‘This Sorrowful Life’, the second-to-last episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 3, bounced back from last week’s lackluster filler episode. Stuff happened in it. Big things. Huge things. Monumental things! Plus, it only has minimal Governor appearances, which is always a plus.
The show seems to be going through a phase where we get one episode about Rick’s group and then one episode with the people in Woodbury, much like what ‘Lost’ did with the people on the beach and the Others. This week, it’s Rick and company’s time to be in the spotlight, as we move forward on a lot of different storylines.
In probably one of the funniest moments of the show, Glen takes a wedding ring from a zombie by cutting off its fingers, and then asks for Maggie’s hand in marriage with it.
We all knew that Rick would eventually realize that giving into the Governor’s demands would be a mistake. It’s just too bad that he tells Merle the plans before he finalizes them in his head, because Merle is all too willing to bag Michonne and haul her off to the Governor.
Daryl, sporting the best emo hair he’s had all season, takes off after them. Citing his tracking abilities, Daryl tells Rick to stay and look after the people at the prison. He’ll do this alone. I’m not sure how Daryl’s tracking abilities work on a car traveling down a long road, but he’s just that good.
Merle’s fate was sealed the moment he took Michonne. Whether he actually planned to hand her over, or just wanted someone to talk to along the way, is unclear. In pure Merle fashion, he has a really idiotic moment and a genuinely genius moment in the same episode. The idiocy comes from his hotwiring a car, setting off the alarm, and then apparently not realizing that he should look up to see if any Walkers are coming. The genius moment comes when he herds together a horde of Walkers and slowly leads them to the Governor’s meeting place. While the Governor’s men are busy mowing down Walkers, Merle hides in a nearby building and picks them off. Of course, he doesn’t take out anyone truly important (like the Governor or his right-hand man), but it’s a pretty badass plan anyway.
This show has lacked genuine plot twists for a while, settling on Rick’s burgeoning psychosis as an element for episode cliffhangers. It’s been a while since we’ve had a Sophie or Shane incident. When Daryl finally pulls up on the aftermath of Merle’s bloodbath, he isn’t ready for what he sees – a zombified Merle feasting on a corpse. The Governor had shot him and left him to come back as a monster. Does this mean that Daryl, not Rick, will get the final showdown opportunity against the Governor? Revenge is certainly on his mind. Even though Daryl didn’t witness what happened, he sure as hell knows who did it.
The one thing I really hated about this episode is all the scenery-chewing by the Governor – literally. Biting off Merle’s fingers is kind of ridiculous.
Expanding the season has taken its toll on the storytelling, creating vast expanses of episodes that seem to be all setup and no payoff. Well, the payoff is finally coming, and it starts with this episode. Hopefully, the finale will carry the same kind of gravitas. Also, I’m hoping against hope that the Governor takes his last breath before the season ends.