'The Walking Dead' Recap: A Major Character Dies
SPOILER ALERT: This recap for the "This Sorrowful Life" episode of "The Walking Dead" contains storyline and character spoilers.
Well, this one hurts. There are several characters on "The Walking Dead" whose deaths might not have had the impact that Sunday night's "This Sorrowful Life" death had. Were you most upset that Merle, the hateful guy you could never really bring yourself to hate, died? Or -- and we're guessing this is it -- were you most upset when Daryl stumbled upon his zombified big bro noshing on some human innards, forcing Daryl to finish the job on the walker version of Merle?
See the heartbreaking scene (at the five minute mark):
We can all agree there were some tears to shed for both Dixon brothers.
But Merle went out a hero, which is a sentence that might not have seemed possible earlier this season when he was unleashing a walker on Glenn and the Governor on Maggie. Here's how we got there.
Merle's going to the mattresses
Why does Rick find Merle in one of the prison cells, ripping open mattresses? Because, as Merle tells him, the best drugs he ever had came from a mattress.
"Do you even know why you do the things you do, the choices you make?" Rick asks him.
Rick tells Merle he needs his help, though. He fills him in on the deal the Governor offered for Michonne and tells him he needs his help to pull off handing her over to Woodbury's psycho leader.
"You don't have the spine," Merle tells Rick.
Rick takes off to the prison yard to find some wire (as Merle advised) that Michonne won't be able to break free of while they're transporting her to the Governor, and Merle stays inside, watching the preparations. He and Carol get into a conversation in which she demands to know what side he's on. He's with Daryl, he says, and then tells Carol she's not the same afraid-of-her-own-shadow woman she was back at the pre-Hershel's farm camp.
"You're a late bloomer," he tells her.
"Maybe you are, too," Carol replies, which is probably when you, too, started getting that oh no, they're hinting at Merle's redemption/they're going to kill him off vibe.
Outside, Daryl is making a pitch to Glenn to forgive Merle. Daryl tells Glenn he understands everything Merle has done, everything that happened in Woodbury, but he thinks all that's necessary is a little forgiveness to be thrown Merle's way.
An angry Glenn tells Daryl he can't, not after what Merle did nearly resulted in Maggie being raped by the Governor.
"I care more about her than I care about me," Glenn says.
Daryl goes off to talk to Merle, then, and finds his brother stalking around a boiler room in the prison. Merle again expresses his skepticism that Rick has the "stomach" to hand over Michonne to the Gov, and Daryl says he'll go along with whatever decision Rick makes.
"Do you even possess a pair of balls, little brother? Are they even attached?" Merle taunts his little bro. He's angry, and points out that what Rick is planning to do, in handing Michonne over to the Governor, is the kind of stuff they accuse Merle of doing, the kind of stuff that makes them distrust him.
Now, not only is Rick planning to do the same thing, but he's asked Merle to do some of the dirty work for him.