In tonight’s penultimate episode of The Walking Dead we find Rick making one of the more idiotic decisions his character has made thus far… then reverse it… but too late… Ahhh! Frustration. That’s the short version.
The long version has Rick decide to hand over Michonne to the Governor, which is beyond ridiculous, simply for the trust factor. I won’t get into that piece because everyone will just have a bad time. Rick tells Daryl and Herschel his decision, and while neither like it nor really agree with it, they go along with it. Rick then recruits Merle to be part of it, I assume because he knows Merle has some expertise in this area. Of course, since Rick is a good guy, he does the requisite soul searching and comes to the better decision later on in the episode. This is the perfect opportunity for Merle to do what Merle would of course do. He knocks Michonne out and we catch up to them making their way to the exchange with the Governor – which is a trap as we all knew. Oh and along the way Michonne is about as cool and collected as anyone I’ve ever seen, under any circumstances. Seriously. My cat sleeping has more of a sense of urgency.
Moving on.. Rick tells Daryl he has changed his mind, but of course he cannot find them in the prison. On queue, Daryl jets after them. During their journey, deadpan Michonne does a bit of a Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting and gets through to Merle, who has been just an unlikable douche from minute 1. Merle finds his grinch heart and lets her go. He proceeds to find some liquor to enjoy and grabs a small horde of zombies to bring with him to the supposed exchange with the Gov and company. At this point you sort of like Merle because he actually had a decent plan. Send the horde at the Woobdury folk and pick them off from out of the way. Things go pretty well until a walker tries to gnaw on Merle. In the ensuing fight, the Gov finds Merle and proceeds to BITE HIS FINGERS OFF, then shoot him. The slow spiral down of the Governor has been really excellent this season and David Morrissey has been phenomenal. The Gov is clearly off his rocker at this point.
All this is basically a set up for the episode’s “Boom” moment. The Gov, being the Gov, shoots Merle in the chest, which ends his human life and creates the Merle zombie. And as expected Daryl comes through and finds zombie Merle eating one of the Woodbury folks he shot. Needless to say, Daryl does not take this very well and this is a moment that really does pull you in as Daryl is one of the most likable characters in the series. Kudos to Norman Reedus for pulling it off really well.
That was the major arc in this installment. A couple other things happened as well. That maniac Glen proposed to Maggie, which almost felt like filler. Glen went a bit off the rails this season, so maybe this will right his ship. The other item was Rick telling the group that it’s not a dictatorship anymore. But we all saw that coming miles off.
Overall I’d give this episode a 7 out of 10. They stuck to the main storyline for the most part and Merle and Daryl really hit the right note at the end. With the Governor now in full psycho state, and the group now bonded and reaffirmed, it has the makings for a sensational finale. And speaking of next weekend, thank some deity for DVR! With The Walking Dead finale and the season Premiere of Game of Thrones going head to head I would be pissed! Add in the return of the Doctor and next weekend is gonna be pretty sweet!