The Governor sends Merle and a group of exceedingly expendable nobodies off to find and kill Michonne, thus keeping their "you can leave anytime" illusion intact without compromising the town's location, but the group soon stumbled across the bloodiest rebus ever composed:
Michonne instantaneously slices up two of Merle's companions and runs off after a brief scuffle, and Merle decides to just let her go and tell The Governor they caught her, but his companion whose name isn't Neil refuses to lie to The Governor, so Merle completes the Expendable Character Trifecta. On his return route, and with Michonne looking on, Merle stumbles across Maggie and Glenn in the process of picking up formula for Rick's Shanebaby, and Merle morphs into SmileyMerle:
Glenn tells Merle that his brother Daryl is still alive but refuses to bring Merle to the prison, but when Glenn implores Merle to stay put and wait for them to go bring Daryl back, Merle instantly gets the drop on Glenn because Glenn is really really bad at things:
Merle brings Glenn and Maggie back to Woodbury and brutally interrogates them to find out where their group is holed up:
Merle beats Glenn bloody, then releases a walker in his face, and eventually brings out the big guns:
Eventually, after a bizarre scene where The Governor makes Maggie take her shirt off (reminiscent of many a Cinemax 'women's prison' movie), Merle threatens to just shoot Glenn, and Maggie instantly gives up the prison. Why they didn't try this tactic sooner isn't entirely clear, but as far as plotholes go, "taking a while to think of an effective torture" sure beats "HOW DID A WALKER SNEAK UP BEHIND DALE IN AN OPEN FRIGGIN' FIELD???" Ohhh, the middle of Season 2. Never forget.
Meanwhile, the gut-covered Michonne turns up at the prison gates, chopping heads off walkers with incredible physics-bending prowess:
Michonne explains the Glenn/Maggie situation and offers to lead the group to Woodbury, and Daryl agrees to go, though he's no longer wearing his awesome poncho from his formula-run with Maggie:
Daryl, Rick, and Michonne are also accompanied by Oscar, one of the surviving convicts, meaning that we will soon be witnessing the death of Oscar, one of the surviving convicts. Anyone who's ever seen a Star Trek away team wishes Oscar the best of luck with this configuration:
The group encounters a horde of walkers and is chased into a cabin where they kill a random guy who was surviving there somehow and feed him to the walkers and I'm not entirely sure that scene really happened so let's move it along:
While we're being introduced to comic book staple Tyreese and a new band of characters back at the prison, the current characters' worlds converge, and an all-out gunfight erupts in the middle of Woodbury. Rick, dazed in the middle of the gunbursts, pictures Shane running towards him and firing, and the bullets hit Rick and kill him OMG THEY GOT RICK j/k of course Oscar dies sorry Oscar byeee! Rick kills Fakeshane and checks him up close to find out it was just another mini dream sequence. Did Matthew Weiner direct this episode?
Rick does manage to spring Glenn and Maggie, but when Glenn informs them that Merle is operating in the camp, Daryl pleads with Rick to let him meet up with Merle. Rick quickly douses that idea with some of his finest urgent-whispering yet (he's really got this down to an art):
Michonne slinks away into The Governor's home and uncovers his wall o' heads and his zombified daughter locked away in the closet. The Governor walks in to find Michonne holding his daughter, and emotionally drops his gun and pleads with Michonne not to do anything rash, but because she's Michonne, she acts the rash-iest and rams her sword through The Governor's daughter's face:
The Governor flips out and grapples with Michonne, but as he's choking her, she manages to snag a shard of glass and shove it into his eye ("AHHHHH, my winkin' eye!!!!"), thus reducing his creepy charisma by 12-15%. Michonne escapes with Rick and they dash out of Woodbury in the thick of the chaos, having completely accomplished their mission. Though Rick can't help but shake the feeling he's forgetting something
Yep, Daryl's been captured. The Governor outs Merle as a 'traitor' in front of the townspeople and asks the frenzied mob what he should do with the two brothers, and the crazed angry mob responds the way any crazed angry mob obviously would:
The (Mid)-Season comes to a close on Daryl and Merle staring each other down, wondering if they'll have to fight one another or just challenge each other in a game of racist chicken.
Overall, Season 3 has been BY FAR the strongest Walking Dead season to date; after Season 2, when many of my friends had given up on the show and I had personally settled into a comfortable mentality of "It's got many annoying problems but there's still enough fun stuff to make it worth tuning in," the show severed ties with Frank Darabont and perhaps uncoincidentally became far more coherent and interesting. It just makes me wonder if maybe Frank Darabont isn't actually that good at things? Will we look back at "Shawshank" as Darabont's "Sixth Sense", meaning, the initial amazing project that makes you interested in that person's future projects even though they just keep sucking? There's a free thesis, if any Comm majors are reading this (I know, you're clearly all just skimming the pictures).
Sure, Walking Dead isn't on the level of a Breaking Bad, but if that's the standard of goodness required for us to enjoy anything, then we might as well not bother subjecting ourselves to any media for the next 9 months then we can just shoot ourselves seconds after the Breaking Bad finale airs. I, personally, am not going to do that. Mostly because I don't want to come back as a walker and have my mom be like "it's still my dear Danny, don't hurt him, let me hug him and give him his favorite like childhood spinning top or whatever!" and have everyone around her be like "Dan's a fucking zombie who's trying to fucking eat you AS WE SPEAK you fuck!" and I just don't think my mom really needs that right now.
My point is, this has been a very very solid third season of Walking Dead so far, and please stop calling my mom a fuck. Let's keep that anger directed at Andrea.
Walking Dead Season 3 thoughts so far? Favorite / least favorite parts? Predictions for the second half? Eulogies for Big Tiny, Oscar, the weird cabin dude, or The Governor's eye? Subsequent even dumber Photoshops? Feel free to leave 'em all in the Comments.
(Stills via AMCTheWalkingDead.com and shutterstock.com)
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