by Joseph Lamour
Morality: how we retain it, and what we are willing to give up. This week of The Walking Dead highlighted what people are willing to do for themselves in a zombie-ridden world. This episode was necessary in order for the plot to move forward and, as a result, we were subjected to a lot more dialogue than zombie-killing (sigh, again). The tension in the hour didn’t come at all from the undead but from the subtext in each conversation between the living.
Spoilers for The Walking Dead Recap 3.13: “Arrow On The Doorpost” are below the cut.
This episode opens with something unusual for The Walking Dead: Rick and the gang in clean clothing. Less odd than the usual shifty stares or strafing in sweat-stained linen that we’re used to. It all makes sense when Rick enters an empty barn, turns, and sees The Governor. I guess he put on his Sunday best to meet The Hub of All Evil for peace talks.
Back in the prison, everyone gets into an argument about what to do while Rick is presumably in danger. Standing around and arguing about what to do is basically The Walking Dead’s footstool trip at this point. Merle wants to ambush, and everyone thinks that idea is, of course, awful. Merle disagrees and paints a lovely mental image of Rick having his head on a pike for Rick’s adolescent son. Classy.
After Andrea gets thrown out by the big strong men (this episode was especially testosterone-y, wasn’t it?), she takes out her frustration on a walker, along with Daryl and Martinez from The Governor’s group. After deftly taking out a walker with a dagger throw, Daryl and Martinez bond: over zombie killing technique, their doubt in their leaders’ diplomacy, and, of course, their rippling biceps. Herschel and Milton connect over more urbane discussion about history-keeping for future generations and what happened to Herschel’s leg. The laughter the two share only highlights that these people can actually get along if it wasn’t for their leaders. Just like Andrea was shouting at the guys before they threw her out. Alert the authorities: Andrea actually had a valid point.
Glenn and Merle get into a fight when Merle tries to leave to kill The Governor. Merle’s desire to leave is mostly out of concern for his brother and not completely out of bloodlust. Still, Glenn doesn’t care about Merle’s feelings and tackles him, and down they go down a flight of stairs. You know you dislike someone when you’re fighting with someone, hear a gunshot nearby, and keep on fighting. The only thing I thought of when Beth shot that gun inside is why it didn’t somehow ricochet off those concrete walls and into someone. I would also have scolded her for wasting a bullet.
Back in the barn, “peace talks” continue. In an interesting twist, The Governor offers Rick a trade: Everyone’s safety–including the prison–for Michonne. (Yeah, right, Gov. I’m sure you’re good for it.) Rick uses this proposal to point out The Governor’s faults as a leader because a leader wouldn’t hold grudges like he does. A real leader wouldn’t hold heads in fish tanks, either. This all clearly makes The Governor uncomfortable. No one has read him this well, this quickly–not even the woman he’s currently canoodling with.
The group departs. I was going to mention how Andrea found out about Maggie’s assault, said “I can’t go back there,” and then still went back with The Governor…but that was so frustrating. That’s all you’re getting.
Glenn and Maggie hash out (and this time, resolve) their feelings about what happened during their capture. After they make up, they make out–in front of some walkers (awkward). Not wanting an undead audience, they move into a storage locker. They show that people can still have flirty fun during a zombie apocalypse, and that’s information I’m happy to know.
Music from the episode. I love it, so it goes in my recap.
After Rick returns and speaks to the group, he walks outside for a little introspection. I was going to comment on how he seemed to regain his stride as leader by not telling anyone that The Governor wanted Michonne in exchange for the Atlanta group’s safety. But, in a rather disappointing fashion, Rick actually considers the offer with the help of Herschel, who mentions, like, every character when he brings up who Michonne has saved. I have to admit, it makes me a little uneasy that two white fellas are thinking about giving a black woman to yet another white guy. In plantation country, no less. What is this, Mississippi in 2012?
I’m pretty sure I’d fare horribly in a zombie apocalypse, because I’m pretty certain I would never even consider–well… I guess that’s not fair to say cause I’m sitting here in bed writing this while eating a molasses cookie fresh out the oven. Clearly, I don’t have the correct perspective on this at the moment. What would you do in Rick’s situation?