I really wish I could take a poll now on how many people are cheering after tonightâ€™s episode and how many people are actually booâ€™ing.Â Something tells me that at least half of the viewers may be quite upset and booâ€™ing as loud as they can.Â In the cliffhanger from the first half of season 3, we are left with Merle (Michael Rooker) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) being pitted against each other to the death in the Governorâ€™s gladiator arena.Â I think most of us suspected that they would be rescued, but I donâ€™t believe it ended the way we would have liked.
If I could sum up the entire episode in a single sentence it would be this: Rick (Andrew Lincoln) lets you in while there is a need for your help, but after that, heâ€™ll cut you loose and doesnâ€™t give a damn if it means your death.Â After rescuing Merle and Daryl, Rick doesnâ€™t hesitate to allow Merle into the group when it means he can show them how to breach Woodburyâ€™s walls and get out.Â Merleâ€™s help saves the entire groupâ€™s lives, but after that, Rick could care less and immediately decides to expel Merle from the group. Even with Darylâ€™s begging, Rick still doesnâ€™t allow Merle back in.Â So, Daryl makes a difficult choice and leaves with Merle.Â What an incredibly stupid thing to do, Rick.Â Not only does Rick lose Daryl, but as much of a pain in the ass Merle is, he could have been very valuable in fighting the Governor.Â Merle knows the Governor, understands how he thinks, and would have been a huge asset in planning a counterattack.Â Heâ€™s doing the same thing to Michonne (Danai Gurira).Â As soon as she is well enough, she has to go too, even though sheâ€™s a hell of a warrior and could have also helped in any attack by the Governor. Oh, well.Â Much like some of the other decisions Rick has made, Iâ€™m sure this one will come back and ultimately bite him in the ass too.
Now, I know there are tons of Daryl fans out there who are very upset about Daryl leaving the group.Â Even I was a little stunned.Â But, remember, the writers have to throw us a curve ball every once in a while; otherwise, the show would be terribly boring, and no one would watch.Â In fact, that is one of the main reasons why the number of viewers of this show has been steadily increasing over time, instead of declining like most shows.Â The Walking Dead is one of the very few shows on television that nearly give you a heart attack a dozen times in each episode.Â And, one of those heart attacks tonight was Daryl leaving the group and joining Merle.Â Donâ€™t get me wrong â€“ I still think theyâ€™ll eventually reunite with Rickâ€™s group.Â It just may take a while, possibly until the end of the season, before that happens.
The rest of the episode is a tale of two fruitcake leaders.Â Yes, I said two. First, you have the Governor (David Morrissey).Â Weâ€™ve known this guy is a madman ever since his private stash of pickled zombie heads was revealed.Â But, tonightâ€™s episode only proved it.Â In the arena when they are under attack, he just stands there laughing.Â He pulls a gun but doesnâ€™t even fire a shot to help his people. The only shot he fires is to kill one of the walkers that was brought into the arena.Â Oh, Governor, you are so brave!Â And, while I did agree with the Governor 100% for shooting the Woodbury resident that had gotten attacked by the walker, a good leader would not have done it that way.Â It would have been done privately, not in front of all of the people who looked up to him.
Then, you have Rick â€“ another psycho leader but just in a different way.Â I thought the writers did an extraordinary job showcasing these two characters and demonstrating just how much alike they are, even though on the surface they appear to be so different. Like the Governor, Rick is getting to the point where he has absolutely no compassion.Â The Governor crossed that line a long time ago, but Rick is definitely on the same path.Â Rick expels Merle from the group, without giving any thought to Daryl, who has fought hard for the group and who has taken care of his baby while heâ€™s been dealing with his â€œissuesâ€.Â And, like the Governor, Rick is starting to dance close to the edge of insanity.Â This is clearly shown with his meltdown at the prison after Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and his group begs Rick to allow them to stay.Â After hallucinating and seeing his dead wife, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), Rick has a complete psychotic break.Â I donâ€™t believe the group fully understands what is happening to Rick, but once they do, I strongly suspect they will be selecting another leader.Â Yes, I firmly believe the days of the Ricktatorship are numbered.
For the most part, I thought this was a very good episode.Â I think a good deal of the viewers might classify the episode as â€œboringâ€ since it didnâ€™t have a lot of zombie action, guts and gore.Â But, the writing was still exceptional, the character development was fantastic, and it threw us a few curve balls to chomp on while leading up to the season finale.
So, what did everyone else think? Â Loved it, or hated it? Â Chime in with your thoughts in the Comments section!
Most memorable quotes and random thoughts
- Oh, yeah, Andrea has been getting the wood from the Governor for quite some time now â€“ Merle
- You just let Daryl go, and weâ€™re up to our necks in shit! â€“ Glenn to Rick
- Youâ€™re just a visitor here, passing through â€“ Governor to Andrea
- Men like Merle get into your head and make you think you deserve it â€“ Carol
- Youâ€™re like my own son, Glenn â€“ Hershel
- Iâ€™m telling you, youâ€™re wrong on this.Â Youâ€™ve got to start giving people a chance â€“ Hershel to Rick
- I think Andrea just made the Governorâ€™s shit-list by stepping up as a leader of Woodbury and pulling everyone back together. I donâ€™t believe the Governor is a man who likes to get shown up by a woman.
- Is it just me, or does it look like Beth has a thing for Rick? The kiss on the cheek thing was a little unsettling.Â Maybe she thinks the son is too young, and so, why not go for the Dad?!
The Walking Dead airs on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. EST on AMC.
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