Monday, March 25, 2013

"This Sorrowful Life" Claims Another Character on "The Walking Dead:" A Television Review

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Director: Gregory Nicotero.

Writers: Frank Darabont, Robert Kirkman, and Scott M. Gimple.

Cast: Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden and Norman Reedus.

"This Sorrowful Life" is episode fifteen of "The Walking Dead" and this showing is the preamble before season three's finale, "Welcome to the Tombs." This episode began with some slow pacing, which is reminiscent of an earlier season, but it finished strongly. The main crux of the episode dealt with Michonne's (Danai Gurira) fate and her position in the group. Characters are dealing with their own moralities and sense of justice, with Merle (Michael Rooker) imposing his own hostile outcome on Michonne. Rick's (Andrew Lincoln) dictatorship is crumbling, while the final episode promises more death and destruction in the zombie apocalypse.

This episode seemed to stall through its first ten minutes as Rick struggled with his conscience. A sign from Laurie (Sarah Wayne Callies) finally made his decision clear; he would not give Michonne over to the Governor (David Morrissey). But, Michonne had already been kidnapped by another character, Merle. And, this duo set off for Woodbury. There was some great interplay between Merle and Michonne in his episode and Merle finally shows a softer side here. Michonne is released and Merle decides to ambush the ambushers at the Governor's meeting for Rick. The end result is a flurry of action, a great battle and the loss of an evolving and eclectic character. This was another exciting episode of "The Walking Dead."

He is gone Daryl (Merle).

Rick is changing his point of view on how to lead the prison group. Fans will remember that Rick was promoting a Ricktatorship at the end of Seas. 2. However, he is now changing his tune. He wants the group to decide on their own path. The people at the prison are down to a handful, so maybe a democracy will save more lives. Either way, Rick is interested in putting future decisions to a vote and he leaves them there to decide on what to do next. No one is promoting a referendum on whether to fight the Governor at the prison, though and that battle is nearing on the horizon.

"This Sorrowful Life" was an, understandably, Merle centric showing. Merle's addictions are shown early as he ransacks the prison in search of hard drugs. Later, he tangles verbally with Carol (Melissa McBride) and this episode was questioning Merle's role in Rick's group. He is an outsider, but he begins to see another possibility inside the group. He decides to do the survivor's dirty work, by taking Michonne to the Governor. But, he has a change of heart. Michonne is an outsider too and she reminds Merle of this, in her dialogue. With Merle being shown the truth and the group's dynamic, he decides to leave her by the side of the road. Merle was in many scenes in this episode, especially in the show's climax. Here, he squares off with the Governor and his men. The results initially favour Merle; but then, events change and the Governor is asserting control over the situation, again. And, another character was voted off the island.

It would be interesting to offer some predictions for the upcoming episode, "Welcome to the Tombs." Based on previous episodes, it is almost impossible to predict which characters will be killed. Yet, the last few episodes have been focusing on a romantic sub-plot between Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan). If a character from the prison is set to be removed, then it will likely be one from this duo. A preview for the next episode shows that the final battle will be at the prison and it will be an explosive one. This critic, who does not read the comics, predicts that the Governor will not be killed, but captured instead. The interplay between Rick and the Governor has been too good and it will likely continue, on some level, into Seas. 4. As well, this critic expects Daryl to tangle with both Martinez and the Governor. Daryl will be looking for some payback after the death of this brother. Daryl has also had some interchanges with Martinez and these soldiers will again face each other on the battlefield. In the end, "Welcome to the Tombs" will be action packed.

The episode here was truly entertaining. Future showrunner Scott M. Gimple has written a strong episode in "This Sorrowful Life," despite a slowly paced first ten minutes. Morality was a strong component in this show and one character had a change of heart, Merle. This character began an arc, a little too late. And, Rick is no longer interested in leading the group back at the prison. But, who else will lead? The finale will put Rick and the Governor toe to toe, with other characters conflicting, as well. "The Walking Dead" continues to offer unpredictability as a zombie apocalypse should and this watcher is excited to see what will happen next in the hint laden title "Welcome to the Tombs."

Overall: 8.25 (well written, character focused, great late action and conclusion, too much drama early).

More details on this episode are available at the AMC:

The Walking Dead at the AMC

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