Michonne: “You talk about the weight of what you have to do, how you can handle it. A bad man, someone truly evil, they’re light as a feather. They don’t feel a thing.”
This was another fabulous episode that explored what it means to be a good human being in the face of death and the end of all that we know. What is the good of surviving if it is all grubbing for survival and contributing to the death and destruction?
Merle had to answer that question for himself and he ultimately felt that the only way he could redeem himself was through self-sacrifice. I’m not sure that I agree with him, but the episode was so well-written and acted that it wasn’t the worn out device that I predicted or that it could have been. Although I knew Merle was dead as soon as he decided to take Michonne to the Governor, I actually cared about his death by the end of the episode. And it wasn’t until he let Michonne go that I knew she was safe, although she seemed pretty calm and collected for someone facing death. I think she saw something in Merle that nobody else did, perhaps because she was on the outside, too.
I was even impressed with how they dealt with the decision to not take Michonne to the Governor. Daryl, Rick and Hershel knew that it wasn’t the right thing to do. Daryl was willing to follow Rick’s lead, but was relieved when he changed his mind. I’m not sure what Hershel was coming to say to Rick. It wasn’t clear if he was going to try and talk Rick out of it or say it was okay with him but he didn’t argue with the decision. I think trying to make this decision finally made it clear to Rick that he couldn’t lead anymore, either because he was willing to give up Michonne in the first place, or because he couldn’t, or both. He doesn’t want to be responsible for such things anymore, and who can blame him? It is also clear that all the members of the group are different people now. They can take care of themselves and help to make good decisions. They don’t need a ‘governor’.
The piece with Glenn and Maggie was a lovely counterpoint. Loving and having hope in spite of it all is really the only way to have any kind of life anymore. Glenn’s talk with Hershel was heartfelt and his proposal to Maggie was as good as it gets in the circumstances. I’m glad they didn’t do the whole down on one knee thing. It would have seemed shallow and false. I am concerned that this lovely bit means that we will lose one of them in the finale.
My heart hurt for Daryl in the final scene. Merle wasn’t the best big brother in the world, but Daryl loved him and Merle returned that love in his own way. Merle did the best he could for Daryl in circumstances that were awful before the apocalypse, and they made it clear that although Merle was a redneck jerk before, at least he wasn’t a murderer until he met the Governor. Merle didn’t deserve to be left to turn.
Bits and Pieces
I loved the bit between Carol and Merle. She really has changed.
I was glad that Merle finally realized that Rick came back for him on that rooftop.
Good car casting. That car was perfect for Merle. I appreciate car casting after watching Supernatural (which is also reviewed on this site).
Things I could live without – zombie head popping off, the zombie approach to ring shopping, Merle getting the crap beat out of him.
Merle: “You’re cold as ice, officer friendly.”
Merle: “You’re a late bloomer.”
Carol: “Maybe you are, too.”
Daryl: “You can’t do things without people anymore, man.”
Merle: “Maybe these people need somebody like me around, someone to do their dirty work, a bad guy.”
Daryl: “I’m not saying it was the wrong call, but this is definitely the right one.”
Daryl: “You’re family, too.”
Glenn: “When you gave me this I didn’t fully understand what it meant, such a simple thing. I know what it means now.”
Rick: “What we do, what we’re willing to do, who we are, it’s not my call.”
Rick: “We are the greater good.”