THE WALKING DEAD Episode Recap: “This Sorrowful Life”

     March 24, 2013


The penultimate episode of season three of AMC’s The Walking Dead is now behind us.  Along the way we’ve had to say goodbye to some near and dear characters and tonight’s episode was no different.  While it was still just a precursor to the all out war that is expected on next week’s finale, it still packed an emotional punch that managed to carry the story forward ever so slightly.  Blood has been spilt on both sides of the conflict; no one is safe, no one is certain to survive.

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 KinneyChad Coleman and Lew Temple, AMC’s The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9.  Hit the jump for my review of “This Sorrowful Life.”

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

Tonight’s episode was all about the Dixon brothers, with a bit of Michonne thrown in for good measure.  Rick, Daryl and Hershel have all signed off on handing Michonne over to the Governor for the chance that Woodbury will leave the prison alone, but Rick recruits Merle to do the dirty work.  Merle knows that Rick and the others lack the spine to do what’s necessary so he takes matters into his own hand(s) and takes Michonne on an ill-fated road trip.  Meanwhile, Rick second guesses his decision too late and Daryl goes off in search of his brother to prevent the exchange.  Michonne manages to get through to Merle, who lets her go before he goes off on a one-way mission to redeem himself.  As Michonne makes her way back to the prison and Rick reveals his error in judgement to the rest of the group, Daryl finds Merle in the most unfortunate of reveals.

I love Merle and any episode that features him.  Rooker gets the best one-liners from the writing staff and plays such a creep that fans just love to hate him.  For what it’s worth, Merle might be the most truthful member of the group and he’s not afraid to throw it in anybody’s face.  I absolutely loved the conversation between Merle and Michonne, who’s just as tough and honest as Merle and appears to be the only one with the stones to stand up to him.  More importantly than that, she managed to get through to him and to show him the many errors of his ways.  For a character that was as racist and sexist and hateful as Merle was, to gain enlightenment from a black woman whom he held prisoner was honestly the only way for him to achieve redemption.  That and taking out a few of Woodbury’s would-be assassins on his way out.  R.I.P., Merle. You will be missed!

the-walking-dead-michael-rooker-season-3-episode-15-this-sorrowful-lifeWhat won’t be missed as much in this episode was the side-story of Glenn deciding that now would be the best time to propose to Maggie.  It was sweet of him to ask for Hershel’s blessing and everything, but to steal an engagement ring off a Walker’s finger (by breaking the damn fingers off to boot)?  Call me old fashioned but that’s not exactly my idea of romantic.  At least take a knee and propose properly, Glenn!

Special attention must, of course, be given to Daryl in this episode.  He had to deal with the worst possible scenario in any zombie drama: putting down a loved one that has turned.  Rooker’s performance was fantastic in this episode and Reedus was equal to the task.  It was a great end to the arc of the second half of season three which started with a fight to the death between the Dixons.  It’s unfortunate that we won’t see the Dixon boys banter in the future, though I’m worried about what the psychological effects on Daryl will be.  Stay tuned to find out, since there’s only one episode left!

Rating: 8/10

Zombie Kills: At least 26

Casualties: 1 – Merle

Human/Enemy Deaths: 8

Best Kill:

Has to go to Daryl putting an end to a zombified Merle in a cathartic fashion.

Best Effect:

Michonne’s garrote beheading/kill of a Walker.

the-walking-dead-norman-reedus-season-3-episode-15-this-sorrowful-lifeMusings and Quotes:

  • Merle: “The Inner Circle. I’m honored.”
  • Merle: “You’re cold as ice, Officer Friendly.”
  • Merle: “I’m a damn mystery to me.  But I know you, Rick. Yeah, I thought a lot about you. You ain’t got the spine for it.”
  • Merle: “You got any whiskey? Hell, I’d even drink vodka.” Carol: “Go to Hell, Merle.”
  • Merle: “Lookin’ for a little crystal meth.”
  • Merle: “Do you even possess a pair of balls, little brother? Are they even attached?”
  • I still have no idea why Merle took the phone from the prison and put it in his bag.
  • Hershel to Maggie and Beth: “What I wouldn’t do to keep you two safe…” Foreshadowing?
  • Merle: “You gotta play the hands you’re dealt. I only got one.”
  • Michonne: “No one’s gonna mourn you, not even Daryl.  He’s got a new family.”
  • Merle to The Gov: “I ain’t beggin’!”
  • Rick to the group: “I’m not your Governor.  We choose to go, We choose to stay. We vote. We can stay and we can fight or we can go.”

Be sure to tune in next week for our season finale recap of AMC’s The Walking Dead.  If you missed any of the episodes so far, AMC will be hosting a marathon of every episode leading up to the finale starting at 8/7c on Monday March 25th.