The Walking Dead Post Mortem: “When the Dead Come Knocking”
Greetings fellow zombie lovers and fans of badass Glenn; I think we can all agree that Glenn just earned himself a spot in The Walking Dead hall of fame in this episode. He was duct taped to a chair, physically diminished from the torture he endured at Merle’s hands, and still managed to kick some zombie ass. As much as I want to geek on that scene for 10 paragraphs there are a couple points of business I need to go over. First, this is going to be a slightly shorter recap than usual. I’m a bit pressed for time at the moment, so sadly there will be no horror movie recommendation and less funny captions this week. However, I fully intend to go back later in the week update the article with some additional content. For now though, I’m going to hit up five points I feel are worthy of debate and discussion from “When the Dead Come Knocking”
5. The Dick Move.
Rick, Michonne, and Darryl once again channeled Walter White in this week’s episode and the results were….not pretty. They break into this poor bastard’s cabin, Michonne straight up murders him after Rick fails to keep him under control, then they all decide to throw him outside to be walker chow/a convenient distraction. I’ll say this: the contingent of fans who only care about carnage probably enjoyed the hell out of this. Even I chucked when they tossed him out to the zombies. Now, do I think this makes them all morally bankrupt people? No, I don’t, they applied some cold Vulcan logic to the situation and did what needed to be done. The scene did have problems though, the appearance of the cabin when they were surrounded by Walkers smacked of deus ex machina, and there were some logical quandaries as well: the cabin’s owner didn’t seem to be aware of the danger Walkers represented, or that civilization collapsed as he was threatening to call the cops. The woods around his cabin were crawling with Walkers; surely he would have encountered a few before Rick and his crew pulled their home invasion. Regardless, the scene redeemed itself thanks to the aforementioned dark comedy that ensued. It was a dick move on their parts to be sure…but a very entertaining one nonetheless.
4. Baby Judith
Seriously, Judith, that’s the name you’re going with Carl? Oh well, growing up in the world of The Walking Dead that kid is going to have a lot more to pressing things to worry about besides being picked on for having a grandma name. All right, I’ll admit it… I enjoyed this rare moment of sweetness in The Walking Dead. This was the first time Rick and Carl discussed Lori’s death together, and it was nice to have a tender moment amongst all the death, torture, and zombie experimentation…speaking of which…
3. Dr. Teabag and his lovely assistant Andrea…
What exactly is Dr. Teabag (my super mature nickname for him) trying to figure out with these zombies he’s experimenting on? Is there a method to his madness? If there is, I sure didn’t see it here. I know he’s all about trying to figure out if the walkers have any trace of the person they once were left in in them. But what’s his end game? Presumably he’s trying figure out a way to cure the zombie outbreak; however, I hope there’s much more to it than that. If there’s not more to it then I really don’t think they should be wasting story time on this sub-plot unless something interesting is going to come out of it. I wouldn’t mind seeing something very creative and unexpected, as long as it keeps in line with the rules of the universe they’ve established thus far. The Walking Dead’s zombies and the mythology surrounding them are pretty simple. This is “grim n’ gritty” type of zombie story, not some Resident Evil ridiculousness where there are mutant spider/cyborg/demon/monster/zombies.
2. A ‘set up’ episode.
This was one of those ‘set up’ episodes that LOST used to do all the time before finales. The Walking Dead has improved on the formula, by managing to work in a tremendous amount of action, suspense, and dread, into all the buildup for next week’s big mid-season finale. Overall, it was a successful episode, but I think the few weak spots might have been the weakest storytelling we’ve seen so far this season. However, the stronger sections of the episode featured some of the strongest storytelling the show has ever done.
1. Glenn, Maggie, Merle, and The Governor.
All the interrogation scenes between these four characters were all incredibly suspenseful and highly disturbing. Now I understand why T-Dog and Lori were killed off in episode 4, the writers wanted to make sure that the idea that anyone can die at any moment was firmly established in the audience’s heads. This made Merle’s torture of Glenn and Glenn’s subsequent battle with the snarling zombie to be very tense few moments of television. What a great scene that was, and what a great moment for Glenn, he could still die later on for sure, but this was a defining moment for his character. He’s no longer just the little geeky guy who can sneak in and out of places quickly. He’s a hardened zombie slayer who doesn’t give in. The scene between The Governor and Maggie was handled very well. And while what the Governor does is still despicable I was relieved that they didn’t actually have him rape Maggie. First off, from a storytelling standpoint it would be lazy writing, having him rape a fan- favorite character would have been a cheap, sleazy, and easy way to get the audience to hate him and establish him as a serious threat to our heroes. Secondly, there are far too many rape scenes in horror movies, and I really didn’t need to see another one. The scene was still effective because it showed the depraved lengths The Governor is willing to go to get results, yet still allowed for Maggie to rise above being a victim and display her inner-strength. When she said: “Do what you’re going to do then go to hell.” I cheered. Very powerful stuff and I can’t wait to see what happens next week in the mid-season finale.