Written by John Edward Betancourt
At the end of the world, lies redemption. At least, that's a lesson we learned last night. Yet it was also an evening of hope and loyalty and loss. Once more The Walking Dead dug deep into our emotions and once more, we had to say goodbye to someone that surprised me not only by the fact they were gone, but by the fact I would actually miss them. So without further ado, let's pay our last respects to "This Sorrowful Life".
The Good: Another incredible episode and a stunner that the tension from last week was left behind to give us the swan song for Merle Dixon. Yes, we lost him last night and at long last, Merle finally stopped being a scumbag and actually did the right thing. In fact for the first time ever, he actually helped the group, and even took down a few of the Governor's lackeys before finally saying goodbye.
Of course the show handled his death in the most beautiful fashion, leaving a zombified Merle to be put down at the hands of his weeping brother. There's a lot more to talk about when it comes to Merle, so we will get to that later in the day, because right now we have so much more to cover.
Not only was last night Merle's redemption, it was also Rick's. Saddled with the burden to save lives, he makes the stupid call to hand over Michonne to Woodbury. But his change of heart was a glorious thing. It was handled without a word, just a vision of his late wife who served as a reminder of the man Rick Grimes has always been, a good guy through and through. Hell he even ended the Ricktatorship and is letting the group decide if they want to stand and fight or leave the prison behind.
But the gentlest moment from this episode came from Glenn's proposal to Maggie. It was short and sweet but put a special twist on this episode. I wasn't joking when I said "This Sorrowful Life" was full of hope. We have seen one dark season this year and last night was a bright light shining through all of the darkness. It was unexpected and possibly, the last week we get to see something like that for some time.
The Bad: The core components of the episode get no complaint, in fact I've had to search hard the last three weeks to find something negative, and this is the best I could come up with from last night. If anyone noticed when Merle was hanging out in the parking lot of that bar, The Walking Dead and director Greg Nicotero decided to pay homage to the show's roots with a stunning recreation of an iconic zombie from Dawn of the Dead (1978). Did you miss him? Well, let me help you out with a side by side comparison.
Pretty freakin' awesome huh? So as I gush about this awesome little easter egg, this is the best critique I could come up with, why not do this more often?
The Verdict: Stellar episode. That's really all there is to it. Once more this show made it look like I was cutting onions on the couch, and next week may or may not be worse as we come to the end of Season Three and it judging from last night's teaser...it's war.