Story by Joshua Leonard, for The Muleskinner –
“This Sorrowful Life” episode reminded me why I love “The Walking Dead.” The episode had a lot of zombie-killing gore, but most of all, it had emotion. The emotion of the show is what captivates me and keeps me watching every Sunday night.
“This Sorrowful Life” was a great second to last episode before the all-out war and season finale.
If you were never a fan of Merle Dixon, this past episode might change your mind. Rick, Daryl and Hershel contemplate on giving up Michonne to The Governor to have a slight chance that Woodbury would leave them alone. Rick goes to Merle to ask him to do the dirty work and take Michonne captive. Rick comes to his senses and realizes giving up Michonne would make him just like The Governor and decides against it; but it was already too late. Merle decided to go on his own and earn his keep with the group by taking Michonne on his own. Along the way he gains a conscience and grasps the monster he has become.
Back at the prison, Rick and Daryl realize that Merle took Michonne on his own and Daryl decides to go after his older brother to try and stop him. On the road to meet up with The Governor, Merle let Michonne free and told her to go back to the prison. Merle continued on to the rally point where The Governor was at. The conversations between Merle and Michonne were simply brilliant. Michonne, whom recently has dropped her ‘poker-face’ to the group, becomes the person of reason and gets through Merle’s monstrous outer shell. Like previously stated, this is when non-Merle fans became Merle fans.
In a final act of desperation and self-sacrifice, Merle became a one-man-army and started attacking The Governor and his people. This action sequence was very good. After killing a few of The Governor’s men, Merle met his ultimate demise when The Governor shot him in the chest.
Here’s that emotion I was talking about. Daryl shows up, what feels like a couple of hours after Merle’s valiant self-sacrifice. Walkers are everywhere, eating on the remains of The Governor’s rotting corpses. Daryl then stops; he sees his brother, Merle, has turned into a ‘walker.’ The pure, non-filtered emotion that Daryl emits channeled through our televisions and in our hearts as he cried while angrily shoving his zombie-brother back. Daryl, in an act of anger and sadness, tackles his undead brother and repeatedly stabbed Merle in the face as Daryl howled out a furious cry.
“This Sorrowful Life” was a brilliant episode that really brings audiences back into the show; preparing them for the final showdown in the season finale. Merle was the first of what I feel will be many casualties in season three’s finale. This episode was beautifully written and directed by one of my Hollywood favorites, Greg Nicotero. Now, I sit avidly on my hands in pure excitement for the upcoming episode and the finale of “The Walking Dead.”