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"Arrow on the Doorpost" Review: More Tension, Less Action

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"We're going to war."
—Rick Grimes

Another week, another awesome episode. Last week, I said "Clear" was my favourite episode. Believe it or not, "Arrow on the Door Step" may be giving it a run for its money.

An Apocalyptic Powder Keg

For two weeks in a row now, the plot hasn't really moved forward all that much. Normally, this would be a bad thing, but these last two episodes have been stellar, so I can't really complain. This episode played out as a sort of Mexican Standoff, in which Rick and "The Governor" try to work things out and make peace. Wouldn't that be a great outcome, eh?

Governoreye

The episode starts with an awesome in medias res opening, and from then on, tensions rise, both in the prison and the rendezvous point. Some might find this episode boring, but it kept me on the edge of my seat. I expected the Governor to have a trick up his sleeve, but seeing the gun taped to the table was a good bit of dramatic irony that had me screaming at Rick for most of the episode. I felt this was extremely well-executed, with Andrew Lincoln and David Morrissey both delivering an excellent performance (and with an amazing accent, I might add).

Meanwhile, at the prison, hostilities rose betwixt Glenn and Merle. Not only do we get to see their different viewpoints, but we also get to see Glenn make a stand, further distancing himself from his comic counterpart. In addition, we saw a similar development with Beth.

Govwhiskey

What I perhaps liked most about these scenes was how it shed more light onto the Governor's character, showing a more human side to the monster. His backstory is simple, grounded, and tragic, and almost enough to make me feel bad for the guy.

Almost.

Arbiter Andrea

Despite my distaste for the character, I felt it necessary to devote an entire section just to her. On the one hand, I want to be optimistic about her character, but on the other... she's Andrea.

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What infuriates me the most is just how annoyingly unbelievable her actions are. She seems utterly oblivious to everything that is going on, and naivety is only cute for so long. Despite saying she couldn't go back, knowing that Governor is a ruthless killer who attacked her friends, seeing his zombie daughter and head collection, and having Hershel all but outright announce that he nearly raped Maggie, she still goes back to Woodbury! With Shane, I could understand. Shane's a bad boy; he lives on the edge. The Governor is a psychopathic rapist who keeps a collection of reanimated heads. That is way beyond having a bad taste in men, don't you think?

There is still hope for her, however. If she is half as conniving as the governor is, she'd be planning on undermining him before he attacks. I mean, Milton knows, and soon, so shall she. If she has something up her sleeve, I might see myself enjoying her character more in retrospect, but right now, she's just exasperating. She's conflicted, yet she has almost no confrontation with the Governor. What woman in her right mind wouldn't remain fixated on the zombie head aquarium!?

How do you feel about Andrea?
 
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The poll was created at 04:57 on March 11, 2013, and so far 125 people voted.

Duality and Differentiation

"That is slaughter."
—Milton

In this episode, we got to see further insight into the characters, and the conflict from both sides. In addition to Rick's confliction and Philip's conniving, the supporting cast had some pretty great moments.

Martinezkill

For one, we got to see more Martinez, who seems to be going a different route than his comic book version. Instead of being just another henchmen, we saw a more sympathetic side to the Man, which is more than what most henchmen get. In addition, we add a little bonding moment between him and Rick's right hand, Daryl. It's kind of hard not feel bad for them, being soldiers caught up in a conflict they know is inevitable.

At the same time, the advisor of each respective group, Milton Mamet and Hershel Greene had bonding moments as well. Just when it seemed like Hershel was coming off as cold, he ends up cracking a joke (and a pretty funny one at that). Through this, we get the impression that Milton is also conflicted, more so than Andrea, in fact. Milton's conversation with the Governor, in which the latter shows his true colours, could very well be a turning point for his character.

Talking

Though this episode did come with a few obligatory gruesome zombie kills, this was mostly a "set-up" episode. We've seen a lot of those this season, but I think the payoff will be worth it. Whereas previous episodes merely moved characters around and teased at future conflicts, this one raised the stakes with an episode filled with tension. With only three episodes to go, things are about to get hot.

The governor really needs to die. If and when he does, who should do it?
 
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The poll was created at 05:25 on March 11, 2013, and so far 120 people voted.

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