The Walking Dead is one of those shows that does not handle dialogue well. There are actually a few writers on this show that can make dialogue feel natural and one of them was the writer of this episode and next season’s show runner Scott Gimple. The whole dialogue between Rick and Merle at the start of the episode was great because not only did it show Merle’s messed up mind but it also showed how unstable and unsure as a person he is. This really was Merle’s episode you found out more about him in one episode than we did in three seasons and just when we were finally getting to know the man they killed him. They Walking Dead has a habit of doing this for way too many characters, they did it to T-Dog this season and they did to Dale last season. What’s the point of getting us to care about them if you’re just going to kill them by the end of the episode. Also did Merle forget that he is a racist because he didn’t say a single racist word to Michonne during the car ride.
I’ve said this in the past, I like The Walking Dead better when it shuts up and focuses on zombie killings and while this is still true, this episode was great with a lot of great character moments. Continuing with Merle I like how he pointed out that he is a weapon that you point and unleash, he also pointed out that how Rick would change his mind. There were two big “zombie killing” sequences in this episode. The first one was the car alarm going off. Michonne completely being a badass by curb stomping one zombie and then decapitating another zombie all while having her hands tied. I did think that the whole Merle not realizing she was under attack while he was busy with the car scene to be tonally off. With the scene being played more for laughs than suspense. On the other hand, watching Merle’s plan slowly unfold was thrilling. His fight with The Governor was nicely brutal and visceral. Even though Merle died, at least, he got a moment of redemption and went out as a sort of martyr.
There were a few other characters who got a little screen time and some memorable moments. The first one is Glenn, who’s arc this season has been terrific. In the last few episodes he has transformed away from the timid guy he was to a much more a man. How he right out told Daryl that he would never forgive Merle for he did to Maggie. He feels like he’s becoming another Rick. Another one was the show mentioning the watch that Hershel gave to Glenn in the second season and finally telling us what it actually symbolized. I was one of those people who mocked that moment in the second season, mainly because of the line talking about Chinese immigrants or something. It was nice for the writers to explain it and use it as a moment for Glenn to step up and take on this protector role towards Maggie. This show doesn’t have many happy moments, so it was nice to see Glenn and Maggie’s make shift wedding complete with a ring taken from a zombie and the zombies attending it, all during a beautiful sunset.
Finally I have to talk about the end because wow what a moment for Daryl. Norman Reedus embodies this character so well, because you feel for Daryl because that was the last member of his family, who is now part of the undead. To see him stab Merle in the head numerous times was satisfying and touching. Satisfying cause lets face it, Merle is a dick and not many people are going to miss him, but watching Daryl’s face and his breakdown at his brother’s death might have brought some tears to people’s eyes, didn’t to mine but you never know.
I’m going to end this review by pointing how much of an animal the Governor has become, I mean biting of Merle’s fingers, wow. So for me it would be satisfying seeing his death in next week’s finale but we will have to see if the writers even do that.