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The Walking Dead – When the Dead Come Knocking Review: How Dark is AMC Willing to Go?

This episode definitely lives up to the show’s new tagline of “Fight the Dead, Fear the Living”. One of the fundamental aspects of the comic is that humans are the real threat, not the zombies, and this season is finally delivering that message for the show. When the Dead Comes Knocking rotates between three storylines: Maggie/Glenn being captured, Rick and the gang forming a rescue party, and (quite randomly) Andrea and Milton studying zombie transformation. Out of those three plotlines, two of them are great and one left me wondering why it was even there.

The interrogation scenes, especially the one for Glenn, were handled far better than I was expecting. I’ve been pretty indifferent to Glenn up until this point, but this episode made a fan of his. He bravely didn’t give into Merle torturing him and even took out a zombie while being taped to a chair. From the little we’ve seen of Glenn, he’s been the laidback and calm type, so seeing that he can take it, give it, and still do a great job showing that he’s worried about Maggie just by emoting with his face/eyes, is a very impressive job. On the other side of those punches and threats we have Merle. I was wondering if the show might play around with his loyalty given the fact he’s about to go against his brother, which is still a possibility, but since we’ve just seen him do such terrible things to a group member… and taking pleasure in it, I doubt we’ll see him switching to team Rick anytime soon. 

The interrogation of Maggie was more of a mixed bag. Maggie (played by Lauren Cohan) also did an excellent job showing her strong will and being unbreakable, the questionable parts are more on the show and how the Governor handles the situation. We’ve mainly seen him be charismatic and that’s clearly one of his strong suits, so him being nice for ten seconds then jumping straight to his intimidation act of pretending like he’s going to rape her was a little bizarre. It seems like he would’ve tried using his charisma or threaten to hurt Glenn some more before getting to that point. The comic version of the Governor was a sick and twisted guy right from the start (slight comic spoilers in the next sentence). In that story someone from Rick’s group is captured and raped by him for days in order to break their will and because it’s seemingly fun to him.

Due to that sick action above and how that character pays him back, those are two of the main reasons why he becomes such a popular and hated villain in the comics. Now that the show has seemingly skipped that and still kept him bad but not downright evil, while his comic version is almost evil incarnate, makes me wonder where they’ll take him next and what will the show not do. The show has never been a direct adaptation of its source material, which is perfectly fine, but why was such a character defining moment taken out.

Obviously, rape is a very touchy subject, even the fictional kind, but how far is too far for AMC? They did choose to adapt one of the darkest comics around. My immediate reaction to it just being a threat was "HBO would've done it" and not just them, since FX, Showtime, and probably Starz would have gone through with it. At the moment, the Governor has no manic energy at all, sure he’s interesting, but his comic counterpart had that crazy, manic “he might do anything at any moment” type of feeling, which very few villains have. So far, Merle seems more evil than him and as far as manic energy goes, Gyp from Boardwalk Empire is easily beating him and everyone else on TV right now.

Back in the prison things were interesting, but Michonne continues to annoy when it’s time for her talk rather than fight. The scene before she passes out was well filmed, but her unwillingness to talk is sometimes hard to even watch. Instead of acting like a fat guy who just walked up some stairs, how about you say why you’re there? Rick being willing to punch her wound so quickly seemed a little out of character for him, but once Michonne finally explained what was happening and the group was off on their rescue mission, the plotline was greatly improved and featured some very nice action. The hobo in the cabin seemed random, but it did show how the group is good at thinking on their feet. They don’t have many fighters in their group, but they do work well together and the Governor should be looking at them as a real threat. 

Perhaps the Andrea and Milton storyline will affect something later, but as of this episode it felt like thrown in filler. Milton definitely fits the stereotype of being a "dumb smart guy" since his smarts are all book and no street. The Governor not leaving him alone was a good idea; the genius would've gotten himself bitten and possibly infected the town if it weren't for Andrea. Looking at the storyline by itself, it wasn't bad at all, but why was it even there and why is this something we should even care about is what I was thinking. With the mid-season finale happening next week, this was a very good  penultimate episode; the rescue group is at Woodbury now, a crew is possibly going to the almost undefended prison, and what sides will Merle and Andrea pick. I still can't see everyone making it back to the prison (would they all even fit in that car?) but I am hoping they all make it, since they've made just about everyone in Rick's group likable and easy to root for this season.



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