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About Last Night – The Walking Dead, “This Sorrowful Life” [SPOILERS]

Posted on March 25, 2013 at 5:00 am by Amanda Andonian


This week’s episode seemed to be all about forgiveness, redemption, and making hard decisions. Of all the stories this season, I think that I enjoyed “This Sorrowful Life” the most. If you haven’t been keeping up with The Walking Dead, MASSIVE spoilers ahead!


It seems that everyone is making hard decisions this week, not the least of which is Merle, but we’ll get to him soon enough. Rick, of course, struggled with the decision of whether to give Michonne to the Governor, but we also always knew that he would eventually cave and change his mind. Once he makes that decision, he finally realizes that their group can’t be a “Rick-tatorship,” and tells everyone at the end of the episode that he doesn’t want it to be that way after all. It gives new hope to everyone, and it may even be what eventually save him from his crazy-time—finally confiding in the group.

the-walking-dead-this-sorrowful-lifeGlenn is still dealing with the trauma of what happened to him and Maggie, and it’s not really helped by Daryl’s attempt to plead forgiveness on Merle’s behalf. Their conversation out in the yard, though, seems to clarify some things for Glenn, primarily that his anger stemms from what Maggie had to endure, not the fact that Merle beat him within an inch of his life. In the end, Glenn does seem to decide to put it in the past as he asks for Herschel’s blessing to marry Maggie. Giving her a ring that he cut off a walker was a little weird, though.

Herschel faced the difficulty of wanting to support Rick, but also feeling that their dear leader was making the wrong decision. He obviously believes in Rick’s strength as a leader, even when he can’t sanction the choices Rick makes. Once Herschel finally does decide to stand up to Rick, it’s semi-fortuitous since Rick’s already decided that he can’t hand over Michonne, so we avoid another confrontation between the two men.

walking-dead-this-sorrowful-lifeDaryl’s loyalty to Rick is also at odds with his loyalty to Merle. Almost like a little boy, he goes around trying to apologize for Merle’s transgressions, hoping to somehow heal the rift caused by his brother’s actions. Unfortunately, Merle is not interested in making nice with anyone (at least he doesn’t act like it), so Daryl’s efforts are wasted. Merle even calls out Daryl for following Rick like a “sheep,” but Daryl shoots back with the fact that they need other people in order to survive.

And we finally come to Merle. Throughout the episode, it’s obvious that he’s chafing within the confines of the prison. He wants to get out and do something because the judging eyes of everyone in the group make him feel like “the devil.” After he kidnaps Michonne, supposedly to take her back to the Governor, their bit of bonding time sheds some interesting light on the man. He claims he’s evil, but Michonne points out that the evil men she’s known are “light as a feather,” and yet he keeps mentioning the weight he has to carry because of what he’s done. She thinks her opening is to convince him to turn around, take her back, and start fresh, though Merle doesn’t seem to think that’s an option.

the-walking-dead-this-sorrowful-lifeStill, it worked to some extent since he decides to let her go. I think he did fully intend to deliver her to the Governor, either as a peace offering so he could go back to Woodbury, or as a way to make himself indispensable to Rick. Either way, my theory is that Michonne’s little speech made him realize that he didn’t have to be anyone’s lapdog, and that he could choose his own path. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) for the group, the path he chose was a one-man full-frontal assault on the Governor. In a blaze of glory, Merle takes down a bunch of the Governor’s men before falling to “Phillips” gun himself.

Also, how bizarre was it that Merle’s bitten-off fingers mirrored the same fingers Glenn cut off the walker for Maggie’s wedding ring?!? Gross!

Sadly, Daryl makes it to the battle too late, but just in time to see that Merle has turned into a walker. It was so gut-wrenching to watch as he broke down and started sobbing at the sight of his brother—he almost looked like a little boy with one shoulder turned up while he cried and pushed walker-Merle away. I never thought that I would mourn Merle’s passing, but watching Daryl crumble definitely made me cry for Merle a little bit.

So what did you guys think of The Walking Dead last night? Was it a fitting end for Merle? Did he end up redeeming himself somewhat, or was it just a selfish blaze-of-glory sort of end? Also, I just realized that a lot of the episode titles are from the comic volumes, like “This Sorrowful Life.” Did anyone read the book? How did it differ from tonight’s episode? Tell us what you thought!

You can follow Amanda on Twitter at @reiko516.

    • Snackbar

      It was a great episode. Nice action, great story, and no Andrea. I am anxious to see why Justin hated this one. 🙂

      Also as far as differences in the book go, Merld and Daryl aren't in the comic so it's not nearly as good.

      • Oh right! I totally forgot that Daryl was a completely new character for the TV show. He seems such a part of things now!

    • This was my second favorite episode of the season… as much as I hated Merle, he will be missed.

      Never forget.

    • Rob

      Too sad. They make you hate a character and then when you start to like him again, BAM, zombified!

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