Monday, March 11, 2013

Seeing Through Lies in "The Walking Dead:" A Television Review ("Arrow on the Doorpost")

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Director: David Boyd.

Writers: Frank Darabont, Robert Kirkman and Ryan C. Coleman.

Cast: Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Norman Reedus and Steven Yeun.

Epis. 13 of Seas. 3 of "The Walking Dead," "Arrow on a Doorpost," continues to build tension for an upcoming season finale. Several characters squared off in an uneasy peace negotiation. As well, most characters seemed to be lying to others, with divisions unclear. The pacing in this episode was slowed by the sideshow back at the prison. But, fans of this undead serial likely enjoyed the mano a mano banter between two central characters.

A meeting between Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the Governor (David Morrissey) was the focus of this episode. Rick looked tired as the Governor tried to further wear this character down. The seemed to share a common bond over the death of their wives, but there was no meeting of the minds. Meanwhile, Andrea (Laurie Holden) is continuing to sit on the fence in regards to her loyalties. In her defence, she helped set up the meeting between Rick and the Governor. She, nonetheless, seems caught between sanity (Rick's group) and insanity (the Governor). The prison was also experiencing some minor mayhem. Merle (Michael Rooker) is anxious to protect his brother, Daryl (Norman Reedus); he is stopped by Glenn (Steven Yeun) and company. Events at the prison seemed more of sidebar, compared to the main stage.


Many of the characters in this episode seemed to be lying to each other. Herschel (Scott Wilson) was lying to Milton (Dallas Roberts) about the availability of doctors in his group: "there are no doctors. We use trial and error." Herschel is no longer sporting his doctor's bag, but he is efficient with healing others' injuries. Andrea is lying to herself about the Governor's noble goals. This character is completely deluded and a reckoning is coming. And, Rick is lying to his entire group about the Governor's motives. He tells the others that the Governor will attack the prison no matter what, despite the Governor's lies to the contrary. All of this deceit will cause even more conflict in future episodes.

Two characters who seemed more honest included Daryl and Martinez (Jose Pablo Cantillo). These two soldiers worked together to dispatch several zombies, while negotiations between Rick and the Governor continued in an old barn. Their tone was antagonistic, but they seemed to work well as a team. Martinez even opened up about his history, which helped his character develop somewhat. It is likely that these two will tangle again in the near future.

The character everyone loves to hate, Andrea, continues her poor run. This reviewer groaned as she entered an early scene. Thankfully, she was vanquished outside, where she could sulk freely. Herschel offers her an escape from her poor choices, but Andrea's common sense has been missing for almost an entire season, now. This critic is taking bets on her demise. Epis. 2 of Seas. 4 will finally see Andrea offed via zombie bite (hopefully).

The strongest scenes in this showing involved Rick and the Governor. Their head to head negotiation stalled quickly. The Governor showed a stubborn side involving demands and Rick showed himself to be very wearied by all of the battling. However, the acting from both men came through in all of the storytelling. Actor Andrew Lincoln showed his heart, while the Governor talked of his wife's death. David Morissey also shined. He showed a confidence in these scenes. It was as if the character and the actor took control of these scenes. Both of these characters seemed to further test themselves out in "Arrow in the Doorpost" and more conflict is on the horizon for both the beleaguered Rick and the sometimes over-confident Governor.

There was a lot of depth in this episode and future showings look equally well put together. Characters in this episode were developed, along with plotlines and minor and major conflicts. Future episodes look to be increasing wind speeds just before the storm. And, it will be interesting to see how the oft forgotten Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) factors into the upcoming battle, or as Rick puts it: "we're going to war!" This critic predicts more fence-stitting on behalf of Andrea, with Milton anxious to leave Woodbury for greener and more fenced off pastures. Hopefully, Tyreese will have a change of heart, too. Either way, "The Walking Dead" continues to churn out compelling episodes like the one seen here, in "Arrow on the Doorpost."

Overall: 8.25 out of 10 (great tension, lots of interesting conflicts, plenty of character development with minor and major characters).

"The Walking Dead" at the AMC:

"Arrow on the Doorpost" at the AMC

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