‘The Walking Dead’ Season 3, Episode 13 Review – In Good Faith

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Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead Arrow on the Doorpost The Walking Dead Season 3, Episode 13 Review – In Good Faith

Even though ‘Arrow on the Doorpost’ puts the pace of The Walking Dead back into a more familiar mode, the episode manages to have something in common with last week’s better-than-expected episode ‘Clear,’ by delivering a concise episode that clearly defines the direction of the rest of the season.

‘Clear’ was a much-needed break from the incessant infighting of the previous post-hiatus episodes, but more than that, it was intent on telling a complete story (within the larger framework of the season’s overall plot). And even with the intriguing character elements that were on display, it was that level of focus that might have been its greatest accomplishment.

While ‘Arrow on the Doorpost’ doesn’t go in for the same kind of storytelling (it’s much more about setting up what is yet to come) the episode manages to move with a similar purpose from beginning to end, while still shifting gears between multiple character groups.

To that end, the episode opens with Rick, Daryl and Hershel scoping out the proposed meeting place with the Governor, only to find out that he’s already arrived and made preparations in case the meeting with Rick goes south. So far, this season has invested a considerable amount of time comparing Rick and the Governor, and in this episode it seems one thing is certain: they both like tight-fitting, rugged man-jackets (though the Governor goes for the flashier look of a quilted vest).

But more than that, season 3 has been intent on offering the audience two leaders at odds with one another, who also seem to be battling their own shifting levels of sanity. Strangely, the mental instability of either man tends to go on and off as the necessity of the scene (or episode) dictates, so the Governor is presented here in one of his more equitable moods, while Rick saves all his frowns and dagger eyes for his adversary, and not ghosts in white dresses.

David Morrissey in The Walking Dead Arrow on the Doorpost The Walking Dead Season 3, Episode 13 Review – In Good Faith

Despite the apparent psychological steadiness of each man, the meeting doesn’t go down nearly as smooth as a glass of the Governor’s never-ending supply of whisky. For starters, it turns out the whole dialogue was set up by Andrea, who appears to be taking her role as mediator quite seriously until she’s thrown out of the discussion entirely to join Daryl, Hershel and the others.

Outside, the pairing off of Daryl and Martinez, and Hershel and Milton offers some of the better moments in the episode. Milton has appointed himself the chronicler of the post-apocalyptic history, and his conversation with Hershel affords him the opportunity to see Rick’s group as something more than just the terrorists they’d been painted as by the Governor. That, along with Philip’s admission that he plans to wipe them all out at their next meeting, seems to be the first signs of a crack in Milton’s yes-man persona.

Meanwhile, the most appropriate discussion goes to Martinez and Daryl, who share a smoke after some competitive zombie slaying. Martinez earns Daryl’s sympathy over the loss of his wife and child, and essentially states that the meeting is just a bit of futile stalling on behalf of Rick and the Governor. The scene centers on the fact that both men agree on the inevitability of where this dispute is headed, though despite this knowledge, they seem stuck in the same frame of mind perpetuating the discord.

Norman Reedus in The Walking Dead Arrow on the Doorpost The Walking Dead Season 3, Episode 13 Review – In Good Faith

Back at the prison, Glenn is still positioning himself as the man in charge, combating Merle’s more assertive suggestion that they take the new weapons Rick brought and attack the Governor and his men outright. There’s a continual unease around Merle that the episode wants to get across, and even though he’s not directly antagonizing anyone besides Glenn, the writers seem to be suggesting that Merle has now taken on the role of loose cannon – since Michonne managed get in with the group (or at least Rick and Carl) during the events of last episode.

There’s also the reconciliation between Glenn and Maggie that had been hanging in the air since they’d both fallen victim to some unpleasantness while being held captive in Woodbury. It’s the kind of thing that leaves seasoned horror viewers waiting for something to go immediately wrong. Nothing drastic happens, of course, but it lends to the general feeling of apprehension in regard to the rapidly approaching season finale.

But the main focus is the face-to-face between Philip and Rick, and considering it was destined to go nowhere from the start, the initial moments of the meeting are little more than some catty attacks on one another’s character – highlighted by the Governor saying, “I thought you were a cop, not a lawyer.” While Rick counters, “Either way, I don’t pretend to be a governor. The rest of the meeting plays out in the same back and forth until Philip delivers a monologue about losing his wife in an accident before the zombie outbreak.

Norman Reedus as Daryl in The Walking Dead Arrow on the Doorpost The Walking Dead Season 3, Episode 13 Review – In Good Faith

It’s a moment that’s handled nicely by Morrissey and one that offers a brief glimpse at his character’s view of the world. Whether or not it does anything to better inform the audience of what makes the character swing between being a man of the people, and a single-minded psychopath is uncertain – but it is something, at least. At any rate, the importance of the meeting is boiled down to a bogus offering of lasting peace, as long as Rick is willing to sacrifice Michonne.

This might have been a more compelling notion to end the episode on, leaving the audience to wonder just how much Rick valued one life over the survival of the group – but any tension created by the question is essentially undone in the abovementioned scene where Philip informs Milton of his true plan. Still, ‘Arrow on the Doorpost’ does a decent job of preparing the characters and the audience for what’s to come. As Rick tells Hershel, the others “need to be scared” as part of their acceptance of the carnage that is undoubtedly on its way.

At this point, it appears the potential consequences are as established as they’re going to get – the end is basically waiting to tally up the score of which side loses more people. With just three episodes remaining, the wait is on until the conflict officially erupts and inevitably takes out a character or two in the ensuing chaos. With any luck, Milton will be on the sidelines, keeping score for future generations to read about.

———

The Walking Dead returns next Sunday with ‘Prey’ @9pm on AMC. Check out a preview below:

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  1. Let’s all hope Andrea is the first to bite it in the upcoming conflict.

    • Yeah she really has become the new “Lori” but I’m still hoping she can redeem herself. After all, her and Rick do hook up in the comics eventually.

      • i dont think theres anything she can do to redeem herself maybe sacrifice herself for the others but thats about it

        • Well Herschel claimed she was part of the family but If I was running ricks camp I don’t think I’d let her back in without having constant doubt that she is spying for the governor. Basically not worth the headache

      • wow did you really have to spoil that?

        • well, you could have just read the comic. trust me, it’s definitely worth your time.

  2. Episode was kind of slow like last week but I thought it was great. It was like an epic chess match between Rick and the Governor! Built a lot of needed tension, but also kept it fun and simple with the other character matches.

  3. Episode was kind of slow like last week but I thought it was great.

    It was like an epic chess match between Rick and the Governor!

    Built a lot of needed tension, but also kept it fun and simple with the other character matches.

  4. That whole speech by the Governor was one big lie. It says so in the book Rise of the Governor. It just made me hate him more.

    • yeah I hate the governor he’s soooo fake. I wanted Michonne to kill him in s03ep08

    • Rise of the Governor is about the Governor from the comic books, not the TV show. There’s a huge difference.

  5. * POSSIBLE MINOR COMICS SPOILER *

    I was really bummed to see Rick contemplating giving up one of his own. In the comics, at least to the best of my knowledge, he would never do this. (If anyone knows if I’m forgetting where Rick did this, let me know.) Yet who says the show has to stay true to the comic?

    • Rick wouldn’t do it in the comics, and I don’t think he’ll do it in the show.

      • I agree, but I just didn’t like how he was fishing with the idea. That’s not Rick.

        • I agree with you on Rick never giving up one of his own, but the way I saw it, Rick barely came to accepting Michonne into the group last episode. So I can see why he had a second thought. It also seemed like it was just a “think outloud” session with Herschel.

    • Hey!
      THANK YOU for stating right off the top you might be revealing comic spoilers!

      I LOVE to read the comments but I hate getting spoilers :(

      • Like someone told me when I was considering purchasing the book with the first 45 comics or so……The show very loosely follows the comics. Basically it follows the locations, but most of the story and characters are different. I for one am very glad because by he time they made it to the prison on the comics I was cheering on the Zombies. They become a bunch of whiny and bitchy childish characters who in reality would have little chance of survival

    • Uhh, you should know by now that the show has taken a completely different turn from the comic. The setting is similar but the entirely plot has changed. What I love about this show is that I can see the Walking Dead story as if it were an alternate reality in the show, like similar timelines but different circumstances and choices.

      Go back and read the comic on the Woodbury/Prison arc. Rick made a choice during the final battle that will change the reader’s perception of him, but he was honest enough to admit it and decide that the hard choices are made simply to survive.

      The Rick in this show is just as honest, which makes him a great character and worthy of a following. So I do not see why you would be bummed about it. Comic Rick had more moral-defining decisions to make, he made them, and we love him for it.

  6. A really good episode. It kind of surprises me that Rick has some doubts about whether the Governor is serious about his offer. I thought it was obvious that he was lying. Also, has it occurred to anyone that the Governor has a spy in Rick’s camp? How does he know about the stash that Rick recently got from Morgan? Also, wasn’t the next episode originally called “The killer within, part 2?” Does anyone think that Merle was planted there? Could that be the reason why he is so eager to go and try to kill the Governor?

    • Maybe there is a scout watching the place?

      Maybe The killer within refers to someone from Ricks camp in Woodbury?

      Maybe it refers to Andrea (possibly killing The Gov)?

  7. I left this show for a while because I realized nothing was really progressing.

    I come back, catch up…and nothing has changed. :( I WANT to continue to like Walking Dead, but I can’t anymore.

    • It seems you’re in the lesser majority who actually believe plot development isn’t progressing. Characterization and drama is far better than constant zombie-killing action. And I’m assuming action is what you love because that’s the only thing that’s ‘not really progressing’.

      • No, thats the same thing that keeps happening. Look, whats the point? If they find a cure, they can’t spread it. They all die, the story is literally stalling.

        I could give less of a s**t about action, this “story” is just a constant circle of being bitten, people turning on each other, go somewhere else next season.

        God forbid I have an opinion, stop being so cocky and acting like this show is pure perfection

        • If you’re in the mindset that it’s post-apocalyptic and they’re all going to die, I can see why you wouldn’t enjoy it. In the words of Jack Sparrow, “It’s not the destination so much as the journey.” What the characters do between birth and death is what makes their lives interesting.

          The characters are evolving (or, in one case, regressing) as people and if you think that because they’re just going to end up dying that it’s all pointless… well, I get that. I just don’t get why you’d watch the show at all given the basic premise.

          Of course they’re going to run from safe place to safe place, because nothing is permanently secure. Zombies are everywhere and easily outnumber the people, so some are gonna get bitten. There are limited supplies and no system of law except the ones made by the people themselves, so there will be fighting.

          Did you want a bunch of people living in a grand castle with infinite food reserves all getting along famously with one another? You say that the show is ‘not really progressing’ but I don’t get what you expected. Can you elaborate?

          • Its a formula that drags. I never said its a bad show, I just feel its not anything better than a Tom & Jerry cartoon.

            The only difference is, Tom & Jerry did something different but entertaining each time. Walking Dead cycles the same 3 things over and over and OVER again, its just not my preference. Its an odd comparison, but thats how I feel.

            Never did I bash the show, I merely stated an opinion

            • I kinda like the Tom & Jerry comparison, if I’m honest. You *might* get lucky next season. Season 1 was all about the danger of zombies. Season 2 started to show how humans can be more dangerous than mindless cannibals, which Season 3 has picked up on more so. On the fourth season, an executive producer said, “We are going to amp up the threat of the walkers, because they’ve started to seem like a manageable threat. They are not a manageable threat.”

              The show is (slowly) changing, but it has bigger problems. Some shows lend themselves to a long season(police shows with their case-of-the-week, for example) but it’s probably a challenge with The Walking Dead, where they have a fortified position and all that can really happen is some zombies break in or some people start shooting. Aside from character interactions and development, that’s a pretty good summary of this season.

              Part of me wants the group to get set up in a larger settlement and deal with how society could rebuild and not one based on lies like the Governor’s Woodbury. The characters could have responsibilities within this place, like having Rick as a sheriff, putting more emphasis on it being a character-based drama plus zombies.

    • That would make for a crappy show. But I do agree that this show does take a very pessimistic view of the human race.

      This is not based on any sort of inside info, but I am willing to bet that leaving the hitch hiker and stealing his back pack will somehow come back to bite Rick and the group in the ass. Maybe when they get to the safe zone the head of it will ask if they’ve seen his son and will notice they have his back pack. Just a prediction.

    • That would make for a crappy show. But I do agree that this show does take a very pessimistic view of the human race.

      This is not based on any sort of inside info, but I am willing to bet that leaving the hitch hiker and stealing his back pack will somehow come back to bite Rick and the group in the arse. Maybe when they get to the safe zone the head of it will ask if they’ve seen his son and will notice they have his back pack. Just a prediction.

  8. I just hope the ‘war’ is not as (for lack of better words) fake as when Rick and group came to Woodbury.

    • That would make for a crappy show. But I do agree that this show does take a very pessimistic view of the human race.

      This is not based on any sort of inside info, but I am willing to bet that leaving the hitch hiker and stealing his back pack will somehow come back to haunt Rick and the group. Maybe when they get to the safe zone the head of it will ask if they’ve seen his son and will notice they have his back pack. Just a prediction.

  9. Another great episode! The tension was fantastic I thought! And Rick won’t give up his own but it’s intresting to see how he wants to hang on to the hope that if he did maybe they can live in peace but he’s not stupid he even said that the governor would try to kill them anyway so Rick is gona fight clearly and michonne has earned her place.

    Merle’s gotta go he’s just causing problems in the group dynamic and Daryl is a badass when he threw his knife to take out the walker.

    Nice to see Glenn and Maggie back together and in a pretty intense sex scene for this show.

    Line of the week “at least I don’t pretend to be a governor” haha idk had me laughing.

  10. Another great ep. Loved how both rick and the gov lied to their people about the plans.

  11. So after Glenn & Maggie’s “make up” session I think it’s safe to assume one or both of them are soon to be dead.
    To be honest I hope it’s not Maggie because she’s one of the few woman on TWD that aren’t horribly written.

  12. Glenn will bite the bullet, but it’ll be ok because Magggie is gonna be pregnant with his baby? Maybe?

    • Leave that to Negan :)

      • No offense, but next time, would you please post a spoiler warning at the top of your post? Some people haven’t read the comics and would prefer not to be spoiled.

        • You know what’s worse? I have no idea what a negan is, but from what you ($2) have just said, I now have a fairly good idea without needing to Google it.

  13. When Rick said that the group needed to be scared, didn’t he also say it would be the only way they’d accept ‘it’ happening? I thought he meant that if they were bricking it, they would put up less resistance if it came to handing Michonne over. As far as deaths go, I’d say that the group will lose Hershel and Carol by this season’s end. A combo of Daryl, Carl and Glenn (id, superego, ego) will fill in the advisor role and Beth will be the permanent babysitter and hopefully tilt the ass-kicking moments to outbursts of song ratio in the other direction.

    • I think the opposite will happen. Probably Beth and the baby will die

  14. While I think the show on a whole as taken a turn south since the departure of Mazzara, this episode had some good writing.

    I particularly like the poker game the Governor is playing with Rick. The governor kept throwing out sob stories, until Rick finally bit and gave up the chink in his armor (Rick finally takes a hard hit at the whiskey when Phillip mentions his wife dying and calling on the phone, showing that he is still messed up about the phone calls and seeing Lori’s ghost). It’s too bad that the Governor probably won’t use what he learned about Rick more to try and drive Rick to do something irrational causing a compromise in the prison’s safety.

    I finally started to begin to “like” Merle in this episode. His confrontation with Glenn was some much needed heat for this episode. Speaking of heat, I was surprised that Glenn and Maggie’s reconciliation wasn’t broken up by an attack on the prison.

    Finally, in an episode about Michonne, it would have been nice for them to tie in the last episode that “brought her into the fold” with this one. In the end I really hoped that her and Merle would have (together or separately) made a play at attacking the Governor at the meeting. That could have sent things into a major shitstorm which would have set up what’s going to happen anyway: a bigger sh*tstorm.

    Let’s hope these last three episodes deliver, otherwise this series is toast.

    • Kind of doubt the series is in trouble. The series seems to pick up more ratings every episode. I would say if Kirkman left then I could see the series being in trouble but I just don’t see that happenning. Plus this is AMC’s big money maker so don’t count on this series ending anytime soon or at least until ratings drops dramatically

  15. In my opinion, last week episode and this one is like The Empire Strikes Back, the calm before the storm

  16. I admit to being a bit disappointed the Gov. never actually pulled that taped on gun out. I was waiting all episode but nothing. There really should have been a moment early on where he did pull it out but Rick was ready for him and they would have had a bit of a Mexican standoff. Then both decide to lower their weapons. Now THAT would have really ramped up the tension.

    As always a good episode regardless and looking forward to the inevitable war.

    • Yeah the rule is that if you show a gun in Act 1 you have to use it in Act 3. Otherwise what’s the point of showing the gun in the first place?

      • I massively disagree with this. These days, Chekhov’s guns are lampshaded so heavily, you can see them coming a mile away – one of my chief complaints about The Dark Knight Rises was how painstakingly obvious it was that putting together all the Bat-tech in one place was a stupid plan. The bazooka in Kick-Ass was alright, though :P

        It was completely in character for the Governor to have a pistol there but not use it. His first line of defence is his charm. He was charismatic during the meeting. We all know he’s bats**t insane but Rick doesn’t. Gov was taking down Rick’s defences. Rick holstered his gun, sat down, had a drink… it got to the point where Gov was so in control that he could get up and move away from his backup Glock.

        The Governor didn’t pull the pistol out because he didn’t need to. He was in control. It’s when he’s not in control that his cool and swagger disappear, like after the Woodbury invasion. Besides, saying that it would ” up the tension” is a bit silly. It wouldn’t have. Three episodes to go. You don’t kill off the season’s big bad with three episodes to go. That means that he won’t die. If you know that, there’s no tension.

  17. kinda bothers me when people just try and make up predictions for upcoming episodes, when there is actual source material that the show is loosely based on.

    • LOL, right. Even though it some parts are different the story seems to follow the source(Point A to point B)

    • Why does it bother you? I don’t care about the comics. I didn’t read them and I will not read them. The first and only time I will experience The Walking Dead is as a TV show. What’s wrong with trying to predict what’s coming in future episodes when I have no idea what’s going to happen and no interest in actually finding out beforehand?

      • I’m just saying it would kinda be like not reading the lord of the rings books, but still making predictions about the next movies, while having no actual knowledge or support

  18. Yeah but dont you think that even if rick did give up michone that his son carl might have a tad bit of resentment towards him after her helping him out in recovering the last picture of them as a family? I dont think Rick would give her up for several reasons. Rick would eventually have to explain that to Carl and I think he knows Carl may lose some respect for in that area knowing he gave her up so easily and also in the aspect of poor leadership in his eyes too being as everyone looks up to him.

    • Rick doesn’t want to give up Michonne. He wants to believe that the guy with the power to destroy what remains of his family would be satisfied with being given one woman. He wishes it was that simple. That’s why he asked Hershel to, “talk out of it.” There’s a part of him that’s thinking, ‘What if it was true?’ despite being 99% sure it’s a lie.

  19. A few things about the whole Zombie theory bothers me, but I’d say the biggest is that they’re still active a year or more later. Remember in season one when Glen and Rick got all grossed up with intestines so they’d smell like they were rotting like the others as they walked with them? Since then we’ve seen many Zombies attacking who had bodies and faces that were rotting away. Just how long is the shelf life of rotting Zombie flesh? At some point they should be reduced to a pile of bones shouldn’t they? I mean even if you could possibly have a real Zombie apocolyst it would seem that you’d only need to dig in for a few months as they rooted away to just bones right?

    • The rotting could take place between death and reanimation. Their high-protein diet of… people… could be maintaining all their inward functions. I can see them taking the War of the Worlds way out by saying that by their mere existence, they were doomed to fail as world-enders due to their genetic makeup. Society would go back to the Old West style of things, but without a ‘cure’ for the disease, everyone needs a spike through their head after death.

      It reminds me of a scene from the game Prototype 2. There are creatures in that game not unlike zombies. A scientist is confused – humans are omnivores, requiring a balance of food types and vitamins to sustain themselves. These ‘zombies’ have a protein-only diet of human flesh. The scientist is promptly told that he is overthinking things. Basically, there are certain conditions that we must accept for the story to take place. It’s a zombie show. There will be zombies. They will last as long as the story needs them to. The characters aren’t scientists, so they don’t ask.

      I believe at one point, Kirkman said that he doesn’t think that the specifics of the virus and its origin are too important.

  20. One more question…Why does Merel ride around on a big ol’ noisy Hog instead of some much quieter bike (Other than to seem cool)? That bike of his would be like the bells on an ice cream truck for kids to the Zombies. They’d fopllow those loud pipes for miles and miles. It just irks me when they leave in such obvious flaws of logic (Even in a fantasy show…It still needs to be probable).

    • Whoops! I meant Daryl on the bike…Not Merel

      • I’ve wondered that many times myself. Doesn’t seem like a very smart vehicle to choose if you want to keep a low profile.
        Another flaw (and not just in this show, but all zombie fare), is that a zombie bite can infect you, but their blood can’t? Just hacking into zombies indiscriminantly, blood flying everywhere, the living covered with the dead’s bodily fluids, and no worries it might get into an orifice or wound and infect them? That has never made sense to me. Oh well, guess you gotta take some things with a grain of salt. I still love the genre and the show.

        • Daryl rides a bike because it looks cool.

          I’m sure if walker blood gets into your blood, you’d get the fever and eventually die and turn. If you’ve played the adventure game The Walking Dead, there’s a bit with some cannibals that keep their victims alive so the meat doesn’t go bad.

  21. I don’t get why Rick is so intent on waging a war against Woodbury. Hanging on to the prison when it actually was a safe place made sense. But now, when it’s in more danger than the walkers could ever pose, with sure death for many members of the group awaiting, they really should cut their losses, pack up, leave and find a safer place to stay. It’s the only smart option. Going to war with a handful of people, among them cripples, kids and even a baby, against a much larger force is nothing short of insanity. Having the other characters agree with that course of action makes no sense and is nothing but a plot device in order to keep the conflict going and to provide some gratuitous action.

  22. The characters are just losing their mind each episode

  23. POTENTIAL MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!!!!!

    Okay, so will they go the route of Rick losing his hand? And how will Tyreese be the one to ultimately balance Rick? I know that Tyreese and Michonne have an intimate relationship in the comics and it makes me wonder how Tyreese’s woman will die in the final confrontation between Rick and the Governor. After the slaughter, will this series go the route of Rick and Co. encountering the cannibals or will this go in a completely different direction as they make their way to D.C.?

    • That’s his daughter. In the comics she died much earlier and in the prison. Her and her boyfriend died of dumb choices…

    • I’m pretty sure someone high-up in this show’s running said that Rick won’t lose his hand. Tyreese’s “woman” is… his sister. 99% sure it’s his sister.

      On the subject of next season, Kirkman said, “There’s going to be a lot of things that fans recognize from the comics. It’s going to be a lot of new elements pushed in, and it’s going to make for a really good show like it always has been.” Exec producer Gale Anne Hurd said that the zombies will become more dangerous and elements within the group may dissent. So I guess Merle’s surviving…

      The new showrunner’s style has been described as a ‘back to its roots’ approach, similar to Season 1. He’s supposed to really focus on making it a character driven drama. For reference, this guy wrote Season 2′s Pretty Much Dead Already and Season 3′s Clear (among others) which should inspire confidence.

  24. It was an ok episode, typical poor decisions being made. Darryl carrying his new crossbow as his primary weapon to a potential showdown with humans, not walkers? Not too smart. Andrea is beyond annoying and has been since she put a gun in Rick’s face (for the 1st time) in season 1 episode 2 I believe…they will drag her death out to the point where it will be past gratifying, like they did with Lori.

  25. Well i think that rick needs to do something with the govener. I wish that the Governer and his town didnt come into the serise.

  26. in episode are some weird logic fails, for example after the governor and rick finished talking with each other, andrea went in the car with the governor, not in ricks car. -> next scene, ricks group arrive at the prison an andrea is in ricks car…

  27. Rick should have shot the governor when he is leaving or at least sneak up to him and use a knife. After that, use a gun to kill his gun man.