The Walking Dead recap: The ultimate sacrifice

Mar 25, 2013 at 5:15 a.m. ET

On this episode of The Walking Dead, called "This Sorrowful Life," Merle does what he thinks no one can and forces Rick to make a big decision about the group.

The Walking Dead season 3 episode 15 "This Sorrowful Life"

This episode begins with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) bringing Daryl (Norman Reedus) into his secret circle about what he's planning to do with Michonne (Danai Gurira). Rick also reveals that he needs Merle's (Michael Rooke) help, too. Poor Rick thinks he's doing the right thing, but when Merle of all people tells him he's wrong, he may just start rethinking his decision. Surprisingly enough, Merle decides to do the deed himself, and even more surprisingly, for very similar reasons.

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At first I thought maybe Merle wanted to bring Michonne back to the Governor (David Morrissey) so that he could get back in with that group and that he'd maybe give up being with his brother in the prison. I couldn't have been more wrong. Merle, for all intents and purposes, sacrificed himself to give Daryl the best shot he could at the life his brother wanted with his new family. Merle would've rather gone back to his brother I'm sure, but since he couldn't, at least he took out as many of the Governor's people as he could.

When Daryl finds his brother at the end of the episode, and realizes that he's become a walker, I don't think I was the only one crying with him. It wasn't so much for Merle — though his actions in this episode did make me like him a whole lot more than ever before — but because my heart broke for Daryl. Here he had this chance to maybe have his real family join his adopted family and now that chance is gone. I just wanted to give him a hug after seeing the look of devastation on his face.

Meanwhile, knowing that they may be facing an even more imminent death than normal, Glen decides that he wants to marry Maggie. I loved his unique way of getting an engagement ring and the simple yet beautiful way that he asked her to marry him.

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Once Merle is gone, Rick realizes that he can't do what he thought he could and, with Daryl also missing, decides to tell the group the truth about everything. He also tells them that he can't continue to be their leader because the stakes are too high and everyone needs to decide what they want to do for themselves. It was another fantastic moment in the series and one that I think will again bring about another change in the group's dynamic — and I mean that in the best way possible.

My favorite bits...

Seeing that Rick decided to confide in Daryl as well as Hershel.

"It just ain't us, man."

"Do you even know why you do the things you do?"

Getting very creeped out when Merle described what the Governor was probably going to do to Michonne.

"You're as cold as ice, Officer Friendly."

Merle admitting he didn't know why he did the things that he did.

Daryl pointing out that the idea to set up the trap was Michonne's.

Carol telling Merle that it wasn't time to do shots, it was time to pick a side.

"I just want my brother back." Daryl putting his hand on Merle's shoulder kind of killed me.

The entire scene with Rick in the yard, seeing Lori, while Hershel read the scripture.

Nearly cheering out loud when Rick told Hershel that he couldn't, that he wouldn't, give Michonne to the Governor.

"He was a guy that came back for me on that rooftop." Fascinating that it's that act that Merle sees as a character flaw.

"I'm not saying it was the wrong call, but this is definitely the right one."

"You're family, too." The look on Rick's face when Daryl said that killed me again.

Glen telling Hershel that he wanted to marry Maggie. How is it that this zombie show keeps on making me cry? Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead season 3 episode 15 "This Sorrowful Life"

Michonne managing to kill two zombies literally with her hands tied. Man, that woman is good.

"No one's gonna mourn you, not even Daryl. He's got a new family." Ouch.

Merle finally finding himself some booze and kindly offering some to one of the zombies. He's a gentleman, that Merle.

The way Merle found a way to reinvent the slow-speed chase.

My draw literally dropping when the Governor bit off Merle's fingers.

"I couldn't sacrifice one of us for the greater good because we are the greater good." Wow, that was powerful.

Not being able to help the gasp that left me when Daryl saw his brother was a zombie.

What did you think of this episode of The Walking Dead? Were you at all surprised by Merle's death or did you see it coming? What do you think the group will do now?