THE WALKING DEAD Episode Recap: “The Suicide King”

     February 10, 2013

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AMC’s The Walking Dead came back fighting tonight with an opening that pit brother against brother in a gladiatorial battle of the Dixons.  It looks like fans finally got an answer to the question of what would happen when Merle and Daryl were reunited and it was anything but what I expected.  Things are starting to unravel in Woodbury as well as back at the prison, but it wasn’t all dreary: tonight’s episode even featured a quick undead cameo from former Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward!

Starring Andrew Lincoln, David Morrissey, Chandler Riggs, Melissa McBride, Laurie Holden, Danai Gurira, Michael Rooker, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Scott Wilson, Dallas Roberts, Emily Kinney, Chad Coleman and Lew Temple, AMC’s The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9.  Hit the jump for my review of “The Suicide King.”

walking-dead-season-3-michael-rooker[Spoiler Alert: All reviews and recaps come with a general spoiler warning from this point onward.]

After months of speculating what would happen when Daryl finally met up with Merle again, we finally got to see the two Dixons throw down…and it was fairly anticlimactic.  With two fan favorites like these, you knew the showrunners wouldn’t kill one of them off, but even the fight itself was rather half-hearted and rushed.  Oh well.  At least we got to hear the Dixon brothers bicker and were treated to a few masterful one-liners by Merle.  You knew there was no way that Rick was going to welcome that lunatic back into the fold, but in an odd and unexpected bit of a plot twist, Daryl left Rick’s group (and Carol) in order to go off with Merle on their own.  Maybe we’ll even get to see a Dixon boys spin-off, “To Live and Die a Dixon.”

Meanwhile, after Rick’s assault on Woodbury left the townsfolk rattled, the defenses less secure and the Governor shaken, Andrea was the only one left standing to keep a hold on the tenuous peace.  A few of Woodbury’s sheep were cut down in the line of fire during the rescue of Daryl and Merle (including one zombified Hines Ward), while more were attacked by Biters who managed to sneak their way into town.  While the Gov wasn’t too helpful at calming his flock, he was certainly quick to put a bullet in random Walkers or suffering townsfolk alike.  He’s starting to go even further off the rails and I don’t know how much longer Andrea will be able to hold things together.

walking-dead-season-3-andrew-lincolnThe strangest bit of tonight’s episode happened back at the prison in a parallel story of a leader starting to lose his grip on his sanity.  While Rick and the others were making their way back to the prison, Hershel tended to Tyreese’s group of newcomers.  All is not well within this foursome as two of the members began plotting a coup against the reserve team holding down the fort.  (I almost wanted the guy with the big mouth to try to pull one over on Carl just to see how poorly that would have turned out for him.)  Luckily, Tyreese and his #2 stepped in to smooth things over before they got out of hand.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go so well when it came to Rick deciding whether or not the newcomers would be allowed to stay.  Even though the group needs help defending against the impending retaliation by the Governor and his forces, Rick denied them sanctuary in his prison…oh and then Lori showed up as a zombified ghost creature! (At least, I think she was zombified; I couldn’t quite tell.)

Rick absolutely loses his mind upon seeing Lori.  I thought he’d do the typical “see her but don’t let anyone else know he sees her” shtick but, nope!  He had a bit of a crazy spell earlier in the episode where he was holding Lil’ Ass-Kicker and started to go all The Shining on us.  It’s obvious that Rick needs a rest, but with the Gov bearing down on the prison, I doubt that’s going to happen any time soon.

A pretty solid episode with the expected gore factor and some twists and turns.  I bumped it up a notch because of Rick’s freakout at the end of the episode, which promises to complicate things further down the road.

Rating: 8/10

hines-ward-the-walking-deadMusings & Quotes:

  • “Brother against brother; winner goes free. Fight to the death!” – The Governor
  • “A little help would be nice!” – Merle
  • I loved Glenn and Michonne’s reaction to Merle’s appearing with the group, and of course, Merle’s one-liners.
  • “Man, you people have been through the mill.” – Tyreese
  • “It’s only gettin’ worse out there.  Dead everywhere, makin’ the livin’ less like the livin’.” – Tyreese
  • “I must be the first brother in history to break into prison.” – Tyreese
  • It was nice to get a little backstory on the newcomers.
  • “Take care of yourself, take care of Lil’ Ass-Kicker and Carl.  He’s one tough kid.” – Daryl
  • I love the random walkers just chilling/ambling in the background.
  • “You’re just a visitor here, just passin’ through.” – The Gov to Andrea
  • Was it just me, or did The Gov list “Heisenberg” among their casualties?!
  • “Sounds like we have a new problem on our hands.” – Hershel
  • “She has Lori’s eyes, maybe.” – Beth to Rick
  • Need a bassinet? Got a spare mailbox bin? Problem solved!
  • “You’re like my own son, Glenn.” – Hershel
  • “You’re wrong on this.  You’ve got to start giving people a chance.” – Hershel to Rick

Zombie Kills: 15

Human/Enemy Deaths: 3

Casualties: Daryl…sort of.

Best Kill: Glenn’s zombie stomp.

Best Zombie Effect: Has to go to Hines Ward’s cameo.

Check back with us next week when we review the next episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead, “Home.”

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