The Walking Dead Review: S3E14 “This Sorrowful Life”
The second to last episode of The Walking Dead hit the air this pass weekend. The dead are even more interesting as they accelerate to the finale next week. Episode 14 of season 3, titled “This Sorrowful Life,” features heavily on Merle which is a wonderful twist. Let’s see how the episode fares.
Hit the jump to see what I think of this week’s episode.
I really do have to say that after a slew of mediocre episodes, The Walking Dead has returned to its fantastic episodes. While it was not perfect, it was great. Either way, the episode was aptly titled and one of my favorites.
Last episode, we watched Woodbury preparing for battle through Andrea’s name but this episode we begin with watching the prison survivors preparing for the oncoming onslaught they expect to happen. Rick is still beside himself in deciding whether to accept the Governor’s deal or not. He plans to go through with handing over Michonne but can not find the will to do it himself. Rick tells Daryl then Merle, both unwilling to believe that Rick will go through with the deal. We even get a lovely piece of dialogue between Rick and Merle. Merle not sure why he does the horrible things he’s responsible for, but he does not believe for a second that “Officer Friendly” would sink to the level required.
Before we get on with the consequences of that conversation, let’s take a peek at a side-story that pieces itself throughout the episode. In a cliche turn of events, the show brings a little calm and peace to the group before the big dishevel that will most certainly happen in the finale. Glenn shares a father/son moment with Hershel before asking for Hershel’s permission to marry Maggie. Glenn will go out to the fences and find a wedding ring to give to Maggie. Although in a non-traditional way, Glenn asks Maggie to marry him and they share a moment together. It was a sweet moment that was a long time coming.
Now back to the drama at hand. Merle takes his conversation with Rick as an indication that he needs to be the pit bull and carry out the dirty work required to keep the prison, and his brother, safe. He leads Michonne to the catacombs of the prison in a lie that they need to clear and barricade the area in preparation. He knocks her unconscious and then drags her away to be tied up. Merle sneaks away with Michonne.
The entire episode focuses on this unlikely duo making their way to the meeting place. While last week I griped last week for the sole focus on an underdeveloped character, this week’s following of another undeveloped character has something different: character development. Merle’s character is developed and shown not to be only a racist thug, he’s much more! He feels quilt for everything he does, but he wants to survive and continue to protect his family.
Elsewhere, it is quickly discovered what Merle had done and Daryl goes off to save Michonne and bring Merle back. Daryl considers the group as his family along with Merle.
Back with Merle and Michonne. Merle eventually concedes that he does not want Michonne to befall the horrors that the Governor has planned for him. Merle releases Michonne but continues on to face the Governor. Using a car and some rocking beats, he draws a horde of walkers to the meeting place where he uses them to ambush the awaiting ambush. Unfortunately, his success is short-lived as a biter gets close to him and allows the Woodbury men the time to attack and the Governor to kill him.
Daryl arrives shortly after to find walkers eating a feast. He searches the area only to find one walker that he did not want to find, Merle. Merle stands with a solitary moment of recognition then attacks his brother. Daryl with tear-filled eyes kills the zombie Merle, a heart-wrenching moment.
Merle’s development in a single episode exceeds most character developes in the entire season. The episode has a cathartic release feeling as Daryl faces the hardest moment of his life. Family and morality are tangible ideas in this episode.