The Walking Dead S03E09 Recap: 'The Suicide King' [Mid-Season Premiere]

While we've been waiting in anticipation for three months since the last original episode of The Walking Dead, the show is going to build the anticipation a little longer until we get to the confrontation we've been waiting for all season. The people at the prison and the residents of Woodbury will continue to rally and prepare, but it's clear that something big is coming.

If that's not enough, thanks to the developments of 'The Suicide King', we now have a new mini-group to worry about, as Merle and Darryl are reunited and off on their own. The episode begins right where we left off last December, with The Governor pitting the two brothers against each other to test the loyalty of his lieutenant. After some confusion, Rick and Maggie crash the party, saving the siblings as Merle helps them escape. But there's some debate as to whether or not Merle should come back with them to the prison. He's still obnoxious and racist, he's most certainly going to create tension at camp, and there's the whole thing about him abusing terrorizing Glenn and Maggie. Hell, Rick barely wants to bring Michonne back, even less now that he knows she was with Andrea.

So Merle isn't coming back, but neither is Darryl. As close as he's become to the group, and despite the fact that they were in a fight just hours earlier, blood is thicker than water. So they go off on their own.

Back at Woodbury, everyone wants to leave, citing last night's attack as proof that the town isn't safe anymore. Security is trying to stop them, and the commotion is attracting walkers. To make matters worse, the hole in the fence Merle and the others left let a few walkers in as well, as at least one resident is bitten before The Governor makes an appearance and shoots him. He then proceeds to have a confrontation with Andrea, before she takes it upon herself to rally the troops and convince the others that they will rebuild and make it even better, as she shares a glance with The Governor, who just told her she was just a visitor.

At the prison, Herschel treats Tyreese's wounded and tells them that Rick might not be as welcoming as he is, and that they'll probably have to leave. But he does give them a chance to bury their dead, which gives Allan and Ben (the two other men of the group) a chance to try and convince Tyreese to take over the prison. Tyreese is naturally against the plan, but we might have some dissection in their group. Rick returns to talk to them and initially refuses to let them stay, weary of new acquaintances.

Herschel pulls him aside to tell him he's wrong, and for a moment it looks like Rick might be ready to change his mind until he sees a vision of Lori and goes nuts. Tyreese takes it as a sign that they have to go, so he and his friends make their exit as the rest are left wondering what's going on with Rick.

The Walking Dead tends to end its seasons and half-seasons with high-octane action, so the returns are almost inevitably a little bit of a letdown. "The Suicide King" was no exception, as after an opening rescue sequence things die down quite a bit as everyone deals with the aftermath of "Made To Suffer". We speculated that Merle and Michonne would join Tyreese and his group at the prison, and previews have shown Andrea visiting them as well, so it made sense to sort of scatter people around, at least for a little while.

But as Herschel and Maggie and Beth and Carol and whoever else had their reunions and conversations, things got a little dull. This isn't what the show does best, but it's necessary exposition. We can't simply jump into the Rick-Governor confrontation, the show needs to continue beating those two men down for a bit. It may have been worth it for Rick's breakdown though. As bad as the show is during the lulls in the action, it's proven excellent as making Rick insane and really lending dramatic credence to those moments.

Of course it's just good to have the show back, but as far as episodes go, it wasn't the strongest. If The Walking Dead is going to make the jump into the top tier of television, it's going to have to be better at drama and tension, no matter how good it is at action. "The Suicide King" gets 7 Rick freak-outs out of 10.

Notes & Quotes:

  • No, your eyes aren't deceiving you. Pat Storto usually does the TWD recaps but he's off on a spiritual journey of self-discovery, and should be back in a couple of weeks, so I'm filling in until then.
  • Michonne remains at the prison as she recovers, but Rick wants her gone. Will she last until The Governor organizes his attack, or will they set her loose to confront Merle and Darryl out in the open?
  • While we're on the subject, where does Tyreese and his group fit into all of this? If you read the comics you know Tyreese is a very important character, so he'll have to assimilate into the Ricktatorship at some point or another.
  • The Governor mentioned someone named "Heisenberg" being lost in the attack, but we know that no measly attack could possibly take down Heisenberg.
  • You may or may not have recognized for Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward as a walker during tonight's episode.
  • Tyreese: "Must be the first brotha in history to wanna break back in to prison." Axel: "Then I must be the first white boy to not want to break out."

The Walking Dead Survival Index:

1. Rick Grimes - no change
Current: 95%
Note: He could lose his damn mind completely and he'd still be safe.

2. Carl Grimes - no change
Current: 90%
Note: Good thing Allan and Ben didn't attack him, else they'd know he's more than just a kids.

3. Michonne - (-10%)
Current: 75%
Note: Concussed, exhausted and injured, and on the outs with Rick's group.

4. Tyreese- (-5%)
Current: 75%
Note: It's going to take some convincing for him to gain Crazy Rick's trust.

5. The Governor - (-5%)
Current: 70%
Note: Almost lost control of Woodbury and not handling it well.

6. Maggie Greene - (+5%)
Current: 70%
Note: Will now take a bigger role with Rick's rank's decimated. Possibly more important to the group than Glenn?

7. Glenn - no change
Current: 70%
Note: Battered and beaten but back in the warmth of the prison.

8. Andrea - (+5%)
Current: 70%
Note: Taking control at Woodbury, but how will the Governor react?

9. Daryl Dixon - (-10%)
Current: 65%
Note: Out on his own with his crazy brother.

10. Merle Dixon - (+40%)
Current: 65%
Note: He may be out in the wild, but he's with his baby bro and that drastically increases his chances.

11. Hershel Greene - (+10%)
Current: 60%
Note: He may only have one leg, but he has no qualms confronting Rick and Rick needs his advice with Darryl gone.

12. Judith Grimes - no change
Current: 55%
Note: She's healthy, but looking a little chubby.

13. Sasha - (+50%)
Current: 50%
Note: She's close and important to Tyreese, which gives her a fighting chance.

14. Carol Peletier - (-10%)
Current: 40%
Note: What will she do without her awkward relationship with Darryl?

15. Axel - (+10%)
Current: 40%
Note: He found some clothes and made some soup. That's something.

16. Milton - (-15%)
Current: 25%
Note: Told The Governor about the dissenting Woodburians. Otherwise he's still irrelevant.

17. Beth Greene - (+20%)
Current: 25%
Note: Without her, who will take care of Judith?

18. Allan - (+10%)
Current: 10%
Note: He and Ben are underestimating Carl's ability to get people killed and plan to go against the Ricktatorship. They're goners.

19. Allan - (+10%)
Current: 10%
Note: See Allan.

Comments 2
Patrick Storto's picture

Haha, my journey has taken me here for a comment. It was a pretty average episode and the ending although haunting was kind of out of place I thought.

Darryl had to go in order to build a relationship between Rick and Tyreese. Obviously the brothers will be back, but I suspect it won't be for a while, if at all this season.

George Prax's picture

From the looks of the previews we'll keep seeing them. I can't wait to see Rick and Tyreese to become besties.

Thanks for the comment. We miss you Sad