When the Dead Come Knocking

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"When the Dead Come Knocking"
The Walking Dead episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 7
Directed by Dan Sackheim
Written by Frank Renzulli
Original air date November 25, 2012 (2012-11-25)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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The Walking Dead (season 3)
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"When the Dead Come Knocking" is the seventh episode of the third season of the post-apocalyptic horror television series The Walking Dead. It was directed by Dan Sackheim and written by Frank Renzulli, and originally aired on AMC in the United States on November 25, 2012.


The episode opens with Merle (Michael Rooker)'s interrogating Glenn (Steven Yeun) in a dark room with Glenn's arms duct-taped to a chair. They discuss how Merle was left on the Atlanta rooftop and Merle presses to learn where he can find his brother, Daryl (Norman Reedus), but Glenn won't betray the group's whereabouts. Merle then threatens to hurt Maggie (Lauren Cohan), who is shown being held in another room. Glenn head-butts Merle when Merle gets too close, and Merle begins beating Glenn in return. Later, Glenn claims that his large, battle-hardened group will be coming to rescue him, naming several people from the Atlanta group who Merle knows have since died (with the exception of Shane, and Andrea, which exposes Glenn's deceit).

Meanwhile, outside the prison fence, a walker reacts to the blood from Michonne's (Danai Gurira) leg wound and she collapses while defending herself. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) shoot the walkers and, determining that her wound is from a gunshot, Rick brings her inside the prison. Michonne is stripped of her katana, promised medical care, and held in isolation, mirroring her initial treatment at Woodbury. She remains tight-lipped and won't even tell them her name.

Michonne is locked up while Daryl brings Rick, Hershel (Scott Wilson), and Carl further into the cell block and surprises them with Carol (Melissa McBride), who is alive, rested, and back on her feet. While few words are spoken, Carol quickly realizes that Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) died during childbirth. The group then finally shares the pain of Lori's death with Rick, as tears are shed once again. Michonne observes this heartfelt reunion from her cell.

The basket of supplies that Michonne brought, including baby formula, suggests to the group that she knows something, and Michonne admits that she found the prison after overhearing Glenn and Maggie, who were taken by the same man who shot her. Determined to find their missing people and frustrated by her refusing to talk, Rick tortures Michonne by squeezing her leg wound, and Daryl threatens to kill her with his crossbow, but then Rick calms down and reminds Michonne that she came to them for a reason. Michonne tells them about Woodbury and The Governor (David Morrissey) (though she fails to mention Merle's name or Andrea's). Although Woodbury is well-defended against walkers, Michonne claims that she could get them inside the town's walls.

At Woodbury, Andrea (Laurie Holden) is happily continuing her affair with The Governor, who keeps her ignorant of Glenn and Maggie's capture by having her help Milton (Dallas Roberts) with a project which will take all day. In his lab, Milton is working with elderly Michael Coleman (Peter Kulas); Coleman is dying of prostate cancer and has volunteered for Milton's experiment to test memory retention after reanimation, and Milton is asking him a series of questions accompanied by visual and auditory cues. However, after Coleman dies from natural causes and reanimates, his walker form shows no sign of understanding. Ignoring Andrea's warning, Milton removes a restraint so the walker might respond more freely, forcing Andrea to kill him with her knife before he can bite Milton. Both Andrea and Milton exit the room, disturbed by the event.

Frustrated with Glenn's loyalty to the group that abandoned him, Merle gives him a taste of what he faced on the rooftop by leaving him alone in the room with a loose walker. Glenn fights it off and manages to smash the chair he is bound to, using a chair arm still duct-taped to him to fend off the walker's bite then stabbing it through the temple with a broken piece of wood. With nothing else to break Glenn, The Governor interrogates Maggie himself, first feigning charm and then exerting dominant behavior and making her take off her shirt and bra before threatening her with rape. Seeing that Maggie still will not break despite all this, he threatens to bring her Glenn's hand. She continues to defy him, and The Governor leaves her alone.

Rick reconciles with his son and lets Carl name the new baby "Judith" (after Carl's former teacher). Rick later thanks Daryl for taking care of things while he was sorting himself out. Several volunteer to go to Woodbury, including Beth (Emily Kinney) and Axel (Lew Temple), but in the end Rick limits the team to four: himself, Daryl, Oscar (Vincent Ward), and Michonne. They arm themselves, also taking tear gas and flashbangs from the prison, and drive until they are a mile or two from the town before proceeding on foot through a wooded area so as to avoid The Governor's patrols. They have not traveled far when they find themselves surrounded by dozens of walkers and flee into a cabin for shelter. The cabin proves to be the home of a hermit (Alex Van) who panics, holding Rick at gunpoint with a double barrel shotgun and acting as if the world hasn't changed. Rick knocks his shotgun away, causing him to yell and run for the door, but Michonne kills him to silence him and prevent him from letting the walkers in. They throw his corpse outside and escape through the back door, while the walkers are busy feeding.

The Governor finally brings Glenn and Maggie together, implicitly threatening Maggie in front of Glenn, who still won't talk. However, when The Governor threatens to shoot Glenn, Maggie confesses their group is only ten strong and is at the prison near Newnan. The Governor leaves Glenn and the shirtless Maggie alone together.

The Governor is somewhat shaken that such a small group was able to clear the prison deep within the heavily zombie-infested Red Zone, a task which Merle had claimed was impossible, and at how tough the group must be (considering the enormity of that task and Glenn's performance against the walker). The Governor shows signs of paranoia, thinking that either the group at the prison is much larger or his own people have been misleading him about the dangers in the Red Zone. He questions Merle about his loyalties; Merle reassures him that his loyalties are with Woodbury. The Governor instructs Merle and Martinez (Jose Pablo Cantillo) to take a small group and scout out the prison to see exactly what they're up against.

Shortly after nightfall, Rick's group approaches Woodbury along the cover of a freight train, and looks up at the town's fortified gates. Unseen to them on the other side of the wall, Andrea returns to the Governor's apartment. Although she foresaw the result of Milton's experiment, the man's death and Milton's crushed hopes for the walkers moved her deeply. The Governor holds Andrea and assures her that everything will be all right.


Critical response[edit]

Zack Handlen, writing for The A.V. Club, rated the episode an A− on an A to F scale; citing the copious amounts of happenings within the episode and declaring most of them exciting.[1] Eric Goldman at IGN gave the episode an 8.9 out of 10, praising the director's lack of music for scenes depicting Michonne and Carl's character development.[2]


Upon its initial broadcast on November 25, 2012, "When the Dead Come Knocking" was watched by an estimated 10.42 million viewers,[3] reflecting an increase in viewership from the previous episode which had 9.21 million viewers.[4]


  1. ^ Handlen, Zack (November 25, 2012). "'When the dead come knocking'". The A.V. Club. Onion Inc. Retrieved December 3, 2012. 
  2. ^ Goldman, Eric (November 25, 2012). "'When the dead come knocking' Review". IGN. Retrieved December 25, 2012. 
  3. ^ Bibel, Sara (November 20, 2012). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'The Walking Dead' Dominates Night, 'Soul Train Awards', 'Liz & Dick', 'Dexter', 'Homeland', 'Boardwalk Empire' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved December 3, 2012. 
  4. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (November 20, 2012). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Walking Dead' Wins Night + 'Breaking Amish', 'Real Housewives of Atlanta', 'Dexter', 'Sofia the First' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 

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