The Walking Dead, Season 3, Episode 7: “When the Dead Come Knocking”
Written by Frank Renzulli
Directed by Dan Sackheim
Airs Sundays at 9pm ET on AMC
Who will kill the Governor, and by what means? It’s a question that naturally arises while watching David Morrissey and his cronies make life hell for Glenn and Maggie, who should be among virtually every sane viewer of The Walking Dead‘s favorite characters. In previous weeks, it seemed most likely that it’d be Andrea – she’d finally see him for what he is, snap, and blow his brains out. But now it seems it’d be much more satisfying to watch Maggie take the creep down. (Or perhaps they can join forces at an opportune moment. Visions of the last seconds of Death Proof.) As much as I’m not crazy about having Merle back, Micheal Rooker gives good villain – the creeping zoom on his face when he catches Glenn in an obvious lie is particularly unsettling.
“When the Dead Come Knocking,” as befitting a penultimate episode (next week is the midseason finale), is almost all prelude, which makes it difficuult to assess on its own. It gets Rick and company into Woodbury, ready to take on The Governor at last, but stops just short of the actual conflict.
There’s a distinct period vibe to “When the Dead Come Knocking,” though precisely what that period is shifts. The Milton-Andrea scenes, in which Milton’s ideas about memory retention in walkers is tested, have a distinct 1950s energy, particularly the all-pastel color scheme. But for most of the episode, Bear McCreary’s pulsating electronic score and the straightforward, no-nonsense malevolance of Merle and The Governor seems to evoke vintage 1970s John Carpenter. The brief standoff in the barnhouse, with its shot-through shadows and peepholes, even evokes The Evil Dead just a little. For s how that often doesn’t do enough beyond visual effects to distinguish itself visually, it’ll do.
Boy, Rick certainly seems completely together all of a sudden, huh? One of the trickier aspects for The Walking Dead‘s writers is just how condensed this season is in terms of timeline. The stretch of time from Lori’s death to their departure for Woodbury is…what, exactly? A day? Half a day? For the depths of despair that Rick reached not very long ago, his recuperation into full Rickness this week seems awfully hasty. It makes you wonder if the whole weeping-and-killing-and-ghost-phones phase was even worth exploring to being with.
Finally, on the Andrea Front, things are looking slightly up. Yes, her scenes with The Governor are still very hard to watch, but her scenes with Milton remind us that she hasn’t always been portrayed as being entirely this dumb. It’s also handy that she saves Milton’s life at the last nanosecond, because he’s probably the only Woodbury character worth keeping around after the inevitable cataclysm.
With one episode left before the break, it seems likely that we’ll lose another major character or two in the Battle of Woodbury. I don’t think the show can afford to lose Darryl, Michonne, Glenn, or Maggie, and it would be silly to kill off either of the new guys already (which is not to say that it won’t happen, as the show is hardly above silliness), so who’s left? As much as his arrival was heralded as a Big Deal, I’d be fine with The Governor kicking it spectacularly next week. Preferably with Maggie’s foot in his face.