My pick for Most Annoying Horror Movie In Movie History is the American remake of The Grudge. Here is me watching The Grudge: yowling little cat-ghost-boy-thing pops up on screen, I spill my drink, and yell, “Damnit!” Then, it happens again ten more times. Yowl, spill, damnit! Yowl, spill, damnit! The Grudge was scary in the way that someone jumping out of a closet and yelling “Boo!” five hundred times is scary. Yes, it makes you jump. No, it’s no damned fun.
The March 10th episode of The Walking Dead, Season 3 had me tense in a Grudge-like way, but I didn’t even get to spill my drink. The tone is set early in the episode, when we fully expect there to be a zombie at the window of Hershel’s car after he looks up from checking his stump gun… and there is no zombie. The episode uses every trick in the book to set us up for a “Boo!” moment that never comes. Camera angles that make us sure that something is going to lurch into frame, creaky old buildings, corners that things could jump around, hidden guns that could fire when we least expect it…and never one “Boo!” All of that unreleased tension right before bed caused me to wake up with a crick in my neck.
The show needed to distract us last night because it was one of their talkier episodes, and a lot of fans don’t like that. Me, I’m fine with talkie episodes. I don’t even care if they don’t really advance the story, much. I absolutely loved last week’s episode, “Clear.” The difference between this week and last week is that “Clear” explored the characters and “Arrow On The Doorpost” used tension to keep us from wandering off while the episode meandered to a conclusion that was basically NEXT week’s plot.
Rick meets with the Governor to discuss a truce. Well, Rick is there for a truce. The Governor is there to show Rick his penis. The Governor says, “Okay, buddy, I’m going to send my army of school teachers and asthmatic kids and old ladies and Rick Moranis-type scientists to kill the shit out of you unless you give us Michonne, who could easily massacre everybody in Woodbury before they had time to put down their Starbucks and grab guns.” Rick seems impressed by the Governor’s penis and refuses to show his own, although he does show the Governor a little proposed truce map with which the Governor wipes his butt.
There are things that are hard to swallow about the episode. The most obvious is that Rick doesn’t shoot the Governor. He has plenty of opportunities to shoot the Governor and even more reasons. “I’m going to put my weapons down over here behind me.” Blam! “All I want is your surrender.” Blam! “I know that your wife screwed your partner.” Blam! “The primary goal of this enormous penis of mine is to kill all of you.” Blam! Maybe Rick is afraid that, if he shoots the Governor, he’ll end up in prison…wait, that’s not it.
Even harder to swallow is the fact that the Governor’s offer of truce in exchange for Michonne sends Rick soul searching. Maybe he SHOULD give up Michonne. After all, thugs always go away after they get what they want, never to torment their victims again. Is this what Rick learned during his years of law enforcement? I think not. Give Michonne to the Governor to torture and kill, and next he’ll be demanding Little Ass Kicker as a replacement for his dead zombie daughter. Hell, we learn before the episode is over that the Governor is planning to attack before Rick even makes up his confused mind.
I know that we need the Governor alive for the season finale and possibly beyond, but this Rick? The Rick we know now? The Rick who leaves hitchhikers to die and talks to dead people? He would have killed the Governor.