TV Recap: 'The Walking Dead' Episode 315 - 'This Sorrowful Life'



the walking deadThe Walking Dead Episode 315
“This Sorrowful Life”
Written Bu: Scott M. Gimple
Directed By: Greg Nicotero
Original Airdate: 24 March 2013

In This Episode...

Rick has decided that it is worthwhile to turn Michonne over to the Governor for the chance of keeping the rest of the group safe. He tells Hershel, Daryl, and Merle. Merle gets it - Rick is telling him because he wants Merle to be the bad guy. It is a role that Merle has settled in to. Even though he doesn’t want to admit it, Merle doesn’t want to deliver Michonne to the Governor. He believes that the Governor enjoys killing, but won’t kill Michoone; he will “do things” to her. This plants the seeds of doubt in Rick’s mind. That seed is fertilized when Rick watches Michonne helping Daryl and Glenn lay barbed wire as a trap in case the Governor tries to send another truck of walkers through the gates. Michonne decapitates a handful of walkers effortlessly. Rick is looking for wire to tie up Michonne with, and he sees Lori. Rick knows she is not real, but also knows she doesn’t believe what he is doing is right. He heads back inside - without his wire.

Animosity still runs high against Merle. Carol want him to pick a side and commit to it. Glenn is still offended at what Merle did to him and Maggie at Woodbury. He could forgive Merle for what he did to Glenn, but not for Maggie. Daryl, meanwhile, just wants his brother back. But Merle has already accepted his place. He takes Michonne down to a walker-infested area of the prison, telling her he wants to secure the area. Instead, he knocks Michonne out, ties her wrists in wire (so she can’t chew through them) and puts a sack over her head.

Rick has decided he is calling off the exchange of Michonne. It is too late. Daryl is glad that Rick came to his senses, and offers to track Merle.

So Michonne and Merle are on a bizarre roadtrip. Despite the fact that it is essentially a death march, the two bond. When Merle leaves her to go kill a walker (with Michonne’s sword) she doesn’t run away. “I was waiting for my sword.” Merle admits that he just wants to be with his brother, and his brother is with the prison gang now, so he will do what it takes to protect the prison. The two come to a motel and Merle ties Michonne up to a pillar, like a horse to a hitching post, while he hotwires a car. In the process, the car alarm goes off, bringing forth an army of walkers. Merle’s head is shoved under the dashboard, so he doesn’t see the walkers. Michonne yells to warn him, while fending off the ones coming towards her, but Merle can’t hear her. He doesn’t know they are under attack until a walker is on top of him. Merle fights them off, grabs Michonne, and they beat a hasty retreat.

In the car, Michonne enjoys a little armchair therapy, nothing that this was Merle’s chance to truly join the prison gang, but he blew it. Daryl has a new family, and won’t cry when Merle dies. Earlier, Merle had said he had killed 16 people since “all this.” He admits that those people he has killed were all since joining Woodbury. “So the Governor takes you in, cleans you up, cares and protects you, and you return the favor by killing?” He was giving Daryl a hard time about kowtowing to Rick, but now it seems that Merle did the same with the Governor. Merle pulls off the road, cuts Michonne’s binds, gives her a sword, and tells her to go back to the prison and prepare them for what is to come. There is something Merle needs to do.

Merle stops for a last drink at a biker bar, then lures a horde of walkers along with him, like Pied Piper. He comes to the meeting place for the Governor and takes shelter inside. Martinez and his troops are set upon by the walkers. Merle snipers at the men from the shack. They catch on quickly and storm the shack. Martinez and his goons beat the crap out of Merle, but he Governor,  enraged, steps in and fights. The two fight dirty, but when the Governor gets higher ground, it is all over: He shoots Merle dead. The Governor’s men have been depleted; the survivors head back to Woodbury.

Michonne runs into Daryl on the way back to the prison. He continues on, to the meeting place. Daryl takes out a few walkers milling about, but stops before he shoots his next one. It is Merle. He has come back as a walker, and Daryl is overwhelmed. Merle stumbles towards his brother. Daryl pushes him away, crying. Again and again. Finally Daryl stabs him, drops his brother, then collapses into tears.

Also: Rick tells his group what he almost did to Michonne, apologizes, and swears he will be more human. Glenn asks Hershel for Maggie’s hand; he gives his blessing. Glenn doesn’t want a wedding, he just wants Maggie to know how deeply he loves her while he still can. He cuts off the finger of a walker to get an engagement ring for her, then offers the simplest, most unsentimental proposal: he puts the ring in her hand. Maggie says yes, they kiss. Very understated.

Dig It or Bury It?

I admit it: about 10 minutes into this episode, I got the feeling that Merle was going to die. It just felt like it was coming. This episode was interesting because, on the one hand, there were a ton of zombies. On the other, it was a strangely quiet, subtle episode that truly focused on the changing characters and their evolution with the evolution of the world.

Kill o’ the Week

Clearly goes to Daryl. Killing your own brother is rough. Daryl used overkill, hacking at his brother’s skull with a knife until the whole face caved in in a bloody, putrid mess. But honorable mention goes to Michonne, who, while tied up to the hitching post, stomps a walker in the head, with gooey brains shooting out a hole in the skull like it was being launched.


On the season finale, Rick finally accepts Michonne as one of their own. The group packs up the prison, and the Governor is ready to go to war.