In Season 3, Episode 15 titled “This Sorrowful Life”, Rick asks for Merle’s help to deliver Michonne to the Governor.
Let’s dissect the episode! Continue reading for my initial reaction and spoiler filled thoughts.
This week is a Merle-centric episode that delivered a character driven story and all the zombie killing action we expect from the show.
It worked as a character piece because it gave insight into why Merle does the things he does. A devious loud-mouthed racist could easily have been a one-note character but thanks to the great acting of Michael Rooker and the writers, Merle became something more.
When Daryl says “I just want my brother back”, it implies that before the outbreak Merle was not the dirty scumbag murderer we know him as. He was still a racist and a pain in the ass back in the day, but not a killer as Michonne later finds out.
Take Out The Trash
Merle took matters into his own hands by kidnapping Michonne because he knows Rick wouldn’t go through with the deal. He wants to give his brother an opportunity for a peaceful life or at least one that doesn’t involve the sadistic Governor.
My runner-up for the kill of the week is the walker that got decapitated with a wire while Michonne was bound to a pole.
Michonne cuts right into Merle’s conscience with her pointed remarks. One of the differences from the Governor is that Merle does not shrug off all the killing as easily. Merle wants to prove he’s his own man, making his own decisions, not a henchman doing someone else’s dirty work.
The chemistry along with the dialogue between Michonne and Merle in the car ride was spot on. It was a good surprise when Merle stopped the car and released Michonne. Whatever direction, I thought the episode was headed became unpredictable at that moment.
Kind of peculiar Glenn didn’t fully figure out what the watch meant until now. Perhaps, he meant that over the least year he came to understand the responsibility of family and importance of people close to him.
Glenn is already part of the family but it was nice of him to get Hershel’s blessing, without actually asking for it. Because their lives could end at any minute, Glenn is compelled to show his love for Maggie by proposing.
Glenn doesn’t say much, he just pushes a ring into her hand. Actress Lauren Cohan does a good job in conveying she is totally into Glenn. As a young couple in love, these two should be the emotional heart of the show. I don’t dislike their relationship but I’m not quite sold on their love.
Not every character will be super articulate however the writers could have done a better job with Glenn’s dialogue in this episode.
You’re As Cold As Ice, Officer Friendly
The episode opens with Rick, Daryl and Hershel deciding to move forward with the plan to turn Michonne over to the Governor. I was disappointed in Rick’s decision especially knowing the Governor might not hold up his end of the bargain. A little while later, a vision of Lori reminds Rick to do the right thing.
One of the arcs of this season is Rick’s dictatorship. As he became darker (and crazier) the parallels between him and Governor are more apparent. The fact that he would deliver Michonne to Woodbury, knowing she would be tortured makes him practically as culpable as the Governor.
Rick comes 180 degrees from the end of last season by declaring the group must choose for themselves on how to live their lives. “I’m not your Governor” he declares. No more keeping the truth from the group and making unilateral decisions. Is this what’s best for the group?
End Is Near
Merle gathering a horde of walkers is a creative tactic. His plan is to kill as many Woodbury people as possible including the Governor to protect the Prison group, even if it might get himself killed. It’s interesting that killing more people can be viewed as an act of redemption, if you can consider it that. I guess in sacrificing his life, he was redeemed.
The Governor biting off two of Merle’s fingers then spitting it out is nasty. But since my threshold for grossness has gone up since watching this show it didn’t shock me. Shooting Merle in the chest so that he will reanimate as a walker is a cruel move by the Governor.
After seeing Merle eat entrails, I felt bad for him and Daryl. I liked the dynamic and volatility Merle brought to the show even if some fans despise him.
Norman Reedus’ expression in discovering walker Merle was well done. At first, he’s just pushing Merle away like he’s rejecting the idea that his brother is a walker.
Daryl can’t leave Merle “living” like that so he has to stab him in the face, making it my the kill of the week. Why do you think Daryl needed to stab Merle not once, but multiple times? Just raw emotion or something more?
What did you like or didn’t like about this episode? The season finale is just one week away. Any bold predictions? Do you want the Governor to die?