The most recent episode of “The Walking Dead” was one of the most creepy, intense, violent, disturbing episodes of the series, and only one person got eaten! Intrigued? Then it’s time to review “The Walking Dead” episode 307, “When the Dead Come Knocking.”
SPOILER ALERT AND TRIGGER WARNING ALL IN ONE!
Glenn and Maggie are being held captive by Merle (who wants revenge on Rick and T-Dog for the loss of his hand and a reunion with his brother Daryl) in Woodbury, home of the Governor, from which Michonne recently escaped to the prison, where she met up with Rick and the gang, who found out from Michonne that their friends were in Woodbury. But because nothing in fiction is ever simple, what Michonne didn’t mention is that the guy who shot her and took Maggie and Glenn is in fact Merle, Daryl’s brother, and that their mutual former BFF Andrea is also hanging out in Woodbury, where they all now have to go to rescue Maggie and Glenn. Got all that straight? Good. Now let’s move on.
This episode is what the TV people like to call “when worlds collide.” Michonne has at last made her suitably bad-ass entrance to prison life, only to be the bearer of bad news, and the first good guys have seen the evil of the Governor up close and personal.
A lot happened without a lot actually changing in the plot. We’ll hit the highlights and save the worst for last.
Carol’s reunion with the group was bittersweet. When she sees the baby and realizes that she wasn’t there to perform Lori’s cesarian, she is consumed with guilt and grief. Unless you’re some kind of heartless robot, her brief but tearful apology to Rick is a guaranteed tearjerker.
Michonne’s entrance was a thing of beauty and an homage to the comic books. It’s so easy to write her off as the invincible, sword-wielding Amazon who doesn’t deign to show emotions, but to see her wounded, delirious, and covered in zombie gore, fighting even as she goes down and desperately needing to be rescued, humanized Michonne. And who should rescue her but Carl, living by his mother’s dying words to do the right thing.
Now we must take a moment to appreciate the awesome glory of all that is Glenn Rhee. Every TWD fan sees a little of themselves in Glenn, who has adapted brilliantly for survival, but who spent his days delivering pizza and reading comic books before the apocalypse. Glenn is the normal guy, he is us… or at least he used to be. In his apotheosis Glenn is single most bad-ass thing on two legs and this episode proved it.
Tied to a chair, tortured by Merle, Glenn refused to give up the location of his friends. Ok, cool, we’ve seen enough interrogation scenes in war movies to know where this is go—HOLY CANOLI MERLE JUST STUCK A ZOMBIE IN WITH GLENN.
Thus ensued one of the most heart-attack-inducing scenes of “The Walking Dead” as Glenn killed a zombie while duct-taped to a chair alone in a room. And when it was all over he stood there panting and shrieking with pure, unadulterated… something (no seriously, we have no idea what Glenn could possibly have been feeling in that moment).
We can’t dwell on Glenn’s awesome scene without then reflecting (though we really don’t want to) on Maggie’s interrogation scene. In a show where people die with the frequency of mayflies and it’s not at all uncommon for someone to be eaten alive or forced to shoot their loved ones in the head, the scene with Maggie and the Governor was easily one of the most disturbing moments in the show.
As a fan of the comic books, a reviewer, and as a woman I have very mixed emotions about this scene. For one thing, it was nowhere near as graphic and horrific as the rape scene in the comics (which happens to another character at the hands of the Governor). But it was still incredibly difficult and frightening to watch. The writers deserve a lot of credit for such a well-written, emotionally effective sexual assault incident that didn’t actually end in rape.
For another, I am one horror/action junkie who is just sick and tired of rape being the go-to torture for women in television and movies. This happens all the damn time, and yeah, I can’t recall it ever being quite as effective as in “The Walking Dead,” but the threat of sexual violence against women in the media is getting disturbing in its frequency.
All that said, Maggie is an amazing human being. Her response to being undressed at gunpoint and threatened with imminent rape? “Do what you’re gonna do and then go to hell.” She is terrified for herself and Glenn, she thinks she is about to have one of the most dehumanizing forms of violence inflicted upon her at the hands of a truly evil man, and she does not yield. Like Glenn, she will take torture instead of endangering her loved ones.
Which is what makes it all the more tragic that the Governor uses her and Glenn’s love for each other to get the information he needs.
Moving right along (if your now shattered emotions can handle it), there was an actual happy moment in the show, one that wasn’t bittersweet or cry-worthy at all (try to contain your shock)! I am of course referring to the naming of Little Ass Kicker, or as she has been dubbed by her big brother: Judith. The Grimes baby was named Judith in the comics too, but I was honestly hoping Carl would name her for her mother.
To end a very, very long review, there were two non-canon scenes that are worth mentioning: the crazy guy in the shack, and the experimental death of Mr. Coleman. One of them was awesome (crazy guy), the other not so much. The “scientist still looking for a cure despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary” trope has been played out in zombie fiction so often, and in “The Walking Dead” in particular, that I just found myself rolling my eyes at naïve little Milton. We’ve been to the CDC. We’ve seen the walkers in the barn. It’s time to stop beating a dead and decaying horse.
So what happens now? Will the cavalry ride in to save Glenn and Maggie? Will Andrea come to her senses and ditch the Governor? What will happen in Daryl and Merle’s inevitable reunion? And most importantly, who’s going to die? Hold onto your machetes, next week is the mid-season finale of “The Walking Dead.”
We are the walking dead: Tune into AMC every Sunday night at 9 p.m. for the latest episode of the little zombie show that could, “The Walking Dead.”
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