Walking Dead Recap: Sympathy for the Devil

The Walking Dead Season 3 Merle DiesIn this week’s The Walking Dead, it isn’t exactly a shock when Merle takes it upon himself to execute Rick’s “agreement” with the Governor by delivering him Michonne. What is a shock, however, is that, by the end of the episode, we actually feel (almost, kinda-sorta) sorry for the bastard. Here’s how it all plays out.

DEBATE CLUB | As the hour kicks off, Rick informs Daryl and Merle of the Governor’s offer. Daryl, natch, is wholeheartedly against handing over Michonne. “It just ain’t us,” he argues. Even Merle is taken aback that Rick would consider it, much less go through with it. “You’re cold as ice, Officer Friendly,” he cracks. But, of course, Rick isn’t cold, much less ice cold, and, after seeing a vision of Lori, he decides, “I can’t. I won’t.” Well, duh!

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FOR BETTER OR WORSE | Meanwhile, Carol suggests to Merle that maybe, like her, he’s a “late bloomer.” And maybe, in some twisted way, he actually is, because, realizing that Rick could never give the Governor Michonne, he kidnaps her himself. That, in his mind, can, should be and is his role in the group – to do the dirty work so that everyone else’s consciences (and hands) can remain clean. But, before Merle and his hostage reach Woodbury, Michonne manages to get in his head, so much so that – whaaat?! – he sets her free.

TILL DEATH DOES THEM PART | Back at the prison, while Daryl sets off after Merle and Michonne, Glenn asks Hershel for Maggie’s hand in marriage. Once he’s gotten his future father-in-law’s blessing, he steals an engagement ring off a walker’s finger (and, technically, steals the finger, too) and presents it to Maggie. The ring, that is. By then, the finger is (thankfully) gone. So, as you’d hope, she happily agrees to tie the knot.

NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED | Now on a suicide mission to eliminate the Governor, Merle leads a pack of walkers to the outskirts of Woodbury, then, in the ensuing shootout, discreetly guns down as many of the pistol-packing townsfolk as he can. (Good scheme!) Only after the redneck has accidentally killed Ben instead of his intended victim (oops) is he caught. And what an ugly scene that is. The Governor doesn’t just open a can of whoop-ass on Merle; before putting a bullet in his former henchman, he goes so far as to bite off a coupla his fingers! (Yikes!) By the time Daryl arrives on the scene, a zombified Merle is eating what’s left of Ben. So, horrifically, Daryl is forced to stab out the brains of his own brother.

Okay, your turn. What did you think of the episode? Now that Rick has confessed to everyone about the Governor’s offer – and what he almost did about it – do you think his new plan (everybody gets a vote) will work? Sound off below!

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126 Comments
  1. Emily says:

    AWWW I never EVER thought I’d like Merle Dixon but those last few things he did, he kinda redeemed himself (at least in my eyes) plus nobody makes Daryl Dixon cry NOBODY :(

    • CdnSarah says:

      I cried for Daryl- and I am not a cryer…at all. Reedus ripped my heart out in that scene. He’s such a great actor- I’m so happy he’s finally getting the credit he deserves. He’s consistently delivered Emmy quality performances throughout this series.

    • Carl says:

      Epic. The Good vs Evil theme transcends every layer of the show.

    • clark says:

      Nothing will happen it will continue in season 4
      I think daryl will take it wrong he thinks that rick send his brother

    • Carlito says:

      What an incredible episode, I must admit I felt really bad for Merle and Daryl…I knew Merle despite of all his wrong doings still had a good side to him…now on the governor…that is one evil son of a bitch he’s as bad as they come great acting on his part too he’s so believable…now I hope he doesn’t lay a finger on Andrea I kind of have the hots for her…:)

    • brandon says:

      I know I thought Merle Dixon was a pile loop until what he did

  2. Mo says:

    The Governor is just a nasty old meany-head for deliberately leaving Merle to turn. Daryl ain’t gonna put up with that.

    • liddad says:

      That was such an insult from the governor to do that, leaving him to turn.

    • Ashley says:

      I’M NOT THAT SURPRISED THAT MERLE DIED. HE KNEW THAT RICK COULDN’T GIVE UP MICH. HE DOESN’T HAVE THE BACK BONE TO DO IT. SO HE TOOK IT UPON HIMSELF CUZ HE’S DONE IT BEFORE. ALL THE BAD THINGS HE’S DONE ………AND TO KEEP THE PRISON GROUP AND DARYL SAFE…. HE SACRIFICED HIMSELF WEATHER HIS PLAN GOES WELL OR NOT OF COURSE. NORMAN REEDUS DID ONE HELL OF A JOB BRINGING OUT THAT EMOTIONAL SIDE OF DARYL I FELT BAD CUZ HE WAS HOPING THAT MERLE CAN REDEEM HIMSELF- WHICH HE DID.

      I READ THAT THE FINALE COULD BE THE ”OPPOSITE ” OF THE SEASON 2 FINALE I DON’T KNOW THIS SPOILER ALERT IS TRUE…….BUT IF IT IS ……….I HOPE DARYL MAKES IT BACK IN TIME CUZ RICK N COMP. IS LEAVING THE PRISON. WHAT APPEARS TO BE IN THE PREVIEW OF THE LAST EP.

  3. J says:

    All along I thought Glenn should be the one to kill the Governor. Now it has to be Daryl. An arrow to the good eye!

  4. Nicole says:

    ughhh when daryl broke down in tears i had to cry someone need to kill the governor

  5. Nicole says:

    and Andrea she got what she deservered

    • Meghan says:

      She wasn’t even in this episode…

      No one DESERVES to be all alone, chained to a chair, to be tortured by some psycho.
      If you really think “she got what she deserved”, you’re just one sick b*st*rd. Congrats for showing the world what kind of freak you are.

    • Ylanda says:

      Andrea’s not dead. She was in the preview for the finale. Doesn’t look too roughed up yet.

    • Meredith says:

      Sure, because any woman who doesn’t realize her partner is a homicidal sociopath deserves to be tortured, raped, and god knows what else. You’re a monument to justice. Tie your tubes.

    • … now we have our very own Governor

  6. W says:

    Who sings the song Merle plays in the car?

  7. Robin F says:

    Great idea Merle had. He redeemed himself

  8. Ali says:

    Oooh, the Gov has got to go! I can’t quite decide who I want to see take him down. Maggie? Andrea? Glenn? Michonne? Rick? Daryl? …hmmm For some reason I don’t think it will be Rick (too obvious) or Michonne (since she already did him some pretty good damage). Daryl or Maggie would be really satisfying.

    • CS Glo says:

      Carl,
      He does all the dirty work.

      • Alan says:

        he really does do all the work doesnt he, he always seems to be coming back from some off screen mission or other this season, seems like he has done more work to clear out the prison than anyone else.

  9. Kat says:

    Poor Daryl… I am here if he needs a shoulder to cry on…

  10. Lilly says:

    Really, really, really REEEALLY wish the season finale was two hours. I’m trying to imagine how they can make next week satisfying ENOUGH…… And here’s hoping next season brings a bigger core group.

    • Alan says:

      cut down group has been great this season, we got to focus on the secondary characters a lot more than before, hershel would have never became as awesome as he has if there was a bigger group.

  11. Singing gal says:

    Best episode of the season! I laughed, I smiled, I cried! Redemption, thy name is Merle. RIP.

  12. Singing gal says:

    Oh, and Glenn cut off a good ring! :)

  13. AGM says:

    Merle’s plot at the end, even though it doesn’t work out for him, was awesome. Why isn’t the prison group spending any time coming up with plots like this? So they put some barbed wire in a field and that’s enough? Why aren’t they working on booby-trapping that whole place? Maybe they are; I don’t know. It would be really cool to watch instead of just straight shooting at each other.

    Also, now there are a bunch of people who have a reason to kill the governor: Michonne, Andrea, Daryl, Maggie, Glen…I feel though that it has to be someone who has to redeem him/herself. At this point, it’s either going to be Rick or Andrea. And if it’s not Rick, I really don’t see how he can continue to be any sort of leader, even in a democracy.

    • cookie says:

      Dear AGM, I brought up this same subject a week ago. I said why didn’t Rick learn any things from Morgan, who had his little town booby trapped,with those spears,and the trap doors and things. I thought he’d would have been chopping down trees,and setting traps,to alert the group. Well maybe next week we’ll see some land mines and things. The prison group r not going down without a major fight. Can’t wait!!!

  14. Friopiliczniski says:

    Merle’s biggest mistake was to shoot at the governor’s men, hence giving himself away. He should have just waited for the governor to come out, aim, and voila!

    • Shane says:

      Ya… I thought that too.
      He got a little trigger happy no doubt, but he still got 8 men… that’s going to make all the difference for Rick’s group in the finale.

    • KenM says:

      He had some cover from then sound of the “Woodbury Volunteered Militia’s” own gunfire, but as soon as he missed the Governor, and hit Ben, he was toast.

    • Alan says:

      it seemed like he wanted to take down anyone who could step into the void left by the governor as well so he didnt want anyone getting away while he was busy trying to find a shot at the gov

  15. Pshhh says:

    All that sentimental crap with Glenn seems so out of context with the show. He’s my least favorite character!

    • JC says:

      Let me guess. You really love first-person shooters, right?

    • Alan says:

      glenn is the heart, he is what holds the ragtag group together, without glenn the group would have fractured long ago.
      anyway that “sentimental crap” as you so eloquently put it is called character development, without that why should we care if these people survive or not? that “sentimental crap” is why people come back each week.

    • Danielle H. says:

      Im a girl who hates violence and all of that but I can’t stand Glenn either. And I’m frequently astonished by how boring a show about the end of the world with zombies can be. At least this episode kind of got interesting again but the last 2 were trash. Hopefully the finale is decent.

      • KV says:

        To be honest, I don’t think the end of the world with zombies would actually be all that exciting. I think you’d end up a lot like Morgan: booby-trapping yourself in after watching your loved ones die. You wouldn’t be killing zombies every day, you’d be hiding out and trying to move on with your life (alone or maybe with a group). So I think the show is very realistic. It’s not about “yeah, more zombie killing!” It’s about the human spirit and survival, how you go on when the odds are stacked against you.

  16. I’m mad at Rick. I mean, he said himself the other episode that The Governor would probably kill them anyway. At first I was confused as to how Merle was listening to the radio, but then I figured it must just be a CD ,I guess, heh. I wish he waited until he saw The Governor, or at least Martinez, until he started shooting
    .
    Norman Reedus is sooo great. Not sure how he is able to change his face like that (again) but wow!

  17. Crystal says:

    Michael Rooker & Norman Reedus are just amazing. Joint performers of the week?

  18. ks says:

    Everybody’s forgetting about Carl and Carl should be the 1 th and Carl should be the 1 that killed the governor that would be awesome

  19. alexa says:

    The “everyone gets a vote” thing was a miserable fail at the farm when they were deciding what to do with their prisoner, that boy with the injured leg. I’m voting for some kind of board – pick three people to be the decision-makers so that if one is about to make a mistake, at least there are two others to balance it out. The trifecta of Rick, Hershel, and Daryl tonight seemed like a solid group that could serve that purpose.
    Great episode overall – not too sad to see Merle go, but Daryl’s reaction was really the kicker.

  20. Shane says:

    IMHO, maggie or carl killing the gov wouldn’t quite work. Maggie has vengeance, but not as much as Daryl or Glenn, etc., and I don’t see how she could actually kill the governor upfront, she’d have to shoot him from a distance. I want to see a fight to the death, maybe with a gun in the end. And Carl? No, no, that’s messed up, leave that kid out of this he’s already a little messed up in the head…
    In this season, Rick has received less attention (ever since Lori’s death and his hallucinations). Rick vs. the Governor, boss vs. boss, to the death, would be a great way to refocus the show around Rick as the protagonist, if the writers still want the show to be told that way.
    However, it would make most sense for Daryl to kill the governor- he’s the most badass and has the most vengeance (currently) for the governor (I think…). Daryl vs. the Gov would be intense, Daryl just getting all pissed throwing punches in every direction. That would just be fun to watch.
    And then there’s… Morgan. If he’s EVER to reappear in this show, I bet it will either be in the next episode, or somewhere WAYYY down the line… like season 6 or something. He is listed on IMBD for the finale (though I would take this with some salt), and his appearance could actually surprise most viewers. I could see Rick or someone else important about to be executed and then morgan coming out of nowhere… which would probably work a lot better than Maggie or any1 else saving them, as his appearance is far less expected.
    OR, Shane could come out of a bush and castrate the governor, making him bleed out. That would be cool.

  21. Nicole says:

    I thought Ricks speech was a long time coming. A satisfying moment on the show. Anyone else think thy either glen or Maggie will die next week now..:.we know nobody ever gets a happy ending.

    • alexa says:

      I think Hershel’s done for.

    • Just any body but Carol!

    • MLO says:

      I do, I do. I agree – I think one of them is a goner too. Probably Maggie.

      • Amy says:

        I would guess Beth or Hershel or even Carol.

        • Jamie says:

          My predictions for deaths in the finale:

          Prison – Hershel, Beth
          Woodbury – Pretty much everyone! I think half of Tyrese’s group will make it and join the prison group. Ben’s dad won’t survive the finale and I think Andrea will sacrifice herself to take out the Governor.

          I’ll check back in a week to see how wrong I am :)

    • KV says:

      I don’t think they will, based on both the comic and the fact that they are the “hope for the future” of the group. If love can’t last in such dire times, what’s the point of living?

      I think Andrea will die, but Michonne will be there to stop her from becoming a zombie.

      I thought I had read somewhere that only 1 major character will die?

  22. ohhhsnap says:

    I tried not to cry, but almost did. I could identify with the way Merle acts. He does what he feels he needs to in order to be included. In his mind, that is all he is good for. Machone then gives him a different view point, and he realizes that he doesn’t like the man that he has become. I laughed, I teared up, but as I said to my wife earlier on in the episode I could feel his death was coming. In my opinion Micheal Rooker, and Norman Reedus have been the best thing about this season, period. I am sad to see Merle go as anytime his character was on screen the show got better. If Micheal Rooker wasn’t such a huge movie star, perhaps Merle would still be alive.

    Rest in peace Merle, you made season 3′s slow, tepid pace watchable.

  23. Nicole says:

    *crys* damn damn damn!

  24. Blueberry says:

    Who else wants to hurt the stupid writers, for Merle. :’( Jk

  25. Sara says:

    Loved this episode! However, I’m not going to lie, Glenn’s proposal was lame. I know they’re right in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, but he could have at least gotten on one knee and actually asked. Still a top episode for me though.

  26. Alex says:

    Was so sad and angry to see Merle go, definitely one of the strongest personalities and performances on the show. Great character. Even Norman Reedus said that Merle should have lived

    • cory says:

      I DON’T FEEL BAD ABOUT MERLE’S DEATH BECAUSE HE WAS A SCUMBAG BUT I DO FEEL BAD FOR HIS BROTHER DARYL WONDERING UPON HIS BROTHER GRUBBING ON A DEAD BODY AND THEN HAVING TO OFF HIM AGAIN TO PROTECT HIMSELF OR JUST PUT HIM OUT OF HIS MISERY JUST PLAIN SAD FOR OLE BROTHER DARYL

  27. Jamie says:

    It looked like Norman was sad to see Rooker go also

  28. M says:

    I can’t stand the governor, he better die. Daryl, take his ass down!! I also agree that Merle redeemed him self with that act. I wish he was still alive, very heroic of him.

  29. Kristin says:

    I had a feeling Merle would commit one final redeeming act before being killed. Sad thing is I wonder if Daryl and the others will ever know what Merle did.
    Also, I’ll go ahead and assume that Maggie and Glenn becoming engaged is one of the blind items.

  30. Babybop says:

    I wanted to cry when I saw Daryl’s sad face… He needs a hug. Then he needs to turn those tears into anger and kill the governor!

  31. tracy says:

    omg im so sad that merle got turned and that daryll had to kill his own brother, he will be opening a can of whoop ass on the cov. for sure. heres hoping the prison clan make it and the outcome is a good one.

  32. Drizz says:

    Another good episode written by the new showrunner, Scott Gimple. Gives me hope for the show. Last week’s script by outgoing showrunner Glen Mazzara was a total turd. Hate to see Merle go, he provided interesting opposition and banter to what others thought at the prison. He knew how to twist the screws… At least he was allowed to go out with strong character progression, and a heroic end. Props also to Norman Reedus who made us all cry right along with him. Also liked his “family” moment with Rick. Scott Gimple really knows good character building. Looking forward to a great season 4 after a hit-and-miss season 3. (And hopefully less Andrea!)

  33. AJ says:

    I thought Glenn’s proposal was really really weak!

    After asking Hershel for Maggie’s hand in marriage, you didn’t even have the spine to ask will you marry me and you didn’t even put the ring on HER?!

    I know not a lot of people commented on that.

    Moving on, I agree with Nicole, Rick should’ve made that speech awhile ago.

    This episode is much better that the last episode.

    Can’t wait for the finale.

  34. aaron says:

    I don’t know why everyone is so sad for Merle he was a racist bully and I’m happy he died.rip t dog.

    • Nicole says:

      we only sad cause Daryl lost the only family he got we even cryed when rick wife died we didnt cry when shane died we cryed when sofia died

      • Khalid says:

        I sure did not cry when shame died

      • KV says:

        I didn’t cry when Lori died – good riddance to her, lol. I didn’t cry at Sophia’s death either because by that point I was so tired of them looking for her; it really slowed the season down. I didn’t cry when Shane died either because he was a jerk.

  35. j nielsen says:

    I don’t think any of the prison gang will kill the governor. I think in the end Milton will do it….. et tu Brutus? Style

    • Adanzante says:

      That is what I have been thinking for a while now too.

    • marie says:

      Now THAT would be dramatic and satisfying, and also a bit of a twist. I hope that’s how it goes down.

    • Khalid says:

      I think ricks group will go to Woodbury and the gov will be at the prison and Rick will be safe with guns and food and Win the war also the govs men will prob surrender for their own good and kill the gov

  36. Taeylor says:

    I thought this week show was phenomenal. I felt like a couple of shows in the last few weeks have been a bit filler. That being said though, all of the shows have something to add to The Walking Dead series. This week had no filler whatsoever. It was an epic, well though out story with many poginant moments. I always thought I would be happy to see Merle go but I was really sad. It was a great way for the writers to reedem him and I have to say that it was the perfect redemption. Norman Reedus and Micheal did an UH-Mazing job. Norman Reedus performance at the end broke my heart. I know I would have to do it but it would be so hard to put my brother down. Even though my brother and are really really close, I know in their way so were Merle and Darryl. I know more people are going to die next week. I am so hoping though that it isn’t Maggie or Glenn. Can we please have some happiness on the show? I would really hate to see Andrea go. She was getting on my nerves during the first of the season yet during the summit I felt like the old Andrea was back. I felt that she was the only person trying to activley get these people to quit trying to kill one another. Of course the showdown is coming….I can’t wait!!!

  37. Ty says:

    Wow awesome episode! Didn’t realize that Merle killed Ben and was eating him! Shows how dumb I am! That should be awesome to see how that affects Allen and tyreese’s fued

    • Ylanda says:

      Don’t feel bad. I noticed Ben get shot but it didn’t look like a mortal wound to me (upper shoulder) but anything’s possible when you get shot. I definitely didn’t notice Ben was the corpse Merle chose to chomp on. I might have to take a look at that again.

      • Jen says:

        it is really hard to see in the show, but it was definitely Ben. On The Talking Dead they did a behind the scense segment on zombie Merle and they talked to the actor that played Ben while he was laying on the ground with his guts everywhere and he said he was getting eaten by Merle.

  38. Brad says:

    Yeah! Great! Well done for posting a MAJOR spoiler in the page heading. Talk about ruining a popular show for those thar haven’t seen this episode yet. IDIOTS… Have some respect for other fans…

    • Jamie says:

      Why are you reading an article like this before watching the show? I don’t think the headline gives too much away.

    • tripoli says:

      Your comment will fall on deaf ears around here. TVLine doesn’t give a crap about their readers. Sorry you were spoiled but now you know to steer clear of this site before you’ve watched anything you wouldn’t want to be spoiled.

  39. Moo says:

    Could we give Norman Reedus the “Performer of the Week” crown?

  40. Justin says:

    I think the Reason they are not booby trapping the place is they don’t plan on having them stay. I think they’re gonna vote to leave the prison and the governer is going to attack an empty prison next week, then chase them down and the battle will ensue on the road. Just my two sense

    • Amy says:

      I think they will be getting in the cars to leave and the gov will show up in his trucks. They’ll have to fight cuz he is at the gates

  41. andrew says:

    Thanks for the spoiler alert in the headline/URL, jerks.

  42. Monica4185 says:

    I think the one who is going to kill the Governor is Carl.

  43. WaDaryl says:

    As far as defense measures for the prison goes they were definitely making molotov cocktails at least. I assume more options are being planned as well.

  44. Ylanda says:

    You found out just how complicated a soul Merle was before he died. He was a dog with more bark than bite before the governor turned him into a killer of men (16 total).He picked at Darryl for being the one to do the dirty work for Rick when that’s all he was to the Governor and deep down he hated it. Bottom line Merle only wanted to be with his brother against the world but his brother wanted to be part of a group. Merle couldn’t go back. Among many things he betrayed Rick and would be kicked out for taking Michonne. Darryl would be forced to choose to stay or gowith him and I think this time he would have left Merle to go it alone. Merle couldn’t take that so Merle did what he did to make things “right” the best he could for his brother and the group. I think it was his way of righting his wrongs for what he did to others in Woodbury for the Governor.

  45. Ana says:

    Oh Merle!!!! This is one of those rare characters that are bad, just bad and you know you should hate them there is something about them that draws you in. Not like Andrea, for example, who can be so clueless and naive that you just really want to slap her and toss her into the walker pit.This actor did such an excellent job. I always looked forward to what Merle would do next. And the last scene when Daryl looked into his eyes and realized he was dead was heart-breaking! Norman hit it out of the park on that one. It was nice to see the anatomy of Merle before he died. Well played. This is one character I will definitely miss. Can’t believe the finale is only one week away. :-( Brilliant writing, excellent acting, excellent show all around…

  46. Jen says:

    just throwing it out there, but I think NOONE kills the Gov. I pray I’m wrong, but I could totally see them carrying him over into next season. There is just so much that has to happen that to do ALL of it in one episode will do a total disservice to the story lines. The battle at the prison needs to be extensive to give any satisfaction to the storyline. While saying all this, I really hope I’m wrong and the Gov dies next week. I don’t want to see the same villian every season.

  47. CS Glo says:

    FYI. Merle led the walkers to the meeting place where the Gov & Rick had their pow-wow.
    Not to Woodbury.
    All of the Gov’s men were there to ambush Rick & Co.

  48. Kathy says:

    I’m hoping the group filled the prison with zombies and took off to let the Governer deal with them when he “breaks” in.

  49. Jamie says:

    Scott Gimple with another great character-driven episode…

    Well, minus the Glenn/Maggie chop-an-engagement-ring-off-of-a-walker’s-hand deal. I don’t know how to explain it other than it just felt “off.” I feel like it would have been more romantic for Glenn to have found some cool new weapon in the prison and given it to Maggie as a gesture of “I want to kill zombies with you for the rest of my life.”

    BUT, the rest of the episode was amazing. I loved everything Daryl/Merle/Rick-related.

    I thought that it was a nice touch to have the voice-over of Hershel reading the Bible passage with Rick deciding to call off the plan of giving up Michonne. Since the end of S2, you could feel Rick being pulled more-and-more toward the harsh, survivalist, “it’s simple math” ideology of Shane, and I hated seeing that, because I loved that Rick kept trying to hold on to that little voice in his head that helped him hang on to humanity and what was right/wrong versus giving up and taking the easier road of being just another animal. Rick’s speech at the end of the episode was a beautiful character moment: “What we’re willing to do, who we are, it’s not my call. It can’t be. I couldn’t sacrifice one of us for the greater good, because we are the greater good…This is life and death. How you live, how you die, isn’t up to me. I’m not your Governor. We choose to go. We choose to stay.” I had chills running down my spine!

    Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker (and Gimple as a writer and Nicotero as a director) hit all of the right notes with Daryl and Merle. I don’t even know where to begin, and I don’t think I could express my thoughts well enough. Suffice it to say, Daryl finding and killing zombie Merle was heartbreaking.

    I hope that Daryl doesn’t end up blaming Rick for what happened to Merle. They have the best bromance on television!

  50. Daniel Smart says:

    Everyones moaning about the marriage thingy between Glenn and Maggie, But Scott followed the comics to an extent as they do marry there, and they do survive the prison, and the only difference Glenn gets it off a pile of bodies whereas now he gets it from a walking walker…