The Walking Dead - S03-E15 - "This Sorrowful Life"

The Walking Dead
Season Three, Episode Fifteen.
"This Sorrowful Life"

"Keep it secret. Keep it safe!"

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This episode just kept getting better and better as it went along. Thank goodness, because it started out stumbling around like a newborn horse. The final act, centered around Merle’s redemptive act, was pretty great. The stuff that had to happen before to make it possible was pretty clumsy. Rick goes ahead with the horrible decision of giving up Michonne just long enough for Merle to bag her and take off to meet with The Governor before coming to his senses. Why couldn't Merle just have overheard Rick telling Daryl and Hershel about it and then went off on his own, thereby sparing us Rick’s descent into being awful. I suppose it will create dramatic tension between Michonne and Rick in the finale when she’s like “So not cool, Rick. So not cool.” It also leads to Rick announcing the end of his Ricktatorship.

As far as Merle’s redemptive journey in this one, I’m not buying it but it still made for a great final scene with Daryl. What evidence have we seen that would support Merle’s change of heart? Exhibit A: The conversation in the woods when Daryl convinced him to come back to the prison. Exhibit B: Being continually treated like an outcast. Exhibit C: Daryl saying “I just want my brother back.” Exhibit D: Michonne’s repeated attempts to talk sense into him. And that’s it. Right? I hate to sound like a broken record but how much more effective would it have been had Merle been a more complex character. Have him struggle with deciding to be a good guy or a bad guy for a while before tipping one way or the other. His actions at the end would have had so much more impact. Instead, the most impact is felt through Daryl, whose slightly better developed conflicted love for his brother lends to a heartbreaking final scene of him coming across a zombified Merle and killing him.

The minor subplot in this episode, Glenn and Maggie’s engagement, is nicely played. On the brink of a battle in an apocalyptic world, Glenn doesn't make a spectacle out of it, simply handing her a ring and making his intentions known. Subtle and effective.

First act: C-
Second act: B
Third act: A

Season finale next week! This is it, this is war! How high will the body count be? Will the prison suffer the same fate as Hershel’s farm?

Thoughts, Steve? Let’s hear a few bars of a reworking of the Dixie Chicks’ “Goodbye, Earl”.

On the heels of the Woodbury heavy episode last week this week sees a more Grimey side of things. Rick with his devious plan to get rid of one of his top soldiers only to ultimately changing his mind... albeit too late. We get some more Dixon drama, a lot more, and we see the more romantic side of Glenn. Plus Michonne gets a damn good amount of screen time AND dialogue! We also find out that this show has become impossible for us to make any kind of educated deadpool picks.

I think Merle has always been a little torn with his role, in both groups. Once he learned that his brother was still alive that is when he seemed to start to question his choices. So even with a bit of doubt from previous conversations with people (don't forget the pep talk from Carol too), all Michonne had to do was push him over the edge of that guilt cliff he was teetering on. At first I too thought it seemed like he changed his mind rather quickly but if you do look at it as he was always conflicted maybe the little talks with everyone was all he needed. I also think Michonne was more trying to get him to see the light more so than save her own neck. She seemed to have come to terms with what was happening to her she just wanted to try and save Merle. As for the sacrifice itself I was really happy with how that played out. How he kited the walkers to the drop point. How he took non lethal shots at the grunts so they would be eaten rather than face a quick death. How he refused the Gov. How the Gov was so ruthless to shoot him in the chest knowing he would come back as a walker. All very well done.

As for Glaggie, I thought the scene was nice. I agree, nothing too crazy, just letting her know how he feels in case the fecal matter hits the oscillation device. Also having the decency to ask Hershel. I like the touch of doing a little window(fence) shopping, finding a ring on a walker rather than a typical apocalyptic proposal of fashioning a ring out of scrap.

One scene that confused me however was the one of Rick with the network cable. Why did he wrap it around his wrist? What was he trying to do? Was the pain what triggered the vision of Lori? Or was he testing the tensile strength for another reason and Lori just happened to appear? It is good to see that he is starting to fight her.

The final scene of Rick's discussion regarding his Ricktatorship was a good mirror of the previous seasons speech. It has gone from a Ricktatorship to a Grimocracy. 

With all the loose ends tied up it is time to go to war! Lets see how this turns out. What will the losses look like? Who will survive? Who will join? Will the Gov meet his demise or will he manage to slink off to rebuild? Will this be the end of the prison and we see a new set for next season? We will soon find out. 


-Wedding planning ideas for Maggie and Glenn: A little walker girl, adorned with a bouquet of flowers, shuffles up the aisle. Same thing but with a little walker boy for the ring bearer. Both are dispatched by the bride and groom. Instead of a garter and bouquet toss, they chuck grenades into a crowd of walkers. Recessional song: Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. First dance song: Ben Lee’s “Love Me Like the World is Ending”
-Do I get a quarter point for Ben’s death? I picked Andy and Ben in the deadpool for weeks and even said last week I still thought they were goners even though I went with Milton.
-How does Daryl react to Merle’s death? Does he blame The Governor? Does he blame Rick?
-Wild cards in the fight next week: Tyreese, Sasha and Milton.

-I hope to see your 3 wildcards join our main group.
-Who will get the "kill shot" on the Gov?
-Not only how does Daryl deal with it but does he assess the carnage of the drop point and put together that Merle had done all the damage as an act of redemption.

And shepherds we shall be, for thee my Lord for thee, 
power hath descended forth from thy hand, 

that our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. 

We shall flow a river forth to thee, and teeming with souls shall it ever be. 

In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.

Blair’s Episode MVP: Merle
Steve’s Episode MVP: Merle
Blair’s Episode Grade: B+
Steve’s Episode Grade: 2 thumbs up
Blair’s Deadpool Pick: Milton
Steve’s Deadpool Pick: Glenn or Maggie, one of them is sure to go, never get married in the apocalypse!