Merle, Merle, Merle: The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 15 (This Sorrowful Life)

Michael Rooker on The Walking Dead

Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) in The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 15 Copyright 2013 AMC TV

Warning: This Walking Dead Season 3 post contains spoilers. Please wait until after watching, before reading further. SERIOUSLY, there are some mega spoilers here, even more so than usual. Don’t read ahead unless you have seen the episode or you absolutely don’t care about knowing major plot points beforehand.

Summary: Rick fills Daryl in on his plan to turn Michonne over to The Governor and enlists Merle’s help to take her into custody. Later on Rick has a change of heart, but before he can tell everyone, Merle takes matters into his own hands. Acting alone, he captures Michonne and leaves the prison with her. At the same time, The Governor and his men trek toward the rendezvous point with murder on their minds.

First off, the title for The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 15, “This Sorrowful Life” is amazing not only because it encapsulates the horrible existence that is the zombie apocalypse, but also because it foreshadows the episode’s epically tragic ending. In fact, this installment has the saddest ending of Season 3, and maybe even of the entire show so far. Despite its conclusion, The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 15 is loaded with great banter between Merle and others, since this episode is almost all about everyone’s favorite one-handed loose cannon.

When we first see Merle, he’s ripping through prison mattresses in the hopes of finding some crystal meth, which seems silly, yet strangely smart. If you’re looking for drugs in a prison, might as well search likely hiding places right? His comments to Rick like “You’re cold as ice Officer Friendly,” are amusing with an underlying hard honesty. His following conversations with Carol, Daryl, and Michonne all contain elements of that same humor and unabashed earnestness. He asks Carol “You have any whisky? I’d even drink vodka.” He tells Daryl “People do what they gotta do or die.” And he says to Michonne “You gotta play the hand you’re dealt. I’ve only got one.”

The worst thing is that Merle’s totally right. Rick and his team are willing to essentially do the same thing they vilified Merle for: kidnapping an innocent person all in the name of survival. Although Merle knows that they don’t really have the stomach for it, which is why he anoints himself as the guy who does the dirty work. He’s willing to bear the group’s sins, which actually makes him a decent guy. As Michonne says to him, if he was really a monster he wouldn’t feel any guilt over what he was doing. He’d be “light as a feather.”

Speaking of Michonne, she’s overcome her rocky start and just keeps getting better as a character. She does an amazing job getting inside Merle’s head, convincing him that he shouldn’t turn her over to The Governor. Plus even without her sword she proves that she’s a regular McGuyver walker killer, using just her boots and wire. Of course Merle changes his mind and let’s her go, so she heads back to the prison. One of my favorite moments in The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 15 is Rick on lookout, awkwardly seeing her waltzing back onto the prison grounds.

Side note: it’s interesting that they used this episode to have Glenn’s propose to Maggie. I was wondering if they’d tackle that considering the two tied the knot in the comics when they were living at the prison. Totally grody that Glenn snatched the ring off a walker, although at least he picked a good one. Hope he cleaned it off first! Also it’s hilarious that Rick and Hershel have a change of heart about their stance on Michonne at the same time. For Rick it’s seeing his dead wife and Hershel it’s reading the Bible that triggers it. What a contrast!

And now the part you’ve all been waiting for! Merle’s demise. I laughed when he was getting drunk listening to Motorhead before his heroic attack on The Governor. Even in the zombie apocalypse Lemmy is still God! The writers actually do a great job of slowly making him sympathetic over the course of the episode, so that when he finally meets his end at the hands of The Governor you’re really sad. I love how they don’t show him actually dying, you just watch Daryl finding zombie Merle. Makes the emotional punch to the gut that much harder. I go on and on about Daryl and Norman Reedus, but Reedus gives us an AMAZING performance during this scene. He puts all of these intense emotions out there that Daryl would be feeling: loss, disgust, fear, and rage.

Also toward the end, Rick spills the beans on what was really happening with Michonne. He renounces Ricktatorship in favor of equal say for everyone. Definitely curious to see how democracy works given the impending showdown with The Governor. I’m so excited for the Season 3 finale I could almost pee. For your sake and the sake of my furniture I won’t though.

And now click here this week’s poll: Did the end of Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 15 make you misty?

Any predictions for the Season 3 finale? Who do you think will live or die? Will we find out who torched the walkers?  

Did the ending of The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 15 (This Sorrowful Life) get to you?

Warning: This Walking Dead Season 3 post contains spoilers. Please wait until after watching, before reading further.

SPOILERS BELOW. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

Michael Rooker on The Walking Dead

Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) in The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 15 Copyright 2013 AMC TV

In The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 15 (This Sorrowful Life) Merle Dixon engages in a suicide mission to assassinate The Governor. After Merle falls in battle to The Governor, his brother Daryl finds him as a zombie and is forced to put him down.

Liars, Liars Pants on Fire: Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 13 (Arrow on the Doorpost)

David Morrissey as The Governor on The Walking Dead

The Governor (David Morrissey) on The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 13 Copyright 2013 AMC TV

Warning: This Walking Dead Season 3 post contains spoilers. Please wait until after watching, before reading further. Similarities and differences between the show and the comic are also discussed, but whenever possible, details of the comic are left ambiguous in case you decide to start it later on.

Summary: Andrea arranges for Rick and The Governor to meet on neutral turf so they can negotiate. While the two men try to hash things out, their companions unexpectedly find common ground. At the prison, Merle fights with the others about whether they should take the offensive against The Governor.

At first I had absolutely no idea where Rick, Hershel, and Daryl were at the start of The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 13 (Arrow on the Doorpost). It was pretty exciting to see them sweeping a giant complex on the lookout for trouble. Hershel looked slick leaning out the car window with his M-16 and his gun hidden near his stump. Although once I realized what they were doing I was surprised Rick brought Hershel along on such an important mission given his disability.

Based on the trailers for this half of Season 3, I knew Rick and The Governor would have a face-to-face talk at some point, however I wasn’t expecting it to happen in Episode 13. After the previous episodes, there was nothing to suggest either Rick or The Governor was truly interested in a sit-down. There were also no actual scenes prior to Episode 13, which showed Andrea discussing terms of a powwow with either person.

Once they actually meet, poor Andrea tries to talk sense by encouraging them to “Save the bullets for the real threat (walkers),” but she’s thrown out of the room, and instead of fighting to stay, she goes off to sulk. Apparently even during the zombie apocalypse men still treat leadership like a boys club.

I know I accused Season 3 Episode 11 (Ain’t No Judas) of being the talky-est episode to date in this season, but Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 13 easily takes the prize. It was extremely frustrating to me because I felt like Rick and The Governor talk without saying anything consequential; they just dance around in circles. The Governor reveals that he doesn’t want peace, only surrender, while Rick indicates he won’t kowtow to demands. They trade verbal jabs as The Governor tries to warn Rick about messing with Woodbury’s numbers, and Rick cautions The Governor over throwing it all away.

Outside the meeting there are amusing interactions between Rick’s men and The Governor’s. They almost come to blows, before Hershel assures them there will be plenty of time for that later. As Milton intelligently points out there’s no reason they can’t explore the issues in their own way. Daryl and Martinez engage in a hilarious game of one-upsmanship killing zombies and smoking cigs. And guess what? They’re not all that different. Neither are Milton and Hershel who discuss documenting their history (pretty smart) and the science of Hershel’s survival. Good call on not showing him your stump though Hershel. I’d make Milton buy me a drink too before revealing my leg.

At the prison Merle argues very strongly in favor of sneaking out to defend his brother and to kill The Governor while they have the element of surprise. Merle tries the hard way, which ends with him getting wrestled down by Glenn and Maggie, as well as the nice way where he tries to sweet-talk Michonne. Neither work and everyone stays put. At least Glenn and Maggie make up finally with a quickie. Plus Glenn drops the “L” word. Way to go buddy! However I wanted to slap them both for leaving their watch to get busy. I kept thinking it was a horror movie and something terrible would happen because they were having sex. Thank god everything was okay.

Finally the conversation between Rick and The Governor boils down to an ultimatum: Rick can make all his trouble go away if he turns over Michonne. Did anyone believe that lying bastard would keep to his word? Hell no. Rick doesn’t and neither do we. But none the less, Rick must consider the option if Philip isn’t bluffing. So both men go back to their respective camps while intense music builds up tension. We see both Rick and The Governor lying their asses off like Axel Foley might say in Beverly Hills Cop.

The Governor says he’ll play nice, but reveals to Milton that he intends to slaughter Rick’s people and Rick avoids telling everyone about the offer on the table to trade Michonne.  Instead he lets everyone know they’re going to war while the episode ends on a creepy crane shot as Rick and Hershel discuss whether they actually should dump Michonne. Hey at least next episode should be a lot more exciting!

Click here to take this week’s poll: If you were Michonne would you team up with Merle to attack The Governor?

Were you also worried something bad might happen while Glenn and Maggie were “distracted?” Would you surrender Michonne if there was a possibility for peace? Weigh in with your thoughts on Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 13.

Would you team up with Merle in Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 13 (Arrow on the Doorpost)?

In The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 13 (Arrow on the Doorpost) Merle is gung-ho about sneaking away from the prison and taking the offensive against The Governor in the midst of Rick’s negotiations. He even tries to sweet-talk Michonne into helping him.

Uncle Phil Wants You: Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 11 (I Ain’t a Judas)

Andrea and a zombie from The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 12

Andrea (Laurie Holden) in The Walking Dead Copyright 2013 AMC TV

Warning: This Walking Dead Season 3 post contains spoilers. Please wait until after watching, before reading further. Similarities and differences between the show and the comic are also discussed, but whenever possible, details of the comic are left ambiguous in case you decide to start it later on.

Summary: Rick’s people argue about their next move and whether they should allow Merle to stay. At the same time, The Governor starts forming an army to “defend” Woodbury. A frantic Andrea decides to sneak back to the prison in an attempt to negotiate peace before the impending war. Tyreese and his friends find their way to Woodbury where they offer their allegiance to The Governor in exchange for sanctuary. 

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 11 (I Ain’t No Judas) is the talky-est, most
dialogue-heavy episode of the season so far. Believe it or not, I’m actually happy about that because it pleasantly reminds me of The Walking Dead comics with of its rich verbal exchanges between the characters.

There are some very bold words thrust into the conversation as Rick and his people debate their next move. The most unexpected comment of the lot is that Merle is right. And I hate to admit it, but he does makes a valid point. By hanging around the prison instead of leaving immediately, they’ve lost their strategic advantage. What’s not shocking though is that Hershel publicly calls Rick to the carpet for his looney behavior. “You said before that this wasn’t a democracy, now it’s time for you to own up to that!” he yells. Amen Hershel.

Then we actually see young Carl muster up the courage to tell his dad to stop being the leader. Carl’s advice is to let Hershel and Daryl handle things while Rick gets a rest. Good move little man. Speak your mind.

Later on Glenn tries to say that they should toss Merle, maybe even give him back to The Governor as a peace offering. Hershel shoots him down with gusto (did I mention this was another great Hershel episode?). “He (Merle) may be erratic but he has military experience. Don’t underestimate his loyalty to his brother.” Hallelujah Hershel! And speaking of Merle, Hershel goes to see him and they have a kick-ass moment. They quote the Bible together, AND we find out that Merle likes to read?! Maybe this other Dixon has more than meets the eye.

Merle seems to be truly turning over a new leaf and this time I buy it. He tries to make things right with Michonne, giving the closest thing he can to an apology and admits with what seems to be absolute sincerity (this time) that he’s done a lot of things he’s not proud of. Plus Michonne actually has lines in this episode! Holy crap! She starts to become the character I know and love from the comic when she tells Andrea off “You chose a warm bed over a friend.”

Phil wants YOU/ Phil wants YOU/ Phil wants YOU as a new recruit. He’s certainly not putting together a Navy as my singing may suggest, but Uncle Phil (aka The Governor) is forming an army to take on Rick’s crew. And he wants every able-bodied person to serve in it, even old ladies and asthmatics. Well he decides against the old lady but still keeps the asthmatic. It’s needlessly silly and over-the-top.

Lucky us, we get to see him take off his bandage to reveal his nasty eye before he switches to an eye patch. Which reminds me, I loved the line where Daryl says to Andrea “Next time you see Philip, you tell him I’m gonna take his other eye.” Damn straight Daryl.

I’m kind of annoyed that they’re lining Tyreese’s group up with The Governor and Woodbury. Tyreese is so desperate for shelter he’s willing to do whatever to “earn their keep.” He has nothing to do with The Governor in the comics so it’s stupid they’re putting them together in the show. Although at least Tyreese seems like he doesn’t entirely trust The Governor.

And finally, Andrea may have earned awesome points with her brilliant curb stomp maneuver and her hatchet jobs on several zombie faces, however she quickly lost them when she failed to stab Philip at the end of the episode. Totally weak Andrea.

Make sure to click here to take this week’s poll: Are you tired of Hershel’s daughter singing?

Where do you think Rick plans to take Michonne and Carl on the “run” he discussed at the end of the episode? Also, who do you think will spill blood next? Rick or The Governor?  Leave me some comments and share your thoughts!

Thoughts on AMC’s Interview with Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon)

Warning: This Walking Dead Season 3 post contains spoilers. Please wait until after watching, before reading further.

This is the first season I’ve started receiving AMC’s weekly newsletter, so I have no idea if they’ve done one before, but I’m surprised they took this long to do an interview with Norman Reedus, who plays my favorite character, Daryl Dixon on The Walking Dead.

Because I heard tons of hilarious stories about Reedus clowning around on set with his co-stars, I was expecting an epic interview. Although I was disappointed that this one turned out to be a bit anticlimactic, given my anxious anticipation to hear from Reedus about his experiences working on the show.

I was definitely fascinated to learn that Reedus actually rides a motorcycle and likes cruising around down south while working on the show. I also liked finding out about the ways he has influenced who his character is on the show, since Daryl is so layered and complex. I would have asked more questions about his character’s back story and influences.

I can definitely see what Reedus means about how his fight scene with Michael Rooker (Merle) went down. It would have been cool to see them really go at it like “wild animals” as he puts it, but I think they did things just right. It had an authentic sibling vibe to it.

He does show his fun side too, talking about how he re-gifts some of his fan mail to Chandler Riggs (Carl) and how they hang out. Some of his fans who send him those things are probably disappointed to read that however. I got a laugh when he said that he accidentally called the baby on the show “Lil-Ass-kisser” instead of “Lil-Ass-kicker.” Whoops.

Like Reedus says at the end, there’s always the concern that your character could get killed off at any moment on a show like this. Although I think we’re all hoping that Daryl will stick around for a good long while. He continues to make The Walking Dead worth watching, even when the writers do annoying things with other characters.

Do you have a favorite Daryl line or moment from the show so far? What is it?

The Governor Strikes Back: Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 10 (Home)

Merle Dixon in Season 3 of The Walking Dead

Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) in The Walking Dead Copyright 2013 AMC TV

Warning: This Walking Dead Season 3 post contains spoilers. Please wait until after watching, before reading further. Similarities and differences between the show and the comic are also discussed, but whenever possible, details of the comic are left ambiguous in case you decide to start it later on.

Summary: Rick leaves the prison to chase ghosts, while members of his group debate whether they should flee or stay. On the road, Daryl and Merle try to survive together, but quickly end up at odds with each other. And back at Woodbury, The Governor questions Andrea’s loyalty before slipping away to retaliate against Rick’s people.

Rick is obviously still living in Crazytown at the beginning of Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 10. The loon runs off to search for the ghost of his wife in the nearby thicket. After Rick finds her and kisses her, I was thinking how funny it would be if he snapped out of his hallucination and realized he was making out with a zombie. I’m still amused by how far off the deep end the writers are taking his character. But I’m going to stop laughing at Rick’s misfortune; I don’t want to be too mean.

Glenn continues to get on my nerves in each passing episode with all his alpha male posturing. I really hope he snaps out of it soon. With Rick out of his gourd and Daryl gone, Glenn feels like putting unnecessary pressure on himself to take charge. As Hershel astutely says later in the episode, Glenn’s heart is in the right place, but he just can’t fill Rick’s boots.

Glenn is blinded by the rage he feels about what happened to both him and Maggie back at Woodbury. Because of this he can’t make up his mind about what to do next. He toys with the idea of going straight back to Woodbury to fight The Governor, before quickly abandoning it to hold steady. The poor sap is so anxious to fortify their position that he runs off and misses all the action. I’d feel bad for him except he’s a total ass to Maggie, forcing her to reveal exactly what happened while she was in custody.

For the most part, Episode 10 is another character-heavy outing. While drama is going down at the prison, Daryl and Merle are traipsing around the woods. As always Merle is in rare form, spewing racial epithets, and engaging in selfish behavior. The scene where Daryl and Merle rescue a family from walkers up on a bridge is a real nail-biter. What I love about the incident is that it just reaffirms for Daryl the type of person that he’s become. He wants to help others even if he’s not necessarily getting something in return. His exchange soon after with Merle is fascinating because you find out new things about the characters, like the abuse Daryl suffered at the hands of their father, and the secret plan they both had to rob the camp blind back near Atlanta. I love the moment where Daryl tells his brother that he’s leaving to go where he feels at home even if it means going somewhere Merle can’t be. You just got served Merle!

Of course we finally get to know Axel (Lew Temple) just a little bit better, as does Carol, and he gets killed by The Governor’s attack. Speaking of Woodbury’s douchey leader, I didn’t buy his turn the other cheek malarkey he was telling Andrea, but I certainly didn’t think he’d strike back against Rick so soon. I was worried for our heroes when The Governor and his men started firing on the prison. That part where the van crashed through the fences had me on the edge of my seat because it sat there idling for so long. I had no clue who was in there, but I flipped when the door opened and out came a pack of zombies. Everything seemed hopeless, especially for Rick, who was pinned by several walkers. When Merle and Daryl arrived for the rescue, I’d never been so happy to see either of them. There was something slightly reassuring, yet also strangely disquieting about Merle’s giddy laughter while he helped Rick.

Which brings us to this week’s poll. Click here to tell me: Who was your favorite badass in Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 10?

Were you surprised Tyreese and his people were gone all episode? Where do you think they went? Do you think Merle is turning over a new leaf? Or will he just cause more trouble for the prison crew?