The Walking Dead Recap: Arrow on the Doorpost

What's our official logline? In an effort to prevent any more deaths, Rick and the Governor meet to come up with a peace treaty. Alright, so here goes... The episode opens  with an overhead shot looking down at Rick's group, as he and Daryl leave vehicles and head through a group of silos. Hershel is left behind to watch the cars with a rifle. Daryl and Rick make their way through the industrial-looking area while Hershel checks his leg, where he's duct-taped a pair of backup handguns. Entering a building as quietly as he can, Rick motions Daryl around to the other side. It's dark inside and he hears a noise, cocks his gun. There's an empty table with a chair near it, and after another rattling noise, the Governor emerges from around a corner. He holds his hands up and grins, then puts them down when Rick is not amused.

"We have a lot to talk about," he tells Rick. Rick tells the Governor that as far as he can see, things are pretty clear: the Governor attacked them. The Governor counters that he could have killed them all, and did not. He says he wants to remove his weapon as a show of good faith negotiation, and that he'd like Rick to do the same. Rick keeps his gun trained on the Governor, but allows him to reach for and remove his gun belt. The Governor hangs it on a post behind him and once again resumes the grinning, hands-up posture. Rick holsters his gun but does not remove the belt. The Governor sits at the table, where he's duct-taped a gun. Outside, Daryl reports what's happening back to Hershel, saying that even though they aren't seeing anything, it doesn't feel right, and to keep the car running. As he's saying this, a group of the Governor's men pull up in the SUV from the attack, including Andrea. She's surprised to hear that the Governor is already inside and lets herself in, demanding to know what's going on.

She comes in and starts preaching at Rick and the Governor about how she asked them to come here because people have died for no reason. Rick tells the Governor that he knows about the raids, and the heads, and the Governor counters that he knows about Rick, too, and doesn't care about any of it. He continues his gladhanding, smiling demeanor, which clearly sets Rick even more on edge. Outside, Hershel suggests that he should go in, but Martinez and Milton object, saying that the Governor wanted to be alone with Rick. When Daryl asks Milton what exactly he does for the Governor, it almost immediately escalates things between Daryl and Martinez, with Hershel breaking it up. Back at the prison, Merle looks on as Glenn organizes the rest of the group into a defensive posture, hiding ammunition around the prison and fortifying around the premises. Merle tells them that what they need to do is to go join Rick and the Governor, and kill the Governor right now, when they know where he is. Michonne objects, and Glenn says that it's not the right move because too many things could go wrong and Rick, Hershel and Daryl could all end up captured or killed.

Back in their negotiation, Andrea starts talking to Rick and the Governor, but the Governor dismisses her. Rick hands the Governor a map, and offers him a compromise where each of the two groups stay on their side of the river. The Governor mocks him, tells him that Andrea was in no position to offer anything, and that he's there only to accept Rick's surrender. As the conversation starts to escalate, the Governor asks Andrea to leave the two of them alone. She resists, but Rick agrees, saying that he came to talk to the Governor. She leaves, joining the group outside, but not speaking to any of them. Inside, Rick sits at the chair across the table from the Governor and Martinez closes the door. Challenging the Governor as to whether he had responsibility to his people, Rick asks what exactly he was doing leaving so much responsibility in the hands of Merle. The Governor says that Merle is erratic but effective. "I thought you take responsibility," Rick says, to which the Governor replies, "I thought you were a cop, not a lawyer." After a bit more back-and-forth, the Governor reveals that Andrea told him about Judith's murky parentage; he accuses Rick of misjudging Shane, of failing to see "the devil beside you." Rick tells the Governor that he sees him just fine, and the Governor, after a long pause, wanders off to get whiskey. Outside, Milton says that he wants to discuss the issues while they're waiting outside. He tells Daryl that he recorded the details of the Governor's attack on the prison, and called it a battle that will be a part of human history after the plague is over. Hershel says that makes sense, but before they can start talking, a walker is heard in the distance.

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Martinez grabs a baseball bat, joins Andrea (with a knife) and Daryl with his crossbow and starts taking out a group of walkers in and around the silos. Martinez clearly enjoys his work, and goes quickly from being confrontational with Daryl to impressed with his abilities. When Daryl takes a pack of cigarettes off of one of the corpses and offers them to Martinez, the two get to talking. Martinez says that he has no training pre-plague, just hates the walkers. They commiserate over the fact that they both know the negotiation is pointless. Back at the front door, Milton asks Hershel about his leg, and Hershel tells him how it happened. Milton is impressed that Hershel didn't bleed out, and the two discuss their learning by trial and error. Milton asks to see the leg, that it's "important data" how far above the bite he was amputated, etc. Hershel rejects him, but plays it off for laughs. Back inside, the Governor sits down to drink, telling Rick that he sees the whole conflict as a "failure of leadership," but that leaving Rick and his group alone would be an even bigger failure. He tells Rick that if they choose to continue the conflict, they'll destroy everything they've fought to build over the last year, and kill everyone they love. He reveals that back before the plague, his wife had died in a car accident, and that he'd been notified via phone at work. He says that his wife had called him earlier that day, but that he'd never had a chance to return her call and that he sat there, holding the phone and knowing that he'd never see her again. Obviously, this has shades of Rick's own experience, and shakes him somewhat. Rick, then, takes a sip of his whiskey, pleasing the Governor. Back at the prison, Glenn and the others work on fortifying the building while walkers mill around the inner fence. When Glenn goes back inside, he sees Merle packing a bag with guns, saying that he's not willing to leave his brother. Glenn stands guard at the door, telling Merle that he's not going to let him leave, and Merle jumps him. The two fall down the stairs, where Maggie and Michonne tackle Merle and Beth shoots a gun into the air to break it up. Back at the negotiation building, Hershel excuses himself from his conversation with Milton to go console a shaken Andrea. She asks Hershel what happened with Maggie, and Hershel responds only with "He's a sick man." Milton continues taking notes as she asks what to do--that she can't go back to Woodbury. Hershel tells her that she's welcome back at the prison, but that if she joins them, she has to stay. Back in the room, Rick and the Governor are still sitting in silence. The Governor says that he didn't want a leadership role--that he was chosen because there was nobody else around. He tells Rick that he was impressed by the stash of guns he brought back the other day, saying that the coming battle will go down to the last man. He says that his people aren't combat-tested, but there are more of them, "So let's end it--today. Let's not do this." He removes his eyepatch and tells Rick that he wants Michonne in exchange for peace. "Turn her over and this all goes away," he says, asking Rick whether that one woman is worth all the lives in the prison. Back at the prison, Michonne is packing up a bag, when Merle approaches her and says that she knows he's right--that the people at the prison aren't killers, and that he is. He invites her to join him, saying that he'll call ahead using some hunting calls that he and his brother used to use--that Daryl will recognize it and give the others a heads-up. Michonne asks about Andrea, and Merle says that once bullets start to fly, she'll have to make her decision. Michonne tells him he's on his own, and that if he gets people killed, it's on him. Outside, Maggie approaches Glenn, who's standing watch on the catwalk. She offers to keep him company, and the two almost immediately started to talk about Woodbury, and his reaction to it. It's not long before they've made up from their argument two weeks ago. They start to make out, but Glenn stops it, saying that he can't do it in front of the walkers. Instead they close the doors and have a quickie inside, leaving the prison unguarded at least for long enough for Merle to sneak out. Back at the negotiating table, Rick tells the Governor that he doesn't understand the Governor's risking his "legacy" on a two-bit vendetta. The Governor is unswayed, telling Rick that he can save Carl, Judith and the others--that it's his choice. Rick asks him how he knows that he'll keep his word if he does give Michonne up--the Governor brings the map back out, saying that he can have the borders he'd drawn on the river. He leaves, saying that Rick has until noon the next day to decide, and that the Governor will be there. The Governor gets up, walks out, and the two groups go their separate ways. Andrea remains with the Governor's group, but gives Hershel a subtle nod. Back at the prison, the approaching vehicles weave through the walkers and enter the grounds, passing the panel van that compromised the outer fence. The Governor's truck re-enters Woodbury. Everyone drives in silence. Upon arriving at their respective destinations, Rick orders everyone into the prison and the Governor tells Martinez to stand guard by the doors of the meeting spot the next day; he wants Martinez to open fire on anyone who arrives, but to spare and capture Michonne. Milton objects, and the Governor tells him that it's the best way to avoid a slaughter "on our end," saying that sooner or later, they have to eliminate Rick. Clearly, Milton isn't comfortable with this decision but he doesn't say anything. The Governor thanks Andrea for having helped put the meeting together, and tells her that he and Rick set terms. He claims that they're meet again in two days to discuss Rick's decision, but stonewalls when she asks him what the terms are. Back in the cell block, Rick takes out a rifle and tells everyone that he met with the Governor. Merle says that they should have gone at the Governor when they had the chance. Rick tells the group that the Governor wants the prison, wants them dead, and that they're going to war. He leaves, and everyone else is left in silence. Out on the catwalk, Hershel approaches Rick and says that the group is taking it as well as could be expected--that Merle and Michonne want to go on the attack, while he and Carol believe they should go on the road and run. He says, though, that everyone is in it together and that if they stay and fight, "so be it." Rick admits to Hershel that the Governor gave him a choice--to surrender Michonne to be killed. Rick believes the Governor will attack regardless, though, but doubts himself somewhat, wondering what if that's the answer. Hershel asks why Rick didn't admit this to the group  and Rick says they  need to be scared, because that's the only way they'll accept it. Hershel tells Rick that he made the right decision--that Michonne has earned her place and saved the lives of almost everyone in their group. Rick asks Hershel whether he's willing to sacrifice his daughter's lives for Michonne, and Hershel doesn't answer, asking instead why Rick's telling him. Rick says he's hoping Hershel can talk him out of it.