The Walking Dead Review: “When The Dead Come Knocking” (Season 3, Episode 7)

Woodbury and those associated with it yet again played the most significant role in “When the Dead Come Knocking,” most significantly the fates of Glenn and Maggie. Isolated to separate interrogation rooms on orders by The Governor, Merle and the leader himself tackle the issue of finding out where their camp is located and how many men and woman strong they are. Merle takes the more hands on approach with Glenn (along with a monologue only he could deliver), bludgeoning him like a punching bag before snapping in a moment of rage and letting loose a Walker into the room with Glenn still lashed to a chair.

The ensuring struggle is white-knuckle tense, heightened even more so by the show’s demonstration that nobody – nobody – is safe from death, even when the body count of prominent cast members has already reached a premium. Even Merle seems impressed by Glenn’s survival instinct, even if the man is still a little peeved at having to saw off his own appendage at the hands of his group.

There is a great little moment when Glenn opts to go the way of intimidation and fluffs up the actual numbers of their group by naming off a solid cross section of their deceased. However, naming Andrea among their ranks (while unbeknownst to him she resides just next door) was a bit of a backfire to say the least.

The Governor tackles the processing of Maggie in a way befitting only of a man as damaged and inwardly deranged as he, forcing her to strip topless and implying an imminent rape. When she submits and takes the “fun” out of the whole thing, the tried by true method of reuniting the lovers along with the threat of death finally results in Maggie blurting out their location and group strength and, yet another, tearful reunion.

It remains fascinating that The Governor continues to be so threatened by the sheer existence of other people wandering the woods nearby that aren’t under his finger and stern gaze. It’s become clear the internal politics of his haven and twisted agenda trump any post-apocalyptic leanings and its becoming apparent his arrogance and hubris will be his downfall.

Such is the case with an experiment being conducted by the creepy scientist Milton who has acquired a willing test subject (a man on the edge of death from prostate cancer) to see if the undead retain any of their humanity. Using a series of musical cues and personal questions before and after departure, he (with Andrea standing watch with a knife just in case) tries to determine just that. Needless to say the inexperience and sheltered nature of Woodbury and its residents as witnessed by Andrea shows its ugly head once more as Milton stupidly unlashes one of his test subject’s hand. Thankfully for him Andrea is quick with her blade.

On the aforementioned rescue front, Rick, Daryl, Michonne and their two new inmate buds Axel and Oscar have parked a mile outside of Woodbury, poised to strike with a bag ol’ bag of weapons and tear and smoke grenades from the prison. Immediately encountering a Walkerhoard (and what would lead up to one of the show’s more bizarre subplots), they barricade themselves in a rank hunting shack inhabited by its still-living owner: a deranged man with a shotgun.

Tweaking out and asking to see Rick’s badge after he tells the man he’s a cop, officer friendly (as Merle calls him) swats the gun away which sends the individual streaking for the locked front door. Michonne doesn’t take well to that. Needless to say using said bloke as a zombie distraction while they slip out the back marked the first time the show has used a human being purely as a plot device. Think Tim Robin’s role in War of the Worlds.

But I digress, as the group escapes the shack they position themselves outside the front gates of Woodbury. Though there was no big confrontation this episode, the pieces are litterly set for what should be a bloody and action packed mid seasons finale. Though “When the Dead Come Knocking” wasn’t the goriest, the most fun or the most outwardly scary episode of The Walking Dead, it was certainly one of my favourites.

The plotlines have converged, everything revealed about Woodbury remains intriguing if not fascinating and the twisted nature of this show is no longer just implied. What has been accomplished in this episode and what will be an eventful next episode will, as a whole, serve as a setup for a heated and revenge-driven Rick vs. Governor confrontation that promises to shock us with more prominent deaths before season three is done.