Merle is quick to insult Rick, the group, and their methods, but Daryl only weakly protests. However, the pain in his eyes is evident when Merle jokes about how soon the crew will die at the hands of the Governor. When they encounter another group of survivors being attacked by zombies, Daryl runs to their aid–against the protests of Merle. Daryl and the few men with guns take out the walkers (and Daryl gets the zombie kill of the season when he smashes the trunk of a car onto one of the walkers in a gory explosion). Since the survivors only speak Spanish, they can’t thank them properly, so Merle takes it upon himself to take his own reward. When he tries to loot their car, Daryl pulls his crossbow on his own brother. He helped the survivors because it was the right thing to do, and he wanted to save the baby. Daryl wasn’t surprised that he didn’t come to the survivors’ aid because he never came to his. The Dixons’ father abused them when they were young, and we see Daryl’s scars to prove it. Daryl realizes that Merle has never been there for him, but his new group took him in and appreciated him from the start. As he storms off, Daryl tells him passionately, “I may be the one walking away, but you’re the one leaving. Again.” And his eyes nearly well up with tears as he yells, “He’s Korean!” when he defends Glenn.
Rick spends the episode outside of the safety of the prison gates following his hallucination of Lori. When pushed, he admits to Hershel that he is following Lori, though he knows she isn’t real. He thinks that her presence means something and he won’t rest until he finds out what that is. Glenn finally confronts Maggie about the Governor’s attempted rape: she only let it go that far because she heard the beating he was receiving and was terrified they would kill him. She pushes him away, maybe because she doesn’t trust men in general or maybe because his first instinct was to seek revenge rather than ensure she was safe. Hershel warns him that the rage that is building up inside him will get him or his friends killed, but Glenn won’t hear any of it–he won’t be satisfied until the Governor lies dead. While the other couples struggle, Axel and Carol finally make some headway. He admits that he was in prison for robbing a gas station with a toy gun, they flirt as she shows him to load and use a real one.
With Rick’s lack of sanity and Daryl off gallivanting with Merle, Glenn decides that he has to take charge and lead. When the group shoots down his idea to take Michonne and attack Woodbury immediately, he sets off to check how the walkers got into the tombs where Tyreese and Co. were attacked.
The Governor is unsure of where Andrea’s allegiances lie. Though she took charge in Woodbury’s time of need, she has a much longer history with Rick’s group. He tries to push her choose Woodbury by asking her to take on the role of leader because he is clearly no longer capable. After the Governor calls Milton a friend, he is forced to lie to Andrea about where he disappeared to. His short, shaky response of “he’s on a run,” clearly won’t cut it, though. Andrea is not going to let this slide, and she is not going to be pleased when she hears the truth. But let’s be honest, she still won’t leave The Governor, she’s nuts.
The Governor led a surprise attack on the prison, beginning the battle by shooting Axel in the head. The survivors are quick to duck for cover and those with guns retaliate, but only succeed in taking out a few unimportant Woodbury guards. Rick is pinned outside the gates, where the real threat is the mass of walkers that surround him. Luckily Daryl and Merle arrive just in time to save him, which will probably lead to Merle being saved. A truck filled with zombies breaks through the prison gates, unleashing a walker bomb that nearly kills Hershel. Though the Governor only succeeds in taking out one survivor, he is beyond ecstatic, overjoyed by the attack and what he knows will be a fierce war.
I have to say, I’m pretty disappointed with the Governor. He had a dozen or so armed men attack the prison, but he started the battle with a single bullet. If he had used any sort of strategy he could have taken out a couple of the prisoners with the snipers they were equipped with. Or, at the very least, he could have shot someone important. Why would he choose to shoot someone he has never seen before when he could have easily killed Rick? This is gonna cost you, Governor, because it’s Rick’s move now.
The crowd at Woodbury is excited to watch Daryl and Merle fight to the death, Andrea is the only one who tries to resist it. Rather than a joyous reunion, Merle beats his brother, but promises he has a plan to get them out. Before he has a chance to prove this, Rick and Maggie shoot them free. Daryl retrieves his crossbow in the most badass–a very Daryl–fashion, and he and Merle escape. Rick, Glenn, and Maggie easily agree that Merle can’t be brought back to the prison, but Daryl refuses to return to the group without his brother in tow, so he storms off. Rick and Glenn disagree about whether they should bring back Michonne, but Rick, as the leader, prevails in and tells her that they will only patch her up and send her on her way; he’s terrified of new people, and finds any reason not to trust her, even though they definitely need her strength.
I don’t think it will take much abuse-–be it the verbal or physical-–for Daryl to realize that Merle might be his blood, but Rick’s group is his true family. He has finally found a group of people that accept and want him, he has finally taking on leadership and he has Carol back at the prison. I expect a joyous reunion between Daryl and the group, particularly between him and Carol very soon (Hopefully before the Governor launches his attack).
Glenn is no longer the sweet, innocent boy that we met in season one, he has seen the horrors of the world and realized how terrible people can really be. And he isn’t just fighting for his own life now, he believes it is his job to protect Maggie, and he failed. He’s infuriated that Rick didn’t take the time to kill the Governor and he wasn’t even given the chance to avenge Maggie himself. Until he takes out the Governor, Glenn can never forgive himself, and probably can’t have a healthy relationship with Maggie.
When the group rolls back into the prison, Carl seems genuinely surprised that they survived. Rick has the chance to hold baby Judy, and Beth mentions how she has Lori’s eyes. As all else fades away, Rick must wonder if her other features are his or Shane’s. After all this talk of the group’s amazing leader Rick, Tyreese and his group must be quite disappointed. Tyreese promises that they would do anything possible to stay in the prison, even help them in their battle with the Governor, the Rick doesn’t want to be responsible for them, since everyone he tries to protect dies. For the first time, Hershel stands up to Rick, telling him that this is the wrong thing to do, they need to reinforcements to protect themselves. But before Rick has the chance to change his mind, he sees ghost Lori. He is conscious enough to know that he wants nothing to do with her, but he doesn’t realize that she’s just a ghost; he waves his gun around and threatens her. Tyreese takes this a threat to his own life, and he and his group are quick to leave. Rick’s mind continues to deteriorate, and this time it wasn’t just Glenn who saw it. With Daryl gone, there aren’t many people left to take the lead.
Forgetting how dangerous it is outside of the walls, the citizens of Woodbury try to escape. A group of walkers manage to break in and bite one of the citizens before Andrea can kill them. The Governor walks out of his apartment, shoots the man in the head, and walks back into his house in complete silence. Andrea rushes into his place and demands that he give her answers and speak to his people, but he no longer cares about his people. He tells Andrea the whole truth now, thinking that she didn’t deserve to know before, because she was “just passing through.” Rather than become pissed, Andrea tells him not to push her away. For some reason, even after seeing tanks full of heads and his zombie daughter, she still wants to be with him. In my opinion, she’s even crazier than Rick. Because the Governor won’t take charge, Andrea makes a speech to the people about how they have suffered, but they must pull themselves back up; when society returns, the history books will write about Woodbury because they persevered. Though this inspires the people, I find it hard to believe that anyone expects the world to return to the way it was before. Now that Andrea seems to have found her place, it’s hard to know which side she will choose in the battle between Rick and the Governor, they did leave her for dead after all. And they barely reacted to the news that she was still alive, probably because they didn’t have the time to worry about it.