Welcome fellow fans of The Walking Dead the the penultimate season 3 episode recap! The penultimate episodes of each season has given us some pretty powerful moments. In particular, we said goodbye to Shane last year in fine fashion. So, I had a feeling we were in for something crazy this week. I had already marked the character in question as a goner this season, but the way that it was handled was absolutely perfect. The Walking Dead has really hit its stride this season, and all I can say is WOW! Several other key things happened in this episode so we'll try to cover them all in this brief recap! Let's dive in!
- When the episode started, it appeared that Rick was going to turn in Michonne and went to his inner circle to discuss the matter. He asked Merle to help also, which is pretty questionable. Merle didn't think Rick would have the guts to go through with it in the end. Merle turned out to be right. Of course, then he took matters into his own hands. He took Michonne to the tombs and was able to knock her unconscious and bind her and start the trek to Woodbury. (Not sure how they would have escaped the prison without anyone noticing, but whatever! I guess Tyreese and crew got in there without no one noticing too. So maybe they left from one of the other cell blocks.
- The episode really had a feel of "Merle Redemption Episode" from early on. Daryl was having key scenes with him. Glenn discussed the reasons that he could never forgive him. Carol discussed how it's time for him to pick a side. Michonne tapped into his inner workings and what makes Merle tick. She explained to him how the Governor really was the one that turned him into a killer. Sure, he was always a racist redneck, but the Governor manipulated him just like a lot of other folks to do his bidding. By 3/4ths of the way through the episode, Merle appeared to know what he had to do to give his brother the best shot at a life. He stopped the car that he had hotwired one handed (and set off the alarm attracting a hoard of walkers. Great scene by the way!) and he let Michonne go. Merle told her there was something he had to do. Merle knew he would never fit in with Rick's crew. There was too much bad blood and distrust. But, at least he could go down swinging. If you asked the actor Michael Rooker, he would tell you that what ensued was NOT a suicide mission. Sometimes it's a good thing when actors only have to read a script and follow direction. Because, I totally disagreed with the perception of his character when he discussed it on Talking Dead. I sided with Greg Nicotero, the director and one of the producers on the show. Merle hit up a bar and had his final drink. Played some music in the car nice and loud. Attracted a hoard of walkers and set the car going towards the granaries where Rick and the Governor last met. This was the rendezvous point for Rick to bring Michonne. Merle jumped out of the car and snuck into one of the buildings with a sniper rifle. When the Governor's crew started taking on the walkers, Merle started sniping as many of the Governor's men as he could. He was giving Rick's crew a fighting chance. Of course, his plan was to kill as many as he could including the governor. He didn't get that chance. One key person that we saw get killed was Ben, whom I believe is part of Tyreese's crew. That could be motivation for Tyreese to still fight against Rick.
- Eventually, the Woodbury crew caught on that they were being picked off, and ol' Phillip found his way to Merle. They had a little bit of a fight, but in the end the Governor found his gun pointed right at Merle and he was shot off camera. Naturally, we would just assume he'd give Merle the ol' headshot to avoid needing a second death. But, knowing the Governor, we should have expected less. Daryl caught up with Michonne and figured out what Merle's plan was. He ran after him alone. Of course, when he got there he was too late. The battle had happened. There were walkers eating lots of the new fead. Entrails spread all over the place. And one of those walkers? Yep, Merle. We knew that Daryl and Merle needed one final scene of closure before their relationship was put in the books. What a perfect way to do it. And what awesome reaction acting by Norman Reedus (Daryl). I don't think I have ever felt for a character on this show as much as I did in that moment. It would seem that Daryl took out some agression that he felt for his brother in those final moments. First, starting with some shoving and eventually getting to the stabbing in the head repeatedly. There was probably frustration for the person he was his whole life and had caused Daryl to be. There was probably frustration for the person he turned out to be in the end and how much better their lives could've been. All of that combined with the fact that his brother was dead, he had to see his brother as a walker and had to 2nd death him made for quite a powerful scene. (again, Michael Rooker saw none of that in this scene. Yikes.) RIP Merle, you did the right thing in the end and made a whole audience do a 180 within minutes!
- Of course, there were other things that happened in the episode too. They key one being that Glenn was preparing to propose to Maggie! The scene where he got Hershel's blessing was fantastic, and Hershel did some great reaction acting himself! The scene where Glenn sliced the ring off of a walker was pretty fantastic too. (which reminds me that I didn't mention that the Governor BIT OFF Merle's fingers off of his only good hand. WHAAAT!?!?!?! That was a crazy crazy scene.) And of course, Glenn's shrugging shoulder of a proposal was pretty sweet given the current climate of the world. He handed her the ring and she said yes in front of many walker witnesses! What else is there to say? Congrats to the happy couple! Hopefully, you can both stay alive for a few seasons!
- And we cannot finish this recap with at least ONE comparison to LOST. Rick eventually let the crew in on the Michonne deal. He discussed how he was wrong to keep the information from everyone. He essentially ended the "Ricktatorship" that he started "last year" (in case anyone is keeping a timeline) at the end of season 2. Democracy is the wave of the future. He doesn't want to be the one who decides who lives and dies. So, if they fight the Governor, they're going to vote on it. If they run, they're going to vote on it. Obviously, you would think it wouldn't be much of a finale if they run! But come on, was anyone else getting a "Live Together Die Alone" vibe from that speech? Loved it!