I would just like to begin this by saying hot damn this has been an incredible streak of the show. It feels like eveyone invovled, the writers, actors, directors all came together and made what was an awesome zombie show into a show that is just a downright incredible. The struggles of humanity and depravity of humans has really been highlighted in this season and it is a very interesting concept to explore set to a backdrop of the zombiepocalypse. While this theme has been prevalent throughout the season, I thought it was done no better than in last night's episode "When the Dead Come Knocking".
For the first time last night, there was a crossover between and we no longer have the completely segregated groups of characters. Glenn and Maggie are now trapped at Woodbury, and Michonne (who was once there) is now part of Rick's group. Luckily, Rick was smart enough to let her into the prison so she could give them the heads up about Glenn and Maggie's capture. While I don't like the fact that they are being held, I was fully impressed at what a badass Glenn has become. Not only was he able to silently suffer through all of Merle's torture without giving anything up but he also thwarted a zombie attack while duct taped to a chair. That entire scene was brutal and I understand Merle's hatred for everyone that left him to die on the roof, but I still do not want him to take it out on poor, sweet, innocent Glenn. I kept feeling like I was actually watching an episode of 24 and Jack Bauer as he interrogated a terrorist that was about to blow up the world. However, the fact that my mind went there, really points out the viscousness of the residents of Woodbury. Up until this point the violence at Woodbury has mostly been directed towards the zombies and putting on shows for the residents. Now, with the Governor's need for complete control, power and his desperation to find where Glenn and Maggie came from, their evils ways have easily been turned upon innocent humans.
While Merle's torture of Glenn was terrible, I think the scene between Maggie and the Governor was probably even harder to watch and more disturbing. While Merle used violence, he didn't really know how to get into his brain and "break" him. The Governor just needed a few minutes alone with Maggie and the threat of killing Glenn to ultimately get the information he wanted about the location of the other group. I don't blame her at all for talking because she did make it through the horrific pseudo-rape by the Governor, but she just could not handle seeing Glenn shot. In a world where so many people you love have been killed, I can't imagine it would be possible to passively stand by and watch another death that you could prevent. Revealing the location of the prison would have meant possible death for the group, while not revealing it would have meant certain death for Glenn and the poor girl just went with her best emotional response.
In the two scenes of Glenn and Maggie's torture and throughout the episode it was very interesting that one theme that was very prominent was the toughness of the people in Rick's group. Even the Governor was shocked that only 10 people were able to take back the prison that was overrun by zombies and Milton flat out didn't believe it was possible. I also thought it was important because it really showed a difference between the two factions. While Woodbury has a larger number of people and life comforts, they have no dedication to anyone beyond their basic human desires and collective fear of the zombies. On the other hand, as Glenn pointed out, because they have been on the road and fighting and losing people, they have become tough. Rick's group has learned how to survive huge herds, save people from dying and deal with it when close love ones and friends are unexpectedly killed and as a result they have become a very solid durable group of survivors. For this reason, while at first glance it might seem that the people of Woodbury will have the upper hand, I don't think that is necessarily true. There is a very good chance that Rick and friends will be able to come out the victors of this battle (or at least I certainly hope they will).
It will also be fascinating to see what happens between Daryl and Merle. They have each dedicated themselves to very opposing sides and as the next episode progresses I wonder where their true allegiance will lie. While I can imagine that the pull of actual blood relatives would be very strong in a world where there are not many of those left, I also wonder if the bond of new "family" might be stronger. Merle went ahead and told the Governor that we was fully dedicated to the cause of Woodbury but upon seeing Daryl will that still be true? Also, while Daryl has gone through so much and finally bonded with Rick and the group, will the fact that his brother is unexpectedly alive change his allegiance?
Last night I found the events at Woodbury to be extremely interesting. In fact, for the first time I hoped that we would spend more time there than at the prison. I was also happy that we got a (slight) break from Andrea screwing the Governor and she had a bit of a more interesting storyline. I was very fascinated by the Milton/Mr. Coleman strange death zombie transformation experiment and I'll be honest, I found myself hoping that it would actually work. I really wanted the zombies to have some remnants of their personality left in their memory. I think mostly because it would give the show another layer of tension if we found out that they were not just monsters. It would be even harder to see a character that we have come to love turn into a zombie and be murdered if we knew some remnants of their memory still existed. While for a moment Milton thought the zombie had moved his hand, it is much more plausible that he was simply trying to get out of his restraints to eat some delicious human flesh. Andrea expected this result and was ready with her death weapon, but was fairly shaken up after the whole experience. Too bad the way she finds comfort is in the arms of that creepy Mr. Governor and a bottle of whiskey (actually the whiskey is alright, just her sex with the Governor is gross).
In the final scene of the episode, we see Rick, Daryl, Oscar and Michonne arrive at Woodbury. I haven't talked much about their journey, but I very much appreciated it and mostly because it showed that Rick has full on returned from looney world and is back to his old tough leader of a self. It also was awesome because while the people of Woodbury were doing experiments and torturing innocent people, Rick and his group were out fighting and continuing to toughen up and refine their zombie murdering skills. In the last scene as the Governor hugged Andrea, and told her everything will be alright, we can tell from the look in his eyes that for the first time he is not so sure. Rick and team are coming and all I can say is, he best be scared.