Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: The Walking Dead's Michonne, Rick, Oscar and Daryl

It’s been two months. Maybe you’ve been too busy to watch The Walking Dead marathons and you don’t have Season 3 lovingly saved on your DVR. Or maybe you’re a newbie — you’ve heard how great TWD is and you want to check it out, but you don’t know what the heck is going on. If that’s the case, welcome to the fold! This is not going to be a definitive recap of the entire series, just a refresher of where we left off, so you don’t feel too disoriented when the show picks up exactly where we left off, as if no time has passed. And they are literally starting Episode 9, “The Suicide King,” right where we ended Episode 8: in the Woodbury gladiator pits.

Anyway, here’s a rundown of Episode 8, “Made to Suffer,” which aired in early December 2012, back when we wondered if the world really might end at the end of the month.

Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: Glenn and Merle on The Walking Dead

LONG STORY SHORT:
The prison group staged an assault on Woodbury to save Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan). The Governor (David Morrissey) is down one eye, and would be down for the count if not for the intervention of Andrea (Laurie Holden). (Bah! Try again later this season, Michonne?) Zombie Penny died a second time. Poor Oscar (Vincent Ward) also died, right when we were on the cusp of getting to know him. Shane (Jon Bernthal) briefly returned, to do what he does best — mess with Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) mind. Merle (Michael Rooker) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) had a lovely reunion in the Zombie Fight Club gladiator pits, where the warm-hearted citizens of Woodbury cheered to their good health. (Or not.). And Carl (Chandler Riggs) locked Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and his fellow newbies in the prison, which sucks for them but may be good news for Axel (Lew Temple), since he’d run out of girls to flirt with.

MORE DETAILED RECAP:

GLENN AND MAGGIE: AFTER THE TORTURE
In a previous episode, Merle beat the crap out of Glenn (Steven Yeun), and The Governor degraded Maggie (Lauren Cohan), and threatened to rape her, to get the location of their group. Maggie ultimately gave up the information — that they were living in a prison — when a gun was put to Glenn’s head. Later, Glenn and Maggie talked about what happened. Glenn asked Maggie if The Gov … “No, he barely touched me,” she said. “Look at what they did to you,” she said. He said it doesn’t matter as long as he didn’t hurt her. But we know Glenn and Maggie are going to deal with this differently. He wants revenge. She just wants to move on.

ASSAULT ON WOODBURY!
Rick, Michonne (Danai Gurira), Daryl and Oscar go from the prison Woodbury to try and rescue Glenn and Maggie. They don’t really know Michonne too well and just have an uneasy alliance with her. Ultimately, they do rescue Glenn and Maggie, but Oscar (one of the original prisoners) was killed.

VISION OF SHANE
After the death of Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), Rick started having hallucinations of phone calls to the prison. During the assault on Woodbury, Rick had a vision of his late best friend, Shane (Jon Bernthal), whom he killed toward the end of Season 2. This is a sign of Rick’s mental collapse, which will continue into the final eight episodes of Season 3.

Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: Walking Dead Tyreese

THE GOVERNOR MADE A DEAL WITH MERLE
The Gov said he had no interest in taking over the prison, since Woodbury is more like “what it was” before the zombie apocalypse. But he did want to “take out the group that’s living there” and let the biters move back in. Merle said, the problem is, his brother Daryl is over there. The Gov thought Merle could make Daryl his inside man. Merle made a deal — that nothing happens to Daryl. The Governor wanted to put Glenn and Maggie in the fighting pits. But that was before Glenn and Maggie were saved and before Michonne showed up — showing The Gov that Merle was lying when he said Michonne was dead.

THERE ARE NEW PEOPLE AT THE PRISON
Tyreese (Chad Coleman), a main character in the comic books, was introduced in this episode, leading a group to the prison. His group (including two women, Sasha and Donna, and two other men, Ben and Allen) were attacked by a walker herd, then spotted the prison and went over. One of the women, Donna, was bit and she ended up dying in the prison. Young Carl locked up the prison newbies, since he wisely decided not to just trust them. At this point, it’s just Carl, Hershel (with his one leg), teenage Beth, Carol, Axel and baby Judith at the prison.

DON'T FORGET, THE SHOW CAN BE FUNNY, TOO
Episode 8 was serious and scary, but back in the prison, Axel was horny and acted as comic relief. Axel was talking to Beth, who is 17, and got a little too flirty. Carol pulled Axel aside and told him to stay away from Beth. “This isn’t about you trying to repopulate the earth.” Axel said there weren’t a lot of women in prison and there aren’t a lot of women around now. Maggie is with Glenn, and Carol is a lesbian... Carol said she’s not a lesbian. But “you’ve got the short hair,” Axel said. Ha!

THE MICHONNE/ANDREA/GOVERNOR SITUATION
At this point, a lot of people are pissed at Andrea for deciding to stay in Woodbury with The Governor (aka the guy she’s sleeping with) instead of leaving with her friend, Michonne, who saved Andrea’s life when the now-prison folks left her for dead at the end of Season 2. Michonne and The Gov never got along, and The Gov tried to have Michonne killed when she left Woodbury. Michonne ended up at the prison, where she told Rick about Woodbury and The Gov, and how Merle abducted Glenn and Maggie. That’s how they all knew to go to Woodbury. On that note...

Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: Walking Dead Governor and Penny

MICHONNE KILLS PENNY, TAKES OUT THE GOVERNOR’S EYE
During the assault on Woodbury, while Rick and company were trying to rescue Glenn and Maggie, Michonne waited for The Gov in his room. She saw The Gov’s creepy fish tanks with heads in them, then found The Gov’s zombie daughter Penny locked up, and initially thought she was a normal little girl, just with a bag over her head, for some reason. She actually showed a soft side, telling the girl it was OK, she wouldn’t hurt her. Then she unhooked Penny and took off her hood. Penny showed her walker self, and Michonne prepared to slice her up. Then Governor appeared and begged Michonne not to hurt Penny.

Governor: “It’s me you want. There’s no need for her to suffer.”
Michonne: “She doesn’t have needs.”
Governor: “Don’t hurt my little girl.”

Michonne wasn’t having it — she shoved her katana straight through Penny’s head, through her mouth. The Governor attacked her, and in their fight Michonne knocked down the fish tank heads, which shattered glass all over the floor. Michonne grabbed a shard and stabbed The Gov in the eye. Andrea stopped her old friend right when she was about to kill The Governor. They had a standoff — katana vs. gun, but no one made a move on the other. Michonne just left, and Andrea finally saw The Gov’s secret fish tanks and zombie daughter. 

MERLE AND DARYL IN THE FIGHT CLUB PIT!
The Governor, pirate patch and all, talked to the battle-scarred and scared citizens of Woodbury. They haven’t had a day like this since the wall was completed, he said. They thought they were past it. “The fear we all felt then, we felt it again tonight. … I failed you. I promised to keep you safe. … I’m afraid of terrorists who want what we have. Want to destroy us. And worse, because one of those terrorists is one of our own.” He called out Merle. He thought Merle had killed Michonne, but obviously that wasn’t the case; not only did she live, she went to the prison and brought them all to Woodbury, including Merle’s brother. They dragged out Daryl, giving Daryl and Merle Dixon their first actual reunion on the show. They were never in the same place together (other than in a Daryl hallucination on Season 2) because Merle got stuck on that roof in Atlanta and had to cut his own hand off to get free. Andrea looked appalled — since she knows Daryl and was just then realizing the “terrorists” that attacked Woodbury were her old farm buddies. The Gov asked the Woodbury citizens what they wanted to do, and they shouted to kill the “terrorists.” 

That’s where the show left off. AMC aired the first two minutes of Sunday’s Episode 9, “The Suicide King,” and it picks up right in the Woodbury fight club pits, with The Gov declaring a fight to the death between Merle and Daryl Dixon. Merle punches and kicks Daryl, telling everyone they know him, they know he’ll do whatever it takes to prove his loyalty to Woodbury. The clip ends with people bringing a live walker into the fighting pit. Hopefully either Andrea, or Rick’s group (who are still in Woodbury) can stop them in time.

Want to read some spoilers, promos and other speculation/scoop on what happens in the final eight episodes of Season 3? Read this roundup.

Catch up on all kinds of Walking Dead recaps, spoilers, news, videos and polls at Wetpaint.com/the-walking-dead.