As a head’s up, this is the first episode this season that literally had me staring in shock at the television. Even though “Killer Within” was shocking, I feel rather devastated as I write this. So be warned, there are MAJOR spoilers ahead in the recap of “This Sorrowful Life,” so as always, proceed with caution.
Walkers are on one side of the fence while Rick talks to Daryl and Hershel. “We have to do it today and it has to be quiet,” Rick tells them. Daryl asks if he has a plan. “We tell her we need to talk, away from the others.” Daryl says it’s not them. Rick tells him if they do this, they avoid a fight and no one else dies. “We need someone else,” Rick tells him. Daryl says he’ll talk to him. Then Rick tells him, no, he will do it.
Rick makes his way inside the prison and up to where Merle is. Merle is tearing open a mattress hoping to find some drugs for a “nice vacation.” Rick tells him he needs his help. “Do you even know why you do the things you do? The choices you make?” Rick asks. Merle doesn’t answer. “If we give the governor Michonne, Woodbury stands down.” He tells Merle they need to make it happen, and quietly. Merle says he’s honored to be part of the “inner circle.” Merle tells Rick in detail about how the governor used to kill people for fun. He says the governor won’t kill Michonne. He’ll take out one of her eyes, if not both, and do other things for her. He says Rick would do that for a shot? He’s as cold as ice. Merle tells him he’s going to need wire, not rope, something she could chew through. He tells Rick he doesn’t know why he does the thing he does, he’s a mystery. “But I know you, Rick. Yeah, I thought a lot about you. You don’t have the spine for it.” Rick tells him they have to get her to the governor by noon. He walks away, and Merle slumps against the wall, looking perturbed.
Rick runs out of the prison to see Carl and Maggie making a lot of noise by the fences, intentionally drawing walkers away from Daryl, Michonne, Glenn and Hershel who are pulling the truck up. Rick shuts the gate behind them. “We don’t have to win. We just have to make their getting at us more trouble than it’s worth,” Michonne tells them.
“Ain’t no way,” Merle says as he stares out the window at them. Carol asks him what he’s talking about as she lays baby Judith down in her bassinet. “Are you with us?” she asks. “Sure,” he answers. “I’m not talking about occupying the same space.” He tells her he’s there for his brother. “It’s not time to do shots. It’s time to pick a damn side,” Carol informs him. He comments that she’s different than she used to be, that she’s not scared of her own shadow anymore. She tells him it wasn’t her shadow he was scared of. It was her husband’s. He tells her maybe she was a late bloomer. She tells him maybe he was too.
Daryl approaches Glenn, looking for Merle. He asks if Merle has apologized yet. Glenn doesn’t answer. Daryl says he’s going to make his brother make it right–there has to be a way. Glenn finally says if it was just what he’d done to him, it wouldn’t be an issue, but that Merle took Maggie to a man who terrorized her, and Glenn cares more about her than he does about himself.
Daryl continues looking for Merle, this time inside the prison, and finds him looking for crystal meth. “You talk to Rick yet?” Daryl asks. Merle tells him he’s in, but Rick doesn’t have the stomach for it. Daryl tells Merle that whatever Rick says goes. Merle asks him if he even possesses a pair of balls anymore. “What happened with you and Glenn and Maggie?” Daryl asks. Merle tells him he’s done worse, and Daryl needs to grow up. Things are different now. “Your people look at me like I’m the devil.” He says now they all want to do the same thing he did–hand over a woman to the governor. “You can’t do things without people anymore man,” Daryl tells him. Merle suggests they need him around to do their dirty work. “How’s that hit you?” Daryl looks at him. “I just want my brother back.” Merle picks up the telpehone and places it in a bag.
Hershel is reading from the Bible out loud to Maggie and Beth, who are holding hands. Rick is outside collecting wire to tie Michonne up with. He looks up and sees Lori, pregnant, standing above him, and then whispers, “You’re not there. She’s not there.” But she’s still standing there when he looks again. He discards the wire he was testing and walks away.
Beth asks Hershel if he’s okay. “What I wouldn’t do to keep you two safe,” he tells her as Rick comes inside. Rick tells him he can’t, and won’t, proceed with the plan.
Michonne and Merle are walking through the prison and come across some walkers, which they kill, although more are approaching. Suddenly he knocks her unconscious and stabs the rest of the walkers, collecting her swords and dragging her down the corridor. He ties her up, pulling a hood over her head.
“The governor made Rick an offer, turn you over and we all give peace a chance,” Merle tells Michonne as they’re walking down the road. He says he was back there in the first place to do the dirty work. He spots a walker and he pulls out her sword, using it to decapitate the zombie. He tells her he figured she would have run while his back was turned. She says she wanted her sowrd back before she gets away. “It may go down that way. But I wouldn’t get my hopes up,” he tells her, walking her down the road, her hands still tied.
Rick approaches Daryl and says it’s off, but he can’t find Merle and Michonne. They’ve already left. Daryl tells him he will go find them, but they better be prepared when they get back.
“I want to be with my brother, and my brother wants to be at the prison,” Merle tells her, saying he has to play the hand he was dealt. “You talk about the weight of what you have to do. How you can handle it. A bad man, someone truly evil, their weight is light as a feather. They don’t feel a thing,” she says. He tells her he’s killed 16 men since this all started.
Hershel is in his cell when Glenn approaches. He’s upset about Merle being around. Hershel tells him there are bad men everywhere. Like the walkers. Glenn says he knows there’s nothing they can do. He looks down at the pocket watch that Hershel gave him, telling him he didn’t understand what it meant. He says he knows what it means now. He knows what it takes. “I want to marry Maggie,” he tells Hershel, saying he wants Maggie to know before who knows what happened. Hershel says Glenn has his blessing.
“All right, I think we’re good,” Merle tells Michonne as he leads her toward an old motel, and ties her bindings to a post so she can’t get away. He breaks into a car and starts to hotwire it. He’s pleased when it works, but then an alarm goes off. “Oh, shit,” he says. Michonne looks around as dozens of walkers begins to approach from all sides. She struggles to get out of her trappings, calling Merle’s name. She kicks one walker to death and cuts off another’s head with the wires. A walker traps Merle in the car but he draws Michonne’s sword and beheads it. One sneaks up behind Michonne and Merle shoots it, cutting the wire that’s binding her to the post and they get into the car and drive away.
“Is this your thing then? You take out the trash?” Michonne asks. She tells him things are different for his brother. He says yeah, Rick says jump and Daryl asks how high. Michonne tells him the truth is, this could have been a new beginning for him. She tells him no one’s going to mourn him, not even Daryl because he’s got a new family. “Your buddy’s turning you over to save his own ass,” Merle tells her, saying she’s just as much of an outsider as he is. She says maybe. But once the governor is done with her, at least she won’t have to live with herself.
Glenn is outside the prison. He cuts off a walker’s fingers and heads away.
Michonne asks Merle if he ever killed anyone before Woodbury, before the governor. He doesn’t answer. “So he saved your life, cleaned you up, fed you a line of bullshit. Why would you kill somebody else for him?” She tells him they could go back. Both of them. He tells her that ain’t happening. “I can’t go back,” Merle says. “Don’t you understand that? I can’t.” She asks him why. He stops the car in the middle of the road, then leans over and cuts her free from her bindings. “You go back with them. Get ready for what’s next.” He opens the car door. “I got something I gotta do on my own.” She gets out of the car and he hands her her sword back. She stares at him, but shuts the door, and he drives away. She watches him go.
Daryl approaches Michonne who is stabbing a decapitated zombie head with her sword. “Where’s my brother? Did you kill him?” he asks. “He let me go,” she says. He tells her not to let anyone come after him.
Merle is sitting in the car outside of some abandoned building, drinking as walkers surround his car. The window is partially cracked and the music is blaring. He shifts the car into gear and pulls away a little. He lets them catch up, and goes forward a little more. He’s leading them to the place where the meeting between Rick and the governor took place. The place where they are waiting for the trade of Michonne. He rolls out of the car and goes to hide. Martinez and the others are looking around, hearing the music and they start running as they spot all the walkers around Merle’s car. Merle begins shooting the Woodbury people. The governor comes out to join the firefight and Merle continues shooting the men. He is about to shoot the governor when a walker nearly bites him. He fights back quickly but the Woodbury men find him and the governor beats him badly, biting off a couple of Merle’s remaining fingers and then shooting him.
Glenn is walking outside toward Maggie. He tells her Rick has something to say, but he has one more thing before they go talk to Rick. He takes her hand and places a ring in her palm. She smiles faintly and says yes. They kiss.
Rick looks around at the entire group and tells him the governor offered him a deal. That the governor would leave them alone if he gave them Michonne. He admits he was going to do that. “To keep us safe.” He says he changed his mind, but now Merle took Michonne to fulfill the deal and Daryl went to stop him, but he doesn’t know if it’s too late. “I was wrong not to tell you, and I’m sorry.” He says what he said last year, that it can’t be like that. “What we do, what we’re willing to do, who we are, it’s not my call. It can’t be.” He says he couldn’t sacrifice one of them for the greater good because they ARE the greater good. “This is life and death. How you live, and how you die. It isn’t up to me. I’m not your governor. We choose to go. We choose to stay. We stick together. We vote. We can stay and we can fight, or we can go.” He looks around at the group and then walks away.
Rick stares out over the distance and spots Michonne walking back toward the prison. He lowers his gun, but looks shocked for a moment.
Daryl stumbles upon the car Merle hijacked, as well as all the dead bodies, both walker and human that are lying around. He shoots one of the walkers with an arrow, and pulls out another one as it eats. It is Merle, eating one of the dead bodies. He stares at him, about to cry and Merle stares back at him. Daryl cries as Merle approaches, growling at him. He shoves Merle backwards, stabbing him in the head repeatedly, crying hysterically. He collapses on the ground.
Did you watch tonight’s episode? What did you think? Comment below, or follow me at @WalkinDeadAngie on Twitter! I want to hear your reactions!
“The Walking Dead” (2010)
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Laurie Holden
Creator: Frank Darabont