It’s time for everyone in the prison to sit down and talk about their feelings this episode.

First, Rick has made up his mind about Michonne. He’s going to turn her over to the Governor. He’s said as much and he’s let Herschel in on it already. He’s also let Daryl know and he’s hoping that Merle will help out. Rick goes to talk to Merle – who has been spending the past few days looking for booze, heroine, and meth throughout the prison. He doesn’t much think that Rick can actually turn Michonne over and he knows what will happen to her if he does. But he’ll go along with it because Daryl will go along with it.

Daryl tries to get Glenn to make amends with Merle. He swears that he’ll do right by them and make Merle apologize. But it doesn’t really seem like that’s going to happen. Daryl goes to find his brother and the two of them have a heart to heart where he once again tells Daryl to grow a pair. Merle figures Rick will turn coward. Daryl doesn’t really care what happens – he’ll follow Rick no matter what and he tries to get Merle to see reason. You can’t survive on your own any more. He just wants Merle to get along with everyone else.  But Merle seems content enough to be the bad guy everyone wants him to be if he has to.

Though he’s also packing up to leave it seems. Why he’s taking the telephone I have no idea. Maybe to make Rick go crazy. That’d be quite clever of him. Hold out the phone. Tell him it’s his wife. I mean, while Herschel lead everyone in a prayer while Rick wandered around and sees hallucinations of his wife. So, you know. That really wouldn’t be a bad play, Merle.

At least Rick mans up and realizes that he can’t hand Michonne over.

The problem is that Merle doesn’t have those same reservations that Merle has and while Rick is coming to try and stop Merle from giving her up he’s already taken off with her.

It’s funny because that’s exactly what both of them agree when Merle is walking Michonne back to Woodbury. He tells her his theories about how the group needed him to be their bad guy. She just sort of takes it all in stride. She’s so sassy. Merle even leaves her once and goes to kill a zombie with her katana and he’s like, “Why didn’t you run?” She just looks at him and tells him she wanted to get her sword back.

Back at the prison Rick and Daryl realize what’s up. Daryl tells Rick that he’ll go get her alone. That he and the prison are “family, too.” It’s so touching. Daryl, baby. Come, let me coddle you.

Oh, and Glenn asks Herschel if he can marry Maggie. If they are going to die, he wants to do right by her. He just loves her that much. He wants to be with her. And he understands now what it means to take care of the ones you love. He even goes to cut off some zombie woman’s ring to give to Maggie!

Merle and Michonne on the road together is actually quite a moving series of scenes. He tells Michonne that he really cares about Daryl. He wants to be with Daryl. But if Daryl wants to be with the group back at the prison that means that he has to do what he can to keep them safe. He hopes that maybe if he gives Michonne up they can be safe. He can go back. They might forgive him if the Governor holds to his promise of peace. Michonne tells him that truly evil men? They don’t care when they kill. But Merle remembers the exact number of people he’s killed since the world went to shit. He does feel something.

They eventually stop at a motel to try and hotwire a car so it’s easier to get to Woodbury. But Merle, in his wisdowm, some how finds the only shit car in the area that has a car alarm. Seriously, though. The car he hotwires is old and doesn’t even look like it runs. But, hey. It’s hard hotwiring cars with one hand. Meanwhile the alarm calls in a ton of zombies and Michonne has to stomp one’s head in and then decapitate another using the rope she’s been tied to a pole with. Good job, Michonne!

Then they ride off together into the sunset. (No, seriously. The sun looks like it’s setting. But it’s supposed to be coming on noon so maybe it’s just the trees.) They talk about the sort of people they are and how similar they are at times. How neither of them is really that decent of a person. Merle tells Michonne that he never killed anyone before Woodbury. As bad of a person as he seemed and was he had never actually killed anyone. She keeps trying to get him to go back but he says he can’t. He can’t ever go back. She asks him why.

Merle doesn’t answer. He just cuts her free and tells her to go back alone. Go back to Daryl. He’s “got something he got to do on [his] own.” She gets her katana back and everything.

Daryl meets up with her on the road and she tells him that Merle let him go. He tells her not to let anyone come looking for him and heads of looking for Merle. Who is sitting in the parking lot of an old Southern strip mall in that same car blaring classic rock and teasing the zombies that are hording around him.

Or is he?

No, Merle actually has a plan. He drives to the meeting point where he was supposed to hand over Michonne. He used the music to get a bunch of zombies to follow him. Then he jumped out of the car and took up a tactical position in one of the buildings. While the Woodbury men tried to fight the zombies he started shooting them. Some he killed outright. Most he dropped so the zombies could get them. It’s a pretty damn good plan. He almost kills the Governor, too. Except not. He shoots the kid from Tyreese’s group.

Unfortunately he gets caught.

Some of the guys beat him around. Then the Governor comes and they get in a bit of a tussle. And the Governor actually bites his goddamn fingers off. Whaaaaat. Crazy, man. If Merle had survived he would have gone from ten digits to three over the course of this series. But, sadly. Merle gets shot.

Right before a cut away of Glenn asking Maggie to marry him. They ask decide to Rick to say a few words. He’s out wandering around and then he comes back to where the group is assembled. Except he’s not there to marry them. He tells them about the deal the Governor offered him. He also tells them that he was going to do it but made the decision not to before Merle went off with her. Rick apologizes for not telling them and takes back his ‘ricktatorship’ speech from the end of the last season. It’s a whole lot of pretty words and he just really doesn’t want to be the Governor. So he opens up everything. He lets them decide – lets’ them vote – to either stay or go.

Then he walks off.

Without marrying Glenn and Maggie.

Rick sees Michonne walking back to the prison alone and has an odd sense of relief and ‘Oh shit.’ Probably wonders where Daryl is and what’s happened at the meeting point. Daryl, though, he’s not wondering that. He is seeing it all first hand. He comes across the scene and starts to take it all in. He sees the bodies, the zombies.

And then he sees Merle.

The governor didn’t kill Merle. Well, he did. But he didn’t shoot him in the head. He shot him in the chest so he would regenerate. Poor Daryl sees his zombie brother and he’s crying. And he’s pushing him away. It’s so heartbreaking. Eventually, though, he puts him down. And now he can go back to the prison.

To what family he still has left.

It looks like next week the battle we’ve all been waiting for finally happens. I like that they took at this character building time but the who Governor and Andrea cat and mouse thing could have been done in this same episode or some things could have been condensed. I’ll be glad to see how things probably don’t get resolved in the next episode which is, after all, our season finale.

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