I usually do a review of the season finale and it is usually a painfully long post so I thought this time I would split it into two posts. Hopefully it’ll be easier on the eyes!
** Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched last weeks episode but want to, do NOT read this!**
Last Friday I was overjoyed to find that the whole episode seemed to focus on my favourite character, Merle Dixon. Why is he my favourite? Other than the fact that Michael Rooker is one of my favourite actors and is one of the main reasons I was convinced to watch The Walking Dead. I don’t know. Maybe because everyone loves Daryl and I hate to follow the crowd, so my soft spot is for the next best thing (his brother)?
I loved the first series despite only a glimpse at Merle. I struggled throughout the second series (as did everyone) and I have enjoyed the third series despite a few issues. However I have found myself changing loyalties through the season, depending on which camp Merle was in. When he was in Woodbury, I found myself drawn to Woodbury and feeling less motivated when Rick and the prison came on screen. Towards the end of the series I have found myself inwardly cheering with Rick and feeling much more comfortable at the prison. I realised recently that this happened when Merle moved from Woodbury to the prison. I’m hoping that this is coincidence but have a funny feeling it’s not.
We haven’t learnt much about Merle throughout the programme. Series one showed him to be an ignorant, violent and drugged up ex-con who still didn’t deserve to be handcuffed to a roof. Series two gave us a glimpse of him as a brother and the way Daryl remembered him. Series three continued with the violence and we never really felt we could trust Merle. It wasn’t until the penultimate episode that the truth came out and finally we got a glimpse at the real Merle.
Here is a man who only knows violence. Here is a man who truly cares about his brother and will do anything to stay with his brother. Here is a man who hadn’t killed a person until the Governor found him. Merle has always been told he was the bad guy, he’s always been treated as such even before the apocalypse and that has given him a very poor perception of himself. When someone is told repeatedly that they are the bad guy, they tend to become the bad guy. Given this and Merle’s upbringing, he really didn’t stand a chance. He spent his life believing he was a monster but it was the Governor that made him into one. Merle spent this episode trying to put things right in his own twisted way and suffered the ultimate price.
I deflated at the end of this episode. Finally, I thought, we are seeing the true Merle but then he was snatched away. Of course, his death plays a huge part in the development of Daryl. I wonder now if Daryl will play a large part in the Governor’s possible demise. Surely Daryl cannot fear the Governor – if the writers kill off Daryl they will kill off their viewing figures.
I can’t help but wonder, maybe if Rick hadn’t cuffed Merle to the roof and left him behind, maybe if the Governor hadn’t found him, Merle would have turned out like Daryl and I think that is very important to the characterisation of the Dixon brothers.
So I’m not too happy. The third season has been good but the only reason I was desperate to watch it was because of a) the Governor, b) Michonne and c) Merle’s return. I’m guessing that by the end of today, there will only be Michonne left. I want to know more about Michonne but The Walking Dead writers seem to have a habit of letting you get close to a character right before they’re killed.
What am I really hoping to see tonight? If the Governor’s reign is to come to an end, I want it to be good. An ending to do justice to a true villain. I want some deaths. This is the perfect opportunity to get rid of some of the tired characters. Andrea definitely needs to go and I can’t help but wish ill upon Glen and Maggie, purely because these are the three characters who have truly gotten on my nerves this series.
Have a lovely weekend everyone and check back on Monday for my review of the season finale. I would also love to hear your thoughts below.