Tonight "The Walking Dead" finally returned from its mid-season hiatus after what felt like an eternity of waiting (what can we say, TWD fans are impatient). And the brand new episode definitely did not disappoint. Intrigued? Then it's time to review "The Walking Dead" episode 3.9, "The Suicide King."
SERIOUS SPOILERS AHEAD.
When we heard that the mid-season premiere would be called "The Suicide King," I assumed that that title was referring to the Governor. Turns out Rick is much more the suicide king in this episode. In playing cards, the Suicide King is the king of hearts because he appears to be stabbing himself in the head with his sword. What a great metaphor for Rick in this episode. He's the character who falls on his own sword, letting Daryl go, passing over the opportunities to include Michonne and Tyreese's group in the prison community. When he's facing a battle and could use all the fighters he can get, instead he's making all the wrong decisions to exclude them from the fight.
While not as strong an episode as, say "Killer Within," this was still a solid story to get us back into the plot. It starts out fast and violent, with the bitter end to the rescue mission that has gone so wrong. As much as a jerk as Merle is, how awesome was it to see him and his brother Daryl fighting walkers back-to-back, facing certain death? Their rescue by Rick & Co. was completely upstaged by the Governor, with his one remaining eye all crazy and that maniacal smile on his face, looking like the mayhem and destruction was exactly what he wanted to happen.
From there, things get bogged down in weighty conversation. So let's dissect some weighty conversations, shall we?
First, the brothers Dixon. While it was a shock that Daryl chose Merle over Rick, it wasn't exactly surprising. It looked like an impulsive decision, and entirely in-character for Daryl. He may have found a new family in the prison, but he is also terrified of losing people. How could he leave Merle after just finding him? He couldn't. The ramifications of this decision are going to weigh heavily on everyone.
But almost more revealing about the brothers' relationship was Carol's conversation with Beth. She compared her own abusive relationship with Ed to how Daryl feels for Merle. It's so obvious I'm embarrassed to have missed it before. Both Carol and Daryl are victims of abuse from people who are supposed to protect them: a husband and a big brother. No wonder Daryl left the group. He wasn't just going with his brother, he was following his abuser, just as Carol thinks she would if Ed was alive and well.
Speaking of troubled relationships, things may never be the same between Maggie and Glenn again. Glenn seems to have taken the Governor's abuse of Maggie much harder than even his near-death interrogation from Merle. And who can blame him? But at the same time, Glenn's clearly acting out the machismo of a young man. If anyone deserves revenge, it's Maggie, and on her own terms. Glenn shooting off at the hip on her behalf is not likely to do anything to improve the cold, awkward silence between them.
Perhaps the most foolish conversation in the episode was when Allen suggested to Tyreese & Co. that they over-power Carol and Carl to take over the prison. At which point ever TWD fan in the world laughed outright because they have no idea who they're dealing with. Carl isn't just some little kid. He was born in blood as much as his sister, 'Lil Ass-kicker. And if they tried to take him, with or without Carol's help they would all die swiftly and horribly.
But let's stop ignoring the elephant in the room, shall we? Or should I say "the incredibly creepy ghost of Lori in the room"? Because seriously, in a show filled with decaying cannibalistic corpses, semi-insane human beings, and just overall grimy, dirty, about-to-snap-at-any-minute people, I have never seen anything as spooky as Lori in a wedding dress hanging out in the shadows. Not to mention her timing was terrible. Just ruined everything for Tyreese & Co!
But Lori's presence is disturbing not only for her overall creepifying appearance, but for what it signifies about Rick. It's one thing to hear your dead wife's voice on a disconnected telephone, quite another to see her standing there right in front of you. In that moment Rick does not exactly inspire confidence, and he certainly isn't the level-headed leader Tyreese was hoping to meet.
So what's going to happen next on "The Walking Dead"? Why, the invasion of the prison by the Governor, of course! Or... not of course. You really never know.
Will Daryl and Merle rejoin the prison community? Will the Governor attack the prison? Will Andrea finally wake up and smell the corpses? Will Michonne be welcomed into the group? Find out on the next... "THE WALKING DEAD."
Cue dramatic music.
We are the walking dead: Tune into AMC every Sunday night at 9 p.m. for the latest episode of the little zombie show that could, "The Walking Dead."
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