The Walking Dead: The Sorrowful Life

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by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

Like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead is adapted from previous source material. This review is not meant to compare similarities and differences between the show and comic. It’s meant to be read purely as a take on the episode as it stands.

That being said, SPOILERS AHEAD.

“You’re cold as ice Officer Friendly.”

The feeling at the prison is a lot different than that of Woodbury.  While Woodbury is battening down the hatches, the prison is making peace  with their impending fate. That fate–to their belief–is a war that  they’re not entirely sure they can win. Everyone is doing what he or  she would as if it were the end. Even Glen is ready to ask Hershel for  his blessing in marrying Maggie, something that’s a little bold in foreshadowing.  It wouldn’t be a surprise to see either Glen or Maggie die, but that’s  another discussion.

Set against the serenity of the prison, Rick and the inner circle  (Hershel and Daryl) are conferring. Well, conferring is a little generous,  as it’s more of Rick making a decision and informing the others of it.  That decision is to give the Governor Michonne, something that seemed  a little far-fetched a few episodes ago. Daryl is clearly against it,  even stating that it’s not like their group to sacrifice something like  that. Everyone seems to think that Rick won’t go through with it and  he does have a change of heart about the entire situation. It’s a little  unfortunate that the change of heart happens a little too late.

Merle is actually chock full of wisdom more often than not. When confronted  by Rick, he mentions how cold it is of him to even consider giving over  Michonne, bolstering his claim by promising that the Governor will do  more than just kill her. When confronted by Daryl, he makes a great  point that abducting Michonne for Rick is the same as abducting people  for the Governor. It doesn’t really matter whom he’s with, as Merle  is good at doing people’s dirty work. Sometimes, Merle takes it upon  himself to do his own dirty work.

He’s the type of person who–once knowing Rick’s plan–would seek  to capitalize on it for himself. His logic is that if he takes Michonne  in to the Governor, then maybe that would get him back in his good graces  and keep the prison safe. Merle does still care about his little brother  (as brothers are wont to do) and it’s interesting to see his exchanges  with Michonne on their little journey. Michonne posits that a truly  bad person doesn’t feel anything, which actually gets Merle to think  about things.

Merle is a troubled (sorrowful?) soul and has done his fair share  of evil, but Daryl thinks that there’s still some good in him.  Michonne  does too apparently, continuing to talk to him as they share a commonality  in that both are skilled killers who are also outsiders. Even though  Michonne learns what it’s like to be led around by a leash (no irony  lost there), she still thinks there’s something in Merle that’s worth  redeeming. And Merle proves there is something redeeming about himself,  taking the fight to the Governor as a last gift to his little brother.

Daryl has found another family in Rick and the others, something that  seemed very outlandish in the first season. Daryl and Merle had much  in common, right down to their close-minded, xenophobic family mindset.  Since then, Daryl considers Rick especially to be family, someone he  trusts implicitly and respects his decisions. Merle is still blood and  Daryl wants to look out for him as best as possible, something that  prompted Daryl to venture out alone to track Merle. Daryl has learned  that there are others he can consider family and wants to do everything  he can to reconcile his two families.

His final confrontation with Merle was actually the first time that  Daryl showed any emotion…and that’s a good thing. To this point, Daryl  has been extremely cool under pressure, handling everything that’s thrown  at him. When faced with the prospect of killing his brother, he breaks  down. The fact that Daryl goes through an explosion of emotion in such  a tight timeframe is actually great humanizing him even more, making  him one of the most likable characters on the show. Daryl exorcised  a lot of pent up frustration with his brother in that one final encounter  and clearly has a grudge against the Governor now.

With the Governor, his role was relatively diminished (a far cry from  last week’s episode). His presence throughout the entire season has  crystalized a belief of Rick’s that he’s been going about it all wrong.  Rick realizes the “Ricktocracy” isn’t the way things should be done,  as it’s too close to how the Governor runs things. Rick wants the survivors  to rely on what’s gotten them this far: each other. It’s the type of  speech that rallies the troops and will most likely encourage them to  hold down the fort and attempt to repel the Governor’s assault.

“The Sorrowful Life” is the second to last episode and did a great  job getting the last episode prepared to unfold. While “Prey” played  out like a B-horror movie (with the Governor even dragging a shovel  for the eerie noise effect), this episode was a lot more substantial  and made Merle’s life worth something. Daryl showcased why he’s one  of the best characters and Michonne “officially” became a survivor  with the prison group. Merle threw a preemptive strike against the Governor  and both sides are truly amped up to survive. Next week’s finale looks  to be pretty bombastic and you never want to go up against both a motivated  Michonne and vengeful Daryle.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


    One Comment

  1. Chris SMarch 26th, 2013 at 9:11 am

    That was a fantastic episode.
    I just can’t wait until Sunday!

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