The Walking Dead S03 E13, Review

The newest episode, "Arrow On The Doorpost", shuffles its way towards us, as all good zombies should.

Hot damn another amazing episode (although I am loathe to deem any episode which does not feature my man Lennie James as amazing)! I was on the edge of my seat, just like last Sunday, sweating it out as two awesome actors chewed up some kickass dialogue.

Finally, the episode we have all been waiting for: face off time between Rick and the Governor. I guess this means Andrea didn’t have the chutzpah to knife him in his sleep. Shame. She tries so hard to be badass (although why she insists on killing zombies with a pen knife continues to baffle me).

I knew this was going to be one hell of an episode when Rick asked the Governor about how he harassed Maggie while she was being held captive in Woodbury (stripping and terrorizing her). The blame for the entire debacle is placed squarely on Meryl’s shoulders, as the Gov gives one of his charming little laughing smiles. Rick remarks, “I thought you would take responsibility.”

Basically, this one little exchange told Rick everything he needed to know about that jackass. The man is full of shit, deeply manipulative and a complete sociopath. A message that was hammered home when the Gov observed the Lil’ Ass Kicker’s questionable parentage. Now that was a low blow; and really we have no one to blame but Andrea. You told him Rick was cuckolded by Shane? Woman what is WRONG with you?

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So frustrating and yet so beautifully executed. As Rick and the Gov are trading barbs inside, the sidekicks are sitting outside, bonding. And there you have it.

A dictatorship is a funny thing. When a society collapses, who is going to step up and lead? People who feel responsible for saving the human race or people who want power and lack certain moral scruples and can therefore make decisions which others would shrink from? Yeah, that last one seems about right. Post apocalyptic narratives always feature a crazy, ambitious, sociopathic dictator. Gary Oldman in the Book of Eli. Dennis Hopper in Land of the Dead. You get the picture. Why do we get this setup in fiction? Because we get it in real life too; human history is rife with the rise of warlords and dictators. The people they lead live and die by their decisions, history and the future trajectory of society and culture are shaped in large part by their ambition and ego.

Outside Herschel and the nerd joke about collecting zombie data and the propriety of revealing one’s stump on the first date. Daryl and the lieutenant bond over zombies and a smoke. These are people who, under other circumstances (read: leadership) could be working together.

Inside we get a little Gov backstory. He tells Rick that his wife was killed in an accident before the zombie apocalypse and that she left him a voicemail, but he would never know what she called him for. It’s hard to say if the story is truth or more manipulative bullshit. I’m inclined to think bullshit; he knows a dead wife story is going to push all Rick’s buttons.

Back at the prison, Meryl has inadvertently become the voice of reason and is advocating they go ambush the men as they talk and basically assassinate the Gov. Ultimately Meryl just wants to help his brother, but he isn’t wrong. Killing the Gov would end the conflict and if anyone knows this, it is Andrea. You think if she could over share about Shane’s love life, she could tell Rick that without the Gov, Woodbury would pretty much be a done deal. Anywho. With Rick and Herschel gone, Glenn is in charge and he ain’t having it. The resulting tussle ends up with Glenn and Maggie finally coming to terms with what happened to them in Woodbury. Very nicely done (and I don’t just mean the makeup sexy time) and it seemed extremely plausible. You think about all the times that something has happened to you and you felt weak and helpless and unable to defend either yourself or your loved ones. Sure, I don’t think any of us have experienced that to the same extreme as Glenn and Maggie, but helplessness can be terrible and frustrating and it is something you so rarely see depicted in televised drama, where the name of the game is resolution (so the viewer can feel fulfilled). The only closure these two are likely to get (aside from one of them killing the Gov) is by repairing the rift in their relationship. Which you can do by having dirty, loading dock sex. With no zombies watching; Glenn gets performance anxiety.

The meeting in the barn ends with the Gov demanding that Rick hand over Michonne; in exchange he says he will leave the prison alone. Both parties leave. Both parties go home and prepare their people for war. The Gov smiles, laughs, lies to Andrea and practically skips back to his office under the impression that he’ll soon have Michonne and be rid of Rick’s irritating little group.

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But if the viewer has learned anything, they know that you shouldn’t confuse Rick’s silence for weakness. Just like in Season 2 when his bromance with Shane hit the skids, he knows that the Gov has no intention of backing down, whether he gets Michonne or not. So, like the Gov, Rick goes home and lies to his people. But when he confides the truth to Herschel and asks the old man to talk him out of going to war with Woodbury we see the crucial difference between him and the Gov. Rick may be a killer. He may have serious crazy face. But he isn’t a sociopath.

Only three more episodes to go and I don’t know about you guys but I am seriously excited to see how Season 3 wraps up. I am keeping my fingers crossed for some hardcore Michonne screen time!

Favorite zombie of the episode:

The heavily decayed zombie who was conveniently carrying a fresh pack of cigarettes in his pocket.


Zombie kill of the week:

The zombie Daryl killed with a knife throw (who was also conveniently carrying cigarettes in his pocket). I am extremely jealous of Daryl’s knife throwing skills. When my husband and I were dating he gave me a set of throwing knives only to get strangely nervous when I tried to practice throwing them in the house. See? As tonight’s episode proves, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, had I gotten the chance to develop these crucial skills I would have a better chance for survival. Also, I’d like to point out that I never actually hit our cat …


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