WALKING DEAD SPOILERS AHEAD! Stop reading if you haven’t seen "This Sorrowful Life," which aired Sunday, March 24 on AMC.
RIP, crazy one-handed whiskey-guzzling redneck. At least you went out trying to do the right thing.
On The Walking Dead Season 3, Episode 15, "This Sorrowful Life," Merle kidnapped Michonne with the plan to take her to The Governor to make the deal proposed a couple of episodes ago. (This plan would have more teeth if we didn’t know The Governor was lying and planning to kill everyone but Michonne; he wants to torture her first.) Rick was wishy-washy on what to do — one of his big flaws as an ex-dictator — so Merle took action. But Michonne gave Merle a speech about how he just does whatever The Governor or Rick tell him to do. At least Daryl is different, she said. Merle ultimately let Michonne go — so at least she was able to talk herself out of more trauma — and then Merle tried to kill The Governor himself. Unfortunately it didn’t work and The Governor shot him.
Merle turned into a walker and … lo and behold … who came upon him but his own baby brother, Daryl. Like Carl putting down his mother, Lori, Daryl had to put down his kin. But unlike the stone-faced Carl, Daryl broke down in anguish and anger.
Andrew Lincoln (Rick) previewed this episode to E! News, saying, “It's an incredibly emotional episode. And heroic. There are two performances in it that, when I was watching actors do it, I just loved it. It was perfect. Like a lot of the writing this season, it goes in a way I never anticipated, and it's very surprising. It's a great episode. It felt like clockwork. Every scene earned its place and moved the story along like clockwork."
Agreed. And he must’ve been speaking about Michael Rooker (Merle) and Norman Reedus (Daryl).
It was a devastating end, but bless Merle’s heart for 1) changing his mind about selling out Michonne; 2) even trying to kill The Governor, since that seems to be the obvious, yet perpetually dismissed, thing to do; and 3) doing it all to help his brother. Merle earned himself unending enmity from Glenn for that abduction and torture, but Merle was just desperate to learn the location of his baby brother. That’s not justification for beating the crap out of Glenn, but at least everything came from a place of trying to reunite with and protect his brother.
Merle always went about things the wrong way — from T-Dog on the roof in Atlanta to Glenn/Maggie to trying to kill Michonne, then lying about it. It’s frustrating to have the Dixon brothers reunited just for one of them to be killed by The Governor, but where was Merle going to fit in, in this world? He didn’t belong in Woodbury and he couldn’t stay in the prison with Glenn and Maggie, even if Michonne was gone. He should’ve head for the coast like everyone talks about, but he stayed for his bro. Farewell, Merle Dixon. You were a sonofabitch, but never a villain. And you will be mourned.
How are you feeling about this episode? Upset about how it went down? Was this the right way to end things? Do you feel like Merle managed to redeem himself? What is Daryl going to do now? Should he fall into Carol's arms, or should Daryl and Carol just focus on the war with The Governor? (Vote in a "Caryl" poll here, if you care to.)