We all knew going into this episode that war between Rick's crew and Woodbury is pretty much inevitable, so for me, that took away a decent amount of intrigue in 'Arrow on the Doorpost.' Tonight's episode focused around a meeting between Rick (who is seemingly cured of the crazies now) and the Governor. Both clearly know there's no peaceful resolution here, but it's more than transparent they agreed to this in an attempt to further their own agendas. For the Governor, he wants revenge and to take Rick out in a surprise attack, therefore minimizing his own causalities and not having the fight take place on his turf. Rick, on the other hand, is fully aware the man on the other side of the table is sick and twisted, but you can't blame him for holding onto some degree of hope in an attempt to avoid total war.
What really sells these scenes are Andrew Lincoln and David Morrissey's performances. Both are engrossing actors and manage to keep the scenes tense, even if there were dull moments scattered throughout their interactions. My highlight was taking place outside of their chat, though. This gathering forced characters from opposing sides to pair up and the result was hilariously amusing. The competitive bromance between Daryl and Martinez was a romp and generated some incredibly fun zombie kills. Suddenly, a bat feels like the mightiest weapon of them all and those swings were epic. Meanwhile, Hershel's team up brought out the best in him. He's always serious business, delivering Obi-Wan-esque advice or life lessons, but now it gave him a chance to lighten up a bit and provide a surprisingly funny line.
Andrea, you're seriously the worst character ever. Look, I get optimism is a good quality, but there reaches a point where it renders a character painfully oblivious to the obvious. Thankfully previews indicate she'll start changing in the next episode, but her reactions (or lack thereof) continue to frustrate in the meantime. Yeah, the Governor initially seduced her and she wants to believe he's a good dude, but enough is enough and it's nice to see she's going to finally see the blatantly obvious.
I'm not a prude guy, but Maggie and Glenn's fun time session felt excessively long and reached a point where it was just awkward to watch. I obviously understand the significance here -- the incident with the Governor created a wedge between them and, thanks to Glenn being understanding and down to Earth, they've now worked through it. I would have loved to see that scene cut a bit shorter and dedicated that time to other matters. For example, seeing Merle and Michonne's interaction fleshed out more. Speaking of Merle, I thought it was odd how he was all gung-ho to "save" his brother, but then completely gave up after being stopped once. It felt a bit out of character for him to give up so quickly, especially since he was so steadfast in his belief that he's protecting his brother.
Minor point here, but did anyone else notice zombies are all over the fence during Glenn and Maggie's funky town scene, but when characters return, said swarm of walkers are conveniently scattered and the path is clear? Sure, they could wander around, but having teammates come to open the fence should lure them back, yes?
Overall, 'Arrow on the Doorpost' is a fairly tense episode bogged down with some seriously drawn-out moments. In the end, the biggest accomplishment here is making us question how Rick will proceed. It's interesting to see both leaders lied to their people, but now comes the true test for Rick. Has he truly lost his humanity and he'll toss away Michonne's life to save everyone else's... or will he come up with something else? I think we're all leaning towards the latter, but it'll hopefully be fascinating to see how this takes a toll on him and the others.
Gregg Katzman is a freelance writer for Comic Vine and IGN Entertainment. This is the part where he shamelessly plugs his Twitter page in hopes of getting a new follower or two.