Monday, November 26, 2012

"The Walking Dead" Are Shuffling Towards a Cliffhanger: A Television Review ("When the Dead Come Knocking")

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Director: Daniel Sackheim.

Writers: Frank Darabont, Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard, and Frank Renzulli.

Cast: Andrew Lincoln, Laurie Holden, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Candler Riggs, Danai Gurira, Michael Rooker, David Morrissey, Melissa McBride, Emily Kinney, and Scott Wilson.

"The Walking Dead" continues to be an outstanding show as this series moves closer to its Seas. 3 midway point. In Epis. 7, "When the Dead Come Knocking," Michonne (Danai Gurira) introduces herself to Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his group with a snarl and a glare. This character needs to loosen up. Meanwhile, the character Merle (Michael Rooker) has returned to his racist ways; he does not seem to miss T-Dog (IronE Singleton) when he calls him a "spearchucker." Other characters, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Glenn (Steven Yeun), are not finding the Governor's (David Morrissey) hospitality that welcoming. These two are both tortured to an extent. Centrally, this episode brought many of Seas. 3's characters together at Woodbury. The big mid-season finale begins December 2nd and this viewer has a few predictions for Epis. 8, "Made to Suffer."

The story in "When the Dead Come Knocking" moved along at a quick clip. Characters were developed and the tension is building. This episode spent part of its time at both the prison and Woodbury. At the prison, Carol (Melissa McBride) is welcomed back into the group and so is Michonne. However, Michonne continues with her angry persona, which riles Rick and the others. This petulant character has a tale to tell, however: Glenn and Maggie have been captured. Rick's interest is piqued and he sets off for Woodbury. The Governor is staying busy. He is keeping Andrea (Laurie Holden) wrapped around his finger while he allows Merle to torture Maggie and Glenn. He later proceeds to threaten Maggie with rape and murder until she finally divulges her group's whereabouts, the prison. These two characters are definitely not having a good time in Woodbury.

Michonne is also not having a good time. Has this character even smiled this season? She seems obstinate and obtuse at the best of times. In this episode, she finally managed to move her lips to give Rick some important information. Hopefully, this character is on the road to becoming more sociable. Michonne might become a static one-dimensional outing if she cannot break through her tough exterior.

Meanwhile, Merle is completely at ease with his own toughness. His gruff exterior seems more natural, compared to Michonne. He seems at his worst when delivering racist lines. His view of T-Dog has been mentioned. As well, Merle makes a racist Asian comment in reference to Chinese food and Glenn being poor nourishment for a zomibe: "You know what they say, you will be hungry again in an hour." This line was fairly funny despite the subject matter. Late in this episode, Merle's loyalties are questioned. Merle might be flip-flopping between supporting the Governor and Daryl, his brother. It is apparent whose side Merle is always on: his own.

Maggie and Glenn got the worst of it in this episode. Glenn almost became zombie food, while Maggie was forced to strip. In the comics, Maggie was actually raped by the Governor. However, the series has toned down this element. This viewer believes that the Governor's taste for women would have incited him to violate Maggie based on other encounters. He humiliates her, instead. Glenn also shows himself to be a bit of a brawler. His survival skills are improving. Glenn takes down a walker while strapped to a chair by duct tape. This action scene was the best of the episode. Both Maggie and Glenn are still in danger as few visitors make it out of Woodbury alive!

These events and characters will help jumpstart Epis. 8, "Made to Suffer" and this reviewer has a few predictions to make for this upcoming episode. This long time "The Walking Dead" watcher believes that Glenn and Maggie will escape under their own power from Woodbury, somehow. Rick will confront the Governor, but the results of their battle will be ambivalent. Rick and the Governor are sure to rumble throughout much of Seas. 3. As well, Andrea will see Rick and his group and she will be tempted to join back up with her initial comrades, but the Governor will hold her back through coercion. How will Merle and Daryl reunite? This relationship will develop into a sub-plot when these two finally meet. This viewer believes that the brothers will reunite briefly only to be split up again. And, Carl (Chandler Riggs) will have an unbelievable amount of challenges to deal with when the Governor's men come to visit. "Made to Suffer" will host a lot of conflict.

"The Walking Dead" is having its best season to date. Seas. 3 is bringing a lot of great characterizations to the table with: Daryl, Rick, the Governor, Merle and many others. These characters continue to develop in a mostly believable way as the zombie apocalypse creates some great tension and action sequences. "When the Dead Come Knocking" has effectively set up the mid-season break and this viewer is waiting with excitement and anticipation to see what happens when Rick finally makes an appearance in the Governor's camp, or is it a cultish commune?

Overall: 8 out of 10.

More on "When the Dead Come Knocking" can be found at the AMC:

When the Dead Come Knocking at the AMC

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