As this season has continued, my opinion of the show has changed. The writing has gotten stronger. The story has been progressing nicely. They still can’t write Andrea, but thankfully we didn’t have to deal with that this week. In a Merle-centric episode, the season saw one of its strongest showings and I for one am happy how they did justice to the character.
I’ll get to Merle in a moment, but I would like to talk about Glenn first. This season has been really good for him. He’s been gaining more responsibility and screen time and he deserves it. The writers have been doing everything right for him. He had a reason to want to go after The Governor as well as take control of the group. He’s the same strong character in the show now that he is in the book. I’m going to try and not spoil anything this week in terms of story, but his talk with Herschel was fantastic. He finally understands his place in the group. He also had a very funny moment with a zombie in this episode getting a specific piece of hardware for someone. Whenever there is a little comedy in this show I truly enjoy it. Here’s to Glenn having a big week in the season finale to close out his fantastic season.
The whole idea of giving Michonne to The Governor was always a poor idea. When Rick tells Daryl and Hershel that he is going to go through with it, they object again. When he tells Merle about it to, right away Merle says there is no way Rick will go through with it. Rick hems and haws throughout the episode about it, until he has a vision from Lori. Spoiler: She died and I’m sorry if you didn’t know that, but since then she has been used wonderfully. This episode is no different. By “seeing” her again he decides it isn’t the best idea to go and give Michonne up as she has become part of the group and he would be no better than the Governor. Once he comes to this decision though, actions were already in motion, but he gets the group together near the end and tells them that he is no longer in charge. I’ve been waiting for this all season, as there have been hints. To have a full democracy going in the group is great and makes every decision have more of an impact. Thank you Rick for letting go of the leader role, but we’ll see how long it lasts. I hope the writers don’t mess this up.
Onto the big deal this week, Merle. He really struck gold this week and from the cold opening until the last moment of the week, anytime Merle was on screen, it was pure bliss. Whether it’s talking to Rick about the plan to telling Daryl that he needs to get his balls back and be a man again, Merle was fantastic. He sees that he has to be the one to deliver Michonne, since Rick will back out. After knocking her out and tying her up, they go for a walk towards Woodbury. The interaction between these two the whole episode was well written and well-acted. Merle pressing Michonne’s buttons with using her sword and Michonne eventually getting under Merle’s skin and making him make a decision about taking her to The Governor was just great. It was the most screen time either of these two have gotten in the recent past and to have it happen together was wonderful. There were some great zombie killings for both of them. Michonne always shines here and this episode didn’t disappoint. After letting her go, Merle devises a plan to go meet The Governor on his own. While this is happening Daryl is searching for him and eventually finds him. The Governor gets one more interaction with Merle and he is in full animalistic mode here. This is the closest The Governor has been to the book version and I wish it had happened sooner in the season. This was Merle’s send off, and yes you have to watch it to know how it happened, and it was a great one.
Overall this was a great penultimate episode of a season that has been getting better as it barrels towards the end. Next week is going to see the war and the fallout from this week. The only thing I’m sad about is that the group won’t know of Merle’s exact actions. It might force some more fight out of them. It will also be interesting to see what becomes of Daryl now. His whole motivation this season was it’s my brother, I want to be with him and know that this is over what becomes of his emotions and his way of doing things. Bring on the war and hopefully a good season ender. Oh, also the death of Andrea.
Review by Bryan Lasky