The Walking Dead - Season 3, Episode 15: "This Sorrowful Life" TV Episode Review
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott M. Gimple
2013, Rated TV-14
Episode premiered on March 24th, 2013
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Sarah Wayne Callies as Lori Grimes
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon
Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes
Danai Gurira as Michonne
Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon
David Morrissey as The Governor
Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier
Emily Kinney as Beth Greene
Jose Pablo Cantillo as Caesar Martinez
Scott Wilson as Hershel Greene
Tyler Chase as Ben
Daniel Thomas May as Allen
Warning! This review contains spoilers for this episode.
TGM: Boy oh boy, did the penultimate episode of season three’s The Walking Dead bring the heat. Rick sees Lori again (boo!), Maggie and Glenn get engaged (aww), Carol’s hair is growing out (ooh!), Michonne is kidnapped and released after an unexpected change of heart (hmm), Daryl is forced to do the unthinkable (sob), Merle plays pied piper to a bunch of biters and makes the ultimate sacrifice (damn), and The Governor cements his reputation as a badass (yeah!).
TGM: OK, so I’m forced to begrudgingly agree with you, Steve. Rick is a massive douchenozzle. He takes it right up to zero hour with his plan to hand over Michonne, then does a complete one-eighty, but not until after the dominoes that he already pushed began their cascade. I hope that next week’s reunion between Rick and Michonne goes something like this: “Rick: Whoops Michonne, sorry, my bad, I was sort of lost in my own world for a few minutes there, ogling my dead wife and all, and forgot to call off the dogs, so no hard feelings mmmkay? Michonne: Go fuck yourself whitey (slices Rick’s face off)”.
Steve: I’m going to do my best not to ride Rick this week because I’ve been doing it all season (and last season too). I’m just done with his ineptitude. As you said, he screws everything up yet again, and his way of fixing it is telling everyone, “Hey guys, so I completely dropped the ball, but it’s okay because we’re now a democracy. Hooray!” That ‘motivational’ speech was so uncomfortable to watch. I’m hoping they off him this year. He brings nothing to the table anymore. I’m afraid what will happen is the same thing that happened last season; on the last episode he’ll do one thing that will redeem him in the eyes of the fans. Well, I for one am not buying it. At this point, I do nothing but roll my eyes whenever he opens his mouth, and I really hope Michonne does put him in his place.
Speaking of Michonne...wow. Again with a solid showing by her. I take back everything negative I said about this warrior princess in our prior discussions. I’m really loving her character, even more so last night. Danai Gurira, the young lady who plays Michonne, is amazing. Not just in line delivery, but also in presence. There is this quiet rage residing in Michonne that you know can and will erupt at any moment, and you want to make sure you are around when it happens. Her scenes with Merle this episode were nothing short of wonderful. Not only did the two skillfully play off each other, but both characters, when you think about it, are two sides of the same coin.
TGM: I think that The Walking Dead is primarily Rick’s story, so I don’t see him going anywhere for a long time. And I’m not as in love with Michonne as you are. While I do like her more and more, I find her character just a little too cold to fully embrace. I do, however, appreciate the novel and unique ways that she manages to kill walkers. That wire decapitation was awesome.
SP: I can’t dispute any of what you say about Michonne (especially the wire scene). I will also concede that it’s quite possible that one of the main reasons I like her character so much is because she doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve. She’s a nice balance to the overly dramatic characters on the show, like Rick, Andrea, and even Glenn to a degree. Granted, Daryl also provides that balance, but having another around isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But, like I said, I can easily see where you are coming from.
TGM: So are you prepared for the death of either Maggie or Glenn? You know it’s coming. You just don’t have a sappy and sentimental prelude like that without having to ultimately pay a price. One of them might as well put on a red Star Trek shirt for the finale. Kudos to Glenn’s ingenuity though; back in the day, I wish I could have saved myself some serious coin and stole a nice engagement ring off of a zombie to give to my wife-to-be.
Steve: You know, I won’t be surprised if Maggie or Glenn die either, because that would make for some great drama; especially now that they are getting hitched. I’m pretty sure I can speak for a lot of men that the way Glenn asked for her hand in marriage was epic. How many of us wouldn’t love to just place a ring stolen from a dead woman’s finger into the hand of our loved ones and her response be a loving “Yes.” I know that’s how I’d want to do it.
Why haven’t we talked about the elephant in the room yet? The racist elephant that effectively wiped out a majority of The Governor’s men?
TGM: Ah yes, Merle’s redemption. I loved everything about it quite frankly. I loved his luring of the zombies to the fight, the way he sniped The Gov’s henchmen, and the level of defiance he expressed towards The Governor before dying. Merle clearly sacrificed himself to save his brother, which made that final moment between the two of them even more poignant and heart-wrenching. Daryl doesn’t cry! I thought Reedus’ performance there was fantastic. Perhaps one of the best of the entire series. Daryl went from kick-ass grizzled warrior to shell-shocked lost little brother back to badass soldier in a matter of minutes. I thought you really felt Daryl’s anguish. Most times I hate how characters I like are written out of a show I watch, but not this time. I felt it to be pretty much perfection.
Steve: As much as I loved Gurira’s performance, Reedus outshined everyone in not just this episode, but as you say, it was quite possibly the best performance this series (although Lennie James' turn at Morgan still ranks up there). As much as a jerk Merle was, I really did feel for Daryl when that look of anguish came across his face upon discovering his zombified brother. It hurt. It’s funny that you say redemption because after the episode I checked to see what the title of it was, sure that it would be “Redemption”. Admittedly, I was a little disapointed to find that it wasn't.
I really, really liked so much about this episode. It’s unfortunate we won’t ever see more Merle-centered pieces, but it did a good job of developing Michonne more, as well as even further developing Daryl. In addition, we saw some great zombie deaths and a very, very cool homage to George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. Did you catch that flannel-wearing flesh-eater too?
TGM: Sure did! This episode was directed by Greg Nicotero, a guy who has in some way, shape, and form been a part of George Romero’s zombiverse since 1985’s Day of the Dead. Flannel-zombie was an effective tribute without bashing us over the head with pretentious obviousness. Speaking of bashing, it felt good to have an Andrea free episode, eh?
Steve: A welcome one, that’s for sure. It’s nice not having to put up with her bad decisions if only for one week.
TGM: Now, since March Madness is amongst us, it’s time to update our “who’s gonna die” brackets. Earlier in the season I told you that there were rumored to be three major character deaths in the second half of this season. I’ve always said it was going to be The Governor, Merle, and either Maggie or Glenn. This is your very last chance to change your prediction, the season finale is nigh!
Steve: Do you consider Merle a major character? If so, Beth is definitely on my shortlist, along with The Governor (a given). If not, I’ll throw Beth a life preserver (although she’s still not safe), and I’ll stick with Carol and Andrea. I’m prepared for Maggie and/or Glenn, though, because something tells me you may be accurate in your prediction.
TGM: Trust me, I hope I’m wrong on that account. But it’s just like in just about every war movie, when the wet-behind-the-ears private finally opens up to someone and talks about his girl back home, then WHAMMO, he gets a face full of shrapnel.
I’m saddened that we only have one more episode left. It’s not going to be the same doing these write-ups with you for The Carrie Diaries every week.
Steve: But how else will we show our sensitive side? I guess we’ll see who’s right on who dies on Sunday.
TGM: Loser has to organize a nationwide write-in campaign to bring Lori back from the dead.
SP: Most. Dangerous. Bet. Ever.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a TV episode.
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