Walking Dead Discussion Thread: S3 E7, “When the Dead Come Knocking”


Mike Dwyer

Mike Dwyer is a former writer and contributor at Ordinary Times.

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95 Responses

  1. Avatar Glyph says:

    How does it not come up that the man who took them is Merle and he asked both them and Andrea about his brother? It seems like Michionne would have wanted to discuss that.

    Yet another example of “stupecrecy”, that plot contrivance whereby characters withhold helpful info for no good reason.

    Michonne in Woodbury: “I don’t trust these people.”

    Michonne at the prison, after Rick first dilly-dallies on letting her in, then squeezes her gunshot leg to get info: “Hey, these people seem legit.”

    How hilarious was the Unabomber character/plot-device? They could at least have checked to see if his shirt was red before killing him.

    I like the scientist character, but how naive can he really be? Still, I guess it makes sense that he would be trying to find out all they can.

    I also liked the Governor’s other henchman, who not-so-subtly indicates via his facial expression that Merle’s a bit of a loose cannon when he turned a zombie loose on Glenn (who has become a bit of a bad-ass). We knew this already, but it shows us that other characters know it too.Report

  2. Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

    They’re not going to kill the baby one episode in, and Carol’s not going anywhere right after she gets found, so if anybody gets axed at the prison, it’s Beth. She’s also the “least linchpin” of the remaining characters who have survived this far. Of course, they’ve gone contrary to expectations before so we’ll see, but $1 says Beth gets left behind/killed if anybody does.

    Glenn, remember when I told you last week not to get into the car? Good job on the zombie and all…

    They’re doing that, “We’ll share enough information to keep the plot going, but not enough to actually have people act intelligently” thing with Michionne. What did Glyph call it, “stupecrecy”? It bugs. BUGS. BUGS ME. THEY NEED TO STOP.

    I did like the facedown between Michionne and Rick and the comparison between the interrogation between Maggie/Glenn and the Governor. Rick is swinging back Yin, the Governor is clearly Yang.Report

  3. Avatar Sam says:

    I’m not even remotely comfortable with the casual use of a rape threat thrown into the show. On some small level, it’s the Women In Refrigerators issue that has plagued comic books forever.

    Last night, I objected on Twitter during the episode, and got into a discussion with a fan who said there was nothing objectionable about the inclusion of rape. When I asked why Glen wasn’t the one being threatened with sexual assault, his reply was that rape was for women characters.

    That sort of thing gives me the shudders.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam says:

      The rape thing has been complained about by a lot of people today for the same reasons. I assumed it was a nod to the comic book, but hard to say. The way I would look at it is this: Around the League, according to many of our women commentators and those inclined to defer to them, it seems rape is a fear women live with every day. So if you’re in the middle of the zombie apocalypse and you’re a sociopath with a good understanding of human psychology, what’s the best tool to use against a woman? It may seem like an easy plot device but it’s also probably realistic. I think the fact that Maggie didn’t break in that moment was their way of empowering her. It was only when they threatened Glenn that she lost it.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        I assumed too that it was done to show unambiguously that the Governor was not as nice as he seemed to be – after all, he appears to be treating Andrea fairly well (and he loves his dead gay son zombie daughter). I am not sure if the (TV) Governor would follow through on such a threat, but Rick wouldn’t even bluff such a threat.

        I’s also argue that the threat of rape being used to subjugate women, looked at in a certain light, actually says something semi-positive about prevailing Western societal mores – that is, we can see the Governor torture and kill a man, and we may think, well, maybe he has his reasons to do what he did.

        But show him contemplating (or bluffing) a rape to a (physically weaker) female character, and we move him mentally automatically into the “unambiguously evil” category. I’d wager the audience for a show like this is at least 50% male, probably much higher. Assuming that the majority of men who see this are actually horrified by the implication, and not titillated – doesn’t the prevalence and continued dramatic effectiveness of the trope actually show that we as a society consider rape a pretty uniquely serious moral crime?

        That is, use of female rape in drama may be a dramatic failing – a cheap and easy writing shortcut to generate drama and characterization – but it is not a moral failure; in fact, it is relying on our (blessedly common) moral intuition, to generate that “ick” factor.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Sam says:

      I’m going to echo Mike here. The rape thing was definitely a nod to the comic books wherein *spoilers* Michonne’s stay in Woodbury was extremely unpleasant full on (not threatened) rape being one of the many things that was done to her.

      I also felt that Maggie’s refusal to break under threat of rape was a small but improving change to the normal canard. That said I’d protest that while I can kind of imagine the threat of Mearl being enough to maybe make Maggie remove her shirt but to go any further? No. Definitely not.

      Finally a thought on Glenn being threatened with rape. I suspect that gays will have to evolve considerably more into the fabric of society before entertainment media starts feeling comfortable using their sexuality in that particular light with the ease (or thoughtlessness) that they use heterosexual threats of that sort.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North says:

        North – good question for you: If they had threatened to rape Glenn, it would be sort of a double-threat of inflicting unwanted intercourse and also homosexual contact onto him. Would that be offensive to gays?Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          I don’t think it’d be offensive, it’d be so novel that it’d be more surprising. Really I think in order for it to be offensive they’d have to, like, introduce a gay character and maybe imply this is the only way he gets any play or something.Report

      • Avatar Sam in reply to North says:

        That’s the point of the objection though: when comic authors look to punish female characters, they often turn to rape. Whereas we see Glen empowered by the abuse that he takes (he survives Merle’s abuse, and then defeats a zombies with his hands literally tied), we see Maggie stripped naked, we see Maggie acquiesce to the abuse as a way of enduring it, and we then see her run crying into Glen’s arms at the first chance she gets. That’s fanboyitis at work.

        Meanwhile, was there anybody seriously on the fence about the Governor? Was anybody out there really saying, “Well, he’s got his weaknesses, but overall, he’s a great leader in a trying situation!” I doubt it.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Sam says:

          Sam, I think you’re misreading it. Maggie stoically endured and overcame the rape threat. Instead it was the threat of blowing Glenns brains out in front of her that made her give up the prison and it was only after this that she ran emotionally to Glenn so I think the appropriate read was that she was reacting both to the horror of having given up the camp primarily and the relief that he wasn’t dead secondarily with the rape threat a distant #3 on her emotional trauma list.
          Fanboyitis rape or rape threat scenes involve this one thing utterly destroying the female character and dominating her every action from that point on. So I’d submit that this portrayal was relatively a-typical and portrayed her (Maggie) in a rather strong and positive light. I’d note also that we should keep in mind that Maggie has endured considerably less than Glenn has as a character. She spent the entire first and second season on the Farm while Glenn was enduring Hell in the first and pre-first season. So she’s justifiably a bit more vulnerable than he is.Report

          • Avatar Sam in reply to North says:

            They’ve been on the road for six months. Whatever callouses Glen developed before arriving at the farm have been more than equaled out by those six months spent constantly on the move, surely.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Sam says:

              Not precisely. When she left the farm it was with her surviving family and in the company of hardened survivors who knew what to do out in the wild. Maggie’s experience in our narrative so far has been a much better one than Glenns. She has suffered, absolutely, and I don’t mean to imply weakness (she’s one of my favorite characters) but she’s had an easier time of it than Glenn. He lost his entire family and watched society collapse all around him. Maggie was much more detached from the horrors the non-farm survivors have endured.Report

          • Avatar Glyph in reply to North says:

            This makes more sense to me. And I stand by my contention that the dramatic use of rape may often be cheap writing, but it is usually being done more with the intent to show just how “bad” the bad guy is, than it is to empower or de-empower anybody else or to titillate (except insofar that *all* physical threats in drama are in some sense “titillation”.)

            Kiefer Sutherland did things more horrible than anything we have seen the Governor personally do in pretty much every episode of ’24’. But he never threatens to rape anybody.

            If someone threatens a rape, they are the bad guy (and rest assured, they will get what is coming to them sooner or later). I am not sure it is any more complicated than that, especially in something so straightforwardly pulp genre as this.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam says:

          I wouldn’t say I was on the fence about the Governor. We knew almost right away he was at least willing to murder for weapons and supplies. My thinking though was that they were going to split his personality from the comic book between him and Merle, with Phillip being the calculating manipulator and Merle being the psychopath. It appears now they were maybe just going for the slow reveal.

          If you look at the totality of his terrible actions here’s what we have so far:

          – Atacked and murdered national guardsmen
          – Killed helicopter pilot
          – Threatened Maggie with rape
          – Order Michionne killed after she left

          What am I missing? You can characterize almost all of those under ‘terrible, but necessary to maintain the security of his town’. Not saying I agree with him, but the logic can be understood.Report

    • Avatar Scott in reply to Sam says:

      You should call AMC with your PC concerns.Report

      • Avatar Sam in reply to Scott says:

        It’s politically correct to object to a show’s casual depiction of rape? Got it. I’ll add that to my list of things to not give a shit about.Report

        • Avatar Scott in reply to Sam says:

          Clearly you expect the tv writers to sanitize the original story for tv. If you don’t like don’t watch read the original work.Report

          • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Scott says:


            I expect the tv writers not to sit around going, “Fap, Fap, Fap, Maggie with her shirt off, oh YEAH!!!” via the threat of rape. I’d make the same critique of the original books if they went down this road (and from other comments, it seems like they did with Michonne).Report

            • Avatar Scott in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:


              How do you know that is what the writers were doing? Were you there or are you making assumptions? Talk about first hand knowledge. I’m not sure the writers could have done a better job with that scene. I thought it was understated considering the subject.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Scott says:

                Because I saw how the issue was handled in the show?

                At the beginning of the episode, we see Andrea in her underwear, not for any particular reason, but specifically because of the fanboy desire to see a woman half-naked. Then we see Maggie half-naked too. Neither was necessary. None of the men were similarly exposed.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam says:

                Sam – next week you will see Glenn half-naked if it helps even things out.

                The main writer for this show, Frank Renzulli, has never written an episode before. He’s written for a bunch of other series, including the Wonder Years.


                I think that you have to give the writers more credit. This isn’t some pervy 30-something fanboy who wants to make the show a little more sexy. As North points out, when you look at the psychology of rape and the effect the Governor was going for, it makes sense. To assume he is only using rape as a threat for television assumes that realistically he wouldn’t have the same understanding of its power that you do. That may be a bit egotistical.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                “This isn’t some pervy 30-something fanboy who wants to make the show a little more sexy.” Then why did we see Andrea in lingerie at the beginning of the episode?

                I find the oft-repeated criticism that pulp fiction such as these views women as props to be hugely convincing, whether it is in comic books (as with the Women In Refrigerators critique) or in The Walking Dead or, frankly, anywhere else. Again, Glen is made out to be the ultimate badass; Maggie is topless. Those were decisions the writers made. Those decisions have an influence (rightly or wrongly) over the perceptions of those characters. What I saw was one character’s toughness being (re)affirmed and another character being stripped half-naked for no particular reason. Predictably, the man was being made tougher and the woman was being stripped naked.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam says:

                Sam – we may just have to agree to disagree. I think Maggie’s bravery in the face of the the Governor threatening to rape her was pretty heroic. She broke when Glenn was threatened but it could have just as easily gone the other way. This show is about pushing characters to their breaking points and beyond. Same with Rick two weeks ago.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Remember that this is AMC, not HBO. Without running afoul of censors, there is only so much they can have the characters explicitly say or do that will A.) Make clear to the viewer exactly what it is that the Governor is threatening B.) Build tension in the viewer, as the viewer worries that the understood/implied threat may be carried out, and C.) Resolve that tension in a way that makes it clear that the rape did NOT in fact occur (go too simple/ambiguous, like cutting away or closing the door just as the Governor removes his belt, and it might not be clear to the viewer that no rape in fact occurred).

                Given all this, having Maggie remove her top seems reasonable to me, as well as increasing the tension in the scene (seriously, someone who looks at her and thinks “that’s hot!” instead of “holy s**t, she’s in trouble!”, is probably an outlier).

                The Andrea thong buttshot, however, was pure fanservice, no argument.

                But if we are going to complain about a teeny bit of T & A on a cable series, well, let’s all prepare to never watch HBO or Showtime ever again.

                And it’s not like TWD hasn’t given us *plenty* of low-angle, closeup shots of Michonne’s fully-covered, yet fully-fit rear-end. You think those skintight pants of hers are practical in a zombie apocalypse? They are in GA, with no AC, for gosh sakes. Girl’s gonna get a rash.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Glyph says:

                I think somebody could reasonably argue that tighter clothing gives the zombies less to substantially less to grab onto.

                That said though, the repeated close-ups on Michonne’s butt are part of the larger problem. The female characters are being sexualized in a way that the male characters are not, and absent any particular reason for doing this, it is difficult not to fall back into the prevailing explanations for this sort of thing: that female characters are props there to do feminine things, like be rescued by male characters or be sexy for male characters/the viewer at home.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

                FWIW, I don’t think you are totally off-base in arguing that TWD’s female characters are largely essentially “props” to be rescued, threatened and or/ogled. (In backhanded defense, I would argue the male characters in this show are only *slightly* better drawn).

                This is definitely not a problem limited to TWD though, but is largely part of the DNA for *any* action/genre type show largely made by and for men. I mean, female buttkickers, who do the rescuing of the men? We’ve got your Ellen Ripley, Buffy Summers, Sidney Bristow, and…? I know there are others, but in a genre made mostly by and for men, this is what you get.

                From here: http://www.adweek.com/sa-article/amc-139586

                The Walking Dead is the #1 drama series in basic cable history for adults and men 18-34, adults and men 18-49, and adults and men 25-54.

                Now, there is a chicken and egg problem here. Do men watch due to the T & A? Or do the producers put the T & A in, to attract and keep the male viewers?

                Do women not watch in as great a number, due to the T & A and thinly-drawn female characters? Or are they turned off by the gore and thinly-drawn characters (both male and female)?Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Glyph says:


                I count six sex scenes since the start of the series and one post-sex moment.

                1) Lori / Shane (S1)

                2) Lori / Rick (S1)

                3) Andrea / Shane (S2)

                4) Maggie / Glenn (S2)

                5) Maggie / Glenn (S3)

                6) Andrea / Governor (S3)

                7) Andrea / Governor (S3)

                In those scenes it’s basically just people with their shirts off. Glenn did it twice which means he’s tied with Lori and Andrea for frequency. In pretty much every case you have the male showing a similar amount of skin.

                I would suggest this is mostly a directoral decision in most cases, not something from the writers. That means the actors have input on the set. I’ve read a LOT of interviews with the cast and I’m convinced all of them are interested in protecting their characters from a story perspective. I just don’t see them as being okay with gratituous sex scenes.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Glyph says:


                A man with his shirt off and a woman with his shirt off – whether or not you personally believe this – have different levels of significance in our society, which is why I can go my my lawn shirtless and most women in most places cannot. These are not equivalent things with equivalent meanings.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Glyph says:

                What you have seen on the show so far is nothing you couldn’t see it in your front yard. Stomachs, shoulders, backs and legs.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Glyph says:

                As the resident gay man I’d like to point out that TWD (especially during season 2) spent a lot of long loving shots showcasing Shane’s actor’s very nice physique.

                That’s not to say that the show doesn’t sexualize the women, it does, but that’s the business; they know their viewers demographic for God(ess?)’s sake. Still TWD (the comic) had a number of capable woman and frankly TWD (the TV show) has actually dialed up the capable woman count and dropped a lot of more stereotypical women characters out. So frankly I’d say the show’s doing okay women wise.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Scott says:

        Scott – shut up.Report

  4. Avatar North says:

    Some thoughts on this episode:

    The Scientist/Andrea scene actually was kind of interesting for me because of a couple of themes. Yes the scientist was quite naive but an explanation was provided for this: he hadn’t personally lost anyone dear to him in the cataclysm. I noted, with approval, how he badly shaken he was by the elderly patient’s death: congrats dude, you just made a personal connection and then he died.
    I was initially bemused by how far the scientist would go in his desire to prove himself right but on further consideration I’m getting some dark undertones here. Consider how long the camera lingered on the Governors face after Andrea told him that “No, there was no contact, there’s nothing left when they turn”. Maybe our scientist isn’t eager to be proven right; maybe he’s desperate to be proven right. The Governor, remember, has a very strong vested interest in being told that there’s something remaining in the walkers of the humans they were before.
    Also I am slightly annoyed by Andrea not bringing up the CDC. “Ya know dude, I dropped in the CDC back a while and they showed me the way the brain synapses shriveled and degraded during the transformation. That brain matter in there is like micro-waved broccoli, it’s gonna take more than a bell bowl and some vinyl to get a person out of that mess.”

    I’m wondering if Rick has erred in bringing as many people with him to the rescue as he has. By my count the mustached former prisoner is the only able bodied adult male left at the prison. I wonder if that’s going to turn out badly? Frankly it’s beyond me why, at this point, Carl and whoever should be putting themselves in any kind of danger at the prison at all?

    Michonne is kind of a black hole of dialogue. She’s like this silent glaring singularity that absorbs valuable information and prevents its transmission in her presence.
    I presume she went to the prison out of: A) an inclination to get some revenge on Mearl and B) a need for medical attention and possibly C) an unspoken acknowledgement that she doesn’t actually think she can survive TWD world alone (I’d agree with her) and she needs a group.
    Also Rick grabbing her leg was massively stupid and made no sense what so ever. The woman came to you voluntarily, what the heck is the point trying to rough her up especially right in the midst of all your conciliatory rhetoric??Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to North says:

      Also I am slightly annoyed by Andrea not bringing up the CDC. “Ya know dude, I dropped in the CDC back a while and they showed me the way the brain synapses shriveled and degraded during the transformation. That brain matter in there is like micro-waved broccoli, it’s gonna take more than a bell bowl and some vinyl to get a person out of that mess.”


  5. Avatar MBunge says:

    It seems there’s a very simple thing being ignored in the whole rape discussion. If you’re dealing with evil straight guys, raping another straight dude is generally NOT something that’s going to cross their minds.


    • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to MBunge says:

      So rape is only for the ladies in pulp genre fiction?Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

        So instead it shouldn’t be accepted in pulp genre fiction? Should we be pretending the horror of rape doesn’t exist? That it wouldn’t be common phenomena in the event of a societal collapse? That strikes me as juvenile.

        For arguments sake, though, could you give an example of a responsible portrayal of rape?Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to North says:

          This is a point that occurred to me yesterday that I forgot to include. Like North says, I would expect rape to be distressingly common in such a world.Report

        • Avatar Sam in reply to North says:

          I think the question worth asking is why Glen gets the hero treatment and Maggie gets the sexualized treatment. Why should Glen’s character be strengthened and Maggie’s character be weakened?Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam says:

            That’s a fair question, however, Glenn was the only one that was physically assaulted, not to mention that Merle tried to kill him. I repeat, he tried to kill him. It wasn’t a test, he wasn’t going to rush in and save him at the last second. That seems to trump the threat of rape…doesn’t it?Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Sam says:

            Well for one thing I find it very surprising that you felt Maggie’s character was weakened by her portrayal. My own impression was the opposite; faced with one of the worst horrors a woman can be presented with she stoically resolved to endure and threw defiance back in the governors face. Girl was hard as nails and good on her for doing so.

            I’d note also that you haven’t answered my questions: is it preferable to pretend rape doesn’t exist and wouldn’t exist in such a world? What would a responsible portrayal of rape contain/not contain that this one did/didn’t?Report

            • Avatar Sam in reply to North says:

              One of my biggest beefs with the show is how often it isn’t about humans fighting zombies and how often it is about humans fighting zombies. My belief, perhaps one too rosy, is that human beings would be able to put aside at least some of their bullshit when faced with a threat as daunting as a zombie apocalypse. Maybe I’m wrong about that. Still, I question whether such a world would truly be a nonstop Rape-A-Palooza, as you’re seeming to suggest.Report

      • Avatar MBunge in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

        Uh, if you’re dealing exclusively with evil straight guys….yeah, it pretty much is. Which isn’t to say that the threat of rape or actual rape isn’t misused/overused in exploitative ways in genre fiction. But if the bad guys of your story are heterosexuals, the raping of women is going to be an issue and the raping of men is not.


  6. Avatar North says:

    The title of the show and the Comic is ‘The Walking Dead” and one of the major point of this is that the walking dead are -not- the zombies; the humans are the walking dead (Rick said as much at the end of season two “we are the walking dead”). The point is very much that in TWD world the most dangerous creatures are not the swarms of slow implacable zombies but rather the vicious, resourceful, mentally shattered and mad with fear humans.

    As to your rosy belief, considering that sexual assaults and violence against women increase with bad weather and spike during natural catastrophes I’d say that your belief is perhaps unfounded. They don’t call it civil society for nuthin, when you lose society you lose a significant force for civility. No one is saying that it would be a rape-a-palooza but we’re talking about a world where the physically strong survive and there’s no one to tell them no. Rape and deplorable conditions for women existed prior to modern society, why do you think such a scourge wouldn’t return after it fell?

    And, in a fictional show or setting what would a responsible portrayal of rape be?Report

    • Avatar North in reply to North says:

      For some reason the nest fell out, this was a response to Sam up at #55.Report

      • Avatar Sam in reply to North says:

        You take the titillation out of it. You take the “Maggie running around with her hands over her breasts” element of it. You take the aspects out of it that it make it seem easy to believe that we’re meant to be seeing more.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Sam says:

          I guess? So if the show had done everything the same but had left Maggie’s bra/shirt on you’d be okay with it then? I certainly felt squeemish about it when it happened (and trust me, I was getting absolutely no titillation out of it on any level) but perhaps that was kindof the point?Report

          • Avatar Sam in reply to North says:

            I’d say that leaving Maggie clothed would have significantly decreased the titillation factor. I’d say that the extra scene there at the end – where she’s running around cupping her breasts – only reinforces what I took from the scene, which was that the Governor used threatened rape as a weapon but also BEWBS!!1!

            Would you be any less convinced of that scene if Maggie had kept her shirt on? Would it be any less threatening if the Governor had merely described what he was threatening rather than moving on it?Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam says:

              Sam – if you have a female prisoner and you want to break her will, which works better: leaving her shirt on or makingher take it off? Likewise, which is more likely to break Glenn when you put them together? It’s about the psychology of the situation and I found it very believable. I think you are discounting that in favor of what is the least offensive to women.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                1. If you have a male prisoner and you’re trying to break his will, why not threaten him with rape, especially if you don’t plan to carry through with the threat?

                2. Are you seriously suggesting that punching Maggie repeatedly would have less impact than implying that you’re about to sexually assault her?

                3. At what point have I said, “I’m concerned about this because I’m afraid that women will be offended.” I haven’t.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam says:

                Because if I am the male picture I am probably going to be skeptical there will be a homosexual there that is willing to rape me for info. It’s about 100 times more believable to threaten Maggie with it.

                There’s much less of a psychological component to the beating, plus at some point they are just going to pass out or die. A rape is both physical and mental. And as our female commentors regularly tell us, it is every woman’s fear.

                I just find it odd to point out how the show sexualizes women when by most standards it seems woefully tame in the sex department. All of the skin that it did show was realistic (afterall, people usually take their clothes off to do that).Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


                I am baffled by everything in your comment’s first paragraph. You know that prison rape occurs regularly, surely, so why act as though the male-male rape threat is not only persistent in our culture, but generally unrelated to sexuality?

                But nevermind that: I still struggle to get past the idea that rape is for the female characters and assault is for the male characters. I find that exceedingly troubling. It again gets back at the idea of these characters, especially the female ones, as props, and so what do you do with the female prop is you rape it, and what you do with the male prop is that you punch it. As if those roles couldn’t easily and convincingly be subverted in numerous compelling ways.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam says:


                In prisons yes, rape happens. They aren’t in prison. Glenn knows that. It’s a huge leap to assume someone, probably a straight guy, would be willing to rape him just to get some info and Glen would figure that out to. And again, the liklihood of having a homosexual there that would be willing to do that? Small.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Sam says:

                Actually I dare say it’d be pretty offensive if they introduced a gay character exclusively to rape a male character (and then presumably get offed).
                Outside of prisons, where there’s no alternative, heterosexual men don’t really do much raping of other guys… it’s just not realistic.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Sam says:

                1. We know the rape wasn’t intended to actually happen; that’s why the governor backed off when he realized it wasn’t going to work as a threat.

                2. The threat of raping a man would be so unexpected and so threatening as to surely terrify.

                3. You don’t need to have “a homosexual there willing to do that” to make the threat.

                4. You don’t need to have a homosexual at all. That’s not an accurate presentation of prison rape.Report

              • Avatar MBunge in reply to Sam says:

                “3. You don’t need to have “a homosexual there willing to do that” to make the threat.

                4. You don’t need to have a homosexual at all. That’s not an accurate presentation of prison rape.”

                I don’t think you get the realities of prison rape. A quick search found some Bureau of Justice statistics that only 3.5% of straight male inmates report being sexually assaulted by other inmates. Yes, that figure may be under reported and yes, even that many rapes is unacceptable. However, the clear indication is that the overwhelming majority of straight prison inmates neither rape nor get raped. That’s because…and this may be hard to believe…straight guys don’t like having sex with straight guys.

                On the other hand, those same statistics say that more than a third of gay and bisexual inmates reported being raped by another prisoner. Whether those assaults are from other gay or bisexual inmates or by heterosexual ones isn’t mentioned, but I don’t think it’s relevant to this discussion. Perhaps straight prisoners target gays and bisexuals because they consider them “women” or something.

                The point is that, overwhelmingly, heterosexual men don’t threaten to rape other heterosexual men and they don’t think about threatening to do it. That’s not my opinion. That’s the truth of how straight guys think and act. Blame it on homophobia if you like. It doesn’t matter.

                The world is the way the world is. In heterosexual environments, rape is a threat to women and it simply is not the same threat to men. If you’re honestly baffled by that, I have to question your understanding of your fellow human beings.

                And again, this has really nothing to do with the exploitative use of rape against women in genre fiction. That is a problem. Complaining that women get raped but men don’t is just kind of stupid.


              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam says:

                I would also add that a threat without the ability to back it up destroys all credibility. The Governor seems a little smarter than that.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North says:

      This is a solid point by North. Kirkman has said many times that the comic/show is not really about zombies. It’s a study in human psychology and how people would react in this situation. That’s why they don’t talk about the causes of the zombie plague or even dwell much on zombie science (until this season at least).

      For me, that’s why I have found the Governor a sympathetic character so far. While his actions seem gross, they also seem like necessary evils in the context of what he is trying to accomplish. It seems like a very real portrayal to me.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        For me, Mike, I think the show Governor may have improved on the comic book Governor who was quite a bit more the mad ruler. He’s a bit more believable.Report

        • Avatar MBunge in reply to North says:

          TV Governor is the one thing I would argue the show has done which is far ahead of what happened in the comic. Comic Governor is messed up, but he’s got nothing on his TV counterpart. The chasm that exists between the civilized veneer and the guy who sits at a desk blackening out page after page in his journal with a pencil is so awesome, I’m getting a little concerned they won’t be able to satisfyingly connect the two when the big moment comes.


  7. Avatar North says:

    One thought: Last episode and now this one the term “Red Zone” has arisen. Last episode I kindof blew over it assuming it meant the area around which there’s been a lot of noise thus all nearby walkers are beelining for it.
    This episode however the Governor referred to the Prison as being within the “Red Zone” so that definition is out. I’m assuming now that the Red Zone is the slowly expanding diffusing mass of Walkers spreading out from fallen Atlanta? Certainly the prison seems to have a more significant and constant walker presence than the walls of Woodbury even though Woodbury is likely a much noisier and obvious target.Report

    • Avatar Sam in reply to North says:

      I didn’t that reference at all and admit that I missed it during the previous episode. I suppose he might mean Atlanta, but aren’t we far, far away from the city now? Also, it is as soon as they get into these conversations that they start getting themselves into trouble. After all, we’d first discussed the idea of lone zombies, then hordes, then a mix of the two, then they’re occasionally around but then they’re not occasionally around, then they’re at the walls of the prison but not near Woodbury, but…what? What is happening?

      And why not set up camp in the prison (a building with thick walls and supplies) if you know about it? Come on.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam says:

        I (think) the Red Zone is simply the areas with heavy walker activity. Michionne mentioned to Rick that they send out regular patrols.Report

        • Avatar Sam in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          Given how easy it appears to be for a disciplined group to dispatch of zombies, why isn’t there more engagement with seen walkers? When Rick, Michonne, and other got out of their Hyundai the other night, there was a walker 20 feet behind them that they just ignored? Why?Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam says:

            I think avoiding whenever possible is a good plan. Too easy to have an accident. What if someone goes to put a machete in it’s head and slips? Remember how fast Hershel, T-Dawg and Dale all got taken out? Not worth the risk.Report

            • Avatar Sam in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              A friend who sits on my couch and watches with me is forever wondering about what an average day at the prison looks like. What are they doing with themselves? He notes that fence clearance could happen every day. So to could clearing out the rest of the prison. Yet instead…nothing?Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam says:

                The problem with clearing the fence is that every time you do you have more bodies to burn, which means you need more wood, which means smoke for others to see.

                I’m sure clearing the prison is the longterm goal but so far it has proven very dangerous. They nearly lost Hershel and there have been other close calls. I think the technique of drawing them out into a courtyard and then attacking them through the fence would be best for that.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                And why are they burning the bodies again? Their desire not to accidentally grow zombie potatoes or something else?Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam says:

                Rick said he didn’t want to grow crops in zombie soil. Plus they stink. The Governor mentioned that.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Sam says:

                Well I’ve observed that the inhabited parts of the prison has become much much cleaner as has the Yard so the logical conclusion is that they’ve been cleaning the corpses out plus gathering gear and repairing the generator. By the time Michonne showed up they had equipment and supplies enough to prepare for the expedition without much hesitation. Considering they staggered into the prison with virtually nothing this suggests considerable work/progress on their part.Report

          • Avatar Eric S in reply to Sam says:

            If you are asking why the Governor didn’t take the prision, right after Maggie tells them that is where the group is held up the Governor turns on Merle and says (paraphrase), “You said taking the prison wasn’t possible.”

            It seems like it is something that had been considered but deemed impossible by the group. I would also note that The Gov’s group do not show nearly the discipline of the Rick and Co. If Merle told The Gov they couldn’t do it he may be correct about them.Report

          • Avatar MBunge in reply to Sam says:

            “Given how easy it appears to be for a disciplined group to dispatch of zombies, why isn’t there more engagement with seen walkers?”

            I think the idea is that the group has become so proficient that individual walkers are so little threat, they don’t need to be bothered with. What’s essential is avoiding the huge herds which just exhaust human ability to fight back.


            • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to MBunge says:

              Seems like a dumb risk to take, right? I get not engaging the walker up on that ridge way over there, but when one is twenty feet behind you?Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                I’m with you on that. I’da offed it personally.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North says:

                Are we thinking of killing zombies as a zero sum game? I just heard this morning on a TWD podcast that one of the novels mentions approx. 4,600 zombies in the vicinity of Woodbury. At this point you have to figure there aren’t a whole lot of new zombies being created. Everyone that gets bit also gets eaten OR they off themselves because they know what’s coming. Maybe trying to kill them all is a good strategy but it doesn’t seem like they are on strong enough footing to go on the offensive. Even clearing the prison was a longterm defensive move.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I think it almost certainly IS a zero sum game, right? I really don’t understand the group’s refusal to engage given how easy the zombies are to kill in certain situations (like through the fences). I suppose disposal might be an issue, although we still haven’t discussed this zombie potato theory that Rick floated a few episodes. (How would that work if everybody is ALREADY infected?) Anyway, a group that systematically sought to kill 100 zombies a day would eliminate the local threat within two months.

                I can’t imagine that being considered more dangerous than allowing a horde to form. But then, these are the same people that refuse to live on the second floors of buildings, so what do I know.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam says:


                1) I guess the fear with the ‘zombie tomatoes’ is that whatever the zombies have in them that can infect and kill people could be passed on to the food. It’s probably not possible scientifically but in the absence of having a biologist around, why risk it?

                2) I stand by my opinion that going on the offense against zombies is not practical. It’s not just the 4,000 in their area. It’s the millions nationwide that are going to keep moving around. Rick’s group has eleven people. Assuming they would want to conserve ammo and go silent, that pretty much takes Carl out of the mix for size reasons (heads are hard to reach). Being generous and including Carol and Beth you have eight fighters. Think about what the fatigue is like, the constant threat of being swarmed (they lost T-Dawg in a relatively small skirmish). It’s suicidal.

                I would suggest that maybe Woodbury could afford to send 20 men out on an offensive run but I also assume the military tried something similar and they had tanks.Report

  8. Avatar Eric S says:

    RE: Michionne not mentioning Merle / Andrea to Rick and the group.

    I do not believe it is 100% clear Michionne knows the people she finds at the prison are Andrea’s ex-group. As outside observers from our living rooms we see the dots to connect: Merle knew Andrea. Merle knew Glenn. Glenn and Maggie were from the group at the prison.

    Merle knowing the two does not necessarily mean Andrea and Glenn knew each other. And this assumes Michionne perfectly over heard the conversation between Merle and Glenn while hiding behind a car dozens of feet away. Even if Michionne makes that connection she knows Andrea’s group was over run at the farm. Who survived the farm? Who survived the intervening 9 months?

    Plus add in Rick’s brief torture of her (grabbing her leg wound) and Michionne’s penchant for silence to begin with and I think it is reasonable she did not bring up all these details.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Eric S says:


      It seems like Michionne heard enough to know how to find the prison. She said she overheard that from them. And it seems like she would say, “This redneck named Merle from Woodbury took them.” That’s just basic info. I’m going to chalk it up to her being mysterious but it’s weird.Report

      • Avatar MaxL in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        When I was watching the scene, I was thinking that, since Michionne only showed up at the prison because she must want Rick’s group to help her kill the bastard Merle, she’d better be cagey about what she tells his brother.

        It never occurred to me this was actually a plot hole per the lengthy discussion above.Report

      • Avatar MaxL in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        In the comments above, it’s noted that in the graphic novel, Michionne is raped in Woodbury. So, maybe leaving that scene out is why her motives for withholding information seem all muddy in this episode.

        Also, didn’t her opinion seem to soften when she saw Rick’s reaction to finding Carol and hearing him talk to Carl? That is how I understood her being willing to trust this group more than the Governor’s.Report

        • Avatar MBunge in reply to MaxL says:

          “So, maybe leaving that scene out is why her motives for withholding information seem all muddy in this episode.”

          I don’t think it violates the spoiler rule to point out that in the comics, Michonne meets up with Rick and company first and then the group encounters the Governor and Woodbury.

          And it’s comics, dammit!


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