How do you solve a problem like Merle?

It’s hard to even know what the best case scenario would be. Yes, it’s great that Merle (Michael Rooker) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) both survived Woodbury’s zombie fight club pits on The Walking Dead Season 3, Episode 9, “The Suicide King,” but … what were they supposed to do after that?

Where can they go where Merle is welcome? Woodbury doesn’t want him anymore. The prison people never really wanted him, but certainly not now. Has it even been a full day since Merle beat up Glenn (Steven Yeun) and sicced a walker on him? Merle abducted both Glenn and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and dragged them to Woodbury to torture out the location of the group. The Governor (David Morrissey) even threatened to rape Maggie. She finally revealed that the group was in a prison, so The Governor knows where to find them to get revenge.

If you were Glenn or Maggie, or someone who cared about them, would you really be able to accept Merle into the group? We can’t blame Daryl for wanting to stick with his brother. They are blood. They love each other. And this is the first time the Dixon boys have been together since the series began (with the exception of that hallucination on Season 2). But Merle has bad blood with the group from that Season 1 rooftop in Atlanta, and they have bad blood with him for the abductions/beatings — plus trying to kill Michonne (Danai Gurira), who was also rejected by Rick.

Steven Yeun (Glenn) said one of the themes of the back half of Season 3 is “can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em.” That sounds like a reference to Merle. The group needs Daryl — he is Rick’s #2 and Rick’s brain is just about fried. And Merle really can’t be allowed to roam free and cause more problems. He’s proven himself to be too much of a loose cannon. Keep your friends close and tools like Merle even closer. It does look like Daryl and Merle return to the group at some point, probably to warn them that The Governor is planning a prison attack. So we’re hoping for a Rick/Daryl bromance reunion and, sure, maybe a Daryl/Carol reunion for the “Caryl” shippers. 

What would you have done, in the group’s shoes? Would you leave with Merle, like Daryl did? He didn’t even say goodbye to Carol!

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