And so the second half of season 3 of The Walking Dead kicks off (or episode 9 for those of you that are counting).
After being left on a knife edge back in 2012, The Walking Dead viewers were no doubt troubled for the entire winter period wondering ‘what’s going to happen to Daryl?!’
As expected, we join the drama just where it left off, with Merle and Daryl encircled by angry Woodbury townsfolk and the governor encouraging them the brothers to fight each other.
As Merle and Daryl exchange blows, Andrea thrashes about, in turmoil with her feelings for the Governor, Woodbury and her former companions in the prison. Thankfully the scene is interrupted by smoke grenades and gunfire as Rick, and Michonne disperse the crowd and take Daryl and Merle to safety.
This meets with a frosty reception back at the car when Glenn, who is understandably still angry at Merle for nearly killing him and having a part to play in Maggie’s sexual assault.
As Rick tries to mediate, it becomes clear that no-one can really trust Merle, including us viewers at home, and so Daryl and his brother depart, leaving Rick, Glenn and Maggie exhausted and at odds with one another. Morale dips to a new low with the loss of Daryl, one of the strongest team members and a crowd favourite.
The assault on Woodbury also damages its defences, letting in a bunch of zombies, scaring the residents and generally making the Governor even more angry and vengeful.
Andrea stays around though, even though she knows that her old buddies (Michonne included) are alive and well nearby. What is she thinking?
Back at the prison, the new arrivals are waiting to hear whether or not their stay may become a permanent one as Hershel and the others are reluctant to get too friendly without Rick’s approval.
The return of the diminished party is a traumatic one as the prison residents mourn the loss of Oscar, struggle to understand Daryl’s decision to leave and Glenn and Maggie begin to have difficulties, brought on by their kidnapping ordeal.
Rick looks tired as he addresses the group to discuss the possibility of the four new arrivals getting permanent residency. Mid conversation, his dead wife Lori appears to him (yes, he’s losing it again) leading him to shout and wave his gun around wildly. This leads the newcomers to make a sharp exit and the rest of the group to get worried about Rick and their future.
Will the Governor launch a counter strike on the prison? Will Rick pull himself together? And will Daryl really stay with Merle?
I guess we’ll have to wait until next week to find out.
You can read our other reviews of episodes from Season 3 of The Walking Dead here:
The Walking Dead Season 3
You can also watch a sneak peek of the next episode here: