Crumbs: Reviews » Dramas » The Walking Dead » Season 3 » When the Dead Come Knocking
Critical reviews of U.S. TV shows
and analysis of what makes them
good, bad, irritating and enlightening.

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is a drama about a zombie apocalypse. It is based on the 2003 Image Comics series. AMC 2010-???


Episode 7 - When the Dead Come Knocking

28 November 2012

Credit AMC

Synopsis: Merle tortures Glenn while the Governor torments Maggie. Andrea joins Milton in performing a memory experiment on Mr Coleman, an elderly man about to die of cancer. Michonne tells Rick where Maggie and Glenn have been taken and leads a party to go rescue them.

The Good: I thought the three stories at Woodbury were very strong.

Maggie’s interrogation by the Governor was one of the most unsettling scenes of television I’ve seen in a while. Glenn’s beating at the hands of Merle felt too familiar to draw much emotion from me but this was subtler and more disturbing. As soon as the Governor walked in I felt an uncomfortable vibe. We’ve seen the Governor seduce two women and use Woodbury as his personal fiefdom, so I was already anticipating a sexual vibe. I also had that list of women’s names in my head though that may not be related. Either way once he asked her to remove her top all the potential molestation or rape possibilities swam through my mind and created a horrible potential for something brutal to happen. Once more the show demonstrated its excellent grasp of the horrors of an apocalyptic society and it was a ruthless strategy from the Governor to push Glenn or Maggie into telling him what he wanted to know.

Although Glenn’s torture wasn’t as emotive, his subsequent fight with the Walker was a terrific scuffle. It was tense and exciting and used all the props in the room really well as Glenn desperately fought to escape the chair he was strapped to. His scream of frustration and elation after killing the Walker was a great moment for him. It was an entirely fitting cry and a good moment of personal triumph over adversity reminding us how much he has toughened since we first met him.

Milton’s experiment was a very interesting subplot. It was structured well so that the viewer would learn along with Andrea as the experiment unfolded. The music and paintings all leant a sad air to Mr Coleman’s death but it was Milton who was really on display. We discover the extent of his loneliness and social isolation which make him both a docile employee (for the Governor) and ignorant of the realities of life amongst the Walkers. Through our knowledge of the CDC and life on the farm we have been led to believe that Walkers really are just mindless corpses and that any residual memory of their past lives is just that: residue. The show has pushed this angle hard enough that I’m assuming that is the truth. So Milton seemed sheltered and naive and quite sympathetic as Andrea has to guard him from the death he would have haplessly stumbled into.

It turned out to be a good story for Andrea too. I loved the moment where she touched Milton’s hand to comfort him after Mr Coleman’s death. Milton was trying to deal with it all as a science experiment and not let emotions get involved and Andrea seemed mature and kind for dealing with him the way she did. It was also a tense scene once Mr Coleman reanimated as we all knew what he was going to do once those restraints came off.

Back at the prison I thought Carol’s emotional communication with Rick and Carl was very well acted. Without needing to catch her up on everything she was able to emote all her sympathy and sadness. Rick letting Carl name baby Judith was nice as was his thank you to Darryl.

The Bad:
Michonne continues to be a problem for the show. It wasn’t exactly her fault here but there was a credibility gap in the storytelling. We don’t see her explain anything to Rick beyond where Glenn and Maggie have gone. We are left to wonder how she described Woodbury or why she didn’t mention who Andrea or Merle were. Those are pretty big points of information aren’t they? Rick is a sheriff, surely he would have wanted to know why Michonne had been shot at? Michonne would have had to explain that she wanted to go back with them to rescue her friend and again surely Rick would have asked for a name? How else could he help her once they got into Woodbury?  There was far too much trust implied in all this and to add to it Oscar went with them. I know this was probably a necessity given the manpower shortage but that means Rick and Darryl are putting their lives into the hands of two people they barely know. We saw no discussion of what their plan would be once they reached the town either.  

Michonne then kills the poor man living alone and although the others look surprised by this no one steps back to question whether she should have done that. She is also injured. So injured that she was hobbling around and collapsed in front of a group of Walkers. She doesn’t seem like she is in a fit state to be going on this mission.

The Unknown: I assume Michonne was abused at some point given her reaction to Rick touching her. I’m also assuming that the Governor is encouraging Milton’s experiments because he wants to restore his own daughter’s mind.

The Governor yells at Merle that a group of ten people cleared out a prison “something you told me couldn’t be done!” I wasn’t sure what was being implied by that. Did they attempt to take the prison or scout it as a possible home at some point? Why was Merle responsible for assessing that?

Best Moment: I’d have to say the Governor threatening to rape Maggie. I come to TV to feel and that was deeply uncomfortable. And I didn’t feel it was voyeuristic or done for shock value. There may have been an element of that but the Governor has been established in such a way that it felt like the kind of tactic he would use to make Maggie as fearful as possible and so susceptible to revealing the information he needed.

If the Michonne story had been tightened up this could have been a great episode. I really thought the Woodbury side of things was excellent with three quite different stories which evoked a range of emotions but all captured little horrible vignettes of this upside down world. It’s moments like those that make me refuse to see The Walking Dead as just a death-procedural show and hope for something deeper.



Add your comments on this episode below. They may be included in the weekly podcasts.

Post your comment


  • I thought this was a very good episode, I like that they started exactly where they left off with Michonne on the fence. It seemed to me that Rick was off two minds on whether to help Michonne once he realized she wasn't a walker, but Carl tipped his hand in shooting the walkers. Typical Michonne in that even when she's saved she still doesn't trust them. She doesn't give them all the info about what’s happened to her at Woodbury and most importantly doesn't give any names, which I imagine everyone was like me in yelling at the TV, tell them about Andrea and Merle! I understand though that if she had it would deflate the surprise factor when the groups finally meet. Glen and Maggie showed just how much that time being on the road and on the run has changed them. Glen is a much tougher person than the “walker bait” of season two. The viciousness of the Gov. is more personal to us now because unlike the national guardsmen he killed, Glen and Maggie are characters we have a relationship with. I think some people assume Andrea would fall right back in with the grimes gang if given a choice, but I’m not so sure about that. We the audience knows that she wasn't left behind; they thought the walker got her, but she doesn't know that. Did anyone else notice that she carried her bag with her the entire episode? Why, if she feels safe does she have to carry possessions with her everywhere? On another note, I recently watched the Stephen King movie The Mist and noticed that the actors who portray Andrea, Dale, and Carol were all in it, pretty cool, also Carol still had that short haircut except it wasn't as gray.

    Viewer score: 76 / 100

    Posted by Beverly, 28/11/2012 6:16pm (6 years ago)

  • Like many others here, my biggest problem is Michonne. She just isn't a believable character to me. It's a huge frustration when characters don't communicate things that in "real life" would get communicated. I guess we're supposed to think that Michonne simply has a hard time trusting people and letting her guard down but she traveled to the prison to find them didn't she? She could at least tell them clearly what she knows especially since they saved her life and offered to give her medical attention. Instead she just gives The Scowl and she's just annoying instead of intriguing at this point.

    Like you said, it's also a little strange how Rick handled the situation. I think in this season they're trying to show that Rick is a hardened leader and he's going to be tough on outsiders but it doesn't really make sense that he would act so harshly with Michonne considering that she has all the information he needs to know to save two people in his already small group.

    The Woodbury stories were pretty good I just don't really think it's been clear enough exactly what the motivations of the Governor are and why he's so selective of who he wants to kill and who he wants to let stay. The idea of a group of people including Merle's brother holed up in a prison that they cleared should be exciting to the governor shouldn't it? Why would they want to kill off any chance of a peaceful existence with any group of people around them? They must look to recruit people into their group sometime.

    Overall not the strongest episode in my opinion but it's still holding my attention, definitely.

    Viewer score: 55 / 100

    Posted by Dan, 28/11/2012 6:00pm (6 years ago)

  • There was so much to like about this episode and I enjoyed myself watching it.
    My favorite scene was actually Glen’s battle with the walker in the room. That scene did more for his character than anything else the writers have done so far. I liked how smart it showed him to be, just as his torture scene showed his toughness, even when we knew he was bluffing.
    This entire episode seemed determined to show how much of a family our favorite survivors had become. First with the beautiful reunion scene, which made Carol’s disappearance almost worth it; then with the Rick and Daryl conversation on their way to Woodberry. Added to that was Maggie and Glen’s refusal to budge despite everything, until their love was turned against them.
    While I expected an information download from Michonne that would have connected her with the group because of Andrea, it is obvious what the producers decided to do here. By not letting her speak they are obviously drawing out the drama of Daryl discovering his brother’s involvement and the group finding out that Andrea is alive. If Michonne had behaved like any real human being all the connections would have been made and our group would have known who was waiting for them. I wish they hadn’t done this at the expense of Michonne’s character but I am sure with this show’s history of great finales it will be paid off.
    The Maggie torture scene certainly cemented the Governor as a bad guy, but we are still missing his reason for doing all this. Does he just enjoy preying on women or he’s just an equal opportunity sociopath? I am curious about this because we just saw Michonne, one of the good guys, kill an innocent man just because he was overly noisy. It’s a great credit to the world created by the show that we understood her actions and rationalized it appropriately. However what makes the Governor’s choices any different in this kind of world? Granted his methods are monstrous, but we are yet to be shown why he is making these particular choices.
    Other than that, I had fun watching this episode. There has definitely been a marked improvement in the quality of the show from last season. Hopefully, there is a continued upward trajectory for the show.

    As always thank for the forum

    Viewer score: 66 / 100

    Posted by Kayode from Baltimore, 28/11/2012 5:54am (6 years ago)

  • Michonne has become TWD's biggest problem, it just doesn't seem realistic that she didn't info dump everything that Rick would want to know. Then there was the uncharacteristic moment when she scoffed at the suggestion that they cleared the prison, she hardly speaks and when she does it usually is supposed to have a "dramatic effect".

    Otherwise, everything was engaging television, the Governor and Maggie was by far the most settling scene i have seen in a long time. And Glenn's cry of victory was completely believable, reminded me of his joy ride in the sports car back in season 1.

    It was also nice to see Milton become a character rather than a caricature, and I am interested in seeing how Merle and Andrea will react to their current situation next week.

    Overall, fantastic episode, I expect that the writing for Michonne will improve when we head into the back half of the season.

    Viewer score: 70 / 100

    Posted by Ben F., 27/11/2012 4:21pm (6 years ago)

  • I found it kind of odd how often the show tried to remind us that Rick's group was this elite killing force that cleared out the prison in a way that nobody else could. With the kind of fire power that the Governor has at his disposal, clearing out the prison should be pretty easy for them at this point. It's not something that took away from my enjoyment of the show, but it felt like the writers really wanted us to know that Rick's group was able to match up with the Governors people and did so in a somewhat clumsy way.

    The crazy guy in the woods was kind of odd and it just seemed to serve as a way for the show to burn off 10 minutes or so. I can't see what purpose that scene served otherwise.

    This show is one episode away from being half over, so I think we have a big enough body of work to declare that Michonne has been a bitter disappointment thus far. The scowls she makes are almost comical at this point, and her complete lack of offering relevant information to Rick was absurd. Are we supposed to assume that she was unaware that she stumbled across Lori's old group? Or did she just decide not to bring it up for reasons unknown? Michonne knows that Merle was looking for his brother and she knows that he is at the prison, so how the heck does she neglect to mention that info? How does Rick not press her for more information and then immediately trust her to fight along side him? Michonne has been a massive swing and a miss so far, and I hope they use the mid-season break to address this.

    Viewer score: 65 / 100

    Posted by Aaron, 26/11/2012 11:07pm (6 years ago)

  • I agree with all you mentioned as good and bad and unknown.

    I loved Glenn' zombie scuffle as you called it. My favorite action scene and some excellent make up there.

    Thought it was very odd the way the shed scene was handled. Walkers only at the front door?

    I loved the Carol and gang reunion. And let us not forget the baby naming scene. Carol's return gave them enough hope to name her. I actually thought they'd name her Hope.

    Can't wait until next week, Eager to see how the Battle progresses.

    Viewer score: 66 / 100

    Posted by Yogabon , 26/11/2012 10:14pm (6 years ago)

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments