“Arrow on the Doorpost” – The Walking Dead Recap

walkingdead s3 title

“There was so much dick waving this episode they might as well have filmed it in a sausage factory.” – bosawks

I couldn’t have said it better my friend! Lots of negotiating, not enough cunning. Here’s another filler courtesy of The Walking Dead.

Daryl and his noisy bike pulls up, followed by Hershel and Rick in a car. Hershel waits with his assault rifle and more ammo and a pistol strapped to his thigh as Rick is escorted by Daryl to his destination – looks like he’s got a fancy new crossbow! I don’t remember it being so large but I guess it’s the perfect opportunity for some odd product placement (Stryke crossbows, anyone?) and show off how cool Daryl looks no matter what brand he wields.

They stealth their way to an abandoned shack, taking note of a permanently dead walker on the ground; a sign that someone’s here. Rick slips into the building and cocks the hammer of his revolver in preparation for the worst.

A noise alerts him to someone’s presence, and sure enough, out of the darkness steps the Governor, finally meeting him face to face. He puts his hands up as a sign of temporary surrender but it’s kind of sarcastic with his phony smile of diplomacy. Rick is right to shoot him an “I ain’t trustin’ yo’ ass” look.

“We have a lot to talk about,” says the Governor, breaking the silence. Boom! Credits.

Snakey smile

Snakey smile, spirit fingers

Rick and Philip have a civil discussion about who did what first to screw the peace and safety of everyone. Of course, the Gov’s all, “You’re a little insect but I spared your life, cretin!” and Rick’s all, “Well I’m going to point my gun at you because you flap your gums too much!”

The Governor offers to undo his belt (bahahaha) as a sign of peace while Daryl peers into their meeting from outside (bahahahahahaha). I laugh because it’s almost as if Daryl’s checking to see if the Gov is going to wreck his bromance or not, like how a housewife might don a headscarf and sunglasses and follow her husband around for the day to keep tabs on his fidelity. It’s really easy to misconstrue scenes like these and take them out of context for crazy fandom people like me.

So Rick lets the Governor remove his weapon and set it aside, and he holsters his own gun. The Gov takes a seat and we see that he’s sneakily taped a gun on his side of the table. What a cheater.

Daryl finds his way back to Hershel to let him know what’s going on. Suddenly, a station wagon pulls over. It’s Milton, Andrea, and Martinez! Apparently Andrea thinks she has the right to barge in on a private matter and ask why she isn’t involved. Hear that? Yeah, that’s my eye roll.

Oh, right, so it’s actually Andrea who help put together this little soiree. The only sensible thing I hear coming out of her mouth is “saving the bullets for the real threat”. Yes, but you can’t make them love each other just by mashing their faces together.

Rick confronts Phil about his dickheaded rule over Woodbury with information fed to him by Michonne and trauma couple Glenn and Maggie. Naturally, the Gov uses Merle as his scapegoat, and quickly moves the conversation along to discussing the future, which to the Governor, would probably consist of the total annihilation of the Atlanta group. He’s so transparent, guys.

This is srs biznaz guys

This is srs biznaz guys

Outside, we see some excellent parallels being painted – the muscle and the voices of reason of the opposing groups. Martinez is giving Daryl the stinkeye; Milton and Hershel are both being protective of their respective “bosses”. It’s adorable.

Martinez’s reaction to Daryl calling Milton a butler is telling – looks like he sees him that way too. Milton retorts that he doesn’t need to explain himself to Rick’s henchmen, and Martinez asks Daryl to promptly shut his trap, especially since they’re going to be out here all day doing nothing.

Daryl’s starting to get up in his face but Hershel tells everyone to back down. They’re all gonna kill each other eventually anyway. I have to admit that the actor playing Martinez is not really doing this interaction any favours because I’m getting a lot of hoyay vibes from the way he looks at Daryl. It’s the look people give each other when they want to throw down their shit and just go at it. Stop confusing me, man.

YOU ARE WELCOME SLASHERS

YOU ARE WELCOME SLASHERS

Back at the prison, guns are being loaded. Glenn is in-charge and instructing the rest on what to do. Merle suggests putting everything in the truck and driving off for a Woodbury massacre (Glenn’s old plan), but Michonne reminds them of all of their parts – don’t want Rick, Daryl and Hershel to come back and see everyone missing or beheaded, right?

Glenn doesn’t want to mess with the negotiations going on in case they accidentally screw something up, and Carl jumps in to say that Rick is perfect capable of taking care of himself. Merle is certain that it’s only a matter of time until something bad happens again, and suggests to Carl that he might be seeing Rick’s head on a pike King’s Landing style by the end of the day. “Don’t say that to him,” Maggie chimes in, and Merle backs off.

Glenn puts his foot down again. Nobody’s going anywhere, or jeopardizing anything.

Back in the house (is it a house? Looks more like a really large toolshed), Andrea tries to make it known to her two leader guys that they each took up a huge responsibility and fought to protect their respective groups and blah blah blah is what the Governor hears too. He snaps his fingers at her and tells her to Get To It. I quite enjoy seeing Andrea being marginalized.

Rick dives straight into his proposal – Woodbury territory will be west of the river, and the prison takes east. Nobody can cross the border, no trades will take place. The Governor studies the old worn map that Rick tosses him and disagrees to Rick’s proposed solution almost immediately; the quickness of it prompts Rick to yell at Andrea because it seems like the Gov isn’t here to talk but to dictate the terms.

And here are the terms, as he brushes Andrea’s existence aside again: Surrender. And Rick won’t surrender because he knows well enough that a nutbag like Phil won’t let them off that easily. Their assimilation into Woodbury would probably comprise of being barricade decor to ward away walkers.

Andrea tries to butt in again to make peace between both of them, but the Governor tells her to GTFO. When she doesn’t want to budge, Rick tells her to GTFO too. Why does Andrea think that she needs to be in this discussion anyway? Is she looking to credit herself for the civil handshake that will never ever happen? Finally, something Rick, the Governor and I can agree upon – GTFO Andrea!

She steps outside and tries not too look to embarrassed about being verbally chased out.

Away with you, wench!

Away with you, wench!

Rick has a seat. Hopefully his dashing looks are good enough to appease the Governor’s one eye. Martinez shuts the door for them for privacy, and some small chit chat commences.

Rick asks Phil about his role to the town and broaches the topic of Merle. Again, Phil blames everything on his rogue lieutenant, but still vouches for his effectiveness as a henchman. Rick picks on the fact that the Governor is really an irresponsible twat for shifting the blame so much when as a leader, he should shoulder all responsibility.

Rick then leans forward to tell him exactly what he thinks of him.

“You’re the town drunk, who knocked over my fence and ripped up my yard. Nothing more.”

The Governor gives Rick a lecture on misjudging people. He knows about Shane, and uses it against Rick for some emotional leverage – once again, thanks to Andrea’s big mouth. It’s like her trap is full of gasoline and she’s spewing it all over the place and now these two guys are just dropping lit matches to see if something catches fire. Crazy. Based on what happened with Shane, the Governor uses that as an example of simple misjudgment on Rick’s part, but the film has already been wiped from Rick’s eyes and he can clearly see that the Governor is a lying sack of shit.

To break the tension, the Governor breaks out some whiskey, and Rick is momentarily lost in thought.

Outside, Daryl’s pacing up and down. Milton suggests that they might as well engaging in some bonding (oh, typical Milton, the social nerd), whereas Martinez is all about following the orders that state sit down and shut up.

“Oh you mean the Governor?” comes Daryl’s smug reply. Milton explains that the discussion needs to happen and that he’s recorded it all down so that they have some sort of history to note for future generations. Hershel’s down with that. Milton seems like he wants to share the material with the old man, but the irritating scratch and groan of zombies interrupt.

Andrea’s all prepped with her switchblade while Martinez fetches a sturdy baseball bat. Daryl’s already on the zombie killing with his crossbow, but he wants to see what Martinez is made of. After you, Martinez replies, also wanting to see Daryl’s skillz. Andrea can’t take this weird macho thing going on and proceeds to stab a zombie in the eye. Probably just venting her frustrations on men. Stupid men. Crazy men. WHY DON’T MEN LISTEN TO MEEEEE.

Go ahead, girlfriend.

Go ahead, girlfriend.

Martinez calls Daryl a pussy and starts bashing walker brains in with the bat. He’s kind of hot doing it, even with all the gore splatter. Daryl’s look is like, eh, so-so, maybe you need to work on your style a little more like this totally badass point blank skewering of zombie right here. His bolt connects, and he looks over and sees Martinez do this really cheesy kungfu bat spinning like Bruce Lee might with his nunchucks and bam, another walker down.

Andrea sighs. Good god, she must be thinking, why are these guys measuring their dicks? I’m outta here!

The competition is too funny. Daryl takes another one down, and Martinez is about to hit the zombie behind it, but Daryl totally steals his kill by throwing his knife at it first. Well-played, Martinez acknowledges wordlessly.

From the bodies Daryl manages to scavenge a pack of cigarettes and shares the small bounty with his new frienemy. Martinez refuses, preferring Menthols. “Douchebag,” Daryl replies. This must be my new favourite bromance.

Daryl asks if he’s from the army, but Martinez, “just hates these things”. He lost his wife and kids to walkers, and I love Walking Dead for these moments because even people on opposite sides can bond over their loss from the zombie apocalypse. They have an honest talk about the meeting going on now – at the end of the day, Martinez and Daryl are going to be at each other’s throats and it’s likely that only one of them is going to come out alive. I really enjoy watching this conversation because it’s not that they have a thing against each other, their bosses just so happen to be in warfare. And it’s a pity, because I’m sure that neither of them really want to destroy each other for personal reasons. It’s just something that they have to do because everyone’s just really terrified for their own lives. In the normal world, Daryl and Martinez would be just fine together, chugging beers, going off-roading. This ain’t the normal world, though.

In the end, Martinez agrees to take a smoke from Daryl. This is one of my two favourite scenes in the episode.

"Douchebag."

“Douchebag.”

Then comes my other favourite scene. Milton and Hershel, the moral support of their respective leaders. Whereas Martinez and Daryl were all about who could kill more and better, Milton and Hershel are all about exchanging ideas and stories without the bitter judgement hanging over their heads. I like how unassuming they are with each other.

The doc asks the older doc how he lost his leg. Hershel says he got bit, and Milton remarks in wonder that it would be possible to stop the plague from spreading and taking over. He asks how long they waited before amputation and who helped him to make it – it’s all trial and error. Milton does his work the same way too.

He asks Hershel if he can see his stump to analyze how high above the bite the cut was. I find this really hilarious because I imagine Hershel being coquettish about it. BUY HIM A DRINK FIRST, I yell at the screen. Hershel declines, and Milton’s sad puppy eyes tells him that it’s important data. Whaddoya know, Hershel’s response is, “I just met you, at least buy me a drink first.” Hershel and I are cut from the same cloth, I’m telling you.

They break out in airy chuckles and all is right in the henchman world.

"Teehee, you're so naughty Mr Greene!"

“Teehee, you’re so naughty Mr Greene!”

Back to serious business. The Governor doesn’t want to leave Rick’s group alone. He wants to walk out of this place with their surrender no matter what but Rick isn’t going to let that happen. It’s not Rick’s problem if the Governor looks weak to his people for letting the smaller team call the shots. But the Gov says that if they keep going like this, everyone will end up dead. I’m pretty sure Rick knows this, but there’s gotta be a better way to go around this than to keeping circling the issues that everyone knows exist.

The Gov shares the story of how he lost his wife. It wasn’t even the zombie apocalypse that took her. She’d left him a voice mail about what he wanted for dinner. The most mundane thing.

I suppose this was to open Rick up a little more to the idea that wondering what a person could and may still say after they’re long gone can be haunting. He probably feels the same way about Lori. But judging by the look on Phil’s face, the memory of his wife no longer means anything to him like it used to.

Back at the prison, Glen is making the prison more watch-friendly by cutting holes in the fences for whoever’s on watch to stick their gun into. He finds Merle packing heat, but neither her nor Maggie will stand for it. They inevitably compare him to Michonne, who’s been quite cooperative so far, but Merle won’t put his brother at risk again. He may be determined, but so is Glenn about keeping him in the prison. Merle tries to shake Glenn’s resolve by calling him a pussy for not raging at the Governor, but we as viewers know that Glenn is way past that already (thankfully).

They both get into a tussle, and both Maggie and Michonne try to separate them. They all stop when Beth pulls the trigger of her gun. Merle shouts for them to let him go.

These two again?

These two again?

Hershel wants to check on Andrea, who’s all sad and depressed about being chased out of their important meeting. Sour puss. She asks him about what the Governor did to Maggie, and Hershel doesn’t go much detail into it, only saying that he’s a sick man – she gets the implication. She can’t go back to Woodbury knowing that the Governor is a monster, and Hershel extends his welcome to her. He reminds her that once she makes a decision, there’s no turning back, which she’s fully aware of. No, Andrea. Just go away.

In the meeting the Governor tells Rick that he was the only guy willing to take up the leadership role. He doesn’t know what he’s doing, but his people don’t need to know that. He also makes it clear to Rick that he knows their movement in and out of the prison, referring to their trip back from Morgan’s death trap town. Rick may have the members who are more skilled in battle, but the Governor has numbers. This isn’t Thermopylae, and Rick knows it.

The terms are changed up a little bit. Instead of a full surrender, the Governor wants Michonne handed to him. My boyfriend and I guessed this correctly; because the death of Penny was the biggest catalyst in his insanity streak. He even removes his eye patch to reveal the reason why he wants to have her so badly – revenge for gouging his eye out.

So the offer is simple, Michonne in exchange for peace.

Throwing someone under the bus is way tougher than being good looking.

Throwing someone under the bus is way tougher than being good looking.

At the prison, Merle is talking to Michonne about the vulnerability of everyone in the group. Sure, everyone’s killed before. But Michonne tells Merle that he’s vulnerable too, and that he’s got weaknesses that can be exploited. He’s still bent on meeting up with Daryl, hoping that she can provide some extra muscle to get rid of the necessary people, but she won’t back him. Michonne’s too loyal for that, and she’s not stupid enough to get more blood on her hands. Too bad for Merle, then.

Glenn is zombie watching. Maggie is supposed to take over but he insists on covering for her. They decide to do the watch together. Glenn compliments Maggie on her chokehold and she regrets not completely knocking him out. Small talk.

Now for the real matter on his mind. Glenn is apologetic for being a jerkwad after their trip back from Woodbury, and Maggie is always so forgiving towards Glenn. She’s so patient. And all this sweet bonding makes me a little apprehensive that a writer’s guillotine is being strung up and prepped for a kill.

They hug, and then they kiss, and love each other, and then they feel weirded out about having zombies spectating, going whoa-oh-wah-oh uh-huh UNF.

They dive behind the shutters of some storage area and go at it. Bow chicka wow wow. I would be sad if zombies attacked.

Back together again

Back together again

Rick is trying to understand why the Governor would let their gang go just for Michonne. To be honest, I know that he doesn’t believe a single thing the Governor is saying, but he has to put up a show in front of him to make it seem like he’s off guard. Michonne is part of them. She’s proven herself, earned her keep, and it’s just so out of character for Rick to really throw that all away for the “safety” of rest of the group. Rick rewards loyalty with loyalty, and I’m sure that if it were Hershel he would mobilize all able-bodied members to protect him until their last dying breath.

He makes the Gov promise that he’ll leave them alone if he throws Michonne to the lions, which he agrees to. How stupid if he should really believe that the Governor isn’t going to just murder everyone. The Governor gives Rick 2 days to come back with a decision. Once they’re out of the building, the world continues spinning on its axis – Milton and Hershel are pals no more, Daryl and Martinez are prepared to kill each other on command. Everyone is wondering what’s the verdict, but I guess they’ll only find out after they drive back to base camp.

Daryl leads the way back into the prison with his ridiculously noisy bike. A lovely musical vignette courtesy of Fink, showing the respective groups being briefed accordingly. The Governor is going to kill them all alright, except for Michonne (he’s probably saving her for some extended torture and humiliation). Milton is shocked at the Governor’s decision – I’m certain that he will muster the courage to help the Atlanta team out, especially his encounter with Hershel. Milton is more compassionate than we give him credit for, and I’m looking forward to watching him betray his dictator. Hopefully he won’t be gut like a pig first.

The Govenor thanks Andrea for setting up the meeting, but she’s totally not buying his sincerity. After all that marginalizing, he refuses to name the specific conditions of the terms he counterproposed to Rick. Andrea pretends to wish them the best when inside she’s still boiling about meaning absolutely nothing to him. Too bad girl, you just fell for the wrong jerkface.

The face of a defector

The face of a defector

Rick is correctly predicting that the Governor’s a two-faced lying bastard and makes sure that his group is well-prepared for his snake bite. Merle is bitter and says that Rick should’ve just put the Gov down when he had the chance. But they’ll have the chance. They just need to lay good, well-thought out plans first.

“We’re going to war,” he says.

A tension holds thick in the air. You can really see the gears turning in everyone’s heads as they mentally prep themselves. Nobody likes the idea, but it’s the only good one they’ve got.

Rick is joined by Hershel outside. He presents to Rick the different opinions of how they should proceed henceforth; run away or attack. It will involve everyone. And he leaves the decision up to Rick. Do they stay and fight, or leave in hopes of better pastures? Rick tells Hershel about the details of their meetings and his feelings about it. Nobody knows the right answer, and this is a tough call.

“Why didn’t you tell them?” Hershel asks. “They need to be scared,” Rick replies. ‘Cos fear is the most potent key to surviving this decrepit hole they’ve dug themselves.

Hershel reminds Rick of all the things that Michonne helped them with, and Rick knows these reasons well. He asks Hershel a hard question – will he pick Michonne over Beth and Maggie? No. And Rick wants to be talked out of giving Michonne up. What will he decide? I think he’ll plot to give her up, and then swoop in to save her at the last minute. No way is Michonne going to be isolated ever again.

Let’s see the Governor’s head on a stick!

"I want you to talk me out of it."

“I want you to talk me out of it.”

"..."

“…”

 

Talky talk

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