“Your people are dangerous.”
That’s a bold statement coming from a man with an entire gallery of zombiefied severed heads in his dayroom. In the latest installment of The Walking Dead, the Governor and his Woodbury thugs prove to be more dangerous and erratic than any Walker, all the while Rick and his group stumble upon a new journey that might take them to the ends of the earth. When the dead come knocking, what is there to expect besides the usual blood, guts, gore and death? Some keep hope for something better–a new awakening that might lead to some kind of miracle cure. And others will find themselves forced to take sides as a new fight emerges. Dangerous tactics, a thrilling new rescue mission and other compelling situations set the stage for what should be an insane and bloody mid-season finale…
A short stand-off between survivors leaves Michonne with a new group. Two worlds collide and the level of trust is not at a comfortable level for either. A great level of cautious strategy is played out as Rick surprisingly decides to let Michonne into the group, yet with obvious preliminaries. A tense, inherent distrust from both parties is fuming. At yet at the same time, Michonne, although she’d never admit it, is in need of help. She knows this group at the prison are Andrea’s people. And maybe she can convince them all to get her out, especially now that Merel has captured Glenn and Maggie. To translate Michonne’s silently-aggressive plea for help, she comes baring baby formula for Rick’s newborn daughter. It’s a slightly touching aspect, I thought, no matter how on-guard and standoffish Michonne is, constantly.
It was also interesting to see Michonne be brought into a group that is more about survival and basic necessities. This group is compassionate and often emotional, which they kind of have to be after all the stuff they’ve been through together. They lean on one another for survival, which is an aspect of endurance that Michonne has likely given up on a long time ago. Michonne’s general distrust of people is usually a strength for her in this world; however, we see here that it can also cause her more problems in certain cases. She’s a survivor first, a pragmatist second, and a charity case dead last. Michonne would die before she asks for assistance.
Michonne comes as a significant catalyst to push Rick and his group of survivors into Woodbury, where the real showdown will begin. Realizing that this quaint town is simply a dark trap in disguise, Rick, Daryl, Oscar, and Michonne prepare to head off and rescue Glenn and Maggie from whatever kidnappers took them. Carl has really been stepping up lately as an adult, even in the wake of having his childhood completely ripped away from him due to life’s harsh new circumstances. Ultimately, Carl is the one who saves Michonne and, in a sense, adds a worthy survivor to their team. The only question is if Rick and Michonne can trust each other beyond this messy meeting? Can Michonne learn not to have all the control in a situation and gain the lost art of trusting another in order to save her friend Andrea and the others?
Rick finally makes an apology to Carl for being forced to tackle the responsibility of killing his own mother. It echoes back to the pilot episode of the series when Morgan was completely unable to kill his wife although she had turned. Carl couldn’t let that destructive pattern happen to his father. In Rick’s apology, the two find a saving grace by focusing on their new member of the family and finally giving her a proper name, Judith. As if Ass-kicker weren’t proper enough! Rick also exclaims his appreciation for Daryl. Not only did Daryl step up when Rick was down and out, but he found Carol, who I am thoroughly glad to see back with the group. It’s a shocking surprise that gives the group a sense of hope, even in the recent losses they’ve dealt with.
In Woodbury, the Governor and Andrea are still shacking up with one another. There is a level of trust the Governor has gained with Andrea lately, which is evident when he asks her to assist scientist, Milton, in an experiment with a dying man. Can a Walker, once turned, display any significant cognitive thought? When death comes knocking, can a little bit of what makes us all human remain in there somewhere? Evidence is inconclusive. The risky experiment ends in a swift stab to the head as Andrea proves that Walkers are no more than just monsters in this world. The Governor, who one could also consider a monster, is putting everyone in danger for the sake of holding onto a very unrealistic possibility that maybe, he can get his daughter, Penny back.
Below the pretty town of Woodbury, both Glenn and Maggie endure the distressing interrogations of both Merel and the Governor. Glenn proves himself a fighter as he attempts to strategically get out of this impossible situation. Merel is still the psycho jerk we’ve all come to be conflicted with and his tactics to get information out of Glenn soon enough evolve into a chance at getting revenge, by throwing a hungry Walker into the mix. An act that only awakens the fighter in Glenn. Elsewhere, Maggie endures a fight of her own with the Governor, which turns out to be one of the most tense scenes so far this season. In the end, the Governor gets what he wants, but also realizes that Rick’s small group of survivors are likely to be quite a challenge. It’s a new threat to his society that he has to eradicate. I’m surprised the Governor keeps Glenn and Maggie alive, both of whom are distraught by their recent plights. Even though both of their situations are horrible, the two lovebirds get their moments to shine as enduring fighters and survivors, instead of just being the cute couple of the show.
Rick’s group and Michonne also prove themselves to be a team of significant strength and power when they strategically get themselves out of trouble with a horde of hungry Walkers, again displaying how brutal survival is in this world. Now at the front gates of Woodbury, the inevitable confrontation is at its beginning stage. Next week on The Walking Dead, it will be Team Prison vs. Team Woodbury! This penultimate episode is a solid set up for whatever mayhem and death will come in the mid-season finale. Filled with poignant and tense moments, “When the Dead Come Knocking” gets 4 out of 5 stars!
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