“This Sorrowful Life” The Walking Dead Kills Off Merle

The-Walking-Dead-Season-3As Season 3 of The Walking Dead comes to a close, fans have to worry about more than the long, hot, walker-free summer that looms ahead…they also have to worry which characters won’t make it to Season 4. The show loves to kill off beloved characters. T-Dog, Lori…well, not so much Lori. But the creative team of the show constantly warns us that no character is safe.  “This Sorrowful Life,” the next-to-last episode of the season, did end with a sad moment, but the night was far more about potential future sorrow than current sorrows. I think somebody’s gonna die.

The sacrificial lambs that I’m most concerned about are Maggie and Glenn. Glenn wants to be sure that Maggie knows how much he loves her. Glenn steals an engagement ring from a walker and proposes. (We all know he couldn’t go to Jared, but, my God, ick. Gluing a piece of glass on a washer in the prison metalshop would have made for a more romantic ring.)  The engagement ring might as well be a target on Maggie’s back. The only thing that would make me worry more about Maggie is an appearance next week by Lauren Cohan on Talking Dead, where actors show up for their traditional exit interviews. Apparently the Governor kills Glenn in the graphic novels.  Because the show often goes its own way, that’s no guarantee that Glenn is toast.  However, it does put Glenn firmly in the crosshairs, as well.

Who would we miss more?  Maggie, for sure.  She’s beautiful without being obnoxious about it.  She’s tough without being obnoxious about it.  Men can like her, woman can like her. She’s really one of the more appealing characters on the show.  I’ve never heard a fan say, “Gawd, I just hate Maggie.”  Glenn, on the other hand, has become the less interesting half of what is virtually a third character, GlennandMaggie. Maggie is the motivation for nearly everything Glenn does. If we lose Glenn, we’ll have lost Glenn.  If we lose Maggie, we’ll have lost Maggie, Glenn, and GlennandMaggie. Can the show really afford to lose three characters, one of whom I just made up?

The actual sorrow referred to in the episode is Daryl’s.  His brother, Merle, is bored. When the mattresses of the prison yield up no drugs, Merle decides to find his place within the group.  He realizes that his real talent lies in a being a dick, and he shoulders the burden of taking Michonne to the Governor.  Merle assumes that Rick won’t have the balls to surrender Michonne, and Merle is right.  Rick sees a vison of Dead Lori, she waves his balls at him, and Rick changes his mind about trading away Michonne.  Too late.  Merle and Michonne are already gone.

There’s a lot that’s smart about the episode.  It’s fun to watch Michonne talk her way out of captivity.  Merle’s attack on the Governor’s treaty complex is both clever and exciting.

Then, there’s some dumbness.  Why is the Governor suddenly back at Truces ‘R’ Us? Wasn’t he going to just attack and take Michonne?  I suppose that the loss of the walkers he’d planned to use as weapons has changed his strategy, but the walkers that got barbequed weren’t the only walkers to be had. They are all over the damned place.  There haven’t been so many walkers wandering around the show since Hershel’s farm was overrun.  Merle certainly doesn’t have any trouble rounding up a small horde to use against the Governor.  Plus, why didn’t a man who loves to use walkers as weapons of terror take Zombie Merle and dump him at the prison?  Not making use of Merle is like leaving a $100 bill on the sidewalk.

Merle is really left to wander so Daryl can find him.  The episode ends with Daryl mourning the lost chance for Merle to straighten up and stop being such a dick as much as he mourns his brother’s actual death (which Daryl finishes himself-stabstabstab).

Next week is the big finale of Season 3.  I’m eager to see who lives and who dies.  I’m eager to see if going back to a democrazy will work better for the group than the current Ricktatorship.  I’m eager to see the Governor get some kind of stick shoved up his butt (although there are rumors that he’ll be back, next season).  But, damnit, I will miss the show.  In spite of the fact that I froze my ass off all winter, I’m willing to bypass spring and summer, this year.  Gimme walkers.  Gimme, gimme.  Gimme The Walking Dead.

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