The penultimate episode of the third season of The Walking Dead went back to their root and did what they do best- zombies and major character deaths. We edged closer to the season finale, where the inevitable showdown between Woodbury and the Prison is set to begin.
The first 30 minutes picked up where the previous three episodes left off, which was mainly just discussions about how to handle the impending war. The two camps have basically been two bros that bump into each other at a club and get into each other’s faces, talking about how they're gonna fuck the other guy up but never throw a punch.
The Prison is in heated debate about what to do with Michonne. Rick is in favor of tying her up and handing her to The Governor, as the issue of morality swings back and forth in his head like a pendulum. Rick goes to talk to Merle about helping to kidnap Michonne, where he finally decides to grow a pair and asks Merle why he's such a dick all the time? Merle doesn't really have a good answer. Same thing with Carol as she plants the idea in Merle's head that it’s not too late to turn over a new leaf.
Merle's idea to become a hero to the prisoners is to kidnap Michonne on his own and bring her to Woodbury. Great timing because this is minutes before Rick decides against his ill-advised plot to handover Michonne. Daryl heads off on his own to stop Merle and make things right and through all of this Rick decides now is the time to end his reign as supreme Ricktator.
On a happier note- Glenn makes his intentions known and asks Herschel for Maggie's hand in marriage, and then he takes some hand from a zombie. He totally jacks this poor walkers wedding ring and I hope he wiped it down with Purell or something before giving it to Maggie.
On the way to Woodbury, Merle stops to try and hotwire a car, setting off an alarm in the process and subjective both him and a handcuffed Michonne to hundreds of dead heads. In the WALKER Texas Ranger moment of the week, which is the moment in an episode where a character pulls Chuck Norris Herculean effort to kill someone, this one goes to Michonne for karate kicking three zombies while her hands are handcuffed and using the tie strings to decapitate another.
They get away relatively unscathed and make their way to Woodbury. On the ride Merle had a change of heart and decides he's going to let Michonne free.
Next Merle decides a plan to take out as many of Woodbury’s elite and it’s a pretty sweet plan at that. He grabs a bottle of whiskey, blasts classic rock with the windows open and then drives it into the barn area while the walkers follow the noise, then quickly runs to a lookout window nearby to watch the madness unfold. The Governor’s guys come out to kill the walkers and one by one Merle picks them off. He would be the best Call of Duty player ever if only he had two hands to hold a controller.
Eventually he gets attacked by a zombie which blows his cover. The Governor ends up coming in and lays the smack down, biting Merle's remaining fingers off in the process. To me that symbolizes that The Governor is just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than the zombies. He finally puts an end to Merle's reign as most helpful/hurtful dick in the history of TV but shooting him at close range.
Daryl shows up just in time to find Merle enjoying his last meal, which was a dead man’s thigh. In an emotional moment Daryl pushes walker Merle twice before shooting him and bashing his face in as tears stream down his face.
You may have noticed from the start of this episode that it was going to be a Merle centric episode, which gave us a good indication that he was going to bite the dust at some point before the finale. This further proves the unwritten rule of TWD that if a semi main character has a larger than normal role in an episode they’re most likely going to die. Also props to Dan for his accurate death odds on Merle. Rest in peace buddy, you and your asholeness will be sorely missed.
The 3rd season ends this Sunday and I expect to see just the tip of the burning zombie pile. The battle will start this week but end when the show returns for its 4th season. Expect a lot of action and intensity that we’ve been waiting for, and be sure to come back next week as I recap the season that was.