Last night it finally hit me who the real MVP of this season of The Walking Dead has been. That person is Michonne. When you think back to Season 3, she has been a part of almost every big episode and moment, even if she uttered only a few words. She was there when the Governor lost his eyeball. She's the one who made armless/toothless zombies a thing. Her helping Carl was part of what made "Clear" such a great episode. And then, in "This Sorrowful Life," just after I had written off the episode as yet another hour of table setting, Michonne was dragged away from prison by Merle, who was prepared to hand her over to the Governor.
And, even though she was tied up with old cables and had had her katana taken from her, Michonne still brought the badass. She was one cool customer throughout the whole ordeal. Merle left her alone for a moment, and she just stood there waiting. He was surprised that she didn't try to get away. She calmly explained that she wasn't going anywhere without her sword.
Then Merle stopped to hot wire a car, whose alarm sounded, alerting all the zombies in the area to their presence. Michonne was tied to a post, weaponless, and she used what the good lord (and Merle) gave her (namely her foot and her wire handcuffs) to take out walker after walker.
After that, and after they had gotten the car to stop wailing, Michonne used her most effective, least used weapon -- her voice. When Michonne speaks, people listen, mostly because she doesn't open her mouth that often (take some lessons, Andrea). She got Merle thinking about his place in society and how he put himself in the place he's in. He allowed people to take advantage of his violent nature. He could've had a fresh start with Rick, but he chose to be the same old dickish Merle. And Merle let her go. And then he sacrificed himself to the Governor (To what end? I don't know. The Woodbury army only lost a few soldiers in the fight).
I've complained a lot about the characters on this show. I've never been a huge fan of fan favorites Merle and Daryl. The writers definitely want us to think Daryl's a bad ass, and maybe he is at times, but for me, there's not a lot of there there. Daryl's almost too wounded, too willing to take orders from Rick. Merle was right about that. He is Rick's lackey. And as for Merle, there was never really anything to root for, even right up until the end. He was just an unsavory jerk with a cool hand weapon.
The writers royally screwed up the Governor this year, Rick has gone crazy, Shane and T-Dog are dead. Stupid Lori is still haunting us with her stupid ghost. And Andrea is...well, you know how I feel about Andrea. Though I wished they had given us more with Michonne in the beginning of the season, with one episode left, I'm kind of glad they never did. They gave the character time to settle in, time to figure out who she was going to be, and who she's evolved into is a fierce warrior with an uncanny ability to read people. Her evolution has felt slow at times, but also natural. She was an outsider who has slowly grown to be a part of the group. We never had to sit through a 180 with her, like we did with Hershel, who went from priggish know-it-all to kind sage in about a season.
So, RIP again, Merle. No one will miss you this time, either. Daryl probably will for a little while, but then he'll finally start hooking up with Carol and he'll forget all about you.
Bits and Bites:
- I wrote over 600 words without mentioning Rick's crisis of conscience. Would he give up Michonne or not?!?! The reason I didn't mention it was because I never really believed Sheriff Rick wouldn't do the right thing. As crazy as he is, and as much as the writers have tried to make him seem like a loose cannon, Rick has always been a boy scout. A boy scout who sees his stupid dead wife everywhere, but still a boy scout.
- Then there was the big proposal! I loved the scene with Hershel and Glenn. These are two characters who have developed nicely over the past season (Though Glenn needs to stop mentioning Maggie and the Governor in every scene. I mean, Maggie seems pretty over it, maybe you should be over it too, Glenn).
- Glenn's wedding ring shopping scene was a thing of beauty, as well. Though this episode didn't do much to advance the plot, there were a few really nice moments.
- Another nice moment was Daryl killing Merle the Zombie. It struck me that we've hardly ever gotten to see our zeroes turn into walkers (Shane and...anyone else? Did T-Dog turn? How do I not know if T-Dog turned?!? Fan club president fail). I loved that that was the Governor's ultimate punishment for Merle, to kill him and let him go through the change.
- That said, I'm still not quite sure why Daryl felt the need to go after Merle (also not sure how Daryl was able to find Merle so quickly or how Michonne and Daryl happened to run into each other on the road. This show is big on coincidences). I know they're brothers, but I still never really got the powerful connection between the two men. Merle was consistently a dick to Daryl, and Daryl's insistence upon finding and helping his brother only made Daryl look weak, in my opinion.
- Of course, then Daryl did go and kill his brother in a pretty bloody and spectacular fashion, so there was that. As you can see, I'm conflicted. Yay for the cool demise, boo that I never really cared about their relationship to begin with. This was no where near as emotional as Carl offing Lori or Rick killing Shane.
- I'm interested to see what will happen next week in the season finale. I'm still hoping for a Richonne kiss right in the middle of battle with the Governor. And for Hershel and Milton to run (limp?) across the battlefield and meet in a friendly embrace. It's the season of LOVE, people!
What did you think of the episode? How do you think the season will end next week?
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