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The Walking Dead Review: Family Ties

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The prison versus Woodbury war is still on the horizon, but I wasn't surprised that no major battle between the sides took place this week.

Really, "This Sorrowful Life" dealt with the conflicted ideals of Rick, Daryl and Merle over giving Michonne over to the Governor.

I was surprised initially at how long Rick was willing to go with handing over his hostage for the slim concept of hope. I know he tries to think in the best interest of the group, but it was certainly dangerous only bringing a few others into the knowledge of the deal.

Ignoring a Walker

Except, I really felt like Rick as a character, couldn't ever go through with giving her over. It just never ultimately seemed plausible for him. And I really liked that when it came down to it, after a little dead Lori vision, he told everyone what the deal was and how he was ready to fight instead. It certainly separates him from the Governor.

It was definitely a great speech, as he came clean bout the ordeal to the people who have invested their allegiance to Rick. He's the leader and it's enjoyable to watch him be so, despite his conflicted emotions. I'm glad he didn't go full dark side and hand over Michonne. That said, he did invite Merle into his inner circle. I think that having Daryl help him was a part of his so called trust, but at the same time, Merle has always been that guy you can go to with problems that need some darker resolutions.

It was even a fantastic scene with Merle talking to Rick about the strategy of handing over Michonne. Having him hiding in the dark with his face half covered by the shadows added to the moment.

Certainly, it made sense that Merle could be the person to follow through on capturing Michonne. He's done a lot of questionable things. Yet, it was more shocking and character changing when he decided to let Michonne go.

I didn't find the scene with the car alarm scary at all, although having Merle get the walkers to follow him in the car was hilarious. Stopping for a few seconds and then moving forward closer to the meeting place was genius.

Although, I feared the end result of Merle's attempt to redeem himself. He's always been something of a jerk, but coming to a conclusion to take out the Governor was a hugely bold and daring step. Yes, his plan partially succeeded and he went out as something of a hero worked wonders, but I was still upset with how it all played out.

Merle has been a fantastic and interesting character, and having him bite the bullet was a huge disappointment. I wanted him to survive, but at least his final outing was heroic.

That said, it was tragic watching Daryl discover the newly zombified Merle eating a corpse. Daryl has desperately wanted his brother to join the group in a positive manner. As much as Merle wasn't liked, he was still Daryl's brother and even throughout the episode, Daryl was advocating hard for his kin.

Daryl has always been a fantastic character, probably one of my favorites, and seeing Norman Reedus emote the sincere and heartbreaking feelings was moving. I believed the pain he felt, the sorrow, the guilt, the anger and everything in between. Even stabbing his brother multiple times further exposed everything he was feeling.

It's definitely a turning point for Daryl's character, who has been that loyal friend and follower to Rick, as well as great guy for the group. And despite his brother being the more hated member of the group, Daryl still wanted him to join the prison team. Daryl might have a lot harder of a heart when it comes down to it.

I still wish Merle survived, but it was a wild and shocking change of events.

There was clearly a sense that everything was still at that waiting moment before the big battle for The Walking Dead Season 3 finale, but at least Rick, Daryl and Merle came to some major decisions. There was something gripping in watching each come to their emotional conclusion, essentially setting their fate in motion for the final battle.

I still wish Merle didn't meet his demise, but it was a wild twist in how it all went down. It certainly was far more engrossing then "Prey" and makes me really want Rick to defeat the Governor for the finale. All roads lead to this and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all dramatically concludes.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (93 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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If they're leaving the prison i seriously hope that daryl makes it back in time.....besides where are they going end up? Milton's nerdy butt better get andrea out (as much as i don't like her) unless she risk her own life for the sake of team prison......but i doubt it. OVERALL THE GOVERNOR NEEDS TO DIE AND THE PEOPLE AT WOODBURY AS WELL!

Watchestoomuch

"One question that should have been asked when David Morrissey was on The Talking Dead last night: How the heck did the Governor get out of that jam with the zombies in PREY?" I also thought that seemed incredible. But Morrissey would probably just give you the obvious answer: He survived because he was supposed to. As for Merle, his "conversion" seems improbable, but there's sense to it. Merle is with the group for his brother. His brother is there for the group. He kidnaps Michonne to earn a place for himself in the group by doing the group's dirty work. But as Michonne helps him work through the logic of the deed he's doing, he recognizes that, on one hand, the Governor sent him down the dark road he's on, and on the other hand, he'd rather protect the group with his skills than by repeating what he did for the Governor. He doesn't like his chances of coming out of this alive -- hence the alcohol -- but he's not so sure of his chances for redemption, either.

Neejan

By the way..
Carol talked to T-Dog... *dies*
Carol talked to Axel... *dies*
Carol talked to Merle... *dies*

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I agree Merle changing of hearts came too suddenly. It's was strange seeing him let Michonne go. And why did Michonne stop him or go with him especially since he was so kind to let him go. Merle's plan was actually very good. If he had plan this with Rick and Daryl, they might have succeed in taking out the Governor. Why did he not discuss this plan with them? Though I am a big fan, tonight story had lots of holes. I feel sorry for Daryl and the pain he felt was also shared by many of us. I saw the promo Rick's group is actually running away from the Prison so I hope the final battle will be next week and they do not stretch it to the next season. We have waited long enough for this battle.

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Great episode. I was almost crying at the end, when Daryl discovered Walker!Merle. One question that should have been asked when David Morrissey was on The Talking Dead last night: How the heck did the Governor get out of that jam with the zombies in PREY?

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THAT WAS AN EMOTIONAL EP. I WASN'T SURPISED ABOUT MERLE....BUT I REALLY FELT BAD FOR DARYL HE WAS REALLY HOPING THAT MERLE CAN CHANGE AND REDEEM HIMSELF AFTER ALL THE BAD SHIT THAT HE HAS DONE. AND NOW EVERYBODY IS GONNA THINK 'WILL HE BLAME RICK'. I SAY NO. MERLE MADE THE DECISION FOR HIMSELF HE KNOWS HE'S DONE ALOT OF WRONG DOINGS SO TO MAKE IT UP HE LET'S MICHONNE GO AND TRIES TO TAKE OUT AS MANY WOODBURY PEOPLE AND THE GOV. AS HE CAN...... TO KEEP THE PRISON GROUP AND DARYL SAFE. BUT DARYL MIGHT HAVE TO SNAP OUT OF IT AND GET BACK TO THE PRISON. AS FOR RICK TELLING THE REST OF THE GROUP ABOUT THE DEAL I FELT LIKE TOO LITTLE TOO LATE IN A WAY. I SAW A SPOILER THAT THE SEASON FINALE COULD ''POSSIBLLY'' BE AN OPPOSITE OF THE SEASON 2 FINALE NOT SURE HOW TRUE BUT I HOPE DARYL MAKES IT BACK IN TIME! REALLY GREAT EPISODE.

Snakethecritic

★★★★☆TV Merle and Michonne what a ride. Great set up for the finale. I'm not sad about the demise of Merle but thrilled he saved Michonne. I'm gonna guess the group leaves the prison for Woodbury. What do you think ? @ Ilk_vomit, seriously , lol... .

Neejan

Great episode. The Merle-Daryl ending scene was by far one of the best scenes of TWD. 1 episode left......

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I never thought I'd feel bad if Merle died, but as as soon as he let Michonne out of the car I started thinking how I didn't want him to die trying to kill the Governor, who obviously isn't going to get killed before (or probably even right after) the finale. Never mind Rick's speech, Merle saying how everyone else has done bad things but never got looked at the way he did, and how everyone just keeps him around to do the dirty work really made me see Merle in a different light. Yes he used to be a jerk but given the chance, he could have become a very important part of Rick's group, just as Daryl is. He truly became a hero in his death.

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Excellent episode. Rick's speech to the group was great. In the S2 finale, he told everyone what they had wasn't a democracy anymore. Rick's realization that while he may be the leader of the group, he is certainly not the Governor. He wants everyone to have their say in what happens. Merle surprisingly was the voice of reason in this ep. He always knew that the Governor would be down for a war with anyone, hence the 'save your bullets' line the Governor threw around. He has also been wanting to just take out the Governor for a while now. Merle knew the Governor would not stop if Michonne was just given to him. The prison group would still be out there and still be a threat. Daryl getting angry at Rick, while I see it happening, I can't help but think that his anger will be more focused on the Governor. Regardless of what led Merle from Point A to Point B - the Governor was still the one to turn Merle into a walker.

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