Rick's gung-ho for the Governor's flimsy "bring me Michonne and I'll leave you alone" deal. Neither Hershel nor Daryl love the idea, but Merle thinks it's worth a try. He warns Rick about what the Governor will most likely do to Michonne, however, and it sounds pretty rough. For the first time, Merle looks conflicted - he's wary that Rick's plan will inflict a lot of undue pain, but he's by no means shrinking from the idea. Also, he's tearing mattresses apart looking for prison dope, so.
It's no secret that Merle has full moon crazy eyes now, and he seems to be formulating a plan. He knocks out Michonne and sneaks her out of the prison, as if he expects Rick to change his mind. He's taking her to Woodbury no matter what, and he's giving the rest of the gang a clear conscience by doing it alone.
Ever the watchful eye, Rick doesn't realize she's gone for hours. He goes looking for cable to tie her up as Lori spies on him and Hershel reads Psalm 91:1-7 (KJV) to his girls:
This all finally boils together in the stockpot of Rick's brain as a good reason not to take Michonne to Woodbury, after all. He finally realizes that Merle's already taken her, so Daryl volunteers to catch them before they reach the Governor. Why he doesn't take his SS motorcycle is beyond me.91 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
In the meantime, Glenn tells Hershel he understands what his antique watch means (the one Hershel's first wife kept for him even though he pawned it because he used to be such a miserable lush): he wants to marry Maggie. Although that's not at all what the watch means, Hershel gives his blessing. Heck, why not? Well for starters, because there's no point in a Zombiepocalypse, because it increases the chance that they'll try to get pregnant (thereby endangering the group even further), because this is an existence without burden of visitation rights, because it will make Glenn and Maggie react more selfishly in the future, because one million more reasons that are just as good. But sure, go ahead and "let her know before 'who knows'." God knows words aren't enough. Glenn snatches a lady zombie's engagement ring and two fingers with it.
Merle ties Michonne up to a post in a motel parking lot while he hotwires a car. Soon the goddamn car alarm goes off and attracts every walker in the area. With limited mobility and zero weapons, Michonne fights off two of them, but eventually Merle pauses his insane reverie to save her from the rest. Hey Merle, great having you back in reality. Just kidding, you're still a complete psychopath. If I had a nickel for every time I wrote that sentence.
Michonne does her best to talk him out of taking her to Woodbury. She tells him he's no better than a henchman, and she asks how many people he killed before he met the Governor. Merle doesn't think he deserves redemption even though he recognizes all he's done wrong, so he lets her out of the car and crazy-eyes his way to destiny on his own.
Michonne runs into Daryl on the way back to the prison. He's really booking it.
Merle gets drunk and blasts the car stereo to attract as many zombies as possible. He leads the gathering pack to the halfway point where the Governor waits. Merle kills a few of the Governor's guards in the chaos of shooting the attacking zombies, but eventually the Governor finds him. He bites off two of Merle's remaining fingers and shoots him in the chest. Merle Dixon: A man who must have given people the finger more than a few times in life has lost 7/10 of them in death.
Back at the prison, Rick tells the gang that he can't be in charge anymore - they have to vote on everything, starting with leaving the prison or staying and defending it. Remember when they voted on whether to kill that kid with the broken leg last season? And it took forever and they still didn't agree on an answer? This is probably a great idea going forward.
Michonne makes it back to the prison around the same time that Daryl makes it to the aftermath of the halfway point dust-up. He knows what he's looking for, and the poor guy cries and cries when he finally finds it - Zombie Merle.
Zombie Merle wants to eat Crying Daryl, but Daryl keeps pushing him away. Hey look, another Dixon Brothers metaphor: Daryl pushed his brother's negative influence away time and time again in life only to finally push his destructive tendencies away in zombie un-death. He stabs him in the head several times and collapses on the ground. Keep an eye out for the other zombies, buddy. You're gonna make it. But keep an eye out, though.
photos courtesy amctv.com