They’ve been hinting at it for some time now, and this week’s episode didn’t wait to bring it right before our eyes. The great proposition that the Governor gave Rick during their little meeting a few episodes back has been mulled over and decided. Rick has chosen to sacrifice Michonne in order to avoid any further violence.
The second half of the season has made a point of showing how close the parallels of good (Rick and Co.) and evil (the Governor and Woodbury) truly are. The toughest part of the decision is the near complete lack of any dissent on the matter. Rick explains the decision to Daryl and again to Hershel and Daryl’s only attempt to stop it is, “This ain’t us.”
That’s right Daryl. No it ain’t. Why this is even a dilemma is still mystery to me. The easy decision is to run. What’s so great about the prison anyway? Since the Governor and his men paid it a visit, the prison is filled with walkers both in the yard and has always had them still roaming the depths of the prison. It’s been nothing but trouble to maintain, with plenty of regulars having come and gone, but I digress.
Rick eventually lets Merle in on the secret, because he’s the type of guy more prepared to care out a complete betrayal like this. Merle agrees to help with the setup but doesn’t believe Rick has it in him to carry it out. Lucky for us, when the time to deliver Michonne to the Governor nears, Rick comes to his senses just as Hershel is finally about to make his protest to the decision.
Unfortunately for Michonne, Merle has already tricked her into “helping” him clear out part of the prison. Once given the opportunity, Merle knocks her unconscious and ties her hands in wire. When Rick figures things out, Merle is already on his way to bring Michonne to the Governor. It’s decided that Daryl will set out to track them down alone, while Rick continues to help setup defenses.
Glenn, in the meantime, goes to Hershel and asks to marry Maggie. “You have my blessing,” says the old man with a smile. Yay! for the all the people who actually care if these two get married. Later, Glenn walks outside the prison and, through the fence, removes a finger from a walker’s hand and relieves it of its ring.
Michonne seems to be taking things in stride, spending the first portion of the trip trying to get under Merle’s skin. Though, eventually, Michonne tries to understand why Merle does the things he does and convincing him that they can both go back to the prison. At some point along the this trip, Merle stops to hot wire a car and accidentally sets off its alarm.
The ruckus draws in walkers from all over the area with Michonne tied to a post with no weapon. It’s a great scene that shows Michonne’s true zombie killing skills as she takes out three before Merle realizes what’s happening. The two hop in the car and take off down the road. Michonne continues to try and break Merle down and surprisingly he stops and sets her free.
Merle continues on down the road and is later seen sitting in a parking lot with music blasting in a drink in hand. Michonne meets Daryl on her way back. “Where’s my brother?” Daryl says with consternation in his voice. “Did you kill him?” She explains that Merle let her go. Worried, Daryl keeps moving forward.
At first it appears as though Merle’s committing suicide, but that’s not the case. I should have known better than to think Merle would do something that can be construed as weak. Merle blasts music to get walkers to follow him to the meeting with the Governor.
As he nears, Merle jumps from the car and enters a nearby building, while Martinez and a slew of his men are on high alert after seeing the horde of walkers headed their way. The Woodbury army opens fire, with Merle unknowingly within their mists. Merle begins picking them off one by one in the chaos, before Martinez finally notices.
While Merle continues to try and keep his location a mystery he is knocked down by a Martinez and a couple other men and beaten down for a short time when a crazed Governor comes through like a bull and takes Merle apart in one of the most scarily dominant fight scenes to date. The Governor bites of his former right-hand man’s fingers, breaks his arm and nearly strangles him to death.
Instead he walks away. I’m not going to beg!” Merle shouts. Growls the Governor: “No,” then takes aim and fires, presumably ending Merle’s existence.
Glenn approaches Maggie and places the ring in her hand. “Yes,” she says. They embrace. The level of effort for making grand gestures during marriage proposals has vanished with the rest of society. However, I’m pretty happy they kept that whole part of the story short and simple.
Later, Rick tells the entire group about the proposed Michonne deal … and how Merle might have messed it all up. He then tells the survivors that he was wrong not tell them earlier. “We choose to go, or we choose to stay,” Rick finishes. “We stick together.” Emphasis on the “We” if you’re not getting it.
Rick then spots Michonne approaching the prison. He is relieved to see her safe. I don’ know why things would be okay between them however, He was about to sacrifice you to the Governor and all. Torture, shame, death … water under the bridge for Michonne.
Daryl, still tracking his brother, approaches the barn and finds dozens of mutilated walkers. He also finds Merle feasting on a corpse. His brother is a walker now. Crying and screaming in anguish, Daryl stabs his brother in the brain over and over and over and over.
Somehow they managed to make Merle’s death a sad one through our love for Daryl. Jerks! Only one episode left with the big showdown between Woodbury and the prison crew finally set to take place.