The Walking Dead S03E15 Recap: "This Sorrowful Life"

“I’m not your Governor”

At the end of last season, Rick informed the group that their group was no longer a democracy. If they wanted to survive, he was in charge and he had the final word. In “This Sorrowful Life”, Rick finally takes that back after realizing he made a mistake in not letting the entire group know the truth about his meeting with The Governor. That he had been given a choice of handing over Michonne in exchange for ending the war and leaving each other alone.

Earlier in the episode, Rick was deadest on handing over Michonne to The Governor despite Hershel and Daryl’s opinions to the contrary. They had been the only two besides Rick that knew about the proposal from The Governor. Rick decided to enlist the help of Merle to assist with the operation and had to let him in on the secret. But after having another vision of his wife outside, Rick had a change of heart and called off the operation.

It was already too late though. Merle had seen Rick’s change of heart coming a mile away and decided to secretly take matters into his own hand. After leading Michonne down into the tombs, he knocked her out, tied her up, and started her on her way to Woodbury. Merle was hoping for peace from The Governor so that his brother would be safe.

After discovering that Merle and Michonne are missing, Rick panics and decides to go after them. Daryl tells him that he will go alone and Rick obliges.

Along the way to Woodbury, Merle searches for a car, knowing that Rick or Daryl won’t be too far behind. Michonne continues to try and talk him out of it, telling him how he’s really a good person. Merle seems to buy what she’s selling at times, but he remains focused on getting her to The Governor. Eventually Merle finds a car, and despite running into walker trouble, he and Michonne get in and away safely.

Back at the prison Glenn has his mind on other things. After asking Hershel for his blessing to marry Maggie, Glenn cuts an engagement ring off the finger of a walker. I guess the jewellery store was closed. He proposes to Maggie and she says yes. The wedding shouldn’t be too expensive.

Meanwhile, Michonne has convinced Merle to let her go. He cuts her free, gives her the sword back and tells her to get out of the car. He tells her that he has something to do and that he has to do it alone. At this point though, Rick comes clean to the rest of the group at the prison, telling them what he was preparing to do with Michonne, but that he changed his mind and now Merle has decided to take action on his own. This is where he ends the 'Ricktatorship" and reinstates the group's democracy.

Merle looks like he's lost it and for a moment I thought he was trying to end his life. He sits in his car drinking a bottle of Whiskey, which he had been searching for. He has the music blaring, which is attracting all surrounding walkers right to him. Then his genius kicks in and he starts to slowly drive the car and he drives that bad boy with its new groupies right to....Woodbury!

Who would have thought that Merle was our anti-hero all along? Merle runs out of the car with his rifle into a nearby building. The car with the blaring music is situated right by the perimeter of Woodbury and draws the attention of the armed locals. Merle is able to draw out Martinez and his men. While they battle the walkers that Merle has led to them, Merle starts to pick them off one by one without any of them noticing. Then Merle gets his moment. The Governor himself comes out to take care of business. Merle lines him up in his cross-hairs, but just as he pulls the trigger, a local gets in the way and takes one for The Governor. Before Merle can get another chance, he gets into walker trouble himself, which leads him out of the building. The Governor seems him, chokes him out, and then throws him back inside. He kicks Merle's ass and bites off a couple of his fingers. Merle tells him that he won't beg for his life. The Governor tells him that he doesn't have to and then shoots him.

Daryl encounters Michonne on his way to search for her and his brother. Michonne tells him that he had something to do alone. Daryl makes his way to Woodbury, knowing his brother. He finds a bunch of slaughtered walkers just outside the perimeter. As he scans the area, he finds one walker still moving and eating. It's Merle. With a gunshot wound to his chest, Merle has turned, and Daryl is brought to tears. He ends up stabbing Merle in the head, multiple times, probably out of frustration. He never really got his brother back. It was an emotional moment, both for Daryl and even for Merle, who in the end made a decision for the greater good of the group. It really tied the whole episode together, ending with the answer to Carol's question earlier in the episode. "Are you with us or not?"

The Walking Dead Survival Index:

1. Rick Grimes - no change
Current: 95%
Note: His visions won't go away, but at least now they're leading him to good decisions.

2. Daryl Dixon - no change
Current: 90%
Note: He'll be out for vengeance.

3. Carl Grimes - no change
Current: 90%
Note: Let's see how tough he is next week.

4. Michonne - (+10%)
Current: 85%
Note: She will not be turned over to The Governor and is best equipped to survive this war. Her combat skills are not limited by bullets

5. Glenn - no change
Current: 75%
Note: Nothing says I love you like cutting the engagement ring off the finger of a dead woman.

6. Maggie Greene - (-10%)
Current: 60%
Note: I foresee heart break for Glenn.

7. Tyreese - no change
Current: 60%
Note: Did not appear in this episode.

8. Judith Grimes - no change
Current: 50%
Note: ...

9. Hershel Greene - (-15%)
Current: 45%
Note: War is on the doorstep and his leg hasn't grown back.

10. Andrea - no change
Current: 40%
Note: Still strapped to that chair I assume.

11. Sasha - no change
Current: 40%
Note: Did not appear in this episode.

12. Carol Peletier - no change
Current: 40%
Note: She's tougher now, according to Merle.

13. Milton - no change
Current: 30%
Note: Did not appear in this episode.

14. The Governor - (-20%)
Current: 20%
Note: So many people just want to kill this guy now. If both Daryl and Michonne want you dead, you're in deep shit.

15. Ben - no change
Current: 20%
Note: Probably dies next week.

16. Beth Greene - no change
Current: 15%
Note: See Ben.

17. Caesar - no change
Current: 15%
Note: See Ben.

18. Allen - no change
Current: 5%
Note: I was kind of hoping Merle would kill him. See Ben.

Merle Dixon - (-55%)
Note: In the end he was a team player. He won't be making return this time unless it's in Daryl's imagination.

Comment 1
George Prax's picture

Rick needed to see the havoc the Governor creates to realize he can't turn into him. Fucking Merle though man. Seeing him as a walker was tough.