The Walking Dead: When the Dead Come Knocking Review -

The Walking Dead: When the Dead Come Knocking Review

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  • Episode: When the Dead Come Knocking (Season 3, Episode 7)
  • Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, David Morrissey, Danai Gurira, Michael Rooker
  • Written By: Frank Darabont (developer), Robert Kirkman (series of graphic novels)
  • Directed By: Daniel Sackheim
  • Network: AMC
  • Series:

The Walking Dead: When the Dead Come Knocking Review

Down By Law

By Joel Rickenbach     November 26, 2012

There are many badasses on this show- Merle, Daryl, Michonne... and then there's Glenn. I have yet to see the Dixons, The Sherriff or the Katana-wielding nomad dispatch a walker while duct taped to a chair. His primal yell was the sound of adrenalin and post apocalyptic rage. So much for Glenn being the "sneaky guy", you wouldn't like him when he's angry. Besides proving that Glenn is a carpenter's worst nightmare, this episode gives us a wonderfully tense arrangement of our characters before next week's mid-season finale.
It's very interesting that Michonne, the wounded and flailing Ronin, is eventually saved by Carl. Instead of disobeying, he makes a judgment call, and takes another step towards manhood. Thankfully, Michonne is finally with our prison group, but it's maddening that she never mentions or describes Merle. Obviously the powers that be want to keep the reveal under wraps until it can be used for maximum effect, but not mentioning a crazy guy with a blade for an arm seems a bit of an oversight, even for Michonne. My favorite word this season has easily been "juxtaposition", and it applies nicely to this episode too. Compare Michonne's first experience in Woodbury with her brief time at the prison- neither place was keen on letting her have her sword, and both claimed she would be "safe". However, we get the impression Michonne realizes Rick's group are not trying to sell her a facade of normalcy, and even planned to send her packing the next morning. Later in the episode, when she sees the group's walker killing efficiency, she gives a look that says "these are my kind of people". It's a rare moment when she isn't sporting a scowl, and I have it on good authority we may see a bit more emotion from Michonne in the mid-season finale.
It's worth mentioning how deftly handled Carol's return was played out. Her realization of what happened to Lori was yet another tear jerking scene on the show that used to just spill blood. There were no words, just emotions, and a very smart reminder of how much death actually means on a show with the highest body count. Rick also finally gets a moment to talk to Carl, and the baby's name is finally decided upon. I'm not sure "Judith" has the same ring as "Ass Kicker", but at least it gave father and son a nice moment.
As we've watched Daryl evolve over the first half of the season, the question that's lingered in all of our heads is what it will be like when he finally reconnects with Merle. After all, Merle is a new man too- he has his act together, and is committed to the Woodbury way of life. Their meeting could be simply a clash of ideals, or which group is the better choice for their continued existence. Except it won't be, because Merle has proven he is still just Merle. He's the same racist with a screw loose we met in season one, only now he has a bladed arm and a bigger axe to grind. It's a small victory, but it's great that Glenn never gave him satisfaction.
Leave it to the Governor to make Merle seem like the lesser of two evils. The hospitality he gave Michonne and Andrea certainly didn't carry over to Maggie. His mania at being the only refuge in the post apocalyptic world is frightening. His scene with Maggie in the interrogation room is a microcosm of his underlying lust for power and control. Men can do incredibly dark things in the pursuit of sexual conquest, but that's not what this was. Like Glenn, Maggie proves she is made of sterner stuff, and never gives the Governor satisfaction. And later on when he sadistically plays with her hair in front of the bloodied Glenn, and she is on the brink of losing her love, her heart wins out, and she gives up the location of the prison. There's no shame in that, it just proves she truly is one of the good guys.
There were two odd asides in this episode, and both were effective at giving us a bit more color than the inevitable worlds colliding. The first is Milton's experiment with the passing Mr. Coleman. The almost ritualistic series of sights and sounds to create a trace memory was definitely interesting. Of course, the reality we all know sets in with a quick knife through Mr. Coleman's skull, compliments of Andrea, and it makes us wonder just how sheltered some of the Woodbury residents actually are. This subplot of experimentation is clearly leading to something, and I'm very curious as to what. Obviously the Governor has attachments to former people, similar to Hershel, but is this show going to keep exploring the "life" of undeath? The other detour is Rick's little liberation party getting caught in a backwoods shack, which comes complete with a post apocalyptic Rip Van Winkle. Some may think this bit was unnecessary, but it's small pieces like these that remind us of the world at large when we are so focused on our two camps. We also get a moment that shows our regulars just what kind of mean motor scooter Michonne really is, and a solution that could have shaved about an hour off of Night of the Living Dead.
Special recognition goes out to Bear McCreary and the music of this episode. The last five or so minutes play out to a pulsing minor key and a tick toc beat. It amplifies the tension perfectly as our pieces get aligned for next week's showdown. With one episode left until the break, The Walking Dead season 3 has been exceptional, and I think they are going to leave us for the holidays with a bang.

Joel Rickenbach is a curator of cult cinema at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA, and can be heard every week talking film, TV and other geekery on the You’ve got GEEK podcast. Follow him on Twitter and hilarity will no doubt ensue. 



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RedHood2010 11/26/2012 7:08:16 AM

Another great episode.  I agree with your remarks about Glen. It just sucks, and yes for me it sucks, that after ALL he went thru that Maggie ended up giving up the prison.  After playing tough and preparing to be raped, which I can not stand to see on the screen or the threat of, she caved.  I know this will be a divided issue and I understand the argument for why she did it, I just didn't like it after everything that had just played out.  What did they gain?  Does she actually think they will be set free or given a chance to live?  But, it doesn't matter now, the location has been revealed and this episode just took the Gov's freakness to a new level.  Uncomfortable!

As for Michonne, I agree with you again.  She walked all that way and then decides she isn't going to talk or mention the freak with one arm?  And didn't she overhear the conversation about his brother before he overtook the two with pistols aimed right at him? 

One more week and then we have to sit and stew on what we see.  JOY!  I am looking forward to see who the board thinks is going to get it!

MrOptimusPrime 11/26/2012 7:24:11 AM

WOW!!!! Great episode and I can't wait for next week's to see where this all goes!!!  And BTW I was saying (to myself) and others (but not here on Mania) how much I WANT Michonne in the worst way now!!!  She is not my type physically but DAMN she is hot when she is slicing and dicing here way through zombies!!!  This Marine would go it alone with here in a zombie infested world any time!!!!   

millean 11/26/2012 8:34:38 AM
Great episode. Lots of things to look forward to. It may not happen next week, but I predict that we see Daryl and Merle square off in one of Woodbury's zombie enforced fights. That would be cool. ________________________________________ I don't see why it would be maddening that Michonne wouldn't reveal that Merle was the abductor, probably because she doesn't have a clue to his connection to this camp. If she did describe him, the only clue would be that he was missing a hand, but the crazy arm blade would/should mean nothing to the prison group. Yes, it would probably come up eventually, but they do have a rescue to plan/execute that doesn't exactly give them time to chit-chat about a lot of things.
millean 11/26/2012 8:35:19 AM
COMIC BOOK SPOILER-ISH____________________________________________________ What happened to Maggie was very creepy, don't get me wrong. However, it looks like the TV show is going to cop out and not have the Governor be quite as horrible as he was in the book. Granted, since Michonne is headed back to Woodbury, there is still a possibility things could play out exactly as they did in the book, but I'm guessing that they will not. As I mentioned last week, I think what went down between them defined both of those characters. If the TV execs are too concerned about being politically correct, have the events go down off screen, and just show the after effects. Let the viewers' minds do all the creative work, and that can be much more effective anyway. Regardless, I still love the show. Really looking forward to next week's mid season finale. Can't wait to see what happens!
TheSilentKiller 11/26/2012 8:39:50 AM

 Can't blame Michonne for not mentioning Merle

She knows he's the brother of someone in the group, but not which member, and she doesn't know how they'd react to hearing he's alive.

This episode kicked all kinds of ass, but next weeks looks even better.

millean 11/26/2012 8:40:44 AM
ARRRRGGGHHHH! I've suddenly lost the ability to format my posts in any way whatsoever. Can't event separate paragraphs! Come on Mania, please fix this! (I'm running Firefox, by the way - just as I have for every post I've ever made on this site.)
TheSilentKiller 11/26/2012 8:42:48 AM

 Millean, don't forget Michonne heard Glenn tell Merle that Daryl was alive and with the group...

flyinroo 11/26/2012 8:56:39 AM

 I wondered if Michonne had put things together enough to know that this group had Mele's brother in it or not. She may have her own reasons for not saying anything to them. But I find curious is that Andrea and Michonne spent something like 8 months together, and I suspect that in that time Andrea would have mentioned the people in her group. So hearing the names of Rick, Glenn, Carol, Herschel, Carl, and Darryl all in one group might sound slightly familiar to Michonne. Again, she may have put it all together, but is remaining silent for some reason that best suits her at the moment.

Comment box has been acting weird lately for me. Finally worked right today.

millean 11/26/2012 9:04:00 AM

I thought about that, but didn't think she could over hear them.  However, after thinking about it I guess  she must have since she said she heard them talk about a prison.  In any event, with all the commotion plus the fact that she doesn't exactly trust these people yet so I can't blame her for not being as forthcoming with any info that may or may not help her out later.



OK, so logged into another computer with Windows and the formatting is available, but the website is still running quite slow and posting is not easy.  It may have something to do with the settings on these work computers, will check later at home.  If nobody else is having issues posting, then it is probably our stupid IT guys monkeying around with our computers again.  Wish they would keep their grubby hands off our computers...

joelr 11/26/2012 9:33:02 AM

It's not even that she should make the connection based on what she heard, it's just not recognizing how people actually talk. We give a lot of leeway to film dialogue, but there are some things people would just say regardless of the situation. Michonne says Glenn and Maggie were "taken", but I'm thinking realistically she would say "I was being hunted by this one armed guy named Merle, who unfortunately found your friends." As guarded as she is, there's literally no reason to keep that information from Rick and Co.

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