This review contains spoilers.
3.7 When The Dead Come Knocking
All season long, The Walking Dead has been staging a big conflict between Team Prison and Team Woodbury. The Governor, as we’ve seen, is a man who wants resources and power, but not potential threats. As for Rick, he’s been in a pretty strange place, but he showed signs of coming out of it last week and that seems to have continued in When The Dead Come Knocking as he’s come to terms with his group’s recent loss. Unlike the Governor, Rick has faith in his people to take up the slack in his absence, and allows people like Daryl and Glenn to thrive as equals, even if the buck stops with the cop.
As we have seen, the Governor doesn’t take too kindly to challengers to his authority. Andrea is a follower – she goes with whomever the alpha dog seems to be, be it Rick, Daryl, Shane, or even Merle in the early days of the Atlanta group. Michonne isn’t that kind of person. She’s an alpha dog, too. Her respect can’t be bought, only earned. Michonne finally hooks up with Rick’s group this week, but it’s not exactly the easiest integration. We know Michonne is good, and we know that Rick is good, and the hope is that they will immediately take to one another and become loyal friends.
This… is not the case. It’s a very revealing moment for the character of Michonne. Rather than simply wandering up to the prison as she did in the comics, she sees what happens to Glenn and Maggie, realizes why they were gathering supplies, overhears where they came from, and then completes the mission for them. She comes bearing gifts, bleeding and battered but there. It’s a clever bit of writing by Frank Renzulli to have the other characters figure out why Michonne is there and that she means the group no harm based on the things she was carrying with her, rather than her attitude or actions.
In the first season, and in the comics, Glenn was always one of the smarter, more resourceful survivors in Rick’s group. They got away from that a bit in the second season, given Glenn’s pointless trip down the well, but in the third season, Glenn is becoming a man in the truest sense of the word. Not just a man, but a legitimate hero and a truly tough individual. It’s a brilliant turn of character for him and it was brilliantly performed this week by Steven Yeun. During the events of tonight’s episode, Yeun really showed the growth of Glenn from the first season until now, and even within this episode. It’s really effective work, and it shows us (and Merle) that this isn’t the same Glenn he knew way back when.
Glenn’s scenes with Merle and Merle’s pet were the most effective of the episode, by far. The fight between a restrained Glenn and the zombie was brilliant, and director Daniel Sackheim seemed to be channeling a little of the Sam Raimi-cam during that particular scene, making the camera an active participant in the fight rather than a passive observer; he does the opposite in a scene with Maggie and the Governor, which makes that particular moment even harder to watch.
In the comics, the Governor was straight evil, all the time. In the television show, they’re taking a different tack with the character, or so it seems. He’s still evil, but it’s a more manipulative sort of evil, a less enjoyable form of cruelty and torture. He’s evil to the extent that it helps him maintain his power, but he doesn’t seem to get any pleasure out of his treatment of Maggie this week. Or if he does, he keeps it buried beneath a layer of what seems like plausible disgust at the failure of his bluff. It’s a clever choice to make him not totally evil all the time.
However, it’s pretty certain that he’s still the bad guy, even with Merle rampaging through the camp randomly shouting racist things. Or, at least, he’s Rick if Rick didn’t have that lingering core of decency within himself. When the two groups meet, there’s no doubt it is going to end badly for both sides.
I doubt that meeting will be next week, if only because it’s only the half-season finale. That’s right, there are many more episodes of The Walking Dead waiting for us in February, and honestly? With the way the show has been going since season three started, the new episodes can’t kick off fast enough for me.
Read Ron’s review of the previous episode, Hounded, here.
US Correspondent Ron Hogan was always hoping for Glenn to meet Woodbury Glenn. Shame that won’t happen after what happened to Anti-Glenn in the forest two episodes ago Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.
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