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The Walking Dead Review: Family Ties

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The prison versus Woodbury war is still on the horizon, but I wasn't surprised that no major battle between the sides took place this week.

Really, "This Sorrowful Life" dealt with the conflicted ideals of Rick, Daryl and Merle over giving Michonne over to the Governor.

I was surprised initially at how long Rick was willing to go with handing over his hostage for the slim concept of hope. I know he tries to think in the best interest of the group, but it was certainly dangerous only bringing a few others into the knowledge of the deal.

Ignoring a Walker

Except, I really felt like Rick as a character, couldn't ever go through with giving her over. It just never ultimately seemed plausible for him. And I really liked that when it came down to it, after a little dead Lori vision, he told everyone what the deal was and how he was ready to fight instead. It certainly separates him from the Governor.

It was definitely a great speech, as he came clean bout the ordeal to the people who have invested their allegiance to Rick. He's the leader and it's enjoyable to watch him be so, despite his conflicted emotions. I'm glad he didn't go full dark side and hand over Michonne. That said, he did invite Merle into his inner circle. I think that having Daryl help him was a part of his so called trust, but at the same time, Merle has always been that guy you can go to with problems that need some darker resolutions.

It was even a fantastic scene with Merle talking to Rick about the strategy of handing over Michonne. Having him hiding in the dark with his face half covered by the shadows added to the moment.

Certainly, it made sense that Merle could be the person to follow through on capturing Michonne. He's done a lot of questionable things. Yet, it was more shocking and character changing when he decided to let Michonne go.

I didn't find the scene with the car alarm scary at all, although having Merle get the walkers to follow him in the car was hilarious. Stopping for a few seconds and then moving forward closer to the meeting place was genius.

Although, I feared the end result of Merle's attempt to redeem himself. He's always been something of a jerk, but coming to a conclusion to take out the Governor was a hugely bold and daring step. Yes, his plan partially succeeded and he went out as something of a hero worked wonders, but I was still upset with how it all played out.

Merle has been a fantastic and interesting character, and having him bite the bullet was a huge disappointment. I wanted him to survive, but at least his final outing was heroic.

That said, it was tragic watching Daryl discover the newly zombified Merle eating a corpse. Daryl has desperately wanted his brother to join the group in a positive manner. As much as Merle wasn't liked, he was still Daryl's brother and even throughout the episode, Daryl was advocating hard for his kin.

Daryl has always been a fantastic character, probably one of my favorites, and seeing Norman Reedus emote the sincere and heartbreaking feelings was moving. I believed the pain he felt, the sorrow, the guilt, the anger and everything in between. Even stabbing his brother multiple times further exposed everything he was feeling.

It's definitely a turning point for Daryl's character, who has been that loyal friend and follower to Rick, as well as great guy for the group. And despite his brother being the more hated member of the group, Daryl still wanted him to join the prison team. Daryl might have a lot harder of a heart when it comes down to it.

I still wish Merle survived, but it was a wild and shocking change of events.

There was clearly a sense that everything was still at that waiting moment before the big battle for The Walking Dead Season 3 finale, but at least Rick, Daryl and Merle came to some major decisions. There was something gripping in watching each come to their emotional conclusion, essentially setting their fate in motion for the final battle.

I still wish Merle didn't meet his demise, but it was a wild twist in how it all went down. It certainly was far more engrossing then "Prey" and makes me really want Rick to defeat the Governor for the finale. All roads lead to this and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all dramatically concludes.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
  • 4.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (93 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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I thought it was very strange that Michonne went back to the people who tried to sold her out to the governor, after Merle let her go. I would not trust those people anymore. That action didn't fit her character.

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This episode was incredible. It was chilling when Merle brought up the 'Officer Friendly' reference full circle.
When talking about Merle's 'redemption' it is good to remember his character was shaped by being left to be zombie dinner at a rooftop and was totally unaware that EVERYONE had come back to get him. Ultimately it wasn't part of his innate cracker sensibility to be a irretrievable reprobate, he had a sense that the governor had gone too far and had to be stopped.
The whole thing was very well written.

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I've been saying for months that the Governor will ultimately be killed by Milton. So unexpected that it's expected. As for Merle, it was becoming increasingly obvious that this episode would end in his demise, it was just a question of how. And Glenn reminded us that as interesting a character that he may have been there is simply no excuse for his actions. He deserved to die and good riddance. Yes, I'm sorry for Daryl's grief but that's about it. The only real surprise was that he let Michonne go. But really, how could anyone expect for her to suddenly ally with him? It was all she could do to not kill him on the spot.

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It was an excellent episode. At the end I found myself actually feeling sorry that Merle died; I'm not sure if it was because he went out heroically or if it was because I knew what it would do to Daryl's character (he is my favorite; and yes I'm a Daryl/Carol supporter). I'm so hoping that they are able to defeat the governor next week; he proved just how deranged he is when he bit two of Merle's fingers off!! It is time to end this battle and move on to the next one! :-)

Watchestoomuch

FWIW, this is what @Rosane said: "This episode closed a circle. Now nobody from the group of Super Rick has not lost a relative in the world of TWD. Now everyone knows how it feels, and some more than others (Daryl, Carl and the boring Andrea)."

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Com este episódio fechou-se um círculo de que, ninguém do grupo do Super Rick lindinho não havia perdido algum parente no mundo de WD, agora todos sabem como é e alguns mais que outros (Daryl, Carl e a chata da Andreia). Quanto ao Merle, ele foi impossível durante toda a segunda temporada, não seria com um ou dois sorrisinhos que viraria santo, o grupo não precisa dele, agora o Daryl (tadinho) fiquei com pena, mas ele é um bom garoto e sabe o que deve ser feito.O governador esta louco e talvez a Andreia possa ajudar de alguma maneira o grupo de prisão, que creio vá embora sem antes fazer uma armadilha. Veremos.

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By the way..
Carol talked to T-Dog... *dies*
Carol talked to Axel... *dies*
Carol talked to Merle... *dies*
BUT Carol talks to Daryl all the time, and he has NOT died :) But I'm a big Carol/Daryl shipper so I hope they get together eventually.

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I liked Michael Rooker's comment on Walking Dead about Michonne - he let her out of the car because he was tired of her talking to him.
Think he went to where he went feeling he could kill the gov., but he also knew what could happen. Not sure if it was because of the group or just because he hated the gov. and he wanted his revenge. But he did what he felt he had to do and it was heroic in his way.
Sorry to see the character go too because, as much of a pain as he was, he was an interesting character and Rooker gave excellent performances. (This episode should be submitted for him for a supporting actor Nomination).
But i think I was most emotional watching Daryl.
Also loved the line "We are the greater good"..that brought a tear to my eye.
No t.v. show is perfect and you certainly hear from the people who nit-pick all the time, but i care about all the characters and scenes with them "just talking" are fine with me. The cast also cares a lot about the show and doing the best they can and it shows.

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I thought this episode was excellent (except for the weird haircut/style Daryl had). I liked Merle's dip into self-examination; maybe Rick's "Do you even know why you do the things you do?" was one of the triggers. Michonne also dug at him in regard to whether he'd killed any humans before he met the Governor. I was just starting to like him and he dies! However, I don't know how far Merle's introspection could go and how much he could change over time. But it made him much more multidimensional, and that was important. He went out as a hero (though damn about missing that perfect shot of the Governor) and making a stand for good.

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I knew that Meryl would be meeting his fate soon but when daryl found him like that just watching his facial expressions knowing that he was going to have put his brother down was heart wrenching. I love this show and you never disappoint me. Keep up the good work.