“When The Dead Come Knocking” opens with the torture of Glenn by Merle. Merle needs information about the rest of the group but this interrogation is really about revenge. Merle will never forgive the group for leaving him handcuffed to that roof in season one. He will never understand why they made that choice or that it was all his fault. They didn’t leave him for dead because they didn’t like him. They left him for dead because he was a danger to the group. They did what was best for the group as a whole.
Time has failed to give Merle insight into his past actions or how those actions informed the actions of others. Everyone on this show has evolved except for Merle. He is the same enraged loose cannon he has always been. Tragedy and death have taught him nothing.
In this episode, we see how much Glenn has evolved from season one. He surprises everyone, not only with his mental strength, but with his physical strength as well. He may be a little guy but he knows how to work with what he’s got. He has always been resourceful and quietly brave but those personality traits have improved over time and they really shine through here. He kills a zombie while he is tied to a chair! Later, when Merle points a gun at his head, Glenn shoves his face closer to it because he would rather die than endanger his friends. If that does not seal Glenn as the most wonderful character ever, I don’t know what does.
Carl’s growth into a useful member of the group continues. He makes the decision to help Michonne, not Rick. He takes the first shoot at a walker that is attacking her. Long gone are the days where someone asks “Where’s Carl?”
Michonne desperately needs to evolve as a character. Her scowling is getting old fast. She refuses to tell the group her name or how she ended up with a basket of baby formula. She gruffly tells Rick that she didn’t ask for his help but then what exactly was she doing at the fence? Certainly looked like asking for help. She brought the basket of provisions with her because she knew that was her way into the prison. In the apocalypse, you don’t fully give your trust to anyone but a small amount of trust is necessary to survive. She needs to drop of some her pride because her attitude is making it very difficult to root for her.
After much glowering, Michonne tells Rick about Woodbury and the Governor. She goes with them to rescue Glenn and Maggie. Hopefully, they will save Andrea from herself, as well.
Speaking of Andrea, she’s still living in the dreamland of Woodbury. Though she does show some common sense when the Governor asks her to help Milton with an experiment. The Governor wants what everyone wants, a cure for the virus. But he goes a step beyond that to look for redemption for the walking dead. Can the monsters be tamed? Does any of their human personality still exist? Andrea says no, but fails to elaborate with any of the information she learned at the CDC. Instead she cautiously watches while Milton tries to communicate with the dead. She knows the zombie will attack, so she is ready to kill it when it lunges at Milton, who stupidly frees it from its bonds.
The Governor may want to save humanity from the zombie horde but it is doubtful that the man has any humanity of his own left. While he leaves Merle to torture Glenn, he takes care of Maggie himself. He makes her take off her clothes and nearly rapes her. He then marches her into Glenn’s cell, while she is still naked, and points a gun at Glenn’s head. Glenn refuses to talk but Maggie has been so violated that she confesses to the location of the group. In one of the creepiest moves ever, the Governor embraces Maggie and tells her that everything is going to be okay, while stroking her face.
Will someone please give Lauren Cohen an Emmy?
The Governor is more terrifying than any zombie could be. He is even more terrifying than Merle. The Governor is quiet and calculating. He is strategically evil. Rick and the gang may be able to handle zombies and thugs but they’ve never faced this kind of menace and I wonder how they will fair against him in the mid-season finale next week.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.