With the end of the season tantalisingly close, conclusions are being reached at alarming pace.
After negotiating with the governor and discussing the idea of trading Michonne for a chance at peace with his two most trusted friends, Daryl and Hershell, Rick finally makes a decision.
They will take Michonne to the Governor, without her, or the rest of the group knowing. All for the sake of everyone else in the group.
The decision is met with raised eyebrows (Daryl and Hershell’s) as it really doesn’t sound like Rick’s kind of thing. But who’s to know what he’s thinking since he’s been acting decidedly bonkers all season.
As he’s the leader, orders are followed, including the idea to involve Merle, as they’s need a large group to take Michonne in.
Merle too is surprised at Rick and does a good job at making the sheriff immediately regret his decision, explaining that the governor will probably torture Michonne and by insinuating that Rick is just as bad as he (Merle) is.
Merle continues to circulate the prison, talking to various members of the group in an almost repenting way, and pretty soon it’s obvious that something major is about to happen.
Rick finally sees sense and changes his mind about handing over Michonne at the 11th hour, but it’s too late. Merle has already done the dirty deed himself, predicting that Rick would pull out, and seeing the exchange as the only chance he has of ensuring the safety of his brother.
Merle has a good head start, but Daryl insists on going after him, hoping the intercept before he reaches the Governor. Meanwhile Rick fully starts to regret his actions and decides to come clean to the group and explain that his actions have resulted in Merle, Michonne and Daryl having left the safety of the prison at a pretty crucial time. They’re not overly impressed.
It’s now that Rick drops the bombshell that the group should become more of a democracy again, after he became dictator in the last episode of season 2 – it seems that him making decisions on his own just isn’t working very well.
On the way to the meeting place, Merle and Michonne talk a lot about being a loner and why they are who they are, whilst killing the odd zombie or two.
Merle seems intent on delivering Michonne to his former leader and accepts that he always does ‘the dirty jobs that no one else has the stomach for’. But Michonne notices some psychological cracks and finally manages to talk him round.
This buys Michonne her freedom, but Merle still feels he needs to do something meaningful to help the prison and perhaps get some recognition from the people that he really cares about (even though he pretends he doesn’t).
Drawing zombies to the meeting place, Merle commences a suicide mission, taking out a fair few of the better Woodbury soldiers.
Predictably though, it doesn’t last long and the Governor soon has his hand clasped tightly around Merle’s throat.
When Daryl finally tracks his brother down, he has turned. And we bid farewell to the character that we have affectionately hated ever since the earliest episodes.
With the deal cancelled and with Andrea still bound to a chair in a Woodbury workshop somewhere, all we have left is one almighty, explosive episode to look forward to…
You can read our other reviews of episodes from Season 3 of The Walking Dead here:
The Walking Dead Season 3