25 March, 2013
Review - Walking Dead 3.15: "This Sorrowful Life"
Many times in TV it takes the impending end of the season to really bring the best elements of a show's story together, which often results in the last two or three episodes of a season being the strongest outings. And this hour by far was one of season 3's strongest. The driving conflict of this hour is fairly simple but necessary: as the group gears up for battle Rick is warring mentally with himself over whether he should take the Governor up on his offer and turn over Michonne. Early on He decides to do it for the good of the group and consults with Merle for help (but not the rest of the group). Later on he changes his mind, realizing that morally that's not who he as a leader is, nor who they are as a group. Unfortunately, at this point Merle, who doubted Ricks ability to follow through all along, has taken matters into his own hands and run off with a kidnapped Michonne.
This episode hit the right balance of thoughtful nuance, forward movement and action; plus it managed to give most of the major characters some good screen time. I loved the scenes between Merle and Michonne while riding in the car, particularly their discussion on their status as the outsiders of the group. And Michael Rooker did a great job throughout the episode showing Merle's process as he realizes what he must do, and has a serious change of heart. After freeing Michonne to return to the prison he eventually goes after the Governor himself, by leading a pack of walkers behind him in a car blaring . One the other things I've appreciated about this episode and the last somewhat is the shift to showing how deeply disturbed a character the Governor really is. This is apparent very early on in the comics when the character is introduced, but it's great that the show is really trying to ramp it up going into the end.
The episode had a lot of other strong moments from the rest of the cast as well: Glenn's conversation with Hershel about marrying Maggie, and the resulting proposal; Rick's quiet insistence that the ghostly Lori isn't real; Carol and Merle's conversation in the prison about how much she's grown personally since the death of her husband. Perhaps the most jarring though was Daryl in the end having to murder his own brother,now a walker after losing his battle with the Governor, which ends the episode in a truly tragic but moving fashion. Daryl may have found a new family in the group, but Merle was still his brother no matter what. I loved that this episode managed to touch on all the major themes of the season: group dynamics, loyalty, the shifting moral standards and the emotional toll everything has been taking on the survivors.
I really loved this episode and it got me pretty excited for next week's final installment so 90 out of 100. Hopefully you all enjoyed it as much as I did- one more to go!
Odds and ends:
- "You got any whiskey around here, hell I'd even drink vodka"- Merle
- Glenn ups his badass factor by not only gentlemanly making his intentions with Maggie known to Hershel, but also by hacking off a walker's fingers to snag her a ring. And Maggie has the good grace just to accept it and not ask where it came from.
- Michonne, showing off her skills even while tied up and weaponless
- The music in this episode was surprisingly good, my favorites were the Bear McCreary piece during the Glenn and Maggie proposal, and of course Merle leading the walker parade to Motorhead.