Confrontation comes a’knocking on The Walking Dead

Merle TWD

The penultimate episode of the first half of the season sets a terrific stage for the mid-season finale.


Now … that’s what I’m talking about.

An episode that’s got it all, soup to nuts. Merle back to his old asshat self. (“I’ll bake a cake … with pink frosting. Would they like that?”) Rick out of his funk. The group on high alert. The knowing music as it builds toward the end of the episode.

When the writers can do this and evoke tears — from me! — it trips my trigger.

And, of course, my favorite part of the show: the character interaction. If you don’t know I harp on this week after week after week, you’re pretty much glossing over what I write about The Walking Dead. This time it was the reveal Carol was still with them, followed by Rick and her knowing and sudden tears at the fact Lori was gone, Carol empathizing with him silently. It doesn’t get much better than that for me. No words need be spoken and yet volumes are exchanged. When the writers can do this and evoke tears — from me! — it trips my trigger. (Second favorite moment? Wondering if there was going to be anything different at Mr. Coleman’s resurrection. I loved that suspense, even when the expected result reared its head.)

But … I do have a squibble about the episode. Didn’t it appear Michonne was brought into the group fold a little too quickly? Cautious as they — and especially Rick — are about new blood, you’d think there should have been not only more interplay with her, but more than an arm’s length of respect for who she is. Not because she had a basket-full of baby formula but because she was foreign to everyone. An unknown. The “presents” she brought could have been part of an elaborate ruse, her silence telling … but she did reveal enough information to calm any fears Rick might have about her. Still, her impaling of the hyper dude in the house the rescue effort stumbled upon would have given me cause to step back and keep her in my sights all the more. All new-comers have the potential to be dangerous. One with a kitana? Even moreso.

But that was just a blip in the overall niftiness of the hour. With last week’s “Hounded” setting the stage for shaking off the bad taste in my mouth of “Say The Word” before it, “When The Dead Come Knocking” thoroughly cleansed my palate.

“There ain’t a pair of nuts between the whole pussy lot of you …” – Merle to Glenn during Glenn’s interrogation

Let’s talk the deviousness of The Governor for a minute. I told you some time ago he’s got a twisted smarminess that always has an ulterior motive. To witness him in action is rather cool, however. (In a creepy and sordid kind of way, that is.) Just as with the reveal of his “viewing wall” of living undead heads (even though I knew that was coming), I was rapt with concentration at what he could or might do with Maggie during her interrogation. And with the scene of him standing at her rear with his hand on the small of her back, he knows the psychological damage he embeds in someone’s mind is just as effective as any degenerate or debaucherous act he could commit. There’s familiarity from what we’ve seen of him thus far, but I’m willing to bet were still going to get a surprise or several from him down the line. And not the ones I know are coming from the comic series. The writers have plans most vile for our “good” Governor, rest assured. Plans we have no clue as to their reach or revelation. (Much to my chagrin, we’re not going to see those things manifest themselves until February, after the mid-season break that comes at us oh, too early with next week’s “Made To Suffer.” But … maybe we’ll get a taste next week.)

Speaking of revelations, you know what I would like to see happen? The unlikely scenario of Andrea fully lapsed on over to “the dark side,” completely seduced by The Governor and going up against the rescue group that’s at Woodbury’s door … or tire wall as the case may be. Wouldn’t that be some fun interplay and conflict-a-go-go?

Lastly, we have the inevitable set up of the Daryl / Merle family reunion. I’m champing at the bit for that one. That little event is going to be a feast for the eyes and ears.

One more thing: Remember that “watcher in the woods” who was spying on Carol as she experimented on that walker at the fence in the second episode of the season? I have a theory … and for those who have read the comics you may find this intriguing. (Those who haven’t won’t know who I’m talking about, so it technically isn’t any kind of spoiler.)

The “watcher” is Tyreese

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Photo Credit: AMC

3 Comments on “Confrontation comes a’knocking on The Walking Dead

  1. I agree with nearly everything you wrote, but for me, the episode highlight was surprisingly enough, a fight scene! And I’m all about the character interactions. But I just loved seeing that our young Glen has really come so far in his time with the group. I can’t imagine Glen from Season 1, or even Season 2, surviving against that walker while duct-taped to a chair. Or even keeping the group’s location secret while being beaten. I like the way he’s realistically grown up and become a good fighter (an unfortunately necessary skill in the post-walker world). And he clearly hasn’t lost his soul to it, as we sometimes wonder about Rick. I just wanted to point out that Glen and Maggie’s relationship is one of the best things on the show, in my opinion. While the writers seem to have trouble writing realistic, three-dimensional African-American characters (the always-snarling Michonne, T-Dogg 1.0, and now T-Dogg 2.0), I’m glad they can write a strong Asian character who has a real character arc in the series.

    • Scott?

      Agreed. Glenn’s come a long way. I’m right there with you: Season 3 Glenn is immensely different. And the fight was a good one from him. Showed he had soul and determination – no doubt the will to survive with Maggie also a hostage. His primal scream post-fight was pretty telling as well.

      And I will also agree their relationship is an interesting side note to their world … a bit of hope in a hopeless situation.

  2. I agree with you as well except for the part about Andrea. Andrea was wrong to jam a gun in Ricks face. She was wrong to think Shane was better for the group then Rick. She was wrong to actively support suicide as an acceptable option for a teenager who was grieving for her mother at the time. She was wrong to shoot at a walker when she was sitting on the RV. Not because it was Daryl she was shooting at, but because the rifle made unnecessary noise. Especially given that the guys were on the way to deal with it already and to top it off, several of them told her not to fire. And of course her assessment of the Governor is dead wrong. How about the writers give the dumb blonde cliche a rest for once and let Andrea make a good decision. Let Andrea, just this one time, do the right thing when she discovers Rick and the group sneaking around Woodbury. Please.