A Bloody Mouthful: The Walking Dead recap of Season 3, Episode 7, “When the Dead Come Knocking”

SPOILER ALERT!

There is little that Merle’s twisted redneck ego likes more than being the smart one vis-à-vis an Asian guy.  The evidence of Merle’s grudge against the group as a whole shows no signs of abating; the fact that the group went back for him, risking their lives to save him, doesn’t count for shit.  Any glimmer of hope we may have had for Merle’s redemption may have completely slipped away upon his torture of Glenn.  And yet … there’s the trump card that is Daryl.  Merle’s brother is his Achilles’ heel: the fact that Glenn refused to tell Merle where to find Daryl might be the reason (or at least a reason) why he went all Guantanamo on Glenn, distinguishing him from fully sociopathic Governor.  The river of fraternal loyalty runs deep in Merle – I can’t be the only one who clucked in disbelief when Merle gave his oath of fealty to The Governor near the end of the episode.  For one, Merle’s a liar.  For another, will he really be able to kill his baby brother if the situation demands it?  Because Merle and Daryl’s reunion is not going to be a call to tea and crumpets – push will come to shove, and Merle may not be able to pull the trigger on fratricide, despite his laundry list of other character defects.

Michonne’s encounter with Rick and the others underscores her fierceness and savant-like understanding of how to operate in this Walker-world.  Not ONCE does she ask for help, underlining that fact for Rick later, even as she’s besieged on all sides by Walkers, bleeding from a gunshot wound, and losing consciousness.  At first, it seems that her interaction with Our Gang will be light-years better than Woodbury; Rick initially frames his interrogation through consent: “You want to tell us your name?”  But then her rescue devolves into an eerie echo of Woodbury as Rick tells her she’s not free to leave, and locks her in.   Unlike Woodbury, however, the terms of her prison confinement are clear and there’s no false façade of freedom.  Ironic, no?

Similarly lacking among our group is a façade of community.  These people really care about each other, unlike Woodbury’s enforced cheeriness underpinned by dark motives, secrecy, and policed through hierarchical, patriarchal structures.  Michonne is our witness to the prison group’s unadulterated and honest love as she sees how everyone welcomes Carol’s Lazarus-like return (sans manifestation of zombie traits, of course).  Carol wordlessly knew that Laurie had been lost, and her open grief touched even hardened Carl, whose eyes fat with tears betrayed how he is very much still a little boy.

Back in Merle’s Dungeon, Glenn demonstrates a surprising faith in Rick.  Rick, lest we forget, was very recently a citizen of La La Land (“working things out” was how he euphemistically puts it when thanking Daryl for looking after Carl and Little Asskicker (I refuse to call her Judith yet because it’s a brave new world, dammit, the old rules and naming conventions should not apply)).  Glenn’s bravado lie and Michonne’s incredulity at their accomplishment clearing the prison underscore how few this group of survivors really is.  I absolutely relished The Governor’s bluster (directly squarely at Merle) over their achievement in holding the prison when Woodbury’s finest could (or would) not.  Stick that in your zombie-head fish tank and blow it, Guv.

But even more surprising than Glenn’s faith is his rawhide toughness.  Not only does he take Merle’s licking and keep on ticking, he gives us a seriously sweet display of zombie-killing prowess.  You can chalk it up to luck all you like, but that was some James Bond shit taking out a Walker while duct-taped to a chair (Look, Ma! No hands!).  I know I’m not the only TWD fan who identified with Glenn’s cathartic Hulk-roar once he emerged victorious from that particular battle.  After all the shit everyone has been through, Glenn gets locked in a room with a Walker while pinioned to a chair with duct tape.  That is the very definition of unfair.  He (and we) earned that primal scream.

For the most distasteful display yet of The Governor’s sadism, the audience is forced to endure Maggie’s sexual subjugation: being made into an unwilling stripper and then being bodily threatened with rape.  What makes The Governor’s sexual violation all the more evil and sick is the way he enters the room. Ever the fucking Southern gentleman, he asks Maggie, “May I?,” before pulling up a chair, making a mockery of consent.  I did note that the writers chose to show The Governor stepping away from his rear-straddling of Maggie, rather than just cutting away to the next scene and leaving that awful threat looming.  I feel more humanely handled for that artistic choice.  It does nothing, however, to reduce my Governor-centered revulsion.  Nothing will at this point, not even his sponsorship of Milton’s stupid science project (I don’t care if Guv is motivated by a desire to cure his Walker daughter; he’s passed the point of no return with me).

Just an aside about the whole Milton experiment: I am not buying that in these months after the outbreak, Milton has NEVER seen a SINGLE transformation.  I don’t care if he was a telecommuting orphan; it does not compute.

A Bloody Mouthful: The Walking Dead recap of Season 3, Episode 7, “When the Dead Come Knocking”

In which you would not like Glenn when he’s angry, Michonne experiences unwelcome déjà vu, and The Governor is asking for some Deliverance-style Southern hospitality.

There is little that Merle’s twisted redneck ego likes more than being the smart one vis-à-vis an Asian guy.  The evidence of Merle’s grudge against the group as a whole shows no signs of abating; the fact that the group went back for him, risking their lives to save him, doesn’t count for shit.  Any glimmer of hope we may have had for Merle’s redemption may have completely slipped away upon his torture of Glenn.  And yet … there’s the trump card that is Daryl.  Merle’s brother is his Achilles’ heel: the fact that Glenn refused to tell Merle where to find Daryl might be the reason (or at least a reason) why he went all Guantanamo on Glenn, distinguishing him from fully sociopathic Governor.  The river of fraternal loyalty runs deep in Merle – I can’t be the only one who clucked in disbelief when Merle gave his oath of fealty to The Governor near the end of the episode.  For one, Merle’s a liar.  For another, will he really be able to kill his baby brother if the situation demands it?  Because Merle and Daryl’s reunion is not going to be a call to tea and crumpets – push will come to shove, and Merle may not be able to pull the trigger on fratricide, despite his laundry list of other character defects.

Michonne’s encounter with Rick and the others underscores her fierceness and savant-like understanding of how to operate in this Walker-world.  Not ONCE does she ask for help, underlining that fact for Rick later, even as she’s besieged on all sides by Walkers, bleeding from a gunshot wound, and losing consciousness.  At first, it seems that her interaction with Our Gang will be light-years better than Woodbury; Rick initially frames his interrogation through consent: “You want to tell us your name?”  But then her rescue devolves into an eerie echo of Woodbury as Rick tells her she’s not free to leave, and locks her in.   Unlike Woodbury, however, the terms of her prison confinement are clear and there’s no false façade of freedom.  Ironic, no?

Similarly lacking among our group is a façade of community.  These people really care about each other, unlike Woodbury’s enforced cheeriness underpinned by dark motives, secrecy, and policed through hierarchical, patriarchal structures.  Michonne is our witness to the prison group’s unadulterated and honest love as she sees how everyone welcomes Carol’s Lazarus-like return (sans manifestation of zombie traits, of course).  Carol wordlessly knew that Laurie had been lost, and her open grief touched even hardened Carl, whose eyes fat with tears betrayed how he is very much still a little boy.

Back in Merle’s Dungeon, Glenn demonstrates a surprising faith in Rick.  Rick, lest we forget, was very recently a citizen of La La Land (“working things out” was how he euphemistically puts it when thanking Daryl for looking after Carl and Little Asskicker (I refuse to call her Judith yet because it’s a brave new world, dammit, the old rules and naming conventions should not apply)).  Glenn’s bravado lie and Michonne’s incredulity at their accomplishment clearing the prison underscore how few this group of survivors really is.  I absolutely relished The Governor’s bluster (directly squarely at Merle) over their achievement in holding the prison when Woodbury’s finest could (or would) not.  Stick that in your zombie-head fish tank and blow it, Guv.

But even more surprising than Glenn’s faith is his rawhide toughness.  Not only does he take Merle’s licking and keep on ticking, he gives us a seriously sweet display of zombie-killing prowess.  You can chalk it up to luck all you like, but that was some James Bond shit taking out a Walker while duct-taped to a chair (Look, Ma! No hands!).  I know I’m not the only TWD fan who identified with Glenn’s cathartic Hulk-roar once he emerged victorious from that particular battle.  After all the shit everyone has been through, Glenn gets locked in a room with a Walker while pinioned to a chair with duct tape.  That is the very definition of unfair.  He (and we) earned that primal scream.

For the most distasteful display yet of The Governor’s sadism, the audience is forced to endure Maggie’s sexual subjugation: being made into an unwilling stripper and then being bodily threatened with rape.  What makes The Governor’s sexual violation all the more evil and sick is the way he enters the room. Ever the fucking Southern gentleman, he asks Maggie, “May I?,” before pulling up a chair, making a mockery of consent.  I did note that the writers chose to show The Governor stepping away from his rear-straddling of Maggie, rather than just cutting away to the next scene and leaving that awful threat looming.  I feel more humanely handled for that artistic choice.  It does nothing, however, to reduce my Governor-centered revulsion.  Nothing will at this point, not even his sponsorship of Milton’s stupid science project (I don’t care if Guv is motivated by a desire to cure his Walker daughter; he’s passed the point of no return with me).

Just an aside about the whole Milton experiment: I am not buying that in these months after the outbreak, Milton has NEVER seen a SINGLE transformation.  I don’t care if he was a telecommuting orphan; it does not compute.

The rescue team’s entrapment in the cabin in the woods provided a geektastic visual reference to that O.G. of zombie flicks: Night of the Living Dead.  It’s these little nods to the zombie canon that throw us into a geek-tizzy, am I right people?  For those who are unfamiliar, the moment when the backlight throws the Walkers’ shadows up in a line against the thin wooden walls of the shed fondly harkens back to the classic image of a zombie attack in the woods by the zombie master himself, George A. Romero, that is, apparently, impossible to find via a simple Google search.  Check out 0:40-0:53 of the original 1968 trailer here for a glimpse: http://youtu.be/pElSu_ECJGM.  Here’s a later poster that uses the iconic image in a stylized graphic design: http://www.outblush.com/women/home/art-decor/mark-welser-night-of-the-living-dead-vintage-style-movie-poster/.  But to really solidify your zombie geek status, you should really see the movie itself.  Interestingly, there is a grassroots restoration campaign to save the building, the Evans City Cemetery chapel, that birthed all this zombie movie magic (http://www.fixthechapel.com/about.html). If you think I’m reaching, for evidence, I point to the title of this week’s episode: “When the Dead Come Knocking.”  Granted, Romero’s zombie attack involved arms through wooden slats, but it’s an homage, not a rip-off, people. 

The Governor’s utter debasement of Maggie bodes ill for Glenn’s survival on the show, much to my chagrin.  The seed of revenge has been sown so deep inside Glenn that only gushing fountains of The Governor’s blood will suffice to snuff it out.  That ain’t gonna happen while Guv is holding all the cards.

Scenes from next week have us gearing up for a good ol’ fashioned firefight.   In many ways, post-apocalyptic tales are essentially frontier stories.  And nothing says “American frontier” like a frenzied hail of bullets.  Well, maybe genocide, but the Walkers have that piece covered.  Till next week, keep those mouths bloody!

The Governor’s utter debasement of Maggie bodes ill for Glenn’s survival on the show, much to my chagrin.  The seed of revenge has been sown so deep inside Glenn that only gushing fountains of The Governor’s blood will suffice to snuff it out.  That ain’t gonna happen while Guv is holding all the cards.

Scenes from next week have us gearing up for a good ol’ fashioned firefight.   In many ways, post-apocalyptic tales are essentially frontier stories.  And nothing says “American frontier” like a frenzied hail of bullets.  Well, maybe genocide, but the Walkers have that piece covered.  Till next week, keep those mouths bloody!

Mil gracias go out to deviantARTist olivernome, http://olivernome.deviantart.com, for his stark, bloody rendering of Michonne.  

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