Stand By Me

Season 3 Episode 10 “Home”

The Episode

With the threat of a retaliatory attack from The Governor, our friends are struggling to keep it together. Daryl and Merle are finding it hard to pick up where they left off. Rick is wandering aimlessly. And the rest of the group can’t get on the same page with a defense.

Starting off with Daryl and Merle, the two meander through the woods in search of a purpose/destination. They have gone down very different paths and that’s become very clear to each of them. Daryl has grown up, even outgrown his brother. Merle continues to try to be an overpowering force but Daryl isn’t falling for that anymore. This becomes very clear when they encounter people in trouble on a bridge. Daryl leads his brother into helping them. Even then Merle can’t be a decent person and tries to take their stuff

a shallow river bed with rocks

as a reward, but Daryl won’t let him. We learn more about the Dixon brothers past when the two tussle and Daryl’s shirt gets ripped, exposing scars on his back. A reminder the two shared a terrible abusive father. It stops Merle and I think it makes him take account that his poor “baby brother” is all he’s got left. So, he can’t let him walk away alone. Daryl’s growth and Merle’s lack of is exemplified again when Merle remarks about beating Glenn, “that Chinese boy”, and Daryl remarks “he’s Korean”. Way back in Season 1, Daryl called Glenn a chinamen and Glenn had retorted back “I’m Korean”. At this point, Merle very literally becomes Daryl’s follower heading back to the prison. Also, good to see that we don’t lose our Daryl, he’s coming back!

Glenn and Maggie continue to deal separately with their kidnapping. Glenn is angry and feels like the burden of saving everyone is on his shoulders alone. He tells Hershel with Rick having a mental breakdown and Daryl gone, it’s all on him. Glenn doesn’t know how to help Maggie either. He wants to talk but Maggie wants to deal by herself. Knowing these two, they’ll eventually figure out how to move on.

Rick has been left to himself to deal with his issues. I’m kind of wondering if they all feel like they don’t know what to do with them or are just too afraid to try, but only Hershel is brave enough to approach him. Rick has been following Lori’s ghost around. She leads him outside the prison and he is just wandering around looking for. Rick somehow manages to open up to Hershel about this although it’s more like the ramblings of a crazy person. I also wonder if his hallucinations have perhaps saved him. Where would Rick have been when The Governor does attack at the end of the episode? Could he have been the one who gets shot instead of Axel? It’s almost a certainty that The Governor would have wanted Rick taken out as a primary goal. But him being somewhere unexpected is a bit of luck on his part.

Everyone else at the prison is busy deciding how to deal with the expected attack, which does come. Leaving isn’t a possibility because of the baby and Hershel having one leg. Defending is going to be tough because they are outnumbered. But they are in a prison so they have that going for them. As they build up defenses, the attack comes. It comes as a surprise shot to Axel’s head. Just when we were starting to like him! And him and Carol almost had a thing! The attack comes in waves. First, they shoot, then they send a van in filled with walkers, then more shooting. Hershel is in the lower prison yard when it fills with walkers, leaving us all to think that he’s never getting out of there alive on one leg. Rick is outside, taking gunfire and fighting walkers. And everyone else is shooting from the main prison. After springing the walkers on them, The Governor and pals drive away. It’s an odd move I think. They pretty much leave with everyone still alive, did they think the walkers are just gonna finish the job or did they mean to prolong this battle? I think The Governor in some weird sick way wants this to be drawn out. He’s got Andrea back at Woodbury and I think he wants to play games with her and her former friends. But luckily right now at the prison, Daryl and Merle show up to in the nick of time to save Rick. And Glenn returns as well with a truck and saves Hershel.

At the end of the day, our group is together again, with the addition of Merle. Considering the countless number of bullets fired, Axel is our only real loss. The attack seems to be a rude awakening that they all need each other. In a way, it brings them closer together. There’s no time for these emotional spells, The Governor is a real enemy. Merle may not be anyone’s favorite person but even Rick with that “this guy” face understands Merle’s part in this rescue is worth something. With all of the differences happening in this episode, it’s a big nod to the notion that you can’t pick your family and you may not always agree but you’re always going to stand by them.

Best of the Episode

The Governor attacks the prison. Even though it was discussed the entire episode, it still came as a surprise when it actually happened. I think we all thought maybe we had another episode or two before he actually got there. It begins with a shot to Axel’s head as he tells a story to Carol. Then the bullets are flying. Poor Carol has to use Axel’s dead body as cover. It doesn’t look good for Hershel in the field with the walkers. And then you get the surprise return of Daryl and Merle who come to save the day. It’s not a long battle but it’s loud and intense and surprising. I still think to this day this is one of the best fight scenes of the series.


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