Review: The Walking Dead S3E13 “Arrow on the Doorpost”


TheWalkingDeadS3E13

“If we choose to destroy everything we fought for over the past year.” — Philip “The Governor” Blake

Tonight’s episode, simply titled “Arrow on the Doorpost”, looks to be the final calm before the storm that’s been brewing since the start of this third season for AMC’s The Walking Dead. It’s not a very action-oriented entry in what has been a season full of action, but it really looks to set the tone for what should be an explosive final stretch run that should see the two armed camps in the Prison and Woodbury fighting a war that everyone knows no one really comes out a winner.

We begin the episode with Rick, Daryl and Hershel (one leg and all) arriving at a secluded spot in what turns out to be a sort of zombie apocalypse UN Summit where Rick and the Governor can sit down and talk about things which looks to be leading them both into a violent confrontation. It’s interesting to note how the very person who planned and organized this summit would be none other than Andrea who has become Lori’s replacement as “most hated” character on the show. Even when she’s trying to be a productive character on the show the way she has been written and protrayed just ends up making her seem naive and overly cocksure of her situation when in reality she’s clueless.

It showed during the early parts of this episode when Andrea tries to mediate between the smug Governor and the barely constrained Rick and both men dismiss and ask her to leave the meeting. It’s almost darkly comical how two men who have a vested interest in killing the other would find such common ground and it’s the one character who continues to elude the show’s writers.

As for the meeting itself, for a set-up episode it’s certainly one that I’d consider one of the better ones. What the episode lacked in action (though it did have it’s small share involving a male-bonding sequence between Daryl and the Governor’s henchman Martinez) it made up for in some very tense back and forth between Rick and the Governor. This was the moment that could easily break the season if the meeting between these two alpha males didn’t come off well. The writing was quite good as we see the two men quietly manuever the meeting to their advantage. The Governor poking at Rick with secrets learned from Andrea about his relationship with Shane to Rick sitting there taking it all in and knowing that the Governor was trying his utmost to snow him and failing.

Daryl and Martinez got it right during their bonding session outside that the meeting was pointless. The two leaders would talk and make propositions and counters, but in the end both sides will send out word to their respective people that war was the only thing to do. It’s not idle speculation on Daryl’s and Martinez’s part either. Once the two sides part ways to make their decisions it’s not a huge surprise that the Governor would plan to ambush Rick and his people for a future meet he thinks Rick has agreed to while Rick has plainly lied to his people that the Governor just wants to take what they have and kill everyone. The offer to leave the group alone as long as Rick gives up Michonne doesn’t even get mentioned which just goes to show how much the katana-wielding lonewolf has suddenly become a part of the Rick Grimes Clan.

Some would consider “Arrow on the Doorpost” as one of the weakest episode of the season because it was too talky and lacked the action that the season has been known for, but it did serve a purpose. It finally introduced the two men whose decisions will put the two groups at war with each other. It showed the differences between the two leaders and the similarities between the people who followed them. In fact, the show did more than subtly hint that if the Governor wasn’t such a sociopath and Rick wasn’t such an emotional and psychological mess the Prison group and the people of Woodbury could easily pool resources and skills together to make a better life for everyone. But that’s not the case in this zombie apocalypse world where suspicion, megalomania and broken psyches rule the land.

There’s just three ore episodes left in season 3 and it looks like it’s nothing but action, blood, brains and sorrow left for the survivors of The Walking Dead.

Notes

  • Tonight’s episode, “Arrow on the Doorstop”, was written and directed by two newcomers to the series, Ryan C. Coleman and David Boyd respectively.
  • I think I might not have been the only one who thought that Rick should’ve just shot the Governor the moment he appeared for the meeting and end the problem between the two groups right then and there.
  • Andrea was much better as a character in this episode, but only just (I do believe that if the current producers of the show had to recast the show again I think Laurie Holden would be replaced by someone else).
  • Glenn back in prison is channeling his inner Ricktator and it’s not coming off well. he sounds more like a scared kid playing at being leader especially when it came to dealing with the rabble-rousing Merle Dixon. It’s a relief that Glenn later pulls his head out of his ass by apologizing to Maggie for how he’s been acting.
  • Which led to a surprisingly steamy sex scene between the two love birds that one would see as common on HBO but not on basic cable. The Walking Dead has definitely pushed the boundaries of whats to be expected and accepted when it came to violence and, now, sex on basic cable.
  • I did think that something bad was going to happen during or after that sex scene, but the writers seem to genuinely want to give these two lovebirds a chance at some normalcy and not fuck it up by having a zombie interrupt them.
  • Merle Dixon may not be an ideal member of the Rick Grimes group, but he does seem like he’s picked the role of redneck Devil’s advocate whose more than willing to air out the bad news and possibilities to the group clinging to a semblance of hope that they have a chance of winning the coming war.
  • Hershel looks to have found a kindred spirit in Milton (who looks like he’s realizing that he may be backing the wrong horse in the Governor).
  • I think everyone would agree that a spin-off show starring Daryl Dixon and Martinez as the Odd Couple of the zombie apocalypse would be an instant hit.
  • Zombie Kill Count of tonight’s episode: 5.

Past Season 3 Episode Review

  1. Episode 1: “Seed”
  2. Episode 2: “Sick”
  3. Episode 3: “Walk With Me”
  4. Episode 4: “Killer Within”
  5. Episode 5: “Say the Word”
  6. Episode 6: “Hounded”
  7. Episode 7: “When the Dead Come Knocking”
  8. Episode 8: Made to Suffer
  9. Episode 9: The Suicide King
  10. Episode 10: Home
  11. Episode 11: I Ain’t a Judas
  12. Episode 12: Clear
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3 responses to “Review: The Walking Dead S3E13 “Arrow on the Doorpost”

  1. Pingback: Review: The Walking Dead S3E14 “Prey” | Through the Shattered Lens

  2. Pingback: Review: The Walking Dead S2E15 “This Sorrowful Life” | Through the Shattered Lens

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