As we say a surprisingly sad goodbye to Merle in the latest episode, one can’t help but wonder what the season finale will hold for Rick, Michonne, Andrea and the gang. Who will survive?

The Walking Dead, Season 3, Episode 15, “The Sorrowful Life”—As the survivors work together to lay spike strips at the prison gate we are reminded once again that Michonne is one smart cookie. “We don’t have to win,” Michonne later tells Rick about their war strategy. “We just have to make their getting at us more trouble than it’s worth.” It’s a good plan, but with Rick declaring to Hershel, Rick and Merle that he plans to go ahead and give her up to the Governor to ensure the group’s safety, Rick doesn’t realize what a good ally she is. Knowing that Rick is too soft to be the bad guy, Merle decided to do things his way.

Oh Merle. It seemed like the bad dude who got left on the roof during season one, and the guy who tortured Glenn and Maggie during his time in Woodbury, had no room left for anything good. When he did finally reunite with Daryl and the group at the prison, it was obvious that his time in the apocalyptic world wouldn’t be for long. He just didn’t belong anywhere.

One of the first reactions I got after Merle kidnapped Michonne from the prison is that he’s not long for this world. And, if he’s going to go, he has to go out zombie style. And so he did. I think it was a great ending for Merle. It was also interesting that underneath all of his anger and badass ways, Merle really did love his brother, Daryl, and finally gained some redemption in the end, even though Daryl and the others weren’t there to witness it. But Michonne knows.

So when Merle finds out from Rick that Michonne is the key to ending the Governor’s impending attack, he wastes no time by taking matters into his own hands by knocking Michonne out cold and abducting her. Later, Merle walks Michonne down an abandoned road and explains the Governor’s deal. He says Rick would never have gone through with it.

Just after Merle takes Michonne, Rick realizes, through another vision of Lori, that his plan to give up Michonne is wrong. But it’s too late. When Rick and Daryl find Merle and Michonne missing, Daryl jets off to find them.

At an abandoned hotel, Merle ties Michonne to a post while he hotwires a car. The car alarm he sets off alerts a band of walkers who attack them. Merle gets Michonne on time and puts her in the car and they drive off. While driving Merle sets Michonne free and drives off saying he “has something to do.”

Meanwhile at the prison, everyone is prepping for war, or rather the possibility they won’t survive. Glenn asks Maggie to marry him. Lucky for Glenn, all he has to do to get a ring is find a woman walker wearing one, cut off her finger and voila! She says yes. Hershel gives his blessing.

Daryl later runs into Michonne, who tells him Merle, let her go. In an effort to try and dwindle the number of the Governor’s good men, Merle infiltrates their meeting place by driving his car towards a building with a bunch of walkers in tow. Leaving the music blasted, Merle hops out of the car and hides in a building nearby. While the Governor’s men investigate the blaring music and begin killing walkers, Merle opens fire on the Governor’s men. When he aims at the Governor he instead hits Allen’s son Ben. A walker then attacks Merle who is discovered and beaten by The Governor. Oh and the beating was not enough. The Gov also bites off his fingers. “I ain’t beggin’,” Merle says as the Governor raises his gun and fires.

Later, Daryl spots a walker feeding on a corpse and realizes it’s Merle. It was a sad scene watching Daryl break down in tears. When zombie Merle tries to attack, Daryl stabs him in the head. It was sad to see the end of the brothers Dixon, but one could take some solace in the fact that Merle has some redemptive qualities.

At the prison, Rick makes an important speech announcing that what he declared at the end of last season, that what he says goes, no longer stands. As he confesses the Governor’s offer of ending the war in exchange for Michonne, he says, “I couldn’t sacrifice one of us for the greater good because we are the greater good. I’m not your governor. We choose to go. We choose to stay. We stick together.” Democracy once again lives.

Later, from the guard tower, Rick sees Michonne making her way back to the prison. She’s survived once again. Hmmm….maybe they do need her on their team.

Get set for the season finale of The Walking Dead, premiering Sunday, March 31 at 9 p.m.


—Toni-Marie Ippolito


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