Episode 3.13 Writer: Ryan C. Coleman Director: David Boyd
THE ONE WHERE Rick and the Governor finally meet, and Andrea tries to broker a peace treaty between the two parties.
VERDICT Well that was a surprise! After weeks of build up, the Governor and Rick finally meet – and it’s in the pre-titles sequence. “We have a lot to talk about,” deadpans Phil with a grin, and settles down to a natter with his mortal enemy.
This is another episode that plays with the show’s regular format, with only a handful of scenes set at the prison. Instead, it concentrates on an uneasy encounter between the two groups in an abandoned town. There was a definite western vibe, with Rick’s hand remaining close to his weapon and the Governor keeping a gun strapped underneath the table. Meanwhile, outside, their respective gangs eyed each other nervously.
(On that note – and without wishing to sound ageist or disablist – what precisely was the thinking in bringing Hershel on this mission? Yeah, he’s handy with a gun, but if things were to go bad (and this is the bleedin’ Governor, remember) then he’d have a great deal of trouble getting away.)
Anyway, Andrea arranged the meeting in an attempt to bring peace to the area, even though that’s obviously never going to happen while the Governor still lives – and therein lies my beef with “Arrow On The Doorpost”. The scenes between Rick and the Gov would make a brilliant centrepiece to an episode. Instead, they are the episode (well, most of it). And given that we all know, with no doubt whatsoever, that this is going to end badly, those scenes end up feeling awfully padded.
On the plus side, both Lincoln and Morrissey are excellent. The Governor has rarely been so loquacious and menacing – though his faux-contrition at one point is as see-through as a stripper’s knickers. Rick, meanwhile, seems far more stable after his encounter with Morgan last week. He keeps his cool, but is clearly frightened by his opponent. By the end, he is preparing his crew for war… while also seriously considering handing over Michonne to the enemy.
Outside the meeting there are some nice individual scenes. Milton and Hershel get one of The Walking Dead‘s rare moments of humour, as Milton asks to see his stump. Daryl engages in a “Christmas truce”, chatting away to Martinez and the Woodbury soldiers. Everyone there is aware that, in all probability, they will be trying to kill each other soon, but that doesn’t mean they can’t hang out in the meantime. And back at the prison Glenn and Maggie patch things up and have sex. That scene is actually a very welcome moment of warmth and humanity that, for once, isn’t about death or despair.
This is a transitionary episode. By the end, all the pieces are in place for one hell of a showdown. Even so, it’s hard not to feel a little disappointed by how slight it felt. The recent run of episodes has been highly variable in quality. Hopefully the final three will be a triumphant return to form.
HEY YOU, WHAT’S THAT SOUND? The track at the end of the episode as Rick declares war on Woodbury is “Warm Shadow” by Cornish songwriter and one-time Amy Winehouse collaborator, Fink.
BEST LINES Daryl: “Who are you?” Milton: “Milton Mammett.” Daryl: “Great, he brought his butler…”