Review: The Walking Dead - "Arrow on the Doorpost"

Warning: The following contains SPOILERS!

By: Heather Seebach

As expected from the pendulum that is The Walking Dead, this week's episode was not particularly great or exciting. After last week's fantastic roadtrip episode, we get another roadtrip episode that should be more exciting but is not even close. Rick and the Governor's first meet should have been a thrill, but despite a few good verbal jabs, the episode was actually stolen by some of the supporting characters. It's not a bad episode, just not especially memorable, and feels a bit like filler. "We're going to war." Duh! Hurry it up already!

On the plus side, "Arrow on the Doorpost" wastes no time jumping right into the first meeting between the sheriff and the Governor. We were thankfully spared scenes of Andrea arranging the meet. The summit goes down at an abandoned mill with Daryl and Hershel waiting outside, along with Martinez and Milton. 

What follows is a lot of smoldering between the two leaders, and the occasional sharp barb. My favorite lines:

Governor: "I thought you were a cop, not a lawyer."

Rick: "You're the town drunk who knocked over my fence or ripped up my yard - nothing more." (daaaaamn)
I like when Rick says he knows all the horrible things the Governor has done (including Maggie) which he does not even attempt to deny. Instead the Governor simply says, "We're here to move forward" with a devious smile. 

The Governor bringing up Shane was pretty villainous, too. That, along with the story of Mrs. Blake, were clear attempts to get under Rick's skin. Just when we thought he might be having a human moment with that accident story, he cracked a sinister smile at the end as if to say, "I win." Interestingly enough, it was right when Rick takes a sip of whiskey, implying the sheriff is under his thumb. 

Gov: "You failed the see the devil beside you."
Rick: "Oh, I see him alright." 

It was also pretty funny watching Andrea get booted out of the man-meeting. I'm so sick of her inflated sense of self-importance. She has done nothing but fuck up and act like an idiot for at least a whole season now. She has NO impact on these negotiations. Now she FINALLY sees how the Governor really looks at her (like he's about to tell her to get in the kitchen). And even Rick is disgusted with her because she jumped into bed with the enemy. She deserves to be all alone, and yet at the end of the episode she STILL goes back to Woodbury. Presumably to infiltrate or something, but whatever, she needs to fuck off and die.

I did really like the Governor this episode, with his smarmy shots at Rick and his diplomatic whiskey.  I like how he subtly tries to unnerve his opponent, like when he mentions the weapons stash they brought back, implying he has been watching them. And it's a great moment when he flat-out laughs at the map and says, "I'm here for one thing - your surrender." He does not hide who he is to Rick. He plays multiple angles - sympathy, bargaining, threats - but ultimately he's done playing politician. 

My favorite thing about "Arrow on the Doorpost" are the parallel 1-on-1 conversations.  While Rick and the Governor battle it out, their number two's, Daryl and Martinez, are having their own pissing contest outside. The zombie kills had WAY too much CG blood (what the fuck?!), but the flexing between those two guys was a lot of fun. 

 The scene where Daryl is having a cigarette with Martinez reminded me of No Man's Land (2001), or the WW1 trench friendships, with soldiers on opposing sides becoming friends in the calm before the storm. I foresee these two meeting in battle soon and each hesitating to pull the trigger. 

Similarly, the medical enthusiasts, Hershel and Milton have a bonding moment, as well. Both believe their experiences need to be documented for history, and Milton asks to see Hershel's bitten leg - for science! 

The back-and-forth between the three pairs of enemies was an interesting parallel. Even when they all go back to their respective homes, we get a matching shot of the cars going through the prison and Woodbury gates, respectively. Not exactly subtle but interesting nonetheless. I'm really surprised the scene of Rick lying to his people was not matched with one of the Governor lying to the Woodbury folks again. 

All the prison-based stuff in this episode bored me. Re: Merle getting antsy to go attack Woodbury - lock that fucker up! And Maggie and Glenn's extended sex scene was a bit strange, only because whenever these programs show that much sex, it's because the writers are trying to emphasize something - like a pregnancy. That better not fucking happen! I am so sick of apocalypse babies already.

 Speaking of babies, did anyone else think for a moment that the "one thing" the Governor wanted from Rick would be Judith? Silly as that would be, my mind really went there for a moment. Thankfully that was not the case - it would've made the Governor into some kind of cartoon villain. "Give me your baby!" Anyway, so of course, he wants Michonne, and of course Rick is NOT going to give her up, no matter what the writers try to imply. That is never going to happen. It will probably appear that way - Rick will likely tell Michonne and she'll agree to be bait. That's my prediction.

So, next week sees the return of Tyreese, and Andrea appears to be playing the Governor. Maybe she'll finally be useful for once.  Here is the trailer for "Prey":

And this clip from next week shows the Governor is preparing a torture room for somebody, presumably Michonne. Will we see a little taste of that infamous arc in the comic books?!

Thanks to Reddit user iamacannibal for all the gifs! :)

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