Summary: Rick decides to give Michonne to the Governor. Daryl objects to this. Merle notes that Rick won't have the stomach to do it so he acts on his own and kidnaps Michonne. Daryl goes after them. Eventually, Merle lets Michonne go when she suggests turning back. Merle continues on and lays a trap for the Governor. He tries to kill the Governor but fails, so the Governor kills him. Daryl cries when he finds Merle as a walker. At the prison, Glenn proposes to Maggie and Rick decides to put democracy back into the group.
The Good: I appreciated the focus on Merle and Michonne in this episode. There was some solid moral conflict explored in this episode and I did appreciate the overall look we got over the group's leadership. Granted, there were some major problems here (see: The Bad), but I appreciate the effort.
Merle had a pretty good episode. Watching the group's friction with Merle is always a blast, and having such an unrepentant prick amongst the group feels so fresh. Furthermore, I like that Glenn's scene with Daryl nicely suggested that Merle's crimes have been too serious to be easily forgiven, and that even if Merle changes, he will still be an outcast in the group. He will always be hated and he can't simply atone for his bad behaviour in the way that Daryl did.
The writers went in the direction of having a fellow outcast be the only person who was able to see Merle's true feelings. It's an age-old story and it works fine for some easy entertainment, though there were some pretty large issues with it (see: The Bad). At the very least we got some decent action sequences with walkers which remain a high point of the series.
The ending action sequence was the best part of the episode. It was tense and exciting and it really felt like there was going to be major consequences for everyone involved. In the end, Merle was given a death fitting for his character and we were given a sad scene as Daryl stumbles upon his brother as a walker.
Glenn proposing to Maggie is a fine side plot. Nothing too interesting, but it works for what it is.
The Bad: Skipping over Rick's decision to give Michonne to the Governor was stupid and it came right out of nowhere. What's worse is that there is no way that Rick could be stupid enough to agree to this. There is no reason for him to trust the Governor, and the fact that nobody is objecting openly against Rick's idiotic decision is even more ridiculous. Honestly, the character of Rick was totally butchered in this episode. Not only does he make a stupid decision, but he then sends Daryl, Merle and Michonne to likely deaths and he doesn't lift a finger to help them. That's so out of character for the man that stormed Woodbury to rescue Glenn and Maggie.
Rick wasn't the only character who was acting inconsistently. Michonne magically became an all-seeing wise woman as she was apparently able to read Merle like a book and perfectly deduce his issues. And to add on, she also magically became one of the most talkative people in the show after so many episodes of silence. I don't even think she spoke this much to Andrea, her friend of many months. It's such a sharp change that only goes to show how poorly written this episode was.
The worst character to be sabotaged was absolutely Merle himself. Merle stood out because he was a complete asshole with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. He's the kind of person to loot mattresses to find dope, to torture people without blinking an eye, and to kill allies whenever it suited him. The only person who he ever cared about was Daryl. Yet somehow, Merle is portrayed in this episode as a regretful rogue who feels terribly about all the bad that he has done. Where the hell did this come from? It's at odds with everything we have learned about Merle so far, and it makes his mission to go kill the Governor make little sense. The only person Merle listened to is Daryl, and Daryl wanted Merle to redeem himself, not kill himself. It's so disappointing to see Merle get a "heroic death" following a sudden 180 on his character, and it makes it feel like the Merle in this episode is a completely different person from the Merle we have gotten to know.
This show is constantly failing in the character development department. Once again, a character that finally begins to grow and develop is immediately killed off to surprise the audience. Would it hurt to have some character development for the people that aren't going to die? This show has always been pathetic with its character development, and killing off the people who get the most attention certainly doesn't help the issue.
The Unknown: Will there be a big action sequence in the next episode? How is it going to go down?
Will Daryl make it back to the prison? Or will he attack the Governor in a rage?
Best Moment: Merle gunning down the Woodbury men before being subdued and killed.
Character of the Episode: Merle. Even though he was ruined in this episode, he still had all of the best scenes.
Conclusion: This episode provides some fun entertainment and there are some signature TWD action scenes. But when you look under the surface, the characters make little sense and the poor writing hurts what should have been a standout episode.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.