The Walking Dead "This Sorrowful Life" Review: Sick Sad World

The Walking Dead S03E14: "This Sorrowful Life"

There's an inherent flaw in The Governor's intimidation factor: He resembles the cursed loved child of Bruce Campbell and Tim DeKay and, other than his disregard for human life, I don't know how he got to be so great and powerful. What I'm saying is, he looks he should be collaring painting forgers with Natty Matty Bomer and not biting anyone's fingers off.

I haven't read the comics (I know, I know), but from the images I've seen, The Governor is much more intimidating-looking when he comes off like a chubby Danny Trejo and not like your dad. Though that's possibly a conscious choice on the show's part, to make The Governor look less like a Cobra reject and more like someone in your neighborhood, that anyone could be put upon enough to make these tough choices and be these bad people.

The penultimate episode of a TV season is almost always used to set the table for the finale—especially on a series like this one and especially with a season constructed like this one. I get the feeling, however, that we probably could've leap-frogged "This Sorrowful Life" and condensed it to a couple scenes where Rick says, "Nah, I'm not going to throw Michonne to them. There's literally not a stupider move I could make," and we could just slip into the war. Instead, we got a meditation on why The Governor looks like a poor man's Coach Taylor and not a sinister land pirate.


"This Sorrowful Life" drew heavily on whether people have the stones to be a part of this world and make the hard decisions. So many people are at so many different stages of their post-apocalyptic character development, and the season has been so efficient, that we could spend an episode just sorting through it all. Though we checked in with Daryl, Merle, Carol, and Glen this week, the obvious comparison was Pip Blake and Rick Grimes.

Merle has been the character to pass judgement most bluntly, with so much frequency, it's almost soliloquy. In his mind, Rick doesn't have what it takes and The Governor has almost too much. The problem has to do with which one worships humanity and which one worships the ideal of humanity. Rick coming off "soft," after the death of his wife and being demoralized by the onslaught of a new villain who isn't mindlessly craven—not to mention a set of etched-in-stone principles that keeps him from doing Bad Things—is directly related to his quest to maintain humanity in a world that's quickly losing it. Andrea may think he's grown cold, but he's just cagey and leans toward stasis rather than absorbing anything challenging.

We've seen him crack under the burden of this Lori-less world and a petulant warlord but, for me, it wasn't until this episode that we not only got a Winger speech out of Rick, but it segued effortlessly into a Jack Shephard speech. He started off very apologetic and mood-enhancing, inspiring the sort of familial clannishness that binds the group. He admitted that he's been wrong to demand his dictatorship and conceded that they all need each other in order to survive. The exact words weren't there (they're something like "we stick together") but the sentiment was: live together or die alone.

Meanwhile, The Governor is hellbent on protecting a "way of life" rather than actually respecting humanity. He's been able to maintain society and civility in Woodbury through charisma, reason, a bit of nationalism, and, when necessary, violent exhibitions of cold-hearted brutishness. Andrea started (or maybe just continued) that rhetoric of Woodbury being recorded in the annals of history and, for such a concept to turn the crowds so much so quickly, it appears to be the effective platform that The Governor ran on unopposed. While Rick maintains order through sheer righteousness, our b'patched villain disguises with idealistic principles the seedy, inhumane nature of the violence he uses to keep order.

Other people with stones according to Merle: Carol and Michonne. Carol he told directly, saying she's no longer a mouse scared of her own shadow. That is a good thing about Carol that I'm glad the show bring up. In the first couple seasons, there were no two people who annoyed me more than Dale and Carol, because both of them were so whiny. As Carol's gotten some tragedy under her belt, she's become a contributing member of the group (not that washing clothes wasn't essential) and a voice of reason to the growing number of crazies who populate it, including the cray of crays, Merle. Not that I'd wish any of what the character's had to endure on my worst enemy, but it's been good for her to become grounded and jaded just like everyone else. There's no room for crybabies here. Well, except for the baby, though it's up for debate if there's actually room for her in this cast, either.

But obviously the person in this crew with the truest stones is Michonne, and I was glad to see those one-on-one scenes to show the mutual respect she and Merle share, despite hating each other with the fire of a thousand suns. Merle is a brick wall to anyone who tries to talk some sense to him: Rick, Daryl, almost anyone with breasts. But one car ride with Michonne and the guy about loses it and lets her out of the vehicle just before he sacrifices himself for the "greater good" (defined by Rick to be the people at the prison, not the people in Woodbury).

And that brings us to Daryl. In the conversations I've had about this show, I've maintained that this group would be cooked if it weren't for Daryl doing the things that needed to get done with regard to basic survival, like hunting and being able to shoot walkers without attracting the attention of God and everyone. Merle passes judgment on everybody he comes across based on whether or not they have the spine to survive in this world, but Daryl is the only one who's never been given permission to have balls. Nothing Daryl could do would make Merle admit that his brother has grown up or taken charge of his life. Merle has been the spectre that haunts Daryl's confidence. He's the father figure the brothers never seemed to really have, the one that Daryl is constantly trying to please in his mind. So it's fitting that the only way he could exhibit manhood was to kill him.

Well, Pip Blake beat him to the punch of actually killing Merle. But Daryl was able to accomplish the next best thing while never having to violate the audience's opinion of him. Killing his own brother while that brother was alive might not have turned viewers sour on Daryl, since Merle was still "the devil" (his words), still a little racist (playfully, if that's possible, as opposed to with the vitriol he spewed in Season 1), and, most importantly, still Daryl's personal demon. But letting Daryl put Merle out of his misery as a walker allowed him to reap all the benefits of killing his brother with none of the costs. He still gets the character trauma and resolution with none of the pesky "oh my gah he just killed a human!" side effects.

Episodes 14 and 15 have been relatively weak ones leading up to the end of the season, but they allowed us some decent meditations on character, like how Rick is the humane leader and how Andrea is a putz. We're through them now, though, and we can focus on the inevitable battle between our protagonists and the villainous forces led by Kyle Chandler's body double.



SURVIVAL NOTES


– One last event that took some cojones: Glenn asking Hershel, then Maggie, to marry into the family. I appreciate how Glenn asked Hershel first, and that it took a lot of guts to go about it by beating all the way around the bush before getting there. But then what was up with that sickly proposal? Just slide it into her hand and don't even really ask? Have some guts, man. G: "So, I got something for you." M: "Yeah?" G: "Yeah. It's this thing I took from a decomposing, reanimated corpse after I broke her finger off through a fence." M: "That's so sweet. Of course, I'll marry you." G: "Dope."

– Michonne killing a walker by wrapping what keeps her in captivity around the throat of her would-be assailant and cutting its head off with a garotte. That was a thing of beauty.

– I'm slightly disturbed that I thought Merle's body count, at 16 people, was low.

– Also, it was probably a little weird that, when I saw Merle's zombie head poke up, mouth full of guts, all I could think was, "Hey, hermano."

– Everyone seems to hesitate when they've got The Governor in their sights. They wouldn't have such problems if they had a little more Ryan Hardy in them.

– What was up with Maggie's uniform? It was like she was about to start goosestepping.

– Also, why is Maggie the only one getting haircuts? Carl's rocking the bowl cut version of a Bieber sweep, while Daryl's crossing into My Chemical Romance territory. Carol's hair is definitely going through an awkward phase. Yet Maggie always looks fresh. Are we to assume that it's just what Lauren Cohan's genes bring to the role?

– Not to make too many allusions to Lost here, but there's something about Tyreese's group that reminds me of the tail section group: a bunch of misfits who don't really belong and are basically useless thus far.

Comments (184)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
It was a filler, but I thought this was one of the better episodes of the season (but that title ain't too hard to earn in this crappy season). Merle was brilliant. Wish he had lived longer. Just when we were starting to empathize with him, they kill him off (a la Lori).
2
Reply
Flag
As Raylan Givens says (Justified), "Some people just need killin'..." Like the Governor.
1
Reply
Flag
whats up with merle taking the prison´s phone with him??
Reply
Flag
He used the cable to tie Michonne's wrists, as he needed something "she couldn't chew through"
2
Reply
Flag
Erm, I found the episode far more succinct and to the point that most of the review was though? You kind of lost me with the constant prattling on with the governer and who he does and does not remind you of...if in fact I thought this issue was already thoroughly discussed? Anyway, I thought the swan song for Merle episode had some balls to it indeed, so I'm surprised that most of the review seemed to be spent complaining about it.
3
Reply
Flag
Sooooo boring! I'm glad this season is almost over.
1
Reply
Flag
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
1
Reply
Flag
i don't understand why tvcom writers love to say bad things about the walking dead, but when it comes to dexter, they're all smiles and saying dexter is the best thing on tv. i really hate dexter nowadays! and i'm starting to suspect people here are paid to say good things about that show (i really need to get off my chest my despise for dexter after season 4). that being sad... this was another great episode, to me. i cried when merle died - and again when daryl saw him as a walker. michael rooker is such an amazing actor! <3 the scene with him drinking whisky listening to motorhead... just...WOW. another thing: you should start thinking about your audience abroad. half of the people you mentioned in this text i do not know who they are and couldn't care less, but i could not understand the comparisons you made, obviously. not everyone that visits this website is north american, you know? but one thing i liked about your text was the comparison to lost.
6
Reply
Flag
Yes; it's kind of like the reviews of "Once Upon a Time" where it's claimed that the show is loved, but then the show is dragged through the mud. And don't worry about not getting the references; I'm North American (New Englander, to be exact), and I didn't get half of the references.
3
Reply
Flag
The first time I start liking Merle a tiny bit and they kill him! His car trick had me cracking up, and then he started taking pot shots at the Gov's people just like Rick SHOULD have been doing the last couple episodes, not half-assedly fortifying the prison! I was actually sad to see him go, and that Daryl/Merle scene was brutal. I may have even teared up a little as Daryl cried for his brother while also taking out a lifetime's worth of anger on his face. RIP Zombie Merle.

Glenn and Maggie! As soon as he started talking marriage I was thinking 'daww that could actually be really sweet, just as long as he doesn't give her a ring looted off a zombie corpse' and what does he do??? Rip off a zombie lady's ring finger! At least he had the decency to remove the finger before giving Maggie the ring, but I think Maggie would've been happier with a bent up paperclip than with that corpse ring. Yuk, guy. I hope you rubbed some Purell on it.
1
Reply
Flag
Michael Rooker is a national treasure. I think his performance in this episode should yield him a guest star Emmy nod. I'm serious here.
6
Reply
Flag
I thought the scene with Daryl finding his zombie brother Merle was really touching.
Especially Merle finally did something good, maybe for the first time we have met his character...i loved how Daryl kept pushing him away for a couple of times and crying before he finally killed him and stabbed him over and over again, releasing all his anger, confusion, dissapointment into the brains of his brother...!! Loved it...poor Daryl...

Micchone is simply cool Even if she doesn't speak and just stands there, she is cool. Loved how we saw, how she killed some zombs with her sword, smoothly like she was going through some butter...she kept her cool, even she knew her fate, if the governer would get her..

The governer..i couldn't believe that he actually but his fingers off..he is completely lost it...In the comics i think he was more phyco...then he is in the series...

OK, that was the most lamest and boring proposal i have ever seen. He just gave her the ring and stood there..was horrible...i would have said NO you ass!!! hihihihihihi...and walked away dramaticly....hahahahahahahahaha...

3
Reply
Flag
This episode felt like it didn't accomplish much besides make Daryl sad. Best part was definitely Micchones zombie kill, she has definitely become one of my favorite characters, seems the most rational?
Reply
Flag
i think he biggest problem this season has it that they have killed Lory to soon...in the comics that happend at the end of the last battle for the prision ..and by that time rick, Lory, Carl and the baby were a almost a normal happy family..i dont know what is the worse thing that might happen in this season finale that could be better than that.
1
Reply
Flag
Your missing the point of the series here, Nick.

The series ecxells by being more "realistic" than the comic.
That's why it got rid of Michonne's pet zombies so quickly and keeps her samurai-act to a minimum.

Could you imagine Danny Trejo as the Guv'nor running a city where people think everything is sugar-coated candy and their boss is a really nice guy? Nah!

If Danny Trejo was running Woodbury it would be a madmaxian slum filled with cut-throats and hookers.
4
Reply
Flag
Staff
I don't think I'm missing the point. The pro to having a character that looks like the TV version of the Governor is that you get that depth, a person that appears charming but is masking a ruthless, damaged killer underneath. The con, the "flaw" in the character is that you make him stalk Andrea and, though you know you should be afraid for her, if you exit out of the moment for even a little bit, you only see your dad in an eyepatch. And that's pretty funny.

The "realism" is what makes this series such a good adaptation. Instead of just trying to recreate what's in the comics, whether it works or not, it's good to see this series recreate the moods, feelings, and themes while creating stories and developing characters that make sense for TV. What causes horror in a comic book may not necessarily work when it's being portrayed by live-action actors. That's what writing an existing work into a new medium is about: using the conventions of that medium to convey the material of another that operates by a different set of rules.

Also, I really hope there is a Danny Trejo-run town coming up. Bizarro Woodbury.
More +
1
Reply
Flag
Noooooo, poor Darryl, just when i was starting to like Merle who, did anyone else noticed him channeling 'Quinn' from Jaws in that speech to Rick! Excellent acting, abit of a tearjerker, didn't expect that from the semi!
1
Reply
Flag
Maybe it's me but I really dislike this article. No offense... but really? First you said you didn't like Dale, the only guy trying to warn everyone about Shane and his craziness not to mention keeping people on track (ie. Herschel before Herschel). Next you decide that cray is going to be used instead of crazy. Stop the foolishness!!!
3
Reply
Flag
Staff
Hershel is the better version of Dale. Dale was whiny and weak, a blight on the group. Hershel offers guidance while Dale offered nagging. Hershel has a wisdom that's believable and useful experience. For an old man, Dale was kind of a brat.

As for "cray," I don't use it in my day-to-day but it does give a sentence a certain connotation that can't so easily be achieved otherwise. It makes the phrasing informal and juvenile and it hurries the pacing of the sentence, especially useful if you want the words to run together effortlessly. As long as the reader doesn't pause with disgust at the word, I think it works just fine. Sorry to give you an obstacle.
4
Reply
Flag
I'm guessing Maggie's sis is cutting hair, being that they lived so far from town, since it's common that family members do in-between trims when it's difficult to get to town for a professional cut. If I lived in a world filled with zombies, I'd want my hair short, or in a tight updo.

Tyreese & his sis seem like very decent people. It's a shame they only got to see Rick at his very worst, making it easier to believe the Gov's snake-oil charm.
2
Reply
Flag
Agree with all of the above notes. Also, that this episode was weak for a penultimate episode. I have absolutely no tension with regard to the finale, which means that the penultimate episode has not done its job.
Reply
Flag
I just love how TWD time after time teases us with a flicker of hope, even if ever so little - and then tramples it, reminding us that there is none. It' s always just as bad as you expected, or worse. First it was Sophia, who we all wanted to be alive for so long until she crawled out of that barn. This time it was Merle's dead eyes as he looked upon his brother, and I for one half expected some small amount of recognition, as if there would have been some part of Merle still in there, that he hadn't turned fully yet...but nope. Even Daryls response at first was of utter disbelief as he shoved him away, like "Come on bro, snap out of it!" before doing the inevitable. Truly great acting by Norman Reedus and a very good performance by Michael Rooker as well.
4
Reply
Flag
Finally watched the ep. And have to give a bow in awe of Norman reedus' acting abilities. Its rare in a show like this to feel the loss if a character in a tear jerking way, particularly an a-hole like Merle. And I wasn't too upset until Daryl started crying then I got a lump in my throat, it was entirely his reaction though.
1
Reply
Flag
I am kind of bored with the second half of this season...is it just me? It's not because it's slow. Apparently I'm in the minority that really liked season 2. It just...seems like they're stalling for the big showdown. And despite the show's attempts, I don't view the governor as the menacing, evil threat he's supposed to be.
4
Reply
Flag
Yeah, the Governor fell flat to me. Before this season, I was really excited to get to know him, 'cos everybody would just talk about this character. I don't really find him menacing or evil either - a little like I felt about Son of Anarchy's big villain last season, Pope. Boring characters.
4
Reply
Flag
I would grade this episode a B+. Michael Rooker/Merle managed to turn a total a***hole into a sympathetic character if only for a brief time. I know it was more filler before the finale but Merle was always written pretty clearly. The way his conscious started to get to him felt real to me. Looking forward tom the finale. Should be awesome!!
Reply
Flag
I'm honestly surprised they killed off Merle. Sure he is the most immoral of characters but given his development and revealing that he was still alive, I thought they would make him last longer, or at least make him be a bigger plot device (like sacrificing himself in the end to save the group or something). I think his death was really meaningless because nothing was resolved with it. I doubt Daryl is still 'over' his brother.
2
Reply
Flag
Well, Merle sacrificed himself to help the group. The Governor wasn't killed, but looks like a bunch of "enemies" was. So, in a way, he helped the guys at the prison.
2
Reply
Flag
I don't like Merle (who doesn't?) so I wasn't greatly fond of this episode, but I think they accomplished what they wanted: sympathy for Merle by choosing to go on a solo stand against Woodbury and releasing Michonne. The car distraction was smart, especially for Merle. The finger biting scene was screwed up though, obviously in a TWD good way.
3
Reply
Flag
I felt this half season is more centric episodes , every character with an episode about him/her , kinda like LOST and i fuckin like it !
Daryl cryin scene was so powerful , hope the season finale will bring more awesomeness to this superb season!
5
Reply
Flag
Good review, and i'm glad someone else noticed the hair, I've been wondering if Glenn and Maggie are actually sneaking off for a little cheeky trim rather than the other more obvious reason.

But I think I only really noticed the hair disparity because Daryl is starting to look so ridiculous!
2
Reply
Flag
I thought they did a great job with Merle, a selfless, revolting human being that you would never give the time of day too and actually run the other way to caring about him. Huh how did they do that! Geez I hate to say this but I actually felt for Merle, I liked how he released Michonne (I adore her, my favorite character by far) and teased those darn zombies! So Merle, so clever. The Governor is just totally insane along the lines of Charlie Manson, cult-like and evil. He makes the zombies look innocent!
5
Reply
Flag
Yes I agree with you, I used to dislike Merle but in the end I really felt for him and was sad to see him go. Merle interest to the group
2
Reply
Flag
I meant to say selfish not selfless. I definitely think Michael Rooker (Merle) deserves an EMMY for supporting actor, he was brilliant. Hated this guy so much and for him to turn the audience around. Great moment for TV.
1
Reply
Flag
I would like a little more action to happen in this show. There is a lot of talking and whining and killing of random zombies in order to provide a dose of gore in every episode. They should have a little more fun or at least be more normal again after the tragedies are over. I would just like them to stop talking so much about how awful everything is, cheer up and do something about the situation instead. I'd like more actual plot instead of just "getting by" with all the crazies they meet who all seem like the same guys.
Team up with Milton, experiment a little. Try to find a cure maybe or find out more about what happened in the first place, just get a plot!
The "getting by" storyline will get old fast. How many seasons can it go on like this? How many regular characters are they going to kill off in the process? I feel as though there is no one left from the original group. They are so few now and they are going to kill off another one of them soon. :(
4
Reply
Flag
I wished Merle had managed to beat up the governor a little, but instead he came off as the weak one there and died... and became undead, then died. :( It was sad. I was hoping for him to grow part of the group in time. Now I hope Daryl will be the one to finish off the governor to avenge his brother.
4
Reply
Flag
It has been obvious from about the third episode with The Governor that the casting is all wrong, he is not intimidating or doesn't even come across as an insane man trying to maintain some sort of order, he is somewhat similar to that of a poor man's Mugabe. A weak Governor has ruined what could have been a great season, even with the talking episodes included.
5
Reply
Flag
Have we noticed that a character that we care about, before they are killed, begins to tire of all of the killing and expresses a softness that tells us that they are too good for this world. Dale. T-Dog. Merle.
2
Reply
Flag
Yeah and whenever someone is going to die they will always be in the previously on... more often at the very start...
2
Reply
Flag
I really really loved this episode. Unlike the last few episodes. As usual, and as is with most shows these days, the "bad but good" characters are the only ones even remotely well written and Merle was the perfect example. His interactions with Michonne were genius. There was just no other word for it. I completely see how she would be the only one to ever be able to get through to him. It was precisely BECAUSE he hated her that she got to talk to him that way and ended up inspiring him to go fight the Governor's group. Not saying the episode was perfect, but the whole Merle storyline that was concluded in this episode and the people he got to interact with, was just a thing of beauty to me.

I gotta say, Rick is getting boring as shit. And I couldn't have been more annoyed that Glenn went to Hershel to ask for Maggie's hand. Please GTFO. When you wanna marry anyone you go to them to ask, not anybody else, thank you very much. Stupid male BS. Which leads me to another point, which somebody else already made. Mainly that these writers only seem to be able to write men. The women hardly get any real development. They're extremely 2 dimensional. Why else do you think people feel so much hatred for characters like Lori and Andrea. Because they aren't written like real people.
Still wondering about the next episode though and naturally, keeping my false hope for improvement next season.
More+
3
Reply
Flag
I couldn't agree less with the reviewer about this episode. After last week's borefest I thought that This Sorrowful Life was superb, possibly the best episode of the series.

Merle's actions in this episode went a long way to redeeming his character. It showed a man, who had done many reprehensible things in his life, coming to terms with them and finally doing something selfless, not only for the group but for Daryl. In sacrificing himself he freed Daryl from the bond of being his brother and allowed him to fully embrace the group as his true family.

As opposed to it being an episode that just set up the season finale I believe it to have been a very important step in the narrative arc and I, for one, am salivating over what's to come next week.
11
Reply
Flag
and will we see more of the mind when it turns like shane?

that would be cool if there somthing more to it.

or a super walker,that is in some way it self still can think talk and acs like a human.
3
Reply
Flag
still i dont get why the hell they call them walkers sjees its zombies
if you have a show about vampires you dont call them only vangers or suckers.

now we only have one episode left and i geuss the big bang (that a season final schould have)is just the last 4 min.

And they skip a part in season 4.
i love the show but its realy slow
would love to have a few(yes more than 1!!!)episode that is from min 1 to the last min full of action.

1
Reply
Flag
After two consecutive rather bland episodes we get this one, and it was great in every aspect I can think of. We've got a great send off of Merle's character and some strong redemption act for him, though I can say that I could have enjoyed Merle sticking around for some more time. We've got some of the best Michonne's badassary- what with her taking down some of them walkers with her hands tied, etc.
So now we have this tightly knit group of pepole freshly out of Ricktatorship and back to democracy mode at the very verge of making to decision to either stay and fight or flee for their lives. Whatever their choice is, the Gov is now totally out of his mind with rage, and the war is on their doorstep. Ah, can't wait for the finale, and hopefully the Gov is going down. IMO Woodburry could last to another season in some sort, but come on kill the Gov. KILL HIM
1
Reply
Flag
Ben died, and Allen was there. Why did he left him there? Even in Woodbury they bury their deads.
Reply
Flag
I stuck it out through the at least decent first season, and the atrocious give or take the last few episodes of season 2, and the first half of this fantastic season only to have it drop back into all the issues that plagued last year. Conversations that go nowhere and choices that mean nothing. How many god damned times do we have to have an episode revolving around "The world is different now" or "we're losing our humanity" or "the threat is people like the Governor!" because I for one am SICK of it.

I'm not saying the show is about zombies. I actually think the pace this year has been perfect. I am a writer myself, and I understand character development and all that but that's where this shows biggest flaw is. It's LACK of character development, or really, lack of interesting characters. I've only cared about a handful of folks. Shane (and really I just liked the actor more than the character), Glenn, Darryl, Dale, Hershel, Merle and to an extent Rick. Rick, Darryl, Glenn and Merle have all had phenomenal character development, but when they try to shoehorn in this idea that Michonne is someone I should give two shits about, it fails. Why? Because they have yet-in 15 episodes-to give me ONE SINGLE REASON to care about her. With no backstory and no real interesting characteristics outside of "I have a sword", I don't give any shits about whether she lives or dies. She's uninteresting, and she's essentially a scowl on the screen. People say Carol has had development, but she's actually ON the show so far and few in between that it makes it kind of hard to even NOTICE her development.

Now, I haven't read the comics either-mainly because I read a lot of other comics and I just haven't gotten to them yet-but that doesn't fare for an argument.

"Oh, you should read the comics to understand more!"

No. Television and comics are two entirely different mediums and if you think I should have to read outside material, even if it's source material, to like the character, you've failed at writing television. One medium should NOT rely on another. It's why Halo 4's story made little to no sense because I didn't read the books so I had essentially NO IDEA what was happening. Sure, I COULD'VE read the books, but it's not a games job to make me read books (and for the record I do love reading), it's a games job to tell a story all on its own, without making me go to any outside material. Otherwise, you've failed.

This show is so up and down for me-especially after firing Mazzara, aka as "the dude who saved your fucking show" because Kirkman is a whiny bitch; again, just because you can write one medium doesn't mean you know how television works, Kirkman-that I really think I'm finally done after this finale. The guy who wrote this episode and the one where Rick ran into Morgan (it was called Clear) is taking over for next year, but at this point, I am so sick of Kirkmans bullshit and the problems that flaw this program that I'm just wiping my hands of it after next Sunday, no matter what the end is.

Everytime I watch it, I just feel it should and could be better, and I'm just tired of caring.
More+
6
Reply
Flag
Agree with everything you have written, especially about the character development. There was no possible way I could get any tension from the Governor chasing Andrea around in previous episode because I just don't care what happens either of them. I wish he had killed so I wouldn't have to look at her again. When you feel this way about a character how can you be invested in their story, and hence in the show. I do like Rick, but it is Daryl mainly and Hershel that are the glue for me. I used to like Glenn and Maggie but somehow they have been really badly managed as characters in the last few episodes and if they were never seen again I'm not sure I'd notice.
I really liked Meryl and I was sorry to see him die. Even though Meryl was a 'bad guy', I could understand his character. I always wondered what happened him after the roof and when he would show up again, and I was delighted he did. I think his redemption story was too quick, and he didn't need to die. He could have redeemed himself with the group by saving Maggie's life or something in the final battle. He was always portrayed as a survivor (he cut off his own arm!), and one chat with Michonne, and he's ready to sacrifice himself. I don't buy it. Also while I felt sorry for Daryl, this killing loved ones was done by the show before, and done better.
Finally, I agree on your other point too, you never hear people say read Game of Thrones if you want to understand the series. Sure, read it because it expands the world even more, but all the characters are fully developed in the show, and there are waaaayyyyyy more of them too. For me the best tv show airing at the moment (including Breaking Bad) is Justified, the writing is superb with fantastic character development, I am completely invested in all the characters. It's a masterclass in writing.
More +
2
Reply
Flag
Good points, well made. The "read the comics" line is tired, and your GoT reference was perfect; there are 10,000+ pages of material in ASOIF thus far and yet the television series is perfectly captivating and the story is well told without requiring external media to prop it all up. On top of the fact that if Talking Dead guests are correct, the comics and the television series diverge on numerous issues, so what then, truly, is the point of directing fans to the comics to plug up the holes in the television series?

There are several characters I am attached to and a couple I tune in in hopes of viewing their demise, so I continue to watch, but the flaws hold this show back from being truly great.
2
Reply
Flag
The Walking Dead has a lot of flaws, and the cast of characters is definitely one of them. Rick is a very weak protagonist, firstly. He wasn't very complex or charismatic to begin with, and then when you throw in his breakdown which resulted in him retreating into the background as much as possible for a lead it really didn't do him any favors.

We all know Daryl's been the dark horse and that the show likely wouldn't be half as popular as it without him. He's flawed, he comes from a tough background, he has a huge heart underneath it all, and he's the group's best warrior.

Other than him, Glenn's also been pretty worthy. He went from the heartfelt kid to a pretty surprisingly tough guy whose only goal is to do everything he can to keep the people he cares about safe.

The rest...are alright. Carl's been impressive just for his age and that he's handled himself better than a lot of adults would. Hershel is wise and often the voice of reason and decision-making. He draws empathy and admiration but he's one-note in his purpose.

When it comes to almost all of their female characters, they just blow. TWD clearly needs to get more women on the production team because these dudes couldn't come up with a dynamic character with tits if they were, well, paid. Michonne is the glowering swordsman, Andrea is the idealist who can't see anything for what it is until it's too late, Carol is the mommy figure who takes care of all the necessities behind-the-scenes, the blond girl whose name I can't even remember is as good as wallpaper, and Maggie is heroine-lite. They clearly want her to be a lead female but she doesn't have anything other than the looks and the love life plot.

Basically, the show needs some more intriguing, exciting, and frankly unique players. Merle fit the bill but he's dead. Michonne was introduced in a completely badass and fascinating way that looked like it was going to take the world to a whole other level character-wise but that petered out so hard heads spun. Sad thing is is that it doesn't look like it'll get better anytime soon. No one in Woodbury seems worthwhile and Tyrese's group is completely lame.
More +
1
Reply
Flag
>"I'm a writer too!"
>a bit later write "aka as". Dammit, me. Dammit.
2
Reply
Flag
I'll be honest, I can't recall most of the dialogue from Rick and the prison folks, probably why I could barely get through the first half of this article (no offense to Nick Campbell) because that's not what captivated me this episode. It was Merle and his interactions with everyone (and thing, hot wiring a car with one hand) he came across. I loved what Michonne said to him about a true evil person not having to carry the weight of his decisions like a burden, that they carry out sick deeds while feeling as light as a feather. And how he let her go, then carried on with this brilliant plan (like was that plan B or did he come up with it while on the drive?). And I have to say I did not see zombie Merle coming at all, anyone else? I was imagining Daryl walking into that barn and either seeing his brother hanging dead or zombies already eating him; but I don't know why I figured the Governor would do something as humane as shoot a man in the head after beating the shit out of him and biting off 3 of is 5 only fingers. Another thing the Gov can add to his sick list. And Daryl's reaction... I teared.
And did I miss what Merle did with the phone? Did he just use the cords to tie up Michonne? For a minute we thought he was talking on it too, that he was talking to something when Daryl found him. This show is good at making us really feel for a character that was not necessarily liked moments before killing them; like with Lori (annoying as shit, we all couldn't wait for her demise) even got that little tear-jerking speech that made me for a very quick moment think it'd be sad to see her go, very very quick.
More+
4
Reply
Flag
I liked the episode very much. It was a great swan song for Merle. he knew he would never be a team player, as that's beyond his nature and if he had to go, it would be in his own way. I respect that.

About Rick's leadership. First he will give Michone to the governor, then he changes his mind. Rick made a dramatic speech to say that from then on things were a dictatorship. And now he made another dramatic speech to say exactly the opposite. What is his next dramatic speech going to be about? The right to flip-flop? It could go either way...

I find it funny that Tim and Nick diametrically disagree on what the governor should look like. To Nick he's not threatening enough, to Tim, he looks great because he's not obviously bad. I side with Tim in this one.
1
Reply
Flag
I'm really curious about the pictures NC used for his review here. Where are the gore effects?
Look at the Michonne picture: She's pulling the wire but there is no wire and the walker seems fine to me. And Merle didn't look that recognizable at the end ...
Merle.
What a way to go! Sad to let him go though ... I really loved the part with Merle admitting to Michonne that he never thinks about why he does stuff and how it effected his way and the way of his brother. It just explained all about Merle and the man he was with all his flaws and strengths. A simple but serious question from Rick and it really got him ... thinking? A grave thing to do to a guy like Merle. And Norman Reedus was very good, Daryl seemed to be prepared for all but seeing Merle as a walker really cut him deep. The poor little brother. And he will always be the little brother, either if you survive your elder one(s) by decades - or kill their zombie-versions - you'll always stay the little one.
2
Reply
Flag
I noticed earlier how where Merle is laying there after Daryl stabbed him, on the shot used in the review, there's no stab wounds in his head. Perhaps production stills that haven't been run through the post production house yet?
Reply
Flag
I don't agree with your interpretation of Merle and Daryl's relationship. I've already mentioned why in several replies below. I wonder how one justified comment about being ball-less or something like that could be interpreted as Daryl seeking Merle's approval or as anything other then Merle telling his brother to think for himself and stand up for what he believes in.
What makes you think "Daryl is constantly trying to please [Merle})? Genuinely curious.

Despite Daryl "following" Rick, I do think Daryl has balls--big ones;-)

Rick annoyed me--dumbass to think the governor would honor any agreement and doing to Michonne what Merle did to Maggie--give her to the governor.

I love Rick but if he dies then no more hallucinations of Lori!!! Also Daryl & Herschell could lead the group...nah, I want Rick to live but let him have a conscience

lol about the haircuts

lame proprosal
1
Reply
Flag
Loved Michonne in this episode. So calm and insightful and chatty! Just kept going on and on to Merle until she finally wore him down. Great tactic.

Also, I totally missed Glen taking the ring off lady zombie's finger. I thought he just went crazy and broke off her fingers for some reason. Glad Maggie didn't ask where he got it from...

I've really enjoyed these last three episodes, guess my expectations aren't as high as some people's.
6
Reply
Flag
Nice Lost references. But it's Jack Shephard and not Shepherd. And yes, it's sad I noticed that without looking it up.
Reply
Flag
Staff
Whoops. Noted and fixed. Thanks.
1
Reply
Flag
" Also, why is Maggie the only one getting haircuts?"

Hey, she's the bride! IMO She can get all the haircuts she wants.
2
Reply
Flag
I understand why everyone would hate Merle but considering the recent character development and how he died... I could barely watch when Daryl had to kill zombie-merle. It was second most traumatic death next to Lori.
3
Reply
Flag
Considering that I found Lori's death kinda satisfactory, since being honest she was a bitch, I partially agree with you and place Merle death as the most dramatic up till now
2
Reply
Flag
I hated Lori... but having died giving birth and then Carl having to shoot her in the head was pretty messed up.
Reply
Flag
Ok, I got robbed; do you mean to tell me that all that Andrea torture that I was looking forward to happened behind the scenes???
ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME???
1
Reply
Flag
According to next week's preview, that'll happen in the finale. I'm curious though whether she'll get away next week and join Rick's group or end up strapped to a share for 8 months or so until the next season. lol
1
Reply
Flag
It better be... me wants some Andrea blood :p
Ahh next sunday will be awesome and if we finish with a frame of her strapped to a chair staring in despair to the horizon where Rick's gang is heading to it will pretty much make my year, I would gladly wait for the next 10 months knowing she's rotting somewhere in Woodbury :D
1
Reply
Flag
MERLE!! There's going to be reckoning, "Governor." You done f---ed up now.
7
Reply
Flag
Well, this show lacks balls. First half of season was good, great at times even, but then... This episode had some good dialogues (between Michonne and Merle, Daryl and Merle) but Rick's speech after words "Greater good" made me cringe. What a melodramatic guy that Rick. Jeez. I'm starting to think AMC is a bunch of empty suits.
3
Reply
Flag
Definitely. The "Tailies" thing with Tyreese's crew keeps coming to mind for me. Also: I felt like the earlier shows had very few speeches and were the better for it. People showed who they were with action. This show had Rick, Michonne, and Merle going on and on, filling the audience's minds with stuff the writers wanted to put there, but seemingly less wired and dynamic than before, more thoughtful and verbal. 16 episodes. (makes taffy-pulling gesture).
Reply
Flag
When Merle died, I was like "finally!!!" That character we annoying. I did like the trick with the car he did, putting up a loud stereo to lure the zombies along. They should do that for Woodbury too. Keep them busy while attacking from another side.
Poor Andrea, though... she had to wait this one out in the chair with the thing in her mouth.

BTW, who is going to marry the couple? there is no one official around to do so.
Reply
Flag
I believe, as mayor of a town, the Governor can do that for them. But seriously, usual rules don't apply when the county clerk's office is staffed by zombies.
4
Reply
Flag
BTW 2: this must have been the episode where Michonne had the most lines to say.
3
Reply
Flag
Load More Comments

Like TV.com on Facebook