Into the Fire

Season 4 Episode 8 “Too Far Gone”

The Episode

You’ll have to pardon me for being tardy with this post. I’ve been moving the past two weeks and internet access and energy really got in my way. And this episode was far too important to do a half-ass job on. The entire show and the characters are changed by the events of this episode. It is in my opinion one of the most important episode of the entire series.

Everything comes to a head between The Governor and the prison. Several don’t make it out alive and those remaining are permanently changed. After last seeing The Governor aiming a gun at Michonne and Hershel, we now know that instead of killing them he kidnaps them and takes them back to his camp where he uses them to convince his people to try to take over the prison.

Hershel tries to talk The Governor out of attacking by telling him he’s changed and that they can all live together. In some ways, yes, The Governor has changed. But at the heart of him, he’s still the same old psychopath. As we’ve seen over the past few episodes, he’s still very quick to kill and still only sees blood when it comes to Rick. We also catch him in a lie about his daughter. In riling up his camp to fight, he lies to them that the prison group killed his daughter, his daughter who was a walker. But then when he speaks to Michonne he says he knows his daughter was dead when Michonne finished her off. He’s willing to say whatever to stay in control, something he did throughout Woodbury.

Rick on the other hand shows real signs of trying to be a better person. He really means his offer of compromise. He was willing to set aside all that happened, and let The Governor and his people live inside the prison with them. Rick’s change is also evident at the end of the episode, when the British woman who Rick met and killed herself appears with a herd of walkers. We finally learn Rick honored her wishes and let her turn so she could be with her walker husband. A kindness that only one with real humanity still in them could give. The Governor is incapable of such kindness as we see with Megan who later arrives dead in her mother’s arms at the end of the fight. Immediately shooting her in the head. The Governor refuses to believe in a better world and does the most traumatic thing to all of our friends by cutting Hershel’s head to the bone and later on completely off.

Maggie, Beth, Rick and everyone lose it over this. The battle ensues. This is the fight we didn’t get at the end of Season 3. It’s a real battle with massive gunfire, grenades, tanks and plenty of bloodshed. Rick gets shot in the leg and has a bloody fight with The Governor which he almost loses. As the main characters fight, the rest of the prison survivors frantically run for their lives. Some pile onto an escape bus which ends up leaving without a lot of our friends.

I don’t believe there was anything Rick could have said or done that would have ended any better for them. It’s clear The Governor was never going to be happy and it’s safe to assume that if the group had left the prison, The Governor would have hunted them down anyways claiming them as a threat. The compromise was the best option and almost worked, but The Governor could not help himself.

black roseOne of the saddest parts of this episode is the final separation of the Greene family. Hershel has just been decapitated in front of his daughters. But also, Maggie orders Beth to load people onto the escape bus, uttering in a frantic way to her nervous sister, “we’ve all got jobs to do.” Words of her father which is emotional enough on their own but as we will come to learn, these are the last words she will ever say to her sister. At the end of this fight, Maggie will be alone in the woods with Sasha and Bob, separated from both Glenn and Beth. Beth will be off in another direction with Daryl. The two sisters will never see each other alive again. When I came to that realization the first time, it made me incredibly sad. As we often find, our characters do not always get a nice goodbye. But Maggie seems to be the unluckiest of all, as she doesn’t get a nice goodbye ever, not for a single member of her family.

In the end The Governor, Hershel and Megan are dead. Baby Judith is missing and presumed dead. Tara is alone and regrets her decision to fight. The prison has fallen. And we have a lot of unknowns about the rest of our separated friends. The last time they were all separated, our friends found each other on the highway the next day. Unfortunately, things will not go that way this time. When I say this episode changes everything, that’s a realization that comes with time. There’s obvious immediate changes that we will see, but losing the prison is a slingshot into a whole new world.

Best of the Episode

Daryl’s grenade drop. As only Daryl can do, he gets one of those moments that make us all giddy with his bad-assery. In a single motion, he plows down a walker with his crossbow and dumps a grenade down the end of the tank. And to finish the moment off, shooting the tank guy in the heart with an arrow. Pure legend.

The Governor and Rick showdown. A fist fight for the record books. With Rick already shot in the leg, The Governor has the upper-hand in this fight. Rick is beaten to a bloody pulp and we think it’s the end as The Governor strangles him to death. But Michonne saves the day with a surprise katana through the chest from behind. Rick is saved and they both leave The Governor to die in pain.

Lizzie and Mika. Surprise surprise, these two youngsters follow in Carol’s footsteps and save Tyrese by shooting two attackers in the head. Don’t ever underestimate children in the zombie apocalypse, you will lose. But wait, weren’t these two taking care of Baby Judith?

Little Asskicker goes m.i.a. Rick and Carl find each other and then go to find Judith. But instead they find a bloody and empty car seat with nothing in it. They assume the worst and have an epic cry together. Surely all that didn’t just happen AND they lose Little Asskicker? Too much!!!

Rick’s speech. Rick uses every word he can muster to try to find a compromise with The heavenly white skyGovernor. We see Hershel’s face as he talks about living together, and he smiles. It’s pleasing to know that Hershel was able to accomplish something in this world by helping a broken man stay human. The speech seems to work….for a moment. But The Governor snaps out of it and the worst case scenario happens.

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What’s In a Name?

Season 4 Episode 6 “Live Bait”

The Episode

We have a departure this week from our friends at the prison. If you were wondering if that bit with The Governor last time was going to go somewhere, wonder no more.

We pick back up at the shoot-out at the prison from the end of Season 3 with The Governor slaughtering his people and taking off with his two lieutenants. As it turns out, that threesome doesn’t last long. Martinez and the other guy abandon The Governor in the middle of the night while he is asleep. He appears defeated and with no desire to live. I think that is what we were all hoping to see. The Governor was responsible for so much death and destruction, I know I was hoping to see him get his comeuppance.

After burning the remains of Woodbury down, he sets out on the road. He is unkempt and depressed. No energy or even desire to kill walkers. Until he comes to a house where he hallucinates seeing his daughter. Inside he meets a family that has been surviving by staying holed up inside. They are a pair of sisters, Tara and Lily, their father and Lily’s daughter Megan. They are unique to the show in that we haven’t explored the lives of survivors that aren’t out there killing walkers/people. This family has been living safely and quietly alone in their apartment for over a year, surviving on processed and canned foods. They don’t even know how to kill walkers properly. The father isn’t able to walk, lives on an oxygen tank and has stage 4 cancer. These aren’t the kind of people we think could still be out there. But here they are.

close up of chess pieces midgameThis family brings The Governor back to life. He even gives himself a new name…Brian. He picks that up from a wall of messages he walks by on the road. He likes names. Philip, his true name, took up being The Governor to lead Woodbury. He doesn’t want to call himself The Governor with this family, but why a whole new name? He could have easily just used his real name. But he picks a whole new name which is fascinating to me. When he gives them the name Brian, he has no intentions of spending any length of time with them. So, it doesn’t seem like there’s a long-term plan here to pull something over on these people. It’s all about who he wants to be. He doesn’t want to be The Governor and also doesn’t want to be himself. He’s trying out a third role that I feel was because the last two ended in failure. Perhaps a third incarnation will be successful.

One of the more interesting moments of the show is how The Governor, now known as Brian, comes back from the brink of despair. He could barely speak to anyone at the beginning of the episode. Mumbling and giving one-word answers. At the end, he’s speaking confidently in full sentences. He’s found some of himself again. This family he’s found has brought him back. Tara, a cocky and foul-mouthed young woman who likes to fist bump, isn’t afraid to call him on his bullshit. The daughter Megan bears a strong resemblance to his daughter Penny. At first he wants nothing to do with her, but he comes around. Much like Michonne did with baby Judith, he hates the idea of being alone with the girl, but quickly surrenders and lets her in. Lily even wants to be with him romantically. Unfortunately, knowing what comes I sure wish they hadn’t. The peaceful and merciful side of me thinks this is a great story of rebirth; however, my stronger more vengeful side feels The Governor doesn’t deserve this redemption. He should be dead or at least that man at the beginning of the episode that could barely even look at himself. He needs to suffer some more. Martinez showing back up at the end is a twist. He looks the same. Knowing what he knows about this man now known as Brian, could ruin everything.

We get to see a bit of The Governor’s journey this episode. But we also know he’s going to wind up back at the prison. So the middle needs some filling in still. He seems to be recovering and starting over with a new family. Is everyone finally going to get along? If there’s one thing we know by now, looking on the bright side never pans out.

Best of the Episode

Death of the father. My favorite moments of this episode happen to be the most gruesome. When the dad dies in bed, “Brian” tries to get them out of the room because they don’t know what happens next and he doesn’t want them to get hurt. When that doesn’t work and dad comes back, grabbing Tara’s hair, Brian has to beat him to death with the oxygen tank. It’s traumatizing for the family to say the least. Having know idea why Brian is pummeling their father/grandfather in the head with an oxygen tank is a shocking perspective.

Walker pit beat down. Also Brian in action. He falls in a pit full of walkers with Megan. He goes into a rage and kills multiple walkers with his bare hands. He gets a good throat rip in on one and uses a dinosaur sized bone to tear another’s head off by the jaw. It’s a spectacular display of testosterone and rage. It’s no wonder he’s still alive after all this time.

Out of the Frying Pan

Season 4 Episode 5 “Internment”

The Episode

Black and white basement viewThis is one of those episodes that sends you through the ringer. It’s dark, violent and emotional. We’re centered around Hershel and Rick mainly and the very different battles they are fighting. And don’t forget the big reveal at the end.

Hershel gets the man of the hour award for his efforts in keeping the sick alive. The ill are staying alive but it is clear their time is running out. A few have died but there are still many more hanging on. Sasha and Glenn look terrible. They are also getting close to the end. The deadly flu storyline is not one of my favorites but still important. I don’t rank it high because I personally enjoy the human conflicts more. The flu is just not very exciting. But it is practical. Although we’re dealing with an apocalypse that’s unlikely to happen (yes, I said unlikely and not impossible), there would definitely be situations like this and to keep this rooted in a somewhat realistic world, the flu is an event that would happen. So here it has been covered and we’re getting it out of the way essentially.

Hershel is our fearless veterinarian turned doctor. He is giving everyone the tea he made and he has one breathing tube to help the current worst case going. But it’s also what he does for their spirits that makes him impressive. While Dr. S who is dying explains the technicalities of what is happening, Hershel takes to heart their mental well-being. “A sad soul kills quicker than a germ” is the saying he quotes. He knows that if he can keep their morale up, keep them from seeing people die and giving them hope with the tea and staying busy with reading books that he may keep their spirits strong enough to keep fighting. Hershel is a calming presence with a humorous touch with his “spaghetti Tuesdays every Wednesday”.

Which is why it weighs heavy on us when everything goes to crap. One unexpected death leads to another and another and before they know it everyone has turned and killing those that aren’t dead. When it’s all over, it’s only Hershel, Glenn, Sasha and Lizzie who remain. Daryl and crew have returned in time to save them and Hershel gets to collect himself. It’s a sad moment when Hershel, alone in his cell, holds his Bible and begins to cry. He has been physically and emotionally drained and it’s all too much at this point. There’s another great song that plays during this called “Oats in the Water” by Ben Howard.

Meanwhile Rick returns sans Carol and has a new problem to face. The fence walkers are building up again and they need to do something about it. But when they hear a gun shot from the sick ward, Maggie leaves Rick to go and help. Rick is overwhelmed and reluctantly gets Carl to come help him. That also goes to crap when the fence comes down and the walkers invade the prison. Father and son must grab some weapons and defend the prison.

Rick wonders if he was just fooling himself about building a peaceful life at the prison. I think yes to an extent but it’s only human to want that. Fighting all the time, living day to day, that is not what we are accustomed to doing. We want normalcy and to be able to see ourselves living for more than a day at a time. But what Rick and probably everyone and anyone in this situation would feel is how do you build that kind of life when every day something can knock it down?

There’s a moment the next day after the dust has settled with Rick and Carl picking peas in the field and eating them. Rick’s gun in its holster at his side in the background of the shot of him picking peas. Carol’s words from the last episode echo to me, “you can be a farmer Rick, you can’t just be a farmer”. Rick got his time out from having to kill. He’s now finding a way to balance the peaceful and the warrior. Maybe.

Just as things appear to be resetting back to zero, the final shot of the episode reveals the return of The Governor!!! I very much enjoy how the episodes are structured into making us feel what the characters feel. What I mean is, there have only been brief mentions of The Governor this season. Like he was their past and they are moving forward. Us as the audience are also left feeling like The Governor was so last season and that it’s done. And just when we all think that we’ll never hear from him again, we’ve got some new problems to deal with, he shows back up. We’re surprised to say the least, and so will the characters on the show. And they will definitely regret it.

Best of the Episode

End stage. The ill have reached the point of no return. One by one they all start dying and turning. The living are mostly too ill to defend themselves and so they die as well. It’s a harrowing turn of events for Hershel who is forced to start shooting the people he was just trying to save. Even more harrowing is when Glenn starts choking and Hershel has to climb out with his one leg onto a metal net to recover the breathing tube from a walker. Also, really try not to think about how disgusting it is that he pulled that breathing tube from the walker and directly inserted it into Glenn’s throat without sanitizing it. How is Glenn even alive after that?

Father and son shoot-out. I love this odd father and son bonding moment. The two just mowing down walkers like a video game together. And Carl takes really good instructions. Rick teaches him how to shoot and reload that gun he’s never used before in like .2 seconds. Carl is a natural.

Carry On

Season 4 Episode 4 “Indifference”

The Episode

There are two stories happening this episode. First is Rick and Carol going on a run together. The second is Daryl and his group on the medical supply run. I’ll cover the latter first. This group of four works really well together. They each seem to have some issues but there’s always someone there to help them. Daryl helps Bob and Michonne. He wants Michonne to stop looking for The Governor. He wants her to stay around the prison and really become one of them. Getting close to people is something Michonne still has trouble with, but it’s nice to see her trying. With Bob, Daryl helps ease his mind about the guilt Bob is carrying over the last run they went on. Bob is blaming himself about Zack. It would be really easy for Daryl to just say it was his fault. But he doesn’t. He takes a butterfly effect approach and points out how it was Daryl and Sasha who made the decision to go there in the first place. Then we also have Michonne trying to help Tyrese. They have a good discussion about holding on to anger and it getting you killed.

These conversations they all have are helpful. Even though part of me is saying, “shut up and get the medicine already!”, we need these moments of dialogue to know where they are at mentally. Our newer character Bob becomes more fleshed out. He was all smiles when we first met him, but now we see he has a story. And it is also nice to hear from Daryl and see how much he cares about Michonne.

One of the more interesting pieces of the episode are Sam and Ana. Rick and Carol find these two hiding from a single walker in a house. The pair are injured and a bit too optimistic considering the circumstances. Rick and Carol continuously give each other garden fence and wood houselooks that say, “how the hell did these two survive so long?” It’s the beginnings of an attitude that our friends take on more openly over time, but here it just shows itself in glancing looks. But what’s most interesting is this destined for death pair is how they highlight the best and worst in Carol and Rick. Carol wants nothing to do with them. She thinks they are just dead weight. Rick, I think also feels like they would be a bit of dead weight but he still offers them the prison if they want. Rick wants the pair to stay safe in the house while him and Carol scavenge more. Carol says let them help even though one can’t walk right and the other just got his dislocated shoulder fixed. In the end, they should have listened to Rick. Ana is found being eaten by walkers and Sam is nowhere to be found.

empty roadRick makes a bold move with Carol at the end of the episode. In my first viewing I really could not believe it happened. As the two are packing up, Rick tells Carol she’s not coming back. Rick is banishing her. They debate it for a moment but ultimately Rick leaves without her and Carol accepts the decision. At the start of the episode, it seemed like this was going to be about Rick and Carol finding a way to carry on. Talk things out and find a solution. But by the time Rick makes his final decision, it is pretty clear that Carol is not going to change and Rick just doesn’t want someone like that around his family. Can’t blame him for that. She seems to embody the episode of the title very well. She has seemed to have lost a bit of her humanity. Oh that darn humanity! Always getting in the way!

I wasn’t particularly sad about this goodbye. It ends amicably enough. Carol even gives Rick a watch to replace the one he just gave to Sam. This just seemed like a very interesting and fitting place to leave Carol’s character. In a little over three seasons she went from meek little abused wife to a heartless killer. That seemed to be about where it should stop. As we know now it’s not, but it seemed like a good move at the time.

Last thing I want to mention is some symbols that have me perplexed. The first is the watches. This one goes back to Hershel and Glenn and with this episode there are two watch-giftings. As we know, Hershel blessed Glenn with his pocket-watch as a sign of peace and approval with Maggie. This episode, Rick lends his watch to newcomer Sam. It’s supposed to be brief but Sam disappears and so does the watch. Then Carol gives Ed’s anniversary gift watch to Rick as a goodbye present. I have to wonder what the deal is with the watches? Then there are the I’s. This episode is the third of four back to back episodes that are single-worded and start with the letter “I”. I have been wracking my brain as to what that means because it has to mean something. Doesn’t it? I still have no clue to this very moment. Perhaps it’s as simple as these four episodes being about the illness. It could be a way to mark them as a grouping of essentially similar subject matter episodes. That’s as close as I get to a real answer. If anyone happens to know the truth on either of these, I welcome a response!

Best of the Episode

Strike two with Bob. Daryl may not blame Bob about what happened at the store but I do. And now he gets them in trouble again when he won’t let go of his bag he snuck a bottle of alcohol into and he almost gets himself and the others killed who have to rescue him. Daryl definitely doesn’t take it easy this time. He gets right in Bob’s face about it. Bob does a great job of looking pathetic as well.

Rick and Carol’s good ol’ days talk. Carol reminisces about Ed and talks about her abuse and why she put up with it. Rick tells a great story about Lori and how she made horrible pancakes on Sundays because she wanted them to be a family that ate pancakes on Sundays. I love that story. Remember when things were that simple?

Jobs To Do

Season 4 Episode 3 “Isolation”

Before we begin, I must say that the trailers for The Walking Dead and Fear TWD have got me super excited for the upcoming seasons. Watch them if you have not already. Second, all the goodbyes and nice sentiments I’ve been seeing across twitter and other social media for Andrew Lincoln coming out of SDCC are incredibly sweet and have me teary-eyed. Ok now, onto the usual…

The Episode

Picking up where we left off, Tyrese is about to lose his mind over Karen and David’s murder. And to add to it, Sasha also falls ill. He goes crazy on Rick and Daryl, assaulting Rick even when they are trying to keep him calm. Now we are seeing what Tyrese is capable of. He has been a calm and peaceful man, but now he loses someone who means the world to him and he is a loose cannon. One of his best moments this episode is when a group of them get surrounded by a herd of walkers out on the road. Tyrese at first refuses to leave the car and the rest of the team abandons him. When he does leave the car, he faces more walkers than it would seem anyone would be capable of taking on alone. But surprisingly, he makes it through without a scratch. Very similar to Rick’s rampage in the prison corridors after losing Lori.

From another perspective, we have Carol, who seems very calm and matter of fact this episode. Except when Tyrese surprises her and asks her to watch over Sasha. She loses it on some buckets of water. Why the intense reaction Carol? This would seem to be our first clue into who murdered Karen and David. A twist of irony that Tyrese would ask the woman who killed his love to now watch over his sister. Our suspicions are confirmed when Rick asks Carol straight up if she killed them. Carol gives a very succinct “yes” and walks away. Leaving Rick with his thoughts on how to deal with this.

This is another moment in Carol’s evolution. She has again taken a turn onto a deadly path. Refusing to be a victim any longer, she has now gone from teaching children how to defend themselves to outright murder. I can’t blame her for wanting to take measures to protect everyone from a deadly outbreak that seemed to be coming, but this vigilante attitude does not gel with what everyone else’s goals are. They don’t want to be murderers and have this zero-tolerance attitude. Rick just wanted to be a darn farmer! Carol now seems out of place and it looks like this incident may not go over well with the group.

With as much going on as there is in this episode, The Greene family is the most cherryblossomsimportant story to me. Many spoilers about to happen here so beware. Sadly, this family has very few days left together. And I get teary-eyed just saying that. By the season break, Hershel will be dead and Beth and Maggie will be separated and never get to see each other alive again. So, it is important to reflect upon this episode and all they share together.

Beth and Maggie lean on each other. Beth is in quarantine and charged with watching Lil Asskicker. But Maggie talks to her through a door and they support each other. As Hershel taught them, they use the phrase, “We’ve all got jobs to do” to help them carry on. This sisterly bonding moment has become so precious when thinking about what is to come.

Maggie also has a moment with her father when he decides to face possible death by going into the sick ward to help care for the ill. She tries to stop him, afraid of losing Glenn who has caught the sickness and now also her dad. Hershel embodies the phrase he taught his daughter and gives his famous, “you risk your life” speech. This convinces Maggie to let her father go in to the sick ward, but she hugs him first. Rick and Maggie are the two who get to hear the speech, which is important to note. Hershel means a lot to everyone and his steadfast and true approach to life, but I think in particular these words echo for Maggie and Rick. Over time, the two become so crucial in guiding the group, and you need beliefs like Hershel gives them to be a compass of sorts through adversity.

black and white group of crossesAnd adversity they will face. Currently there are 12 dead from illness, Sasha is sick, Glenn is sick, Lizzie is sick and the damn doctor is sick! Hershel faces death in the sick ward caring for everyone. Daryl, Michonne, Bob and Tyrese are on a mission to retrieve medicine to save everyone. Rick and Carol are trying to keep the place running while what Carol has done looms overhead. And not to leave out, there was a voice on the radio in the car. No biggie.

Best of the Episode

Tyrese fighting everyone….even the ground. First, he puts his hands on Daryl. Uh, no Tyrese, you don’t ever do that! Then, he pummels Rick and you really don’t do that. Rick amazingly wins this fight against Tyrese somehow. You would think that would be the end of it, but Tyrese just won’t quit, taking his anger out with a shovel on the dirt. He’s a furious digger looking like he’s gonna dig his way to China. And then out on the road, it looks like he has a death wish when he takes on an army of walkers. But somehow, he makes it out alive. He is unstoppable!

Hershel’s “you risk your life speech”. Sometimes mocked or quoted in jest, the sentiment behind it is still valid. Every day you risk your life, in this world and theirs, it’s what you are risking it for that matters. Words to live by.

Get Ready

Season 4 Episode 1 “30 Days Without an Accident”

The Episode

There is a lot going on this premier episode. We’re getting caught up on what our friends have been up to during the hiatus. Plus, there’s several new characters to talk about. Third, the setup for our next storyline. Let’s dive in!

First to catch up on is Rick. He’s turned himself into a farmer and doesn’t like carrying a gun anymore to the displeasure of “The Council”. More to come on The Council later. Rick also won’t let Carl have a gun either and is trying to help him stay somewhat of a kid. This is not my favorite version of Rick, but a necessary step. Most of the characters we come in contact with who lose it are constantly on an upward projection of intensity and mental instability until they finally crash and burn. But Rick always comes close to going over the edge and then he either pulls himself back or people help him pull back. He gets time to breathe and reevaluate his path. This ebb and flow he gets is what keeps him alive all this time.

pile of logs in the woodsHe gets a dose of this to his face when he meets a very soiled woman in the woods. He thinks she’s a walker but then she speaks to him and asks for help. Rick helps her and goes back to meet her husband with her so they can possibly join the prison. But when they get back to her camp he finds that the husband she lovingly spoke about is really just a walker head and the woman tries to kill him. She ends up killing herself and asking Rick to let her turn so she can be with her husband’s head. Rick reflects that this could have been him and it scares him. So I’ll leave Farmer Rick alone for now.

The rest of the group has been carrying on and taking on leadership roles for their growing prison group. A council has been created but we don’t exactly know who is on it yet. Safe to say it’s our more seasoned characters. Daryl has a fan base of people he’s rescued. Which I think is a subtle teasing by the show to how us fans were feeling about Daryl in real life at this point. Carol is keeping things orderly and secretly teaching children how to defend themselves under the guise of “story time”. Carol and children is one of my favorite arcs of the series. It is so firmly rooted in her love for her daughter and repeatedly is so beautiful and tragic every time it comes up. Michonne has been searching for The Governor and has some trouble staying still. She returns from a search just to turn around and leave again with Daryl for the run.

And then there is our new cast members and some minor players who appear to be getting bumped up. Tyrese and Sasha are still around and appear to be taking on more prominent roles. Tyrese plays a big softie this episode. First, he says he doesn’t want to kill walkers on the fence and then returns from the run and says he doesn’t like it out there either. Come on Tyrese! You can’t just hide in the prison all day! On the opposite end, Sasha appears to have gone full badass. She’s all geared up for a fight and playing it tough. Beth has a new boyfriend, Zack. Don’t get used to Zack though. There’s also Bob. Bob, we learn was a combat medic and Daryl picked him up on the road all alone. Bob seems like a good guy but clearly has some PTSD and a drinking problem when he sees dead bodies at the store the run team goes to and when he heads to the liquor aisle for supplies. There are some new kids as well. Patrick, an older boy but sort of childish. Lizzie and Mika, sisters who appear to have some confusing attitudes about walkers.

As far as what to expect from the story for the season we don’t really know yet. The Governor could pop up again, that’s been given a setup. But there’s also a subtler setup that happened. I never even noticed it the first time I watched. The first hint is the walkers on the fence with the bloody faces. We see walkers all the time in various states of decay and mess so why is this different? The way the blood looks like it’s dripping down from the eyes is why. We see Patrick die in the bathroom at the end of the episode and the blood from his face has the same pattern. And then there’s the dying animals. One of Farmer Rick’s pigs dies this episode and Rick also encounters a sick looking wild pig out in the woods. Something is causing these animals to get sick and die. You don’t really connect these dots completely this episode but it all makes sense later.

Season Four is kind of a crazy season. The show takes some big risks with characters and stories that I love. It’s a very shocking season and emotionally taxing, at least it was for me. And I’ll just say it now…. Rick’s closing line in the season finale is my all-time favorite. Feel free to wait for it or go watch it now!

Best of the Episode

As many times as I’ve watched all the episodes, which is uncountable at this point, this is the first time I’ve noticed Karen’s fence cleaning tool and it really tickled me so I have to mention it. She is literally using a walking cane with a sharpened end to kill walkers. A walking cane, the kind you can buy at any CVS or Walgreen’s. It’s sort of genius. You’ve got a rubber grip to prevent slipping and for comfort and it’s long enough to kill the walker without it getting super close. And the end is small enough to fit through most holes in a fence or through a partially opened door or a window. I’m totally getting one when the zombie apocalypse happens.

Rick and the dirty woman. This was a great way for us and Rick to see what he could have become. It happened with Morgan too last season. These people have lost so much and they didn’t have anyone around to keep them sane. When she tries to kill Rick for the purposes of feeding her husband’s head it’s a real stunner. Then as she lays dying and Rick asks her the three questions, I honestly feel bad for her and what happened.

The failed run. This run goes from average to fucked in a matter of seconds. First Bob breaks a shelf and it collapses on him, then walkers start falling through the ceiling and going after everyone, and then a helicopter on the roof brings down the whole building! We lose Zack. It’s just not a successful trip after they were so cocky and casual going in. My favorite is the first walker to come through the ceiling. His intestines get stuck on some of the structure and he’s just hanging midair by his guts. It’s epic. Second best walker is the one that goes after Bob when he’s stuck. Bob tries to keep it away and ends up peeling back the skin from the skull. Yeah, that happened.

How You Live, How You Die

Season 3 Episode 15 “This Sorrowful Life”

The Episode

It’s all about Merle this week. He gets a chance to interact with many of the characters as what we come to see is his last day on earth. Yes, unfortunately we have to say goodbye to the elder Dixon. But have no fear, Merle doesn’t go down easy.

As Rick moves forward with the plan to turn over Michonne to The Governor, he enlists Merle for assistance. The two have a very pointed conversation about who knows the other best. Rick sees him as just a loser that doesn’t know why he does the things he does. Merle is actually more insightful about Rick. Merle sees the cold side that Rick is showing with the whole Michonne thing; a part of Rick that not even he is seeing right now. And Merle ends up being right about Rick. He tells him he’s not going to go through with it and Rick does end up changing his mind.

One of the softer moments of the show comes between Carol and Merle. Carol wants to know if he is truly with them. The conversation reveals a lot about Carol’s changes. Merle says she used to be afraid of her own shadow and Carol replies that it was her husband’s shadow she was afraid of. We get to see that Carol has an understanding of her abused past and seems to be comfortable with it being behind her. Merle goes on to call her a late bloomer, to which Carol says maybe he is to. That seems to have some impact on Merle. Perhaps it is never too late to change.

With a show like this where characters are constantly dying, I have a fascination with last words. Sometimes the characters get to say goodbye and sometimes they don’t. It’s generally heartbreaking no matter what the case may be. The last words between Daryl and Merle are particularly sad and it is one of those cases where they have no idea this is their last conversation. Daryl finds Merle being sneaky in a secluded part of the prison. Merle plays it off that he’s down there looking for drugs to get high. They talk about the plan a bit and about what happened with Glenn and Maggie. Merle defends himself by saying Rick is doing the same thing he did, delivering someone to The Governor. It’s a simple conversation at first but ends much more real. Daryl tries to get real serious with his brother and says he just wants his brother back. Merle pushes him away emotionally and tells him to get lost. Daryl leaves and we now get to see that Merle is actually packing a bag of supplies for the delivery of Michonne.

I don’t believe Merle set out that day to sacrifice himself for the group but that’s how it went. As he takes Michonne without anyone knowing to bring her to The Governor, he has one of those bad guy epiphany moments that what he is doing is wrong and he finally needs to do that one thing that can make it right. It was interesting to see Michonne and Merle interact alone together. This was a different Michonne we got. She was patient and actually spoke. Most of it was to try to convince Merle to go back but still not something she does a lot. She got Merle to admit killing 16 people. In a particularly cruel moment, Michonne tells Merle that no one is going to mourn him. It was the last straw for Merle. After the other conversations he had that day, Michonne’s words were the ones to finally push him to the point to change. He releases her and tells her to go back while he continues on to meet The Governor.

black rose

The Governor is Merle’s final stop. He goes out with a blaze of glory though. First, he gets a herd of walkers to follow him to the site while he gets drunk in the car. Then he uses the car and walkers to distract the Woodbury fighters. While they shoot the walkers, he proceeds to shoot them. He takes out quite a few of them before they catch on. Merle is beaten and fights The Governor. In a rage, The Governor actually bites off two of Merle’s fingers on his remaining hand! Geez! Merle utters his final words that he is not gonna beg for his life. So, The Governor shoots him. I don’t know about anyone else but I assumed it would be a head shot. Silly to assume The Governor would be that kind.

Daryl is unfortunately the one who finds Merle. The Governor let him bleed out and Merle became a walker. Daryl finds him munching on a dead guy. It’s the saddest moment in Daryl’s story thus far. He had done so much to save his brother after just getting to reunite with him. Now there is nothing left to save. He aggressively puts Merle down as he cries. As he lays crying in the grass it almost feels like he might just let himself go too.

Daryl made an astute observation in Season 1 about his brother. “Nobody can kill Merle but Merle”, were his words. I find this statement comforting. Not only is it literally what happened (which I love when that happens) but it gives us a tiny insight into the depth of Daryl and Merle’s brotherly love. It’s nice to know that got to exist for a while.

Some good did come out of this episode though. Glenn and Maggie got engaged. And Rick denounces his Ricktatorship to the group. He tells them they are the greater good and that doing things without telling them is not the way to go, that they have to do things together.

Best of the Episode

The proposal. Mostly Glenn’s preparation for the proposal. He begins with getting Hershel’s blessing, which of course he does. Then he goes to get the ring in typical

wedding rings resting on rocks

zombie apocalypse fashion…by cutting it off the hand of a walker. And then the proposal. Glenn does a baller move by just placing it in her hand and saying nothing. Maggie of course says yes.

Daryl and Merle’s final moments. It was incredibly moving and heartbreaking to see Merle as a walker stand up and come at his brother. And Daryl having to deal with the surprise of his brother dead and putting him down while weeping was just devastating.