The Walking Dead 3.15 “This Sorrowful Life” Discussion

Wow. Finally the show is back on track. The previews for this episode had me fooled into thinking it would just be more wheel spinning.

So we start with Rick preparing to turn over Michonne to the Governor. We get a few quiet moments with the group, all strong: Michonne has a good defensive idea, Carol’s growth is acknowledged by Merle, and Glenn tells Daryl why he can’t forgive Merle, and Merle of all people recognizes that what Rick is considering is exactly what the group has condemned Merle for. All the while, Merle is planning to take matters into his own hands knowing RIck won’t follow through. Of course Rick reconsiders. I wish he could have done it without seeing ghost Lori, but, oh well, nothing’s perfect. And of course, Merle kidnaps Michonne anyway before he even confirms Rick won’t go through with it. All nicely staged.

From here things don’t go as expected. Michonne goes zen about Merle nabbing her. And she talks. (She also gets a cool zombie kill using the wire that’s binding her hands.) This is Michonne’s strongest episode. She opened up a bit with Carl a few weeks back and the writers are finally giving her some personality. It’s refreshing.

Soon enough, Daryl follows alone on foot and because of the small world syndrome established over the past few weeks he can’t be far behind and a brother showdown is on the horizon.

Meanwhile, we get a couple more nice, quiet scenes. Glenn asks for Hershel’s blessing, and then proposes to Maggie with a ring chopped from a zombie’s finger. Ah, romance!

And lo the moment of truth arrives. Michonne’s zen schtick works on Merle. He let’s her go. Color me surprised. But he continues on alone and engages the Governor’s thugs in a nicely staged ambush. Surprisingly, Merle gets to go out in a (small h) heroic fashion and I was suprised to find myself rooting for him. Alas, alone, he’s unable to get the Governor himself who then kills Merle by shooting him in the chest. Not a head shot. So Merle come back as a zombie. Man, the Governor is just an ass, even when he’s killing you. Poor Daryl arrives and is forced to do the final deed on his brother with, by my count, about 700 knife stabs to the face.

Back at the prison, Rick gets his single best scene of the entire series. He’s finally realized what the audience has known for a while–he’s been a terrible leader for a while and the group needs to be involved in decisions. Go Rick. Nearly three seasons to get to a single moment where I sympathized with the guy.

Great episode. Can’t wait for the season finale.



5 thoughts on “The Walking Dead 3.15 “This Sorrowful Life” Discussion

  1. Poor Daryl lost his brother after being forced to wait a whole year to see him. I liked the scenes with Michonne and Merle. They would have made a kickass team together. In my opinion, Merle changed his mind about giving her up to the Governor once he really thought about it. I agree that her zen swayed him but, I also believe that he was tired of doing everyones dirty work. Well, that and everything she was saying was the truth.

    Unfortunately, this season Merle did not have a place anywhere. He gave his life for the prison group as redemption for what he had done.

    RIP Merle Dixon

    • Oh yeah. He certainly wasn’t tricked in some way. I guess the crux of the issue is: if Michonne hadn’t said anything, would Merle have done the same thing, or delivered her up to the Governor? I think he might have followed through with it. Like he said earlier in the episode, he doesn’t really understand why he does the things that he does.

      • For some reason, I felt like Merle was going through the motions. He really did not want to take her to the prison but, he was going to do it to save his brother. The more that she spoke , Merle realized that he was making a mistake.

        It made me so sad when he let her out took one look at her and then looked away. I knew he was going to die at that moment.

      • Certainly possible.

        Sometimes it’s a bit frustrating that TWD characters make certain choices without clear motivation (Rick, Governor, Merle are repeat offenders). I’d blame the writers but when I think about it, other characters (Dale, Glenn for example) have tended to be quite clear in their motivation through action or by explicitly talking about why they did something or other. So maybe they’re just making character by character decisions for how to handle this. It’s mildly annoying at times, but then it’s also fun to have speculative discussions like this one about it too so it’s a pretty minor gripe. 🙂 And S3 is easily the best yet. I have sky high hopes for this sunday.

      • I agree as well. Sometimes it seems as though the writers rush the storyline and character development. Last episode was fantastic but, I felt like his death was a last resort. There were so many directions that the story line could have gone. I am looking forward to Sunday. Two major deaths in one episode.

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