Posted by: pop-break | March 11, 2013

Reviewing The Dead: ‘Arrow on the Doorpost’

luke kalamar is knocking at the door…

reviewingthedead

Plot: In an effort to avoid war, Andrea (Laurie Holden) brings Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and The Governor (David Morrissey) together for peace talks. They are joined by Hershel (Scott Greene), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Martinez (Jose Pablo Cantillo), and Milton (Dallas Roberts), who keep an eye out for any walkers in the area. Meanwhile, Glenn (Steven Yeun) is doing his best to secure The Prison from The Governor, but Merle (Michael Rooker) has a different idea.

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This is it folks. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. After separate attacks by each group, Rick and The Governor have come together in an attempt to hammer out terms for peace. It’s strange how it took so long for these two main characters to actually speak together, but I guess that’s what makes it that much better. This episode was very dialogue heavy like last week, but the showcasing of several characters human sides are what made “Arrow on the Doorpost” great.

In many ways, Rick and The Governor meeting face to face for the first time was very well done. The majority of the episode was these two leaders sitting at a table and talking about their current situation. I can imagine how this could be extremely boring for those hungering for some action, but it was refreshing to see Rick and The Governor actually talk to each other rather than shooting each other up. Sure, we all wanted Rick to just put a bullet through The Governor’s eyes right then and there, but that’s not good for the survival of a show (or a contract). I absolutely loved The Governor talking about how his wife passed away as well. It’s one of the few times where we got an insight into The Governor’s pre-outbreak life and it does a great job showing his hidden emotions. Plus we hear about what he has gone through before the outbreak, which provides a reasoned explanation as to why he’s so power happy and craves leadership.

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The Governor’s terms for a peaceful resolution were pretty surprising as well. I knew he was going to want something from Rick in return for all the damage he’s incurred, but I did not expect that all he really wants is Michonne (Danai Gurira). I mean, it’s obvious that he wants Rick and everyone dead, but he makes it clear that he wants Michonne alive regardless of what happens. His actions are definitely motivated by revenge for his daughter’s “death.” Rick’s decision to keep this little tidbit secret from his group (with the exception of Hershel to talk him out of it) was nicely done and showed how much Michonne has grown on Rick. Considering that Rick was questioning his decision at the end, I really hope this option never actually comes into fruition. I want Michonne around, and Rick giving her up means certain death.

It was really fun watching some nice bonding moments between Daryl and Martinez, and Hershel and Milton, too. This brings up the idea that if these individuals had met on different terms, they could have actually been friends. Daryl and Martinez were able to connect on their ability to kill zombies with ease, while Hershel and Milton were able to come together with simple record keeping and humor. It really shows that the majority of people under Rick and The Governor are primarily motivated to fight because of the men in charge and not their own bloodlust. In the end, they’re all people who just want to survive like everyone else in that type of environment. This also changed how I view Martinez and Milton as well as we got a great look into what motivates them. I no longer view them as simple stock characters, which is always a good change.

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Glenn once again soared in this episode. I really like how he’s become a more take-charge type of character and is willing to stand up against those who defy him. One year ago, Merle would’ve been able to intimidate Glenn to the point of inaction. Now, Glenn isn’t afraid to enforce his own rules and keep those who oppose him in line. I understand Merle’s motives for wanting to attack The Governor and I enjoy him as the dissenting force in The Prison, but Glenn being a boss is the best. The fact that Rick can leave The Prison in his more than capable hands, especially in this time of extreme danger, shows how much Glenn has truly grown. It was also great seeing him make up with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) after so long.

Despite how great this episode was, the bottom line is that nothing has really changed at all between Rick and The Governor. With the exception of Rick having some doubts now, everything that happened was basically futile. Rick and The Governor were preparing for war before, and now they’re both still preparing for war. As Martinez himself said this episode, the talks were simply preventing the inevitable. War is coming no matter what. It almost makes this episode completely pointless, but the development we got for all these characters made this hour very worthwhile. It does look like Andrea might actually make a concrete decision where her loyalties lie too, which is an idea I welcome with open arms.

“Arrow on the Doorpost” was the second dialogue heavy episode in a row, with only a little action put in near the beginning, but its focus on a wide array of characters and the new insights we have made this a great one. With only three episodes left this season, I think we can expect a ton of action in the upcoming episodes. For now, this is a great lead in for what is to come.

Rating: 8.5/10

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