The Walking Dead: This Sorrowful Life

Posted on March 25, 2013

We spent the first twenty minutes of this episode SUPREMELY pissed off, as we were expected to sit there and watch the de facto “hero” of this story struggle with a moral question that really shouldn’t have been a struggle TWDS3E15+6at all: Should he hand over an ally, and someone who saved his son’s life, to a sociopath hellbent on torturing her until she dies, in order to “save” the rest of the group?

This is one of those parlor-game ethical questions that always sounds fascinating to Freshman philosophy majors huddled around a bong, but to see it actually play out is something else entirely.

And maybe there is a way to present this so-called dilemma to the audience and have them struggle with the answer. After all, the entire point to a zombie apocalypse story – and the main reason why they’re so popular right now – is because the central question is irresistible to an audience member: What would I do if I were in that situation? And hey, maybe some of y’all really did struggle right alongside Rick, turning over his options and wondering what the “right” thing to would be. But we never felt like the question was presented as much of a moral dilemma, so Rick’s struggle only made him look like the worst TWDS3E15+1kind of asshole. We don’t know why the writers are so intent on trying to make it seem like there’s little difference between the Governor and Rick when it’s obvious there is. That entire 20 minutes – and Rick’s so-called struggle – could have been cut from the script and the story would have only improved for it.

Once Merle got it in his head to take matters into his own hand, the story took off, allowing for the best character work we’ve seen yet, for Michonne, Merle, and even a wonderful bit of sass from Carole. In fact, when Rick stood in front of the group at the end and declared that he would no longer be a dictator (and then, humorously, turned around and walked away from the group without ever soliciting one thought from any of them) and the camera panned over the tired, ravaged faces, we realized that this is what we’ve been missing; this sense of family and community. This sense that these people we’ve been following are real people with real histories. It was wonderful to see Herschel come to his moral decision through prayer and meditation. It was wonderful to see Carole demonstrate that after everything she’s been through, she’s still here, stronger than she ever was and completely unflappable in the face of horror. It was wonderful to see Rick’s Lori hallucination actually have a point, as she reminded him of a time when he didn’t struggle over moral decisions. It was wonderful to see Michonne work on Merle to save her life, demonstrating a combination of empathy and bad-assedness that defines her. It was wonderful to see Merle actually show some form of personality outside of “racist asshole.” And it was downright electrifying watching Darryl fall apart at the sight of his monster-brother, his tears turning TWDS3E15+5to rage, a lifetime of which exploded out of him as he put his brother’s body down for good.  Add one fairly kickass action sequence that shows how awesome Michonne is even when she’s tied up, and another one that showed just how valuable Merle might have been to Rick’s group in the coming war.

But this was essentially an extended suicide mission on Merle’s part because he couldn’t come up with a satisfactory answer to the question posed by this episode: What kind of person are you going to be in this new world? Rick chose moral leadership. Carole chose strength. Glenn and Maggie chose love. Herschel chose his faith. And Merle knew that he would never be accepted by either of the groups who adopted him, opting to go out in a blaze of glory and take down the Governor so his baby brother wouldn’t have to deal with it.

All in all, a wonderful 40-minute story. Too bad the script was for a 60-minute one. Still, we’re more than ready for the war to start.



[Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC]

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  • Isabel

    Still too wordy for my tastes. But, the Daryl-zombie Merle scene was great.

    Now I am watching “The Vikings” on History Channel. Better storyline. No hesitations in chopping off body parts.

    • NoGovernmentName

      Better storyline, you think? I thought the rationale for Ragnar bringing his wife was complete BS. Leave your kids with a slave you just met, when you know that the Earl hates your guts? Really? Come on.

  • jtabz

    Poor Darryl totally turned into Friday the 13th Corey Feldman at the end there.

  • Pennymac

    Watching with my son last night. He has taken to calling this the “Stalling Dead”; I agree. Less episodes with tighter writing would have helped this whole season. I’m hoping for a good finale, at least.

  • Sobaika

    Can someone explain to my why Rick thought it was a good idea to tell the racist powder keg his plan to turn Michonne in? Anyone? Because there is no rationale for it. Rick hasn’t made any logical decisions for a long time, and the group continues to turn to him when Darryl and Glen are both more level-headed (and that is saying something). If the writers actually focused on characters that aren’t white men, you better believe Maggie and Carole would have something to say when Rick came clean – but they are too busy getting engaged and holding babies to do anything. Rick has to make a completely ludicrous speech about community and democracy and how wrong he is without anyone calling him out on it.

    Even the final scene with dead Merle wasn’t enough to make up for such a shoddily-constructed episode, although on its own it was sad and gripping. But I can’t say I enjoyed much of what led up to it. Rant over.

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      I think Rick’s actions were explained pretty well by Merle. He knew that he was basically the go to guy for stuff that was really terrible and no one else wanted to do. Before he had his ghost epiphany I think Rick was 1/2 way willing to try the “hand over Michonne” tactic and he knew that he would need someone like Merle to ultimately do the dirty work. Of course the entire time I kept wondering why they didn’t tell Michonne about the supposed deal. I don’t think she would have given herself up for the group, but she may have come up with a plan to lure the Governor into a trap.

      • Sobaika

        A man makes a decision he can’t stomach and gets an imbalanced henchman to do it for him without explicitly saying so – and this is a man we’re supposed to root for? Bad writing will always be bad writing.

        • SassieCassy

          it might have made more sense for merle to overhear them talking about turning her over

        • Angela_the_Librarian

          Oh, I’m not saying that the writer’s did a good job with that part of the story, I just think that was their rationale for Rick getting Merle involved.

    • SassieCassy

      im hoping we see some blowback next week. michonne slaps the stupid out of rick and maggie screams bloody murder that he was about to hand another woman over to the man who assaulted her, ffs

      • NoGovernmentName

        I just posted almost the exact same comments above!

  • gsk241

    For me, the best part of the episode was getting to see Michonne use her brain as well as her sword. It is way past due for her to get some good speaking lines and show that she’s more than a silent bad ass. That said, I hope when she shows back up at the prison, she punches Rick in the balls for being willing to give her up to the Governor (or at least try to) even though he did allegedly backpedal on that.

    • editrixie

      Yes. That for me was the saving grace of this episode. I despair over the people who run and write this show’s ability to step out of their patriarchal misogyny and racism. But at least Michonne finally got more than a few terse, stupid lines and got to take the perpetual Scary Black Lady scowl off her face. They really need to stop wasting that actress’s talent.

    • NoGovernmentName

      There needs to be MAJOR blowback on Rick for his incredibly idiotic decision, however brief, to hand over Michonne. His “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” plan sharing to his inner circle directly led to Merle’s actions, so he *IS* responsible, in large part, for her almost being turned over to the Governor. Rick definitely needs to step down, because the absolute power he wields has had some unintended negative consequences, and he has decision fatigue, leading to some horrible judgment. There should be some comeuppance for that, story-wise.

      • ankali

        I am so done with Rick as a leader. In a coming war with Woodbury, his idiocy has a) cost them Merle, b) risked the loss of Michonne (I really don’t know why she hasn’t just peaced on out and headed somewhere nice and tropical on her own), and c) risked the loss of Daryl. These are three of his biggest assets!

        I can’t even be mad at the character, because he’s written so stupid as to be completely unbelievable. We didn’t need him to have a big ole moral crisis this season in addition to a case of the crazies, so I don’t really know why the writers had him consider even for a second that the Governor offered that deal in good faith.

  • dickylarue

    I, too, was screaming in the living room during the first 20 minutes when Rick was still debating whether to give up Michonne or not. I kept saying “why are they painting him this stupid?”. I hate that in this show, more than any other show I watch, you see the writers forcing characters out of character to serve the writers debates.

    I wish I could say the emotional impact of Merle’s death hit me like it hit you guys, but it didn’t. I was far more emotional when Shane and especially Sophia died. The writing on this show has gotten to a point where it’s functional at best. They jammed all of the resolution of Merle’s character arc into 2/3rds of an episode. Meanwhile, they had him at the prison for several episodes and could’ve built up a little more hope in all of us that Merle had changed so when his death happened it would’ve destroyed me.

    Yes, Daryl cried. But I felt nothing. You don’t create a monster like Merle and then flip him over to good guy for 10 seconds and off him. I would’ve been far more interested in seeing Merle as a reformed member of the group or see Merle do anything other than sulk, brood or be nasty the past few episodes. Simple things like him apologizing to Glenn/Maggie in a prior episode would’ve earned a lot. He could’ve done it in a Merle fashion. Instead, he sat in the cell ripping up mattresses.

    What started out as a step forward this season has been treading water for weeks. They’ve wasted so much time on Rick’s visions, Andrea’s indecision when they could’ve had Carol/Merle Michonne/Merle moments leading up to all of this that would’ve made that moment truly epic. A slightly more sophisticated planned out setup/payoff was lacking.

    This show just keeps getting C’s when it should be getting A’s and I honestly think the people running the show aren’t smart or talented enough to do better than they are. The actors are good. The people giving them the material are just ok.

    • Zippypie

      This. Great comments.

    • MilaXX

      Neither Shane nor Sophia hit me on an emotional level. Shane had become to unlikable, and they had spent the entire season searching for Sophia and once we saw the barn full of walkers most of us had already guessed she was in there so both of their deaths were a bit anti-climatic. Merle’s death worked for me because they made him human and because of how his death pained Darryl.

      • xmixiex

        Exactly- I didn’t tear up over Merle dying, it was Daryl’s reaction. It was heart wrenching.

      • dickylarue

        Mila – I constantly spent last season hoping Rick/Shane would work it out. After that incident when Rick went back to rescue Shane from the bus he was trapped in after they fought, I was thrilled and hoped he was bringing Shane back emotionally. I didn’t read the books and still haven’t, so when Shane walked Rick out to the woods I was a wreck because I didn’t want either of them to kill one another. When that scene happened and they both showed all that emotion it was earned and it was tough to watch, for me.

        Merle’s death was whatever to me. Shane may have been a villain of sorts, but he had earned enough of my emotion character wise that I wanted to see him evolve and move on and find a woman to take his mind off of Laurie. I knew I was rooting in vain, but I was at least rooting.

        With Merle I knew the writers would try to redeem him before they killed him. It’s obvious bag of tricks kind of thing. But they never really made Merle human until the last second and I think dropping in some moments of that the past few weeks might have made his sacrifice seem more powerful.

        As for Sophia, what was emotional for me in that moment wasn’t that I cared about Sophia. It was that no one in the group could put her down until Rick switched off the emotion and stood up to do it because someone had to. That worked well on me just as Daryl stepping up and doing the right thing with Dale worked for me in the moment.

        • MilaXX

          I agree it was inevitable that they would try to redeem Merle. Perhaps the reason it worked for me was because of how much it pained Darryl. Either way, it was a good way for Merle to go out. There really was no way he was ever going to live peacefully with the group after what he had done to Glenn & Maggie

    • BookishBren

      Yep, I agree. So many great actors/characters have been wasted in this season of The Andrea Show. They brought Merle back but once he went Team Prison (where Andrea wasn’t) we saw little of him. We have seen nothing of Carole. So many lost chances with this season because the focus has been skewed toward Andrea instead of everyone.

      • BigShamu

        The Andrea Show?? Don’t you mean the Rick Show? I understand what you mean in the sense that this cast is waaay too big to invest emotionally in too many characters. It wasn’t that long ago that many commenters were begging for Carole to be walker-bait and now that the writers throw her a Spunk bone every now and again we all love her. However every time they give her a good scene, I worry she’s about to be T-Dogged.

    • I think they had set up the change in Merle bit by bit over the last few episodes. There was that reaction when he saw Daryl’s back, the Bible talk with Herschel and a couple of other things.

  • “Once Merle got it in his head to take matters into his own hand” I see what you did there. 😉

    Good episode. I had a feeling Merle was going to die pretty soon, but at the beginning of this episode, I assumed the Governor was just going to shoot him and Michonne would have to fight her way out. I’m glad it was more complex than that.
    Alright, now who else figures either Glen or Maggie is next up on the chopping block? Probably Glen, sad to say.

    • No, Glenn must never die, because he is the reason to watch this show.

  • mjude

    i thought this episode was stressful, tense, very sad for many reasons. i still blame exhaustion on rick & some choices. i am actually sad to see merle go & so heart broken for his brother. love this show.

  • Angela_the_Librarian

    I had a feeling that as soon as Merle was re-introduced into the story that either him or Darryl was going to die by the end of the season. Merle wasn’t quite given a redemption arch, but I felt like his ending felt authentic (at least more authentic then trying to shoe horn Andrea into a heroic role last week). Norman Reedus demonstrated some Grade-A acting this week and it would be wonderful if he could garner an Emmy nom for it. I didn’t cry during the last scene, but it was truly heart wrenching to see his pain. I’m hoping with the end of the Rick dictatorship the women will finally get a stronger voice in the group. Finally, the engagement of Glenn and Maggie can only mean bad things..I predict one of them will die.

  • tonibaloney

    I, too, loved that Rick got everyone together for some “I am not a dictator!” speechifying, confessed that he almost sacrificed Michonne and then just peaced the fuck out before anyone could respond. “We talk about things and decide as a group. Not me, though. Deuces, y’all!”

    • dickylarue

      I was hoping he’d shout “Seacrest Out!” as he walked away from them for some reason.

      • aeb1986

        hahaha. that would have made the episode

    • MilaXX

      YES! That’s exactly what he did.

  • MilaXX

    Yet another ep. penned by the Scott Gimple. I am getting very hopeful for next season. Last week I didn’t buy for one minute that Rick was going to give up Michonne. Sure he may have wanted to believe that he could give up Michonne & that the Governor would actually leave the prison group alone, but that’s not who Rick is and it’s certainly not who the Governor is. I think deep down Rick knew that. I really enjoyed see Merle as a person. Between his digging through old mattresses looking for drugs and his grabbing the bottle when he’s play pied piper after letting Michonne go, you get the sense that he’s doing some self medicating to numb some serious pain. After what he had done to Glenn & Maggie there was no way he was going to be able to stay in the prison long term and no doubt seeing that Darrly really had become family to this group when even Michonne was somehow managing to fit in, I think Merle just decided to be “that guy”.
    I did laugh when Rick stood there and said from now on we all decide and then turned on his heels and walked away before anyone could say a word. Glenn’s taking a ring off a walker to propose to Maggie was kinda romantic, I guess, but really, Ew!

  • Zippypie

    The whole “should Rick or shouldn’t Rick” turn over Michonne was just so poorly considered that I, too, was pissed off for the first 20 minutes. Great comments, TLo. I couldn’t believe that the writers even thought for one moment that the audience would buy Rick’s indecision on this. Rick may have gone through hell emotionally, but did his own brains leak out of his head in the process? He’s not stupid. And to make him this stupid about the Gov diminishes him to a level below the Gov. How can the writers think this is a good idea, making the hero into a weak idiot who needs the resident racist lowlife to do his dirty work? Bad call. But this show has been full of them. Consistently.

    But you boys are correct. Once Merle took the story over, the episode took off. It’s unfortunate, however, that the writers haven’t developed Merle over the time he’s been at the prison so that his willingness to go on a suicide mission for his brother’s life made more of an emotional impact, that his letting go of Michonne would have had a deeper resonance that this man actually may have shifted internally somewhere along the way. I think Michael Rooker did a great job with what he had. The scenes with him and Michonne were terrific. Too bad the writers wasted an opportunity by not giving us more of this beforehand.

    The only reason Daryl’s breakdown had emotional impact was because we know Daryl and all the conflicting feelings Daryl feels about Merle. I was sad for Daryl, not for Merle, but I also was hoping as the ep ended that they don’t drag out Daryl’s reaction to Merle’s death into another Rick withdrawal from the group. That would piss me off royally.

    So FINALLY we get to this hyped up showdown. Gods, I don’t mind a setup, but if you’re going to have a setup, make it good, suspenseful, exciting. This has been tepid. Oh, and please, though I know this probably won’t happen, let’s zombify Andrea. Having two incredibly stupid protagonists survive the “battle” next week will try my patience.

  • VermillionSky

    I was worried when Merle stopped the car that we were about to have another “let’s sit around and talk” scene, but was pleasantly surprised when he just let Michonne go and took off to do what Rick should have done in the stupid negotiation episode (take out the governor).

  • DinahR

    Another bit on the plus side, this episode was Andrea-free.

    Good episode. The moral dilemma really only bothered me because it never included the intelligent obvious consideration of …”Maybe he’d just get Michonne and kill us anyway”. I know Rick said that at first but for some reason that I cannot fathom it was never considered again. (I suspect it’s because different writers/directors handled the two episodes.) I expected that notion to be one of the first things out of Merle’s mouth; but no, and that was disappointing.

    I suppose that sacrifice of character logic might have been necessary to set Merle and Michonne on their journey. If so the payoff was probably worth it, but that little part to me is still lame.

    • cornpicker73

      Yes! I kept waiting for someone to say, “uh, you know he is going to kill us all anyway, right?” or something to that effect.

      • NoGovernmentName

        Merle said it, didn’t he?

  • Inspector_Gidget

    I had pretty much the same reaction. I was ready to quit watching the show if they ruined RIck as a character, which going through with the exchange surely would have. The rest of the episode was pretty great though. I think they’ve been padding things to deal with an increased episode order or something. As I said before, this season would really rock as a well-edited set of about 6 episodes.

    • NoGovernmentName

      Me too. I was on the verge of deleting the series from my DVR until they turned it around, sort of, but then again, I have never liked Rick. I still haven’t forgiven him for the horse in Season 1.

  • I cried for Daryl. It was like watching a unicorn cry.

  • MilaXX

    I just realized last night that Sasha (the one with Tyrese) is also on Once Upon a Time.

  • Yolanda13

    The first 20 minutes of the show was a waste of time and yes I think we’re all a little bitter that we won’t get that time in our lives back. But Merle’s zombie pied piper routine and taking out as many of the Governor’s troops as he could to save his little brother sure made up for it. Let the war begin!

  • cornpicker73

    Agree, agree. You knew Rick wasn’t going to give up Michonne so why waste time on it? The faux dilemma didn’t ring true at all. You also knew Merle redemption/death was likely coming up and I do really like how they chose to play it out. It made sense that he didn’t belong but this was something he could do for baby bro. Yes, hard to see Daryl lose it– esp after when they were talking earlier and he said “I just want my brother back.” Sob.

    I also liked how they really illustrated Carole’s character arc with her convo with Merle.

    I didn’t totally get what Merle was doing until he was actually doing it. I really appreciated his little plan and how he did it. Why didn’t he drop off Michonne closer to the prison, though?

    I hope Milton and Andrea are doing ok in the torture chamber.

    Really looking forward to the finale next week! Oh, and zombie engagement ring? Oh, well. Not like he can just stop by Zales or something.

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      That was quite the rock he was able to randomly find. She must’ve been pretty well off pre-zombification!

  • BookishBren

    You have to give Michael Rooker props for playing Merle as someone so completely unsympathetic, a real racist jack*ss, yet it comes through that he is motivated on some level out of love for his kid brother. I also really enjoyed the other side of that–Norman Reedus playing this super bad*ss who is trying to convince people to forgive his brother. It was a pleading side of Daryl that we don’t often (ever) see.

    My FAVORITE lines of the night were between Merle and Carole: “You are a late bloomer.” “Maybe you are too.”

    Carole has been wasted this season. I am hoping the new showrunner keeps the character focus WAY more balanced. This season has been very Andrea-focused when it didn’t have to be.

    • NoGovernmentName

      Michael Rooker was AMAZING. I never thought I would have any positive feelings towards Merle, but he killed it last night. It makes me wish we had seen more of him, because that dude can WORK. Also, loved the Carole convo. I wish they would give her more to do. The actress is wonderful and that character has so much richness to her.

      • FifiDubois

        I don’t care if this is a television show, Michael Rooker deserves an Oscar for his performance on this episode. An Emmy just won’t do. He was amazing. How he could get me to feel anguish for Merle,whom I had loathed so much, is beyond me. Bravo!

    • I had always liked Carole in previous seasons, but ultimately felt she was expendable. This season, however, she’s one of my favorite characters, and yes I agree, very underused. It seems as though whenever there’s a character that I’m really interested in and feel doesn’t get enough screen time, they kill them off (see: T-Dawg) but whenever they have a character that I can’t stand they seem to just eat up all the screen time (see: Andrea, Dale).

      Andrea walks that line where if they had written her just a little bit more aware, she’d be a hands-down favorite.

      • BookishBren

        Yep, Dale drove me nuts too. I have started reading the books and he was annoying in the books too, imo. Go figure. I am actually starting to wonder if the TWD writers really know how to write for female characters.

  • jeeplibby02

    Rick’s dilemma would have been more credible if it had been the least bit plausible that the Governor would keep his end of the bargain, and the group would be left in peace and safety, but we knew (and Rick should have known) that that was NEVER going to happen. That was the first problem.

    It was also silly that Rick was thinking about it after the events in “Clear,” when he and Carl acknowledged that Michonne was “one of us.” If the order of “Clear” and “Arrow on the Doorpost” (the ‘sit-down’ episode) had been reversed, then the trip to town could have put an end to Rick’s dithering. As it were, he took her along to get a better ‘read’ on her, assessed her favorably, then spent the next two episodes thinking about giving her up to be tortured and killed. By the end of “Clear’, his mind should have been made up, and he should have returned to the prison and told the group what the Governor demanded, that it was not going to happen, and there would be war. Merle, with intimate knowledge of the Governor’s character and superior firepower, and no respect for Rick as a leader or warrior, would have balked, leading directly to the events of “This Sorrowful Life.” and skipping “Prey” altogether, as its highlights [Tyreese’s suspicions, Milton’s treachery, and the torture chamber reveal] could have been included elsewhere). The way things went down, Rick was made to look stupid and morally compromised for absolutely no reason.

    • WE knew — but we had no vested stake in convincing ourselves of anything else. Rick did. Rick desperately WANTED to believe that there was a way out that didn’t involve taking the Governor on and he did everything he could to convince himself of that. That in exchange for one life, they could be free of the threat.

      • jeeplibby02

        If the Governor had walked into that meeting and said, “Look, I just want Michonne. She put my eye out, and has to answer for that. I have no beef with the rest of you, so hand me Michonne, and this ends,” perhaps I could understand Rick wanting to take him at his word. However, he led with, “I’m going to kill you all,” then he and Rick spent twenty minutes of screen time (and who knows how much “real” time) measuring dicks and trying to out-menace one another with cold, hard stares before the Governor even got around to mentioning Michonne. And, before that came Glenn and Maggie’s capture and rescue, and all that went on in between, followed by the walker-van attack. There is history between the groups, and scores to settle on both sides. The Michonne Solution was no solution at all, and everything Rick knew about the Governor pointed to that. The fact that Rick spent so much time wrestling with his conscience about carrying it out made him look moronic, not desperate and conflicted.

    • Donald Hite

      Excellent point. Maybe you should write for the show!

  • AutumnInNY

    The last five minutes of the last two episodes have been so strong, with that tracking shot to Andrea in the chair and that first close up last night of Merle’s eyes. Chilling. I agree about the first 20 minutes last night. What a waste of screen time on the penultimate episode. Here’s hoping for a tight, polished season finale next week.

    Did anyone notice when Merle was packing his bag he wrapped up a (heavy) old telephone? We didn’t see it again, but I wondered why he bothered to take it. Thoughts?

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      I think he used the wire from the phone to tie Michonne up

    • editrixie

      Yeah, that was on my mind too — I was thinking, what’s he gonna do with it? It’s not like they have phone service in Woodbury. Did he take it for decor, and then changed his mind?

      • FifiDubois

        Maybe he’s going to call Lori.

  • YoungSally

    I’m starting to think that Carole is the secret kiss of death this season — don’t tell her your deepest thoughts (Axel)….don’t have her “are you with us” you (Merle) and don’t try to save her (T-dog)….it all ends up poorly.

    • DinahR

      ha! good catch, I hadn’t noticed that

  • The thing that popped into my head with Glenn and the ring (other than EW!) was that the walkers’ fingers and limbs tend to shrink from decay. That ring would have fell off engaged walker a long time ago.

    I also wonder if Merle had his Pied Piper idea in mind all along and was going to try and convince Michonne to help him. After talking to her, he decided not to risk anyone else’s life.

    • nancy

      Maybe she was… fresher.. than the others? As soon as I saw him walking
      down the fence I thought, aww, he’s gone ring shopping.

  • Last night’s episode was probably one of the better ones this season… well, the second half of it was, anyways. Merle went down like a friggin’ badass, and a smart one, too, which was unexpected but very much welcomed compared to Rick’s “dilemma”. Did he honestly think the Governor would not screw them all over? I thought he was more aware of what kind of situation they were dealing with than that.

    Also, a note- I’ve been a bit curious as to the different spellings you two have been using for the characters. I watched seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix since I’m a bit reliant on subtitles, and I’m used to seeing Daryl, Carol, and Glenn for spellings… were they spelled differently elsewhere?

  • You know, maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s that I buy into the idea that yes, Rick really is THAT stupid. But I can believe his indecision. I agree that he SHOULDN’T be conflicted, but I can believe that he would be. I mean, all of the Allied powers tried a (long) policy of appeasement toward Hitler – a man with crazy leaking out with every word – and thought it was a good idea! People have a very easy time of convincing themselves of something they WANT to be true.

  • BigShamu

    I was worried about this episode especially after last week’s epi. While I did get annoyed with “Rick’s Faux Struggle” I liked this episode a lot and that’s because we were given a full plate of a lot of good actors getting decent dialogue that, for the most part, made sense to their characters. There were a lot of little moments that felt right. Carol and her no bullshit conversation with Merle. You survive a prison wing full of zombies you realize that life’s too short for polite conversation. Hershel’s return to the bible for strength and prayer. Praying for himself but also that God change Rick’s mind or at least give Hershel the right words to convince Rick to turn away from the Michonne path. Glenn telling Hershel that he now understands by what Hershel really meant by making him a part of his family. And Michonne doing her badass best to convince Merle that he’s not a total asshole, just one who got way twisted by the Bad Bad Man. Who were the Nazi generals who tried to blow up Hitler? That turned out to be Merle. Daryl, who never ever gave up on his brother. Even when in the life before, Merle abandoned him to the hell with their father. He believed in Merle, pleaded his case with the others but in the end still had to be the one to put the rabid, good for nothing, mangy dog down. Even if he was good at hotwiring a car with one hand.

    So my question for next week’s finale for Season 3, will the Bad Bad Man die a horrible, painful death (at the hands of Andrea, Michonne, Daryl, Rick, Glenn, Maggie or any number of other grudge holding characters, zombies included) or will they drag out his existence into Season 4? Which outcome do you want?

    • fogharty

      I thought for a very brief moment that Rick’s Faux Moral Dilemma was just that… he was outlining some plan to make the Guvnuh think he was handing over Michonne, but was really going to have an ambush a’la Merle. I was sadly disappointed.

      I’m watching the first season reruns tonight… Andrea was a much stronger character then, pulling a gun on Rick while she was keeping vigil over Amy’s body, for example. Sad how her and Rick’s characters devolved.

      awwww…. Jim is dying. I wonder if he’ll show up as a walker in the series finale?

  • Anniebet

    This episode, and the Clear episode 2 weeks ago, gave me hope that this show can rise again to its taut, riveting former self. I hope Norman Reedus gets an Emmy, or maybe Michael Rooker for his amazing Merle portrayal.

    There is so much discussion here about Rick’s poor leadership and decision making, rightly so, but… the guy isn’t himself. He’s had a mental breakdown, really shouldn’t be in a power position here, and is struggling with many issues. I don’t think Sane Rick wouldn’t have the moral dilemma of what to do about Michonne.

  • After watching about 15 seconds of the episode, I paused the stream, came here, and put my mind at ease with your first three paragraphs and the opening sentence of the fourth.

  • Donald Hite

    My fam was joking that Michonne had basically no lines for almost the whole season, but once she started talking she just couldn’t stop! It was refreshing to see her acting intelligently and showing that her survival extincts include much more than her sword skills. This blog has frequently highlighted the fact that this season has shifted the primary conflict from human vs. walker to human vs. human. It was nice to see that Michonne is equally skilled in both.

    I was thinking about the Rick thing. I think that Rick’s “fall from grace” isn’t really that bothersome. He’s had the world on his shoulders for a long time and just can’t handle it anymore. That’s an understandable problem. What’s more annoying is that the rest of the prisoners just seem to go along with it, despite it being obvious that he’s slipping. Considering that all they do is sit around the prison, you’d think we’d at least get some discussion amongst the prisoners about the demise of Rick’s sanity (if not some full blown plans to remove him from power). I realize that ultimately Rick has a dirty job to do and no one else really wants to do it, but it’s hard to swallow that they would all just sit back and “give him time” while he and their world are crumbling. The show seems to like the human drama aspect of this whole thing, so why not give us a good old “Shane” style revolt from within?

    I don’t know what will happen in the future of this show, but I’d like to see a shake up in the leadership. I want more prominent roles for the woman in terms of decision making. Michonne, Carole, and Maggie have all proven that they are tough, smart, and capable of more than following orders (not that Michonne ever followed orders… haha). I’d like to see Herschel take a more active role as well, both in terms of speaking his opinion more directly and as a spiritual “father figure” for the group as a whole. And honestly, I’m still kinda waiting for Daryl and Carole to hook up! That whole thing just kinda evaporated.