The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 13 “Arrow On The Doorpost” Review


In Season 3, Episode 13 titled “Arrow On The Doorpost”, Rick meets face to face with the Governor for the first time.

Let’s dissect the episode! Continue reading for my initial reaction and spoiler filled thoughts.

Eye To Eye

The cold opening with Rick and Daryl scoping out the barn was well done. I thought they were scavenging for supplies … only to find the Governor inside waiting for them. If you watched the previews, you knew it was coming.

Rick is in a vulnerable state of mind to be negotiating with the Governor. The Governor is using all of his Jedi mind tricks to test and see how far he can manipulate Rick.

From seeing if Rick would put away his gun, demanding his surrender, plying him with Whiskey and bringing up that Shane is the father of Lil Ass Kicker, the Governor thinks he’s a tiger playing with a mouse.

Because the Governor has a hidden gun under the table, there’s a palpable tension that a shootout might break out any moment. Even before the talk, I was thinking, “Rick, just shoot him” although it might risk the lives of Daryl and Hershel waiting outside.

The Governor is lying throughout the entire negotiation yet his delivery is very believable. The Gov did tell the truth about the day his wife died in a car crash. The story about the loss of a wife unsettles Rick, setting up the Gov’s final deal.


Because Hershel needs crutches to walk, he’s an unlikely right hand man to bring to a negotiation that could easily turn sour. He did get in a funny line talking to Milton The Butler, “I just met you, at least buy me a drink first”. If the two met under other circumstances they could possibly have been friends.

The same goes for Daryl and Martinez. My kill of the week goes to Daryl throwing the knife into the walker’s head. Pretty bad-ass in an action lite episode.

After their walker killing contest, the two henchmen bond over cigarettes. “They’ll do their little dance,” Martinez says, but eventually “they’ll give the word”. Even while bonding, they know they’ll have to kill each other down the road.

As for Andrea, she wants to be a peacemaker but gets thrown out of the meeting … thank you! Outside, Hershel tells her that Governor is a sick man for what he did to Maggie. Andrea is done with the Governor but knows she can best stop him by returning to Woodbury.

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 13 Arrow On The Doorpost

Back At The Prison

A few episodes ago, Glenn was all too eager to get revenge on the Governor with guns blazing. Now he’s starting to think things thru when he won’t let Merle endanger the negotiation.

“This guy cops a feel of your woman and you pussy out like this?” says Merle. It was only a matter time before Merle’s mouth started running again. His motivation is to protect his brother Daryl so it’s understandable why he wants to leave.

After his skirmish with Merle, Glenn’s brief words with Maggie gets them all hot and bothered. I thought Maggie might get flashes of her abuse when getting down with Glenn but finally all is well between the couple.

As much as Michonne would love to assassinate the Governor, she’s not going to risk lives and her place within the group by teaming up with Merle, the man that tried to kill her, of all people.

We Are Going To War

The Governor gives his terms … one woman for all the lives back at the prison. If Michonne didn’t bond with Rick and Carl last episode it would be easier to consider giving her up.

The moment the Governor returns to Woodbury he reveals his true plans to slaughter Rick’s group … except for Michonne. I can only imagine the things he’d do to her.

The Governor lying to Andrea is not surprising. I liked how Rick didn’t tell the group about the Michonne deal. “He wants us dead”, says Rick. It’s a lie, but they don’t know how true it really is.

Rick needs to make the decision for the group, it can’t be put to a vote. Besides, Michonne will freak out if she knew the truth.

From Rick’s perspective, should he give up Michonne? Hell no. He already suspects the Governor is planning to kill them all. Perhaps he doesn’t trust his decision making because of his mental state?

Watch cast and producers thoughts on Inside Walking Dead Episode 313:

What did you like or didn’t like about this episode? Did the first meeting between Rick and the Governor live up to your expectations? Did Rick do the right thing by lying to his group (except Hershel) at the end?

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Posted on March 11, 2013, in Television, The Walking Dead and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. It didn’t even hit me that this was their first real face-to-face. Wow.

  2. Lil' ass kicker

    1st time characters are talking about building news society with frontiers. Milton taking “datas” for future was great too for the atmosphere and war !

    But I’m a bit disappointed with the lack of fear inside the prison itself. Where are the zombies ?? I mean, in the comics – no spoils – the epic side of the war is mainly due to the mess brought by mass zombies coming from inside..

    Anyway, Governor seems more badass and confident than ever. Sounds promising. 🙂

    • Once the basic necessities of food, shelter, etc are met a society can think of its legacy to future generation. If you check out Fissionerror’s review (her link is in the comments above), she has a great quote that in war time “History is written by the victors.”

      I haven’t read the comics but a scene they could have added is the discussion by Carol and Hershel wanting to leave the prison due to their fears and why the rest wanted to stay & fight. We’ll probably see the horde of zombies in the finale.

      The Governor is an awesome character, played by a solid actor. I’m looking forward to watching how the season will end and the Gov’s fate. 🙂

  3. For me the best part was watching the people outside bonding, this could cause problems in future battles 😀

    Milton and Hershel was the best though 😀

    • By playing off of a nerdy book worm (aka Milton), Hershel came across as “cool”. We don’t get to see that side of him much. When Daddy’s away, one daughter fires a gun without saying a word and other pounces on her boyfriend.

      I liked that Martinez got some screen time. He’s been mentioned before and probably been in the background somewhere but I don’t remember him. If he ever says something likable, he’s gonna die by the end of the episode. 🙂

  4. Lil' ass kicker

    My guess is that the governor’s character might goes on for a season 4.
    For now, I’am looking to Tyreese, Michonne, Morgan and Merle. They are thin glass to me.
    Andrew Lincoln is pure gold in this season 3. I don’t expect him to disappoint anyone from here.

    Btw, did anyone noticed we haven’t seen a “Kill of the week” ? Daryl’s one was cool, but not that creative in my opinion. Some pianos or guitars needs to be thrown into the mix eh eh !

    • I would think that Morgan and Merle have a shorter life span than T & M.

      This episode there are slim pickings for the Kill Of The Week. Even last episode, except for some slicing and dicing by Michonne there wasn’t much carnage. Haha, yes a piano would be very creative and comical! I would give the guitar to Beth so she could sing and play. 🙂

  5. I thought this week’s episode was much better than last week’s. As you point out, the bonding with Michonne last week did come into play here, but I still feel they could have done that without all the boredom of last week. This week’s episode is a good example of that.

    Like last week, there was good character development here. From Rick really beginning to take charge again to the two pairs of “henchmen” bonding, to Glenn getting his head back on straight. The difference here is that it also moved the story along at the same time. And all of it built up tension as well, with allegiances becoming a lil fuzzy in places (ie Merle, Adrian, Martinez, Milton).

    The interaction between the Governor and Rick was great. And speaking of tension, I also really liked the gun taped to the table. That was the epitome of Hitchcock’s “bomb under a table” adage.

    • In terms of characterization, a scene could have been added with Andrea explaining to Hershel why she couldn’t kill the Governor when she had the chance. She’s under his spell and is not a cold blooded murderer but it would be better for her to externalize her thoughts especially in a talk heavy episode. However, many fans would just roll their eyes at her.

      It’s great how quickly the henchmen found common ground something the leaders couldn’t do. I think Milton may break his allegiance by standing up to the Gov. Merle’s only true allegiance is to Daryl but he needs the prison crew until the Gov is dealt with.

      I was thinking the exact same thing about the Hitchcock bomb, it’s a classic device to build suspense. Rick held up well against the Gov, especially the line about the town drunk hehe.

  6. The cold opening: I really thought we were going to flashback to 24 hours earlier after the main titles to show how this meeting got made. Most shows would use this tired technique but Walking Dead bucked the trend.

    “The Gov did tell the truth about the day his wife died in a car crash.”
    Did he? I took it as the Governor playing with Rick knowing Rick’s wife recently died and wanting to get to him emotionally.

    I really hope Milton ends up joining Rick’s group after this whole Governor issue is dealt with. I think he has some potential.

    That Martinez-Darryl can you top this fight was brilliant!

    Nice to see Glenn level-headed.Also why would they leave Merle alone with all those guns?

    “Did Rick do the right thing by lying to his group (except Hershel) at the end?”
    Yes. No need to have them turn on Michonne and up the tension. The less they know about that deal the better.

    • I also liked that they jumped right into the meeting. The show got around the flashback technique by having Andrea quickly explain she set it up and then get booted out of the negotiations,

      I agree that the Gov brought up his dead wife with the purpose to rattle Rick knowing Andrea blabbed about Lori, Shane and Judith to him. I do believe Gov’s wife is really dead but the details like the wife’s phone message could have been all made up. It’s probably just coincidence he mentioned the phone message because I don’t think he would know about Rick’s “phone call” to his dead wife.

      I haven’t warmed up to Milton yet but if he can make a breakthrough in his walker experiments, however unlikely, I’d be interested if he stuck around. But I kinda feel he’s going to die very soon.

      I liked the expressions on their faces when Martinez and Darryl were trying to top each other.

      Tyreese’s group were locked out of the main cell block area and they never tried to kill anyone (well the father and son team conspired), On the other hand, Merle receives a get out of jail free card … yeah, not sure why a volatile killer is given access to guns especially after his fight with Glenn.

      When Rick said to Hershel, “I’m hoping you can talk me out of it.” do you take it as there’s a part of Rick that wants to consider giving up Michonne for a slim hope of peace?

      • “But I kinda feel he’s going to die very soon.”
        Well it was revealed that the actor was cast in another show but it does have a different shooting schedule so maybe he can still appear on both?

        “When Rick said to Hershel, “I’m hoping you can talk me out of it.” do you take it as there’s a part of Rick that wants to consider giving up Michonne for a slim hope of peace?”
        Yes. Even though everything is screaming at him that it’s all a ruse he still has a shred of hope that it might work, that the Governor might be telling the truth. How wrong he is…

        • Milton is getting more screen time and character development, even more than Beth. Perhaps they might not kill him off as soon as I thought? With the finale coming, death is in the air … if not for Milton then someone else. Working on a high profile TV show like TWD is great exposure, I suppose the actor can appear in both shows since the schedules don’t conflict.

          I was trying to wrap my mind around that line after the episode. Thx!

  1. Pingback: The Prison/Woodbury War Begins with a Major Dick-Measuring Contest in The Walking Dead | Musings of a Mild Mannered Man

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