‘The Walking Dead’ Recap: ‘This Sorrowful Life’

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Rick Grimes has been debating whether or not he should take the Governor’s deal and give over Michonne in exchange for his group’s safety. In this episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead, he finally consults Hershel and Daryl, who both seem unsure about the idea.

He then approaches Merle, who explains frankly that Michonne would be tortured if they turn her in and that he is surprised that Grimes would even consider it.

Rick feels even more guilty when he sees Michonne helping clear the prison yard of walkers and setting some clever traps to prevent the attack from Woodbury. Daryl approaches Glen about forgiving his brother Merle, but Glen refuses because of what Merle allowed happen to Maggie. Daryl seemed unaware of this and goes to find his brother. Merle has been scouring the prison for some hidden drugs with no luck.

When Daryl finds Merle, he is supposedly looking for drugs. Daryl is suspicious and Merle makes fun of him for always following Rick’s lead. What Merle is actually planning includes some stolen supplies and a trap for Michonne. He realizes that Grimes and the group don’t have the courage to follow through on the Michonne deal and hopes that by turning her in himself he can be accepted back into Woodbury.

While Rick is attempting to find wired cord to tie Michonne up, he sees Lori’s ghost again and realizes that she wouldn’t approve of what he is contemplating. He tells Hershel that he can’t do it and then tells the group that this is not a dictatorship as he stated a year before, but that each of them have the same vote and should be able to decide for themselves how they want to live or die.

Glenn approaches Hershel and asks for Maggie’s hand in marriage as he thinks they might be dying in the next day or so. Hershel is very happy to oblige. Glenn then finds a female walker with a nice diamond ring and cuts off her ring finger. How romantic! He then places the cleanly washed ring into Maggie’s hand and she agrees to marry him.

Merle leads Michonne to a wing of the prison that needs to be cleared of walkers, waits until she is distracted and then knocks her out. He ties her up and leads her away from the prison. She tries to talk to him about why he thinks he is such a bad guy, but he essentially ignores the conversation. She tells him that he doesn’t have to be the bad guy, that they can go back to the prison at any time and the group would forgive him. She also tells him that Daryl has chosen his family. Something in Merle clicks and he decides to let Michonne go free, telling her that he has one last thing he needs to do.

He parks by a convenience store and drinks whiskey while playing music loudly. He lures in a pack of walkers and then slowly drives down the road to the meeting place where Rick is set to meet the Governor and hand over Michonne. The pack of walkers distract the Governor’s goons and Merle abandons his vehicle to retreat to a barn. He then aims and fires at as many of the Governor’s men as he can kill in an effort to lighten the army that will attack Daryl and his new family.

Merle almost has a clean shot of the Governor, but is attacked by a walker. The Governor finds him in his hiding place and the two go to blows. The Governor bites off two of Merle’s fingers on his good hand. Then he shoots him in the chest.

Daryl catches up to Michonne who lets him know that Merle let her go. Daryl is worried, but continues on. The Governor and his men have left the scene, but the devastation of the newly dead is everywhere and the remaining walkers eat their flesh heartily. Then Daryl comes upon Merle, who has died from the gunshot wound and turned walker. He can’t believe his eyes. Merle-the-walker makes eye contact and Daryl realizes that his brother is gone forever. He struggles to kill him, trying at first to push him away as he processes his emotions through tears. But then he gives in and stabs his brother in the face several times ending him once and for all.

It was an effective emotional episode, wherein Merle was able to redeem himself. Nonetheless, it was painful to witness those Daryl tears.