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‘The Walking Dead’ 3.09 Recap: “You Shouldn’t Be Here!”

We’ve waited months for the Daryl versus Merle beat-down. We were left hanging as the two brothers were made to fight to the death in front of a crowd of bloodthirsty Woodburians. It’s a good thing that the second half of this ‘Walking Dead’ season picks right up where the first half left off.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the fight ends before it even begins. I guess we shouldn’t have really expected Daryl and Merle to beat the tar out of each other. It’s obvious that both characters are meant to stay around for a while. So, just before the fight gets interesting, Rick bursts in, machine guns blazing.

The Governor has morphed from power-hungry idealist into nihilistic psychopath. Losing his eye and his collection of submerged Walker heads hit him hard. (Seeing his zombified daughter get killed didn’t help much either.) He’s turned into a straight-up villain. Before, he was this sort-of nebulous Ben Linus character, but now he’s just plain evil. He’s developed a badass walk also. You know that confident strut that villains put on when everyone else is running around? He’s got it down. He’s focused. (I promise that’s not a joke about him having only one eye.) He wants Rick dead.

Back at the prison, we get to learn more about Tyrese, who’s filling in the “Only One Black Male Character at a Time” role for the dearly departed T-Dog. Tyrese is a nice guy who just wants to help out. He caught Rick at the worst possible time, seeing that he’s going crazy and all. More on that in a bit.

Everyone is dirty, tired, battered and bruised. Glenn built up so much angst in the first two seasons that it finally pours out after learning about Maggie’s run-in with the Governor. Hershel is still as stoic as always. Daryl figures that he owes Merle something and runs off with him into the woods. Carol laments the loss of Daryl, mainly because they’ve become such close friends and their names rhyme.

Walkers have taken a back seat to the drama. Sure, a few get their heads blown off in this episode, but there’s not much excitement in that any more. Hell, every time the perfectly glimmering Hyundai pulls up to the prison gates, there’s a Walker welcoming party. The gang quickly closes the gates and leaves the Walkers there to moan. They don’t even bother with killing Walkers now. The zombies have become more of nuisance than a threat. They’re like bigger, slower mosquitoes.

Finally, as if ‘The Walking Dead’ hadn’t turned into ‘Lost’ enough, now Rick is seeing ghosts/hallucinations/ladies in white. Is Rick slowly spinning out of control? Is Lori coming back to haunt us? I thought we were finally rid of her.

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