Last night The Walking Dead staggered back onto our screens for the much awaited and deliberated midseason comeback. The ninth episode of season three, entitled “The Suicide King” had a lot of ground to cover, so what happened?

After episode eight, “Made to Suffer” finished airing on Dec 2, 2012; fans of The Walking Dead were left hungrier than a chained up zombie. Prior to the season three hiatus, we were left in the screamer arena in Woodbury with Daryl and Merle face to face at the hands of the Governor as Andrea stared at the scene, horrified. It was here episode nine hit the ground running.

What happened?

Woodbury

The crowd of angry Woodbury citizens chanting, the Governor announces that Merle and Daryl must “Fight. To The death.” The mortified Andrea then broke through the human barricade and begged the Governor to stop; to which he retorts that it is no longer in his control.

Walkers are then lead into the arena, and Merle reminds the mob that he will prove to them that he is loyal to Woodbury first and foremost. With a sharp punch to the abdomen Daryl is then knocked to the ground, followed shortly by a swift kick to the head.

It is at this point that Rick and Maggie intervene, by shooting into the crowd. The duo make a break for it masked by a screen of smoke, Daryl and Merle in tow. Upon their escape from Woodbury Merle forces a gap in the fencing, which a biter discovers and uses to head into the town.

Later on, the town is up in arms following the recent attack. Andrea, worried given the events of the night before, asks Milton where the Governor is and he informs her the Governor won’t open his apartment door and is tending to a project.

At that point, further up the road some residents are attempting to flee the town, to which the guards retaliate aggressively. As Andrea attempts to mediate the situation, a woman screams down the street. A walker which has managed to make it’s way into the town assaults and mutilates a man in full view of everyone around. Andrea finishes the walker off, as well as another which has found it’s way into Woodbury, and stares sadly at the hapless victim of the attack. The Governor, hearing the ruckus, saunters onto the street and shoots the bloodied man in the head, before turning on his heel and leaving as quickly as he came.

Shortly following the disruption Andrea asks the Governor to reassure the residents as they’re in uproar. He dismisses her plea suggesting that they’ve all had it far too easy in the zombie apocalypse, and that the residents should realise they’re at war. Andrea, unimpressed, then asks him why Daryl was in Woodbury, to which the Governor confesses that he had come for her friends Maggie and Glenn whom Merle had picked up and held for questioning as to the whereabouts of his brother. Andrea, upset that he hadn’t been informed of her old friends being in Woodbury asks why she wasn’t told, to which the Governor informs her that she’s “just a visitor here.”

Andrea then leaves the Governor’s room, and sets to soothe the tensions of the townspeople who have congregated outside his home. In a final attempt Andrea rallies the people together with a speech about how they will triumph suggesting that “years from now, when they write about this plague in the history books, they will write about Woodbury.” The crowd satisfied by this agree and disperse.

On the Road

Following their successful mission to recoup Daryl, Rick and the others reconvene with Michonne and Glenn further out through the woods on the road.  Glenn and Michonne are disgusted that Merle is among them; but Merle unfazed by their responses taunts Michonne with the news that Andrea and the Governor are now an item. Daryl confirms that she was by his side, and the rest of the group are shocked at the news that Andrea is alive.

Realising Rick, Glenn and Maggie will never accept Merle into their team, Daryl is forced to decide between the group and his brother. He decides hat blood is indeed thicker than water, and informs them that he and Merle will go it alone from here. Following Daryl’s departure, Merle at his side, Rick vehemently tells Michonne that once her injuries have been dealt with she has to go too.

On their return trip to the prison, Rick and co stop to move a truck from the road. As Glenn opens the door of the truck to steer it whist Rick pushes, a walker pounces out of the cab and Glenn forces it to the ground. Stomping its brains into the ground repeatedly and consumed by rage Glenn turns on Rick, demanding to know why he didn’t kill the Governor. It is then he shouts “do you kow what he did to her?” referring to Maggie and the abuse she was dealt by the Governor (alluding to her having been raped? She was in the comics)

At the Prison

In the meantime, Hershel patches up Allen, one of Tyreese’s group members. He warns the newcomers not to “get too comfortable” as other members of his team aren’t likely to be as accepting of them. He then suggest that Donna have a proper burial in the prison grounds.

As Tyreese, Sasha, Allen and Ben carry the body of their friend out into the prison courtyard to be buried, Ben and Allen suggest ambushing Carl and Carol who are nearby; but Tyreese and Sasha are appalled by the idea and refuse. Then, as Axel and Beth come over to give them some shovels to dig out the grave, Tyreese and Sasha push past the other two of their gang; making it clear to the remainder of their group that they will not abuse the kindness of the prison group.

Following Rick and Glenn’s confrontation on the road, they arrive at the prison; but their arrival is marred by the lack of Daryl. Carol is forlorn to learn that Daryl left with Merle. However, when Beth then asks her why Daryl would choose Merle over the group, Carol responds that people like Merle find a way “to get into your head.” She also notes that Daryl is a man with certain morals, and that there aren’t many of them left in this world.

Upon his arrival, Rick walks through the common room but doesn’t acknowledge Tyreese and his group. Tyreese, not perturbed by this tells his Sasha and Ben, “when he’s ready, let me do the talking.” Rick is then met by Beth and baby Judith, who starts crying. Rick looks unsettled by his daughter’s sobs and seems shaken.

As Hershel tends to Glenn’s wounds he realises there’s a strain between Maggie and Glenn. Whilst Hershel’s attempt to get them to reveal the true reasons for their tension is futile; he admits to Glenn that he is like a son to him, and pleads with Maggie not to “disappear” on him.

That evening, Hershel infroms Rick that Michonne won’t be fit to leave for a couple of days; and the group address the fact that the Governor will be seeking his revenge on them. Hershel then points out that the team could “use some reinforcements” regarding Tyreese and his group.

Finally, Rick meets with Tyreese and his group, and initially refuses their help with defending the prison; however, Hershel pulls him to one side and asks him to reconsider. Just as Rick is about to change his mind; he hallucinates that Lori in her wedding dress is up on the catwalk. Overcome with despair and panic, he pleads with his vision “What do you want with me?… I can’t help you! Get out!” The group unsure of who or what Rick was shouting at, urge Tyreese and co out of the room, as Rick furiously paces the room.

Where from here?

Rick

It looks as though things are just getting started for Rick. He’s lost it once before, but this time it seems a lot more serious. We saw in some of the promo’s released by AMC preceding “The Suicide King” that Carl urges Rick to give up the position as group leader later on in the season; and given Rick’s hallucinations it appears he’s on the way to a major breakdown. Do you think Rick is going to lose it?

Daryl

With Daryl and Merle out fending for themselves in a woodland filled with walkers, how do you think they’ll manage? Will the Dixons thrive and survive? Or could we be looking at the end of The Walking Dead‘s brothers? Fans have suggested that if Daryl dies it will be a bad day for The Walking Dead. What do you think?

The Governor

The Governor no longer looks as though he wants to play Mr. Nice Guy. What’s next for him in this season of The Walking Dead? How will he get his own back on Rick and the prison? Will he desert Woodbury looking for vengeance? And what’s going to happen between him and Andrea now?

The next episode of The Walking Dead “Home” airs on AMC Sunday Feb 18, 9/8 ET/PT.

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