WARNING: Full Episode Spoilers Below
We are now officially one episode away from what will be a gripping season three finale to The Walking Dead. Episode 15, “The Sorrowful Life”, centres around Merle as he has one last ditch effort to fight his inner-demons and do the right thing.
We open on a very well directed scene with Rick informing Daryl of the Michonne plot by The Governor. It was well directed because the entire time this was happening walkers were directly behind the shot. Sure it wasn’t an influential scene by any means, but it was nice shot placement and really sent the message that no matter what happens, walkers are a part of this world. Michael Rooker did a great job in his small scene with Rick, the first time the two have really interacted since he came to the prison. Merle’s character has been portrayed well throughout his time on the show and it is all thanks to Rooker’s ability to channel a dark, sadistic attitude when delivering lines for the character.
Carol also had some choice words for Merle, asking if he “had chosen his side yet”. I thought it was a nice touch that Merle acknowledged Carol’s evolution, her character has taken a complete 180 turn since we first met her and continues to flourish. Speaking of 180’s Daryl’s conversation with Merle showed the opposite personalities of both characters; Merle, instead of wanting help from others, has become even more of a loner reveling in the evil world that surrounds them. The writers have done a good job with Merle’s character, with this episode especially allowing us inside the character.
I found Herschel reading from the Bible to be a very powerful scene; it complemented Rick struggling with his inner-demons as he continued to see Lori. Though it did send Rick in the right direction (against capturing Michonne), so perhaps it was his inner-angels instead. Herschel brings that belief that the world will turn around, it is hope that is hard to find amongst people during these tough events. It was also nice to see Herschel crack a smile at the thought of his daughter getting married. It was a sweet little moment that brought a smile to my face.
When talking about characters with inner-demons, Merle’s interactions with Michonne resonate with that motif. Merle deep down just wants to spend his last remaining days with his family. Sure it makes him do some evil things but he doesn’t like what he does, he just does it. Michonne stating that true evil doesn’t second guess their actions was true. It showed that even though Merle has done bad things deep down he isn’t pure evil like The Governor.
Merle hotwiring the car produced one of the episodes more action orientated scenes. With Michonne tied to a pole she was forced to use unorthodox methods to save her life. These kills were innovative and her cutting a zombies head off with wire, as odd as the fact the wire was able to cut through bone, was an interesting kill.
The running theme of the episode was Merle and the fighting of inner-demons. Merle having let go of Michonne and wanting to redeem himself for his past wrongs, wanting to strike revenge to the man who made him kill 16 human begins. His sights firmly set on The Governor, he devised a unique plot to bring a herd of walkers to the meeting place. With this plot in motion Merle went Rambo on The Governors cronies. However, after being spotted we were then greeted to one of the most animalistic fights the series has seen; The Governor mercilessly beat on Merle and even bit off two of his fingers before ending his life. This scene worked very well for two reasons, it showed the animal The Governor had become and gave Merle a final send off in an effort to redeem himself.
Back at the prison we are given in true contrast a touching scene between Glen and Maggie. As the proposal went down swimmingly and the two embraced, Rick then decides to open up to the group and explain the true offer The Governor gave him regarding Michonne. He also rallied the troops giving a typical Rick motivational speak, letting everyone know that this group is about exactly that, a group where all have a right to vote on whether or not they stay and fight or retreat from The Governor.
In the end the episode finishes off in emotional circumstances, with Daryl in search of Merle he finds his brother not only dead but turned into a walker. This was quite shocking and powerful at the same time; I didn’t expect Merle to turn as fast as he did and it made the scene that much stronger because of it. Daryl wanted his brother back and having found him like this, was the world that now surrounds our survivors playing another sick joke? The moment definitely made me emotional, Daryl is one of the series strongest characters and Merle’s death will continue to evolve Daryl’s character.
This wasn’t the most action packed episode, but I expect next week to definitely change that. This was another slow paced episode, done very well, producing some emotional moments along with some touching scenes. I really think these calm before the storm episodes of late have done the series good. With the next episode being the season finale, we are bound to see many more deaths to follow Merle’s passing.
It seems like our prison faithful have decided to leave, with them packing their cars it seems they have voted to retreat. But after Merle’s heavy hit on Woodbury, The Governor doesn’t seem to want to give Rick and our survivors any chances, as we see Martinez fire a grenade launcher at one of the prison towers to end the preview.
We also see a cross buried in the ground. Now, though the main thought would be for Merle, I suspect this is after the events of ‘the war’, perhaps for one of our main characters in what will surely be a bloody episode.
We also see Andrea in the preview, looking worse for wear and bloodied up around her wrist and face. Will she make it out? It is anyone’s guess.