but Glenn is there to stand up to him. Merle tries to be awful and Glenn is having literally none of it. They fight, and pretty soon everyone in the room is drawn into the melee, Glenn on the ground, Merle on top of Glenn, Maggie on top of Merle. Finally, Daughter Fodder fires a round into the ceiling, proving that she knows how to shoot a gun and that she means business. And I’m sure that the next bullet would not be meant for Maggie or Glenn. Merle sees the writing on the wall and relents.

Am I the only one who is surprised how much, aside from these little moments, that Merle is doing what he’s told?

Back at the bistro’s patio seating, Hershel excuses himself to talk to Andrea, who is sitting all alone feeling sorry for herself. He asks how things are going in the negotiations, and she tells him she was kicked out. She tells him that she has no idea what she is doing, showing a level of self-awareness I did not think she possessed.

She looks into Hershel’s face and asks what happened to Maggie. Hershel’s face falls and the look he gives her conveys so much. Loss, pain, sadness, but empathy too. He can see that she has never been privy to all the facts. That Andrea chose her side based on what she was on the surface, and now that she is being faced with the truths of that choice, she is lost.

You know for all the hate I pile on Andrea, I can also see what Hershel sees. She’s a woman whose intentions are good. Who’s to say that if faced with the same choice, I wouldn’t choose a warm be, safely behind walls, and a lifetime supply of Prell? Who’s to say I wouldn’t actively choose to not look deeper  into the situation I found myself in? Who’s to say I wouldn’t realize my mistake until it was too late to get out?

Fair enough. Andrea’s tombstone will read: Not Terribly Bright, but She Meant Well.

Andrea cries and says she can’t go back to Woodbury knowing what she now knows: That The Governor is crazy. Hershel, who raised three daughters, tells her to come home, and the word sounds so inviting coming from his lips. He tells her that if she chooses her family, there would be no returning to Woodbury. She says she knows and weeps for her Prell.

The Governor says that no one else wanted the job of leader in Woodbury, and that he himself didn’t even want it. I have a feeling he is using more of Andrea’s pillow talk to get to Rick. Then he says that he knows Rick went and got a lot more guns and that they are gearing up for a battle.  The Governor says that he knows that the battle would end up being a fight to the last man, and as he has more men that Rick it would not be in Rick’s favor to fight it. He again offers Rick the chance to surrender and stop all the violence before it begins.

Hang on. How does the Governor know Rick went and got more guns? There is no way for him to know that. No way. At all. Really writers? Really?

Then The Governor says that Rick has something that he wants. Rick says that he is not giving up the prison and he is not taking Team Zombie and moving on. The Governor laughs that one off. He tells Rick that he doesn’t want the prison.

He wants Michonne.

Uh oh.

Dun Dun Duuuuuuunnnnnnnnn.

TWD_GP_313_1010_0147
For the last time, we don’t have any S’mores! Try the Death by Chocolate or the Apple Cobbler… they’re made from scratch!

Meanwhile, back at the prison, Michonne’s ears are burning. Merle approaches her and they talk briefly about they are both badass killahs. Merle says that he knows that she knows that The Governor will not give up and that he wants a fight. He tells her that the two of them could get out to the bistro and kill The Governor without any problems. Michonne asks what would happen to Andrea if she were at the bistro with The Governor when the shooting starts. Misreading the question, Merle smiles and says that there is always collateral damage in a fire fight.

Michonne’s face is priceless here. She knows that Merle is probably right. The Governor is not just going to let them go. And killing him is the smartest course of action. But she is trying to find her place in this group, and that means following the rules. Plus, for all her faults, Andrea is her friend and she wants to protect her.

She says he is on his own.

Outside, Glenn is on watch when Maggie comes out to join him. She offers to take over the watch and he says he will stay. Glenn commends her on her choke hold, then says that he’s sorry that he made it all about him when they got back from Woodbury. Maggie says she wishes he would have seen her, and they have a lovely moment and I cringe as they kiss because I know something is about to go wrong.

Glenn says he can’t do it while the walkers are watching so they go inside to bone and now NO ONE IS ON WATCH.

They make love and it’s very sweet, but also a little stupid. And more graphic than I would have expected.

It’s good to see them finally have the right conversation, and I’ve got nothing against a well shot sex scene, but good God is this stupid. OK, sure, the walkers are outside the fence, but didn’t the Governor recently attack the prison, in what they call a… um… what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh yeah. A surprise attack.

At the Bistro, Rick says The Governor is supposed to be the man with the big plans and he’s supposed to be the big leader that saves humanity from the Undead Hoards. And why would he risk it all for a petty vendetta? The Governor lies says they could save everyone by turning Michonne over.

Thus completely contradicting everything he has said up until now. Sure. I believe him.

Rick thinks about it. Rick asks if The Governor will keep his word and The Governor says that he will sign off on the crick boarder proposal.

Oh yeah. Completely believable. No reason to doubt his sincerity at all.

He gives Rick two days to think about  it and leaves.

They walk out into the parking lot and get in their cars. Andrea is all torn, but she finally decides to go back to her shampoo.

I think maybe she and Hershel might have talked a little more after the camera moved on to other things. But Anne-Marie is growling over Andrea’s stupidity.

The away team arrives back at the prison and Carol (hi Carol!!) lets them back in.

Can we have more Carol please? Carol is so much more fun to watch.

Woodbury: The Governor and his team arrive back.

TIME FOR A MONTAGE!!

And this weeks musical montage selection is “Warm Shadow”, by Fink. Just so you know, since we seem to be going that route now.

Rick is all conflicted, The Governor is all cocky, Andrea is furtive. Rick calls everyone back inside. The Governor tells The Scientist that the deal is a trap (duh.) The Scientist grows just enough backbone to call this a slaughter as The Governor wanders off.

Shocked, shocked I am, that Milton is shocked, shocked he is, by the revelation that the Governor is a liar. Welcome to the world buddy. Little slow on the uptake, aren’t we?

The Governor tells Andrea that terms where set, but doesn’t tell her what they are.  She walks away, knowing this is all a total crock and I am loving it!

So pretty much everyone is lying to everyone. Yeah, this is gonna end well.

At the prison Rick tells Team Zombie that they need to prepare for war. Merle whispers to Michonne that they should have killed The Governor when they had the chance.

Rick goes out to where he and Lori had their last conversation and Hershel joins him. Hershel says that some folks believe they should abandon the prison and go back on the road, and others think they should stay and fight, but whatever decision is made, they are all behind Rick. Rick tells Hershel about the choice The Governor gave him. Hershel is taken aback, but Rick tells him that he knows it’s a trap. But what if it’s not? Rick, stop being John Kerry; the job of flip flopper is already taken.

Rick tells Hershel that he wants to propose the deal to the others, and that’s why he told them that they were going to have to go to war. He wanted them scared so they would consider it. Hershel tells Rick he thinks Michonne has proven herself to be a valuable part of the group, and Rick agrees, but then he wonders if her life is worth the lives of all their children.

Rick tells Hershel to think about it. Hershel is silent.

This is so stupid. I might just die.

Only because Rick can’t be so dumb to think that turning Michonne over is going to make the slightest bit of difference, but hey… drama! I guess.

So there you have it. “Arrow On The Doorpost”. A whole lot of blah blah blah, punctuated by moments of incredibly delayed revelations, and accentuated by a heaping dose of stupid and improbable.

So you liked it then?

Might be my favorite episode ever.

You lie a smidge better than the Governor.

Everyone lies better than the Governor. Considering that this episode was a marked drop in quality from the previous one, making your first prediction spot on, let’s look at the others, shall we?

Sadly, not a cookie in sight. Shame really, that would have elevated this episode to classic status immediately.

I can live in hope.

And while there was sniping galore between Rick and the Governor, Andrea was kicked out of the room early on, so… half a point there. And aside from either Andrea spewing completely inappropriate information everywhere or the Governor being psychic, The Wee Grimes Child didn’t share any scenes with Daryl.

That said, your first one trumps the others. And it’s a shame really. This meeting could have been just tense and creepy as hell, and instead it was just….

Anticlimactic? Dull? Disappointing?

Pretty much yeah. I really am tired of this whole Woodbury storyline. I just want them to get it over with. David Morrisey is an excellent actor, and I think they’re wasting him here, and I like Laurie Holden, but they keep writing her so badly and I just want to see this over and done with. Only three more episodes this season… maybe they’ll surprise me.

And your lesson this week?

If you’re meeting the man who tortured your friends, has made it clear he plans to kill you, and have the opportunity to kill him and end this nonsense? For the love of all that’s sane and rational, just kill him.

Oh, and don’t ask Andrea to set up the meeting. Clearly her party planning skills suck. See you next week kids.

>>>>>

[Official Show Site at AMC]     [Previous recap: “Clear”]

Timothy Harvey

Timothy Harvey is a Kansas City based writer, director, actor and editor, with a passion for film noir movies. He was the art director for the horror film "American Maniacs", and serves on the board of directors for the Independent Filmmakers Coalition of Kansas City and the Kansas City Film Commission.

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