The Walking Dead Review: “Arrow on the Doorpost”


Just because an episode is slow, that doesn’t make it bad. We saw that last week in The Walking Dead with “Clear,” the bottle episode that was masterfully done despite focusing on only a few characters and not really moving the plot forward in many meaningful ways.

But then there are the slow episodes that are in fact not-so-great. Where people sort of shuffle around and it feels like needless build-up for some greater event we all know is coming. These are the kind of episodes that made season two feel so lackluster, and we had another one last night.

Andrea gets the bright idea to have Rick and the Governor sit in a room and talk things out. She hopes to prevent further bloodshed which we all know will not be prevented, but we at least have to make the effort to pretend like it could be averted, I suppose.

The best part of the meeting actually turns out to be the interaction between the “henchman.” Watching Daryl and Martinez out-zombie kill each other and shoot the shit was quite endearing, as was Milton’s banter of Herschel.


Really, the least interesting part of the proceedings was the central pow-wow between Rick and the Governor. Early on, we see that the governor has a gun taped to the table, but it never actually is used, or really even shown again. I guess it was just to create tension, which it did, but it seems to me that Rick could have spotted it when he arrived and searched the room, or after the Governor left, figuring out he’s a deceitful asshat, which I suppose he may know already.

Furthermore, it seemed odd that Rick would actually agree to share a drink, whiskey the Governor brought with him, and even get a little bit buzzed in the process. Speaking of alcohol, unless I was hearing things, we learn that Rick actually knew the Governor pre-apocalypse as a drunk who…crashed through his fence and drove up onto his lawn? That was an odd connection. (UPDATE: I’m an idiot who doesn’t understand metaphors)

Meanwhile at the prison, Merle fights with everyone to let him go and ambush the meeting. There’s yelling, chokeholds and threats, but ultimately nothing happens except Maggie and Glen make up and have concrete prison floor sex. I thought that something was going to happen during their escapade, but nothing did. Merle stayed put, and the meeting went off without a hitch.

Rather, the entire point of the episode was to get to the Governor’s final demand. He’ll trade Michonne’s life for the safety of Rick’s people, due to her taking both his eye and his zombie daughter.


At first, when Rick came back to the prison, it seemed like he wouldn’t even consider the deal, telling everyone to go to war. But then he confides in Herschel that he’s thinking about it, even though he specifically says the Governor could easily kill them all anyway. This is in fact what the Governor is planning, which we hear him tell Milton back in Woodbury. Because duh.

This seems like a stupid conflict to me. I don’t think anyone (meaning us, the audience) actually believes Rick will sell out Michonne, and if he does, it will likely be some part of an elaborate ruse that will end up in the Governor’s death. It just doesn’t seem like something Rick would actually consider given their circumstances. He knows this man hates him and wants him dead, and he’s willing to give up a new friend and arguably his best soldier for the mere chance the Governor is feeling charitable? That’s bullshit, and doesn’t mesh with the person Rick has become. He’s smarter than that, and knows he has literally no reason to take the Governor at his word.

I was a bit confused about Andrea going back with the Governor. Wasn’t this supposed to be her big moment of truth where she had to pick a side? What the hell is she still even doing in Woodbury? After all she’s found out about the Governor, does she actually still like him? If so, her character is becoming not just dumb, but unredeemable.

Anyway, this wasn’t a terribly good episode, but not just because it was slow. It simply meandered around then presented a problem that doesn’t seem like a particularly difficult one to solve. The show is growing static, and things need to start moving. After this week in the doldrums, I imagine that will indeed happen shortly, but my patience is starting to wear thin.


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  1. Andrea going back to Woodbury was because of the talk she had with Hershal. I dont remember the exact quote but it was along the lines if you come back with us then the war will be on. She went back to Woodbury because for the time being she has to but she does in no way like the governer or want to be there.

  2. I took the “town drunk that tore up my lawn” line as a metaphor for their actions when they showed up at the prison. Anyway, another good read!

  3. “Speaking of alcohol, unless I was hearing things, we learn that Rick actually knew the Governor pre-apocalypse as a drunk who…crashed through his fence and drove up onto his lawn?”

    This didn’t literally happen, he was making the point that as a sheriff, he would have to deal with nuisances like the the town drunk.

    The “drunk” in this case that crashed into his fence was when the Governor attacked the prison and crashed the truck into their fence.

    It was Rick being dismissive of the actual threat that the Governor represents.

  4. This was one of those episodes that just had some nice moments but little more to it than that. Granted, not every week can hit one outta the park like last week, but, at least, TWD is consistent in that they’re still firing showrunners. At least, you can say that.

  5. If the “next time on…” previews are to be believed, it looks like Andrea will FINALLY acknowledge that the Governor is a massive shit-stain and we might even see him die. Finally.

  6. 1. This wasn’t a very good episode, we don’t learn anything and like you said, the best moments were with the sidekicks.

    2. Andrea has become the most annoying character on the show, going forward she needs to be put on the back burner.

    3. The sitdown was asinine, and the fact Rick is even slightly entertaining the idea of giving over Michonne is bad visioning on the writers.

    The episode would have ended MUCH better if it faded to black when Rick walked out of the room after telling the others they are going to war…the pow-wow with Herschel hurt the episode.

  7. I understand the series follows just the broad strokes of the comic, but what they have done with Andrea has hurt an awesome character. She is such a badass, the best with a rifle, and has a relationship with Rick that brings him back from the brink of insanity. Now she screws the Governor and uses a 3″ knife… and is annoying

  8. I had the feeling Andreas was going back to Woodbury because she has seen the cracks in the Governor’s mask and feels she can do her part there to stop him. Might even be a good way to take the character out of the series as she is the only person in the town who has shown any attempt a leadership besides the Governor and we know he isn’t living that much longer.

  9. So there’s now 2 characters that they fucked up in the show. Andrea and Michonne.

    Andrea was never supposed to be this dumb of a character. In the comic books, she always stayed with the group, and was one of their best snipers. Her actions in the comics saves a lot of people’s lives, and is one of the best consistent characters in the comics. In the show, I just don’t know what the fuck they’re trying to do with her character. She just makes one stupid mistake after another that she is becoming what Paul Tassi said. Unredeemable.

    Michonne’s character in the show is the same as in the comic books. Dark, brooding, and reserved. She had a dark past that she wasn’t willing to reveal to anyone earlier on. So that aspect of her character is still intact. The part where they fucked up is her motivation for attempting to kill the Governor (who, btw, should be dead by now). The show just doesn’t give her a good reason to ever go back and fuck him up. Even if he sent Merle out to kill her. In the comic book, she was captured, beaten, and raped by the Governor’s henchmen. Yet, she still survived, and endured; and came back later to cut off the man’s hand, his eye, and kill his daughter. That’s revenge for ya. The only odd step in the comic is her reasons for not killing the man. Which would have prevented a lot of grief later on.

    They really need to kick this show into gear, and fix these missteps with the characters.

  10. The only reason that “clear” was so great was Lennie James. The guy was brilliant and I look forward to him returning in “welcome to the tombs”. I do hope the producers or whoever see what an asset the guy can be and decide to add him to the show instead of killing him but then again there is another black guy still alive so who knows.

  11. The “town drunk” thing was a clumsy metaphor. And as for Andrea, she was utterly pathetic again this week. In fact, she gets worse each week. This week she was embarrassingly dismissed by the Gov and Rick after overinflating her own importance in the negotiation process and then she became helpless to decide her own future. Andrea is a joke of a character. But they seemed to have given Andrea’s proficiency with guns to Maggie. In the books, Andrea is one of the groups primary soldiers but now I assume Maggie will fill that slot

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