This is a recap. There will be SPOILERS. You’re my best friend.
Glenn finally made nice with Maggie! Emphasis on the “nice.” (Bow-chicka-wow-wow!) He got to step up and be the leader he so desperately wants to be. In this world, one’s mettle is often shown in the physical realm. Having brains to back it up is a must, but sometimes it’s not until a show of force that characters taken seriously. Last week, Morgan pointed out that the weak have inherited the earth, and that is (or will be) true eventually. But, not until everyone else it dead, right?
But “Arrow on the Doorpost” really wasn’t about Glenn and Maggie, was it? They had several scenes that really stuck out, though, and I was pleased that Glenn got to “prove” himself in a manner he obviously wanted.
On to the rest!
There was a lot of measuring going on in this episode, but something that really piqued my interest was a theme of “twos.” One of the over-arching themes of this season is that you can’t survive alone (without going crazy, anyways). That larger theme was reinforced by the obvious pairs throughout “Arrow.”
(An aside: When the episode was finished, I looked at my husband and said, “Why the heck was it called ‘Arrow on the Doorpost?'” Utilizing Google-Fu, a totally legit, for-realz martial art, we discovered it to be an allusion to “Blind Willie McTell,” a song by Bob Dylan.
Go ahead. Make fun of me for not knowing!
The first part of the song is:
“Seen the arrow on the doorpost
Saying, “This land is condemned
All the way from New Orleans
Nice. This land full of walkers and the walking dead –the “live” inhabitants– is indeed condemned.
From the last verse:
“Well, God is in His heaven
And we all want what’s His
But power and greed and corruptible seed
Seem to be all that there is”
Does The Governor (TG) fit this? I think so. And Rick? Perhaps.)
“Arrow” was another ping-pong episode, jumping back and forth between the prison and the meeting between TG and Rick. I’m going to follow the storylines as it makes sense, without necessarily keeping to how they edited the show to air.
“Arrow” opens with Rick, Daryl, and Hershel arriving at a farm. After Rick and Daryl scope out the surroundings (Hershel stays with the vehicle until later), Rick enters a barn/storage shed, and we see a table with two chairs set up on a raised platform. TG enters, and we find out they are there to negotiate. (Ooo! I found out that they’re meeting at a feed store! Really? Huh. Looks more like a storage shed to me…)
Negotiate what? That’s to come…
TG makes a big show of taking off his gun, but we see another duct-taped to his side of the table. Rick wisely doesn’t remove his at all. Go, Rick!
The pair are the first of the “twos” theme.
Andrea has arranged the meeting, and she, Milton and TG minion Martinez arrive a bit later. Daryl and Hershel are standing guard outside the barn, and Andrea is surprised when they tell her that TG is already there. She rushes into the barn to facilitate the meeting, but, it’s already underway, and both TG and Rick make it quite clear that Andrea has no business being there. I got a very apparent “let the grown-ups talk” vibe as they dismissed her. (Teehee!)
She leaves and sits down in a huff outside.
At the prison, Glenn is leading a fortification effort; tons of guns and ammunition are on the common room tables. Merle looks on and says that they should instead go and kill TG while he is distracted at the negotiation. I totally agreed with Merle, but Glenn doesn’t know what I know about the comic books, and told the elder Dixon brother no. It was another thematic “twos” pairing and an opportunity for Glenn to prove himself as back-up leader. He argues that an attack could put Rick, Daryl, and Hershel in danger. Merle is displeased.
Later, Merle fills a bag with weapons and starts for the door, intent on killing TG at the negotiation. Again, Glenn tells him no, but this time, Merle isn’t going to listen. Glenn blocks his path and the two start fighting! Maggie and Michonne lend aid, but it’s not until Beth discharges a gun that the scuffle breaks up.
(Oh, Beth…what do you do all day? Take care of Judith? Who, by the way, is the quietest newborn EVER.)
When Glenn is in the cage (that fenced in area around one of the doors to the prison yard), Maggie comes out (“twos” theme) and they finally talk about the awkwardness that followed their time in Woodbury. Glenn apologizes for making the situation about him (THANK YOU!), and Maggie reassures him that she’s on his side. Always.
They have prison concrete floor sex (ouch!), and it’s all better.
In the common room, Merle and Michonne (more “twos” theme) discuss Merle’s wish to go kill TG. He wants her to help, but she declines. (Come on, Michonne! You know he’s right! I mean, I know he’s right…)
Back at the negotiation, the theme of “twos” resurfaces as Daryl and Martinez measure each other up and compete to take down a small batch of walkers that wander into the area. Andrea gets in on the walker clearing with the first kill, but it’s largely the two men who show off for each other (more measuring).
It was interesting to watch their competition turn into an honest chat, though. After killing all the walkers, Daryl offers Martinez a cigarette (which he initially refuses but later accepts) and the pair bonds. But, they come to the unsettling conclusion that the two groups (another “twos” theme reference) will most likely never be able to peacefully coexist.
Milton, who introduced himself to Daryl and Hershel as TG’s advisor, is spending his waiting time by writing down historical moments. Hershel sits beside him, and we see another pair in the “twos” theme. They seem friendly and companionable…even to the point of joking around. Since Milton is writing down their history, he is interested in seeing Hershel’s leg and the site of amputation. Hershel jokes that he can’t believe Milton would even ask that without buying him a drink beforehand.
It’s obvious that without the rabble-rousing and personal vendettas between the two leaders (mostly on the side of TG), that Hershel and Milton and even Daryl and Martinez would probably get along just fine.
In the feed store, TG and Rick flop ’em out and measure, both men posturing and trying to intimidate the other. TG makes it clear that he’s not really interested in negotiation at all. He’s there to accept Rick’s surrender. Rick doesn’t take to keenly to this and the two go back and forth. But, TG’s tactics change as the meeting goes on, and he does several things designed to loosen Rick’s guard: he brings whiskey and he opens up about his wife’s fatal car accident (which happened prior to the walker apocalypse). At first, Rick refuses the whiskey, but I was disturbed to see him drink after TG’s wife story.
(Don’t fall for it, Rick!)
Finally, it comes down to what TG really wants: Michonne. In a dramatic moment, TG removes his eyepatch and tells Rick that the fighting can end if he simple surrenders Michonne. TG says Rick has two days to consider.
Outside, Andrea asks Hershel (he’s no longer sitting with Milton) what happened with Maggie, and he tells her simply that TG is a sick man. She tearfully tells him that she can’t stay in Woodbury, and Hershel tells her that if she comes to the prison, her decision will have to (must) stick. No more waffling! But, when TG and Rick come out of the feed store, Andrea, after giving Hershel a look, still gets in the vehicle with TG!
WHAT?! Gosh, I hate you, Andrea.
When TG, Andrea, Milton, and Martinez get back to Woodbury, TG tells Milton about the deal he offered Rick and how it’s false. Of course! TG says they’re going to have to kill Rick sooner or later, anyhow, so, if he or anyone from the prison shows up, they are to be shot on sight! Except of Michonne, that is. She is to be brought alive to TG. (So, he can do all manner of evil things to her before killing her, I guess.)
Milton seems surprised at TG’s savagery (really, Milton? Gah.), but does little in the way of protesting. The short scene was yet another powerful “twos” theme pairing.
After he’s finished with Milton, TG calls out to Andrea and thanks her for setting up the meeting. She seems skeptical, but accepts his thanks, and they part ways. Oh, and another “twos!”
Oh, Andrea. Sigh.
When Rick, Daryl, and Hershel get back to the prison, Rick tells everyone that there is no deal, and that TG wants to kill them all. (I wondered at that point if Rick was the one who wanted a war, or if he actually saw through TG’s crap.)
Later, Rick is on the fenced-in catwalk that he always seems to drift to when contemplating things. As he stares soulfully into the distance, Hershel hobbles out (“twos” theme alert!), and Rick tells him of TG’s offer. But, Rick also allows that he knows TG will likely kill them all, anyway.
But, Rick is faced with making the call on whether or not to give Michonne up. Would Hershel be willing to sacrifice the lives of his daughters for Michonne? It’s a hard question, and Rick indicates that he’s considering giving her up.
And why did he lie to the group? Rick tells Hershel it’s because they need to be scared to face what’s coming. (What? Giving up Michonne? Defending the prison? Both?)
When Hershel asks why Rick has told him the truth, Rick says, “Because I’m hoping you can talk me out of it.”
Whoa. No pressure, Hershel!
What’d you think of “Arrow?” Did I read too much into the “twos?” And how about that title and the song it references? Hit me up in the comments!
[Featured image courtesy of AMC and found at http://blogs.amctv.com/photo-galleries/the-walking-dead-season-3-episode-photos/episode-13-rick-governor-2.php.]