Review: ‘The Walking Dead’ – ‘When the Dead Come Knocking’

Senior Television Writer
11.25.12 228 Comments

A quick review of tonight’s “The Walking Dead” coming up just as soon as I telecommute…

Writing this right before the Thanksgiving holiday begins, so my time to discuss “When the Dead Come Knocking” is limited.

It was a transitional episode, but a largely effective one, particularly in detailing the physical and psychological torture Glenn and Maggie are under while captives of the Governor and Merle. Glenn really has changed from the man Merle knew (hard to imagine the quarry-era Glenn fighting off and killing a walker while duct-taped to a chair), and Lauren Cohan continues to do excellent work whenever Maggie’s emotions are pushed to the limit (here bracing herself in the event the Governor chose to rape her). I also like that both the Governor and Michonne are so impressed with what Rick and the others accomplished in clearing out the prison. Given the shape of things at Woodbury, and all the armaments he scavenged off the murdered National Guard unit, I’m not sure why the Governor would be so keen on the prison at this point, but the idea that Rick and his motley band accomplished something that Merle didn’t think was possible is nice, and makes the idea that Rick and company may be able to get in and out of Woodbury alive seem more plausible.

I also liked Rick and Carl finally talking a bit about Lori’s death, and coming up with a name for the baby (Judith) that evokes the peaceful world they once lived in rather than the horrible and violent one they can’t escape. Overall, though, Michonne’s time at the prison was so brief (Hershel must have been the world’s most overqualified veterinarian, given how good he is at treating human gunshot wounds) and without any kind of opening up at all, that she remains a walking, grimacing plot device(*).

(*) Though still quite a bit better than the random guy in the random cabin who appears to have, like Rick, hibernated through the entire zombie apocalypse until now. 

We’ll see what happens if/when they breach Woodbury’s security, how Andrea will respond to seeing so many old friends in her new home, whether either of the Dixon brothers will switch teams out of family loyalty (my guess is Merle’s more likely than Daryl), and I’m guessing a whole lot more when we get to next week’s mid-season finale.

Once again, let me remind you again of this blog’s No Spoiler rule and how it applies to this show, as I’ve had to delete a bunch of comments the last few weeks that violated it. Basic things to remember before commenting:

1. No talking about the previews for the next episode.

2. No talking about anything else you know about upcoming episodes from other sources – and, yes, that includes anything Mazzara and Kirkman have said in interviews.

3. No talking about anything that’s happened in the comic that hasn’t happened in the TV show yet. As with “Game of Thrones,” the goal is to treat “The Walking Dead” TV show as exactly that, and not as an excuse for endless comparisons with the comics. If you want to talk about the comics, feel free to start up a discussion thread on our message boards.

With that in mind, what did everybody else think?

Alan Sepinwall may be reached at

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