Michonne is the main topic as we shift from the Governor and his stalking and tracking of Andrea back to our main cast at the Prison. Rick, Daryl and Herschel discuss the Governor’s offer of Michonne for peace, and if it will save their lives or not.
Rick enlists Merle to help him with the dirty work of taking Michonne to the Governor, and you can’t help feeling like Rick is running a parallel course with the Governor on how Merle is perceived, valued and used. Merle, being Merle, is smart enough to see this and calls several members of the prison group, including his own brother out on this fact as he discusses being valued as little more than a garbage man for both sides.
With what could have been a largely throwaway scene, Glenn and Maggie manage to score a little emotion with an interesting and “only in a Walking Dead world” kind of marriage proposal. The prevailing mood of the show is always one of hopelessness, but these two manage to shine a little light against the darkness as they declare their love for one another. Anticipation of a Walking Dead wedding is an unusual idea. I can only wonder what they have in store, if it ever comes to pass.
Merle uses a little trickery to essentially kidnap Michonne after learning of the offered deal with the intent of fulfilling the deal as a way of taking a side in the conflict. His conversation with Michonne is telling as she understands that Rick could never do to her what Merle has now done, and they share common ground in being outsiders to the prison group. In a way, this convinces Merle to release her, but he disguises it under the pretense of “something he’s got to do.”
That something is a full on, suicide assault on the Governor and his men. He creates his own zombie herd with a blaring car stereo and uses them as a diversion for the Governor and his men. He even manages to get a good shot at his old boss, but a Woodberry resident accidently steps in the way of the bullet, saving old one eye. A walker attacks Merle, alerting the Governor and his men of his location, and Merle is defiant to the end as the Governor raises his weapon and fires. Later on, Daryl is out looking for his brother, and unfortunately finds him as a zombie feeding on a corpse. With some of the most emotion we’ve seen in three seasons of the show, Daryl is forced to kill his own brother.
The writer’s do a great job of echoing the conversation about Michonne at the beginning of the episode and bring it on home with the ending speech by Rick to the other’s at the prison. At the top of the episode, when Rick, Daryl and Herschel are speaking about whether to give up Michonne, it seems like there is a larger conversation taking place about the two different factions, and at the end, it’s a point driven home by Rick as he relinquishes his title as leader for a more democratic process by the entire group, clearly seeing the need for a distinction between himself and the Governor and the way both group work.
All in all, this was a both a good stand alone episode, as well as set up for what’s likely to be an epic season finale battle. We see some good contrast between both factions as we watched the Governor continuing to unravel last week, and Rick continuing to pull it together this week. The show this season has seemed intent on showing Rick and the Governor following similar paths, yet now at the end of the season we’re seeing the clear differences and how their roads continue to divide.