The Walking Dead: 313 “Arrow On The Doorpost” Review
Reviewed by Rich Jepson, cult TV enthusiast and author of 24: Terrorism Through Television.
It’s fairly obvious to say this week’s episode was basically the calm before the storm, but what it managed to do that wasn’t so obvious was a brilliant weighted interaction between the shows lead protagonist and series antagonist.
Normally when a show introduces a new prime baddie for that season, it’s usually the formula that the hero & enemy will have a few fights before an eventual battle in which only one will emerge (a la Shane). That seems to be the case here as well, however, what “Arrow On The Doorpost” manages to encase is a fantastically waited interaction between the big guns of season 3. You’d have expected Rick or the Governor to be captured by their opposite number in order for there to be a reason for extended dialogue, lets face it they’re not going to stop half way through the final battle for a cup of tea and Jaffa cake so there needs to be something that brings them together before hand. This preserved negotiation of terms was a really effective excuse for the show to get these characters on screen at the same time for a prolonged period.
As well as Rick V The Governor, this is also the battle of the Brits when it comes to acting and both parties we’re doing their best to showcase their talent. There’s been somewhat of an invasion into U.S TV shows over the last decade with the likes of Damien Lewis (Homeland/Life/Band of Brothers) Tim Roth (Lie To Me) & Hugh Laurie (House) all making it on the opposite side of the pond. When you look at scenes such as this it’s clear to see why American producers are turning to their English cousins. I’d not seen an interaction between two Brits playing Americans so engaging since Dominic West’s McNulty and Idris Elba’s iconic Stringer Bell locked horns in The Wire.
However, every silver lining in an episode has a black cloud and once again this was in the form of Andrea. Ugh. It’s really frustrating that she’s turned her back on the old group and made even worse by the fact that the list of crazy bad things she finds out about the Governor seems to get longer every week. As well as his zombie daughter, the collection of heads, his attack on the prison and torturing Glen, she now knows that he’s done something terrible to Maggie….and she still heads back to casa de Woodbury with him.
Outside of all this was the well thought out meeting of the warriors and peacekeepers. Martinez and Daryl’s initial “my zombie kill is better than your zombie kill” matchup was a little unnecessary but helped keep the zombie kill tally ticking over for another week. The cigarette and a chat was quite good because it gave us chance to actually get to know Martinez, as a character from the comic I’m surprised we’ve not seen more of him in Woodbury, although, Merle’s reappearance probably took a lot of the limelight that would have been his.
On the other end of the spectrum were Hershel and the increasing popular Milton. He’s definitely a character you can see coming on board with the group when the dust settles after the upcoming battle. His documentation of events came across as quirky yet logical and Hershel took a shine to the young scientist. If he does stay on into season 4, he ‘s definitely someone who can come up with a few ideas to spice up the plot, whether it’s by creating some ingenious traps for walkers or figuring out details about the infection/virus that has caused all of this to happen.
Overall, this was an alternative way to go about things in preparation for the final trio of episodes. The summit between Rick and the Governor gave us chance to see both of the series main leads thrash out some great dialogue and bring their game to each other from an acting perspective. The Michonne factor has also added another layer to proceedings rather than just a straight up fight so the series looks set to end on a real high.
Oh and Glen got lucky – go Glen!
Scene of the Episode: Eye to Eye – The Governor’s story about his wife was a brilliant element to the sit down between himself and Rick that gave Morrissey an advantage in the face off between fellow countrymen. In many ways I hope the Governor isn’t killed off because more scenes like this in series 4 would be really enjoyable.