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!

PHOTOS | TV’s 15 Most Empowering Female Characters

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!