This Sorrowful Life
I keep going on about how fabulous the recent episodes have been – and this one is no exception! Tonight, we get Merle’s (Michael Rooker) story. Yes, we hate him, but can we truly hate someone that Daryl (Norman Reedus) loves so much? We will know the answer to this question by the end of this episode…
So we start episode 15, This Sorrowful Life, with the inner circle – ie. Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Hershel (Scott Wilson) and Daryl – discussing Michonne (Danai Gurira). Oh yeah, Rick is gonna be a shit and go there. The bastard is going to hand the poor woman over to the Crazy-McCrazy Governor (David Morrissey).
Of course, Rick doesn’t have the guts to do this personally, so he has to enlist everyone’s favourite shit-kicker: Merle.
Now that Merle is inside the prison and it is evident how much Daryl will defend him, everyone is trying to covert Merle: Rick, Daryl, Michonne – even Carol (Melissa McBride). Tonight we find Merle looking for drugs and/or alcohol while Carol is getting Judith off to sleep. Carol, in her usual straight-to-the-point way, tells Merle that it is never too late to redeem himself.
And so begins Merle’s journey…
Rick, meanwhile, is trying to be the macho man that Merle says he isn’t – and quote of the night again goes to Merle for this:
You’re right [Rick]. I don’t know why I do the things I do. I never did. I’m a damn mystery to me. But I know you Rick. Yeah, I thought a lot about you. You ain’t got the spine for it!
With this ringing in his ears, Rick is determined to pee further than Merle and goes to collect some plastic cord to restrain Michonne with. Instead, he finds Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies). Once more, his moral compass is alive and kicking. So he decides not to take Michonne to the Governor BUT FORGETS TO TELL MERLE!
You know where this is going, don’t you?
Long story short, Merle abducts Michonne.
While this is happening, Rick is ‘fessing up to the inner circle. The discovery that Merle and Michonne are missing is imminent.
Just on a side though, has anyone else noticed that Daryl (while Merle was missing) had transferred his unquestioning love from his brother to Rick? Blindly, this man will follow Rick in which ever decision is made – and this is poignantly bought out into the light in this episode. Merle’s right – Daryl really does need to own his own balls!
Also, it has become obvious that perhaps, if AMC had allowed us to meet the Woodbury crew before the Ricktatorship, we could have loved (and forgiven) the Governor the way in which we forgive and justify Rick’s behaviour. This is a concept that doesn’t sit easily for me – especially tonight, while Michonne’s life hangs in the balance. If the zombie apocalypse does occur, are we really allowed to be such inhuman shits? Is there no other way?
Meanwhile, Michonne and Merle are walking to Woodbury. It gives Michonne plenty of time to work on Merle. Slowly, she manages to peel away the stinky onion layers of the man we loathe. Surprisingly, there is a complex person underneath. Will he do the right thing in time though?
So Glenn (Steven Yeun) has decided now is the time to ask Hershel for Maggie’s (Lauren Cohan) hand in marriage. It kinda reminded me of the civil war scenes in Gone With The Wind, with all the soldiers scared they would never get laid before they died, so in the heat of the moment, married who they could. Of course, it’s different with Glenn and Maggie, they really do love each other right? After all, would you be prepared to hack of the ring finger of a zombie just to supply a ring to your fiancée? That has to be true love!
And I bet I wasn’t the only one tearing up over how secretly happy Hershel was…
So the Ricktatorship has worked out Michonne and Merle are missing. Daryl offers to track them. Is anyone else getting flashbacks to the mid-season finale? Is anyone else as scared as me? I really don’t want Daryl Dixon that close to Woodbury – alone – this close to the season finale. Just remember this AMC:
Merle has managed to find a car to hot-wire. So he ties Michonne to a post and sets about getting it to start. Sure, the engine turns over easily enough, but so does the alarm system. The noise not only pissed off my napping cat, but every single zombie in the Walking Dead vicinity!
Being tied to a post doesn’t stop Michonne from killing a couple of zombies WITHOUT THE USE OF HER HANDS. Just when I thought snide Michonne was the love of my life – hello, how much do we love Michonne now?!
Luckily, Merle realises his error (only after a zombie climbs into the car with him) just in the knick of time. Michonne is saved and they now have wheels.
This means Merle is a captive audience and Michonne can work him down some more.
Which she does. In some ways, all along, I think Merle has actually respected Michonne – after all, they are both happiest on the outskirts of society – especially now.
And this is when Merle’s redemption occurs. He sets Michonne free, hands back her katana and continues on to Woodbury. Oh, how the plot thickens…
Michonne only makes it as far as the bar where Merle hot-wired the car before she bumps into Daryl. At this point I am really feeling for him. Through this entire episode, even though it has been Merle’s story, without a doubt, that means it is also Daryl’s story. And poor Daryl is, essentially, stuck between a rock (ie. his love for Merle) and a hard place (ie. the things Merle has done to Daryl’s new post-apocalyptic family).
Daryl hangs around long enough to confirm Merle is still alive, and then continues on to Woodbury.
Now is the time when you realise you love Merle as much as his brother does.
You see, slowly, he is leading a pack of zombies to Woodbury.
Once he arrives, he cranks up the music, rolls the car into Woodbury and hides in an old shed.
When Martinez (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and his crew (including the Governor) arrive to investigate. While they are busy killing zombies, Merle starts to pick them all off. Martinez survives (the tentative bromance may still thrive between him and Daryl) and Merle has a clear shot at the Governor. Just as he pulls the trigger, Ben (Tyler Chase) from the Tyreese crew jumps in the way and is shot dead.
<insert swear words here>
This gives the Gov. a chance to get his mitts on Merle.
Needless to say, it ends badly. RIP Merle (belatedly) beloved brother of Daryl Dixon.
Back at the prison, Rick is owning up to his evil Governor-like tendencies. Finally, everyone knows about the Michonne situation. Rick also redeems himself tonight and gives up his Ricktatorship and replaces it with a democracy. The prison crew must now decide – together – whether they will stay and fight or leave the safety of the prison.
When Michonne arrives back at the prison, you assume the episode is tied up nicely.
But oh no…
Back at Woodbury, Daryl has arrived. And it turns out the Gov. shot Merle in the heart and not the head. And so another conspiracy theory has come to and end: It is, in fact, Daryl who kills Merle.
What are your expectations for the Season finale next week? Will the prison crew stay or go? Will Martinez help Daryl escape from Woodbury? How awesome was Merle as a zombie? And, finally, who is hosting a Walking Dead season finale party?
(Photo Credits: AMC/Kulfoto.com/Malachini for iFunny)
- Katla McGlynn: ‘The Walking Dead’ Recap: ‘This Sorrowful Life’ (huffingtonpost.com)
- The Walking Dead Recap: RIP Merle, Best Wishes, Maggie and Glenn (eonline.com)