Last week ended with Andrea strapped into the Governor’s torture chair, which is a really horrible place to be. But if you’re looking to see how that turns out for her… you’re gonna have to wait just a bit longer. No Andrea this week. And sadly, no Tyreese and his gang. Saving that for the finale I suppose. But before we get there, we’ve got tonight’s penultimate episode to discuss, so onto it!

NOTE: I didn’t have a final cut of this episode, so fair warning that his might not be exact, but how fun if it’s not, right?.

The episode starts with Rick telling Daryl that the Michonne trade has to be done but they’ll need one more person: Merle. Daryl isn’t completely on board with the plan, but he gets it. When he offers to talk to Merle, Rick insists on doing it himself.

When he goes to talk to Merle, Rick finds him ripping up mattresses looking for dope. After Rick tells Merle the plan, Merle tells Rick that the Governor is sick and lays out what the Governor will do to Michonne and reminds him that it’s not even a guarantee that the Governor won’t attack them. It doesn’t sway Rick. Merle says that Rick doesn’t have the spine to go through with his plan. We’ll see!

After the opening credits, Rick goes outside and the rest of the group is laying down a spike strip so the Governor’s men can’t drive up to the gate again. Rick says it’s a good idea and Daryl says “it was Michonne’s” and stares at Rick.

Carol and Merle have a talk about who’s side Merle is on. Merle mentions that Carol isn’t the same scared person she was back in the camp outside Atlanta. He calls her a late bloomer, she says maybe he is too.

Outside, Daryl and Glenn have a fairly one-sided conversation about how Merle is sorry. After Daryl talks for a while, Glenn tells Daryl about what Merle and the Governor did to him, which is forgivable, but not what happened to Maggie. Daryl doesn’t defend Merle, he just walks off.

Daryl finds Merle in the machine shop and Merle says he’s looking for drugs. Merle accuses Daryl of having no balls because he’s just going along with Rick’s Michonne plan. When Daryl brings up the crap Merle did to Glenn and Maggie for the Governor Merle says that they’re going to do the same thing to Michonne. After Daryl leaves, we see that Merle is getting a kit ready to abduct Michonne.

While Hershel sermonizes to Maggie and Beth, Rick’s outside looking through debris for wire to tie Michonne’s wrists. He looks up and sees Lori again. Regular clothes, pregnant. He says “you’re not there” but she doesn’t disappear.

Rick goes inside and tells Hershel that he can’t do it. He can’t give up Michonne.

Merle is with Michonne in an uncleared part of the prison. While she’s distracted with walkers he knocks her out and ties her up. He starts walking her to Woodbury. He says that Rick wouldn’t have had the guts to go through with his plan so he did it himself.

Rick finds Daryl and says the plan’s off but he can’t find Michonne or Merle. Rick and Daryl go looking and find a bloody hood in the machine shop where Merle’s kidnapping kit was. Daryl says he’ll track Merle and tells Rick to get the prison ready while he’s gone.

Merle and Michonne are still walking to Woodbury. Merle says he thinks that if he does this and saves the prison maybe they’ll forgive him, and he can stay with his brother.

At the prison, Glenn talks to Hershel about the pocket watch Hershel gave him and says he understands what it means now. He says he wants to marry Maggie. Hershel gives his blessing.

Merle and Michonne stop by a motel. Merle ties Michonne to a post and while he’s hot-wiring a car, he sets off the alarm, drawing all the nearby walkers. Michonne struggles to fight them off while tied up and Merle finishes the rest of them off when he’s done starting the car.

As they drive off, Michonne and Merle talk about their roles/places within the group. She says that Merle will always be on the outside, and he says that she’s no different.

Back at the prison, Glenn goes down to the fences and cuts an engagement ring (with finger) off a walker’s hand. So romantic.

Michonne asks Merle if he ever killed anyone before he met the Governor. She reminds Merle that the Governor is a piece of s**t and says they can just go back to the Prison. Merle says he can’t go back then cuts Michonne loose and says he has something he has to do on his own. He continues in the direction of Woodbury.

Michonne runs into Daryl on her way back and lets him know that Merle let her go. Daryl runs after his brother.

Merle is sitting in a parking lot outside of a liquor store or bar, blasting Motorhead’s “Fast and Loose” and having a drink.

He’s luring in walkers then slowly drives off with them following. He heads to the area where Rick and the Governor had their meeting. He lets the car roll on while he jumps out (now Ted Nugent’s “Turn It Up” is playing, FYI). While the Governor’s men fight off the walkers, Merle starts taking shots at them.

He gets a good number of them (including a shot on Allen’s kid—I don’t think we see his fate) before Martinez and the Governor find him. The Governor says “you leave him to me!” and takes on Merle. Mid-fight the Governor bites off two of Merle’s fingers and has him beat. Merle says “I ain’t gonna beg! I ain’t beggin’ you!” and the Governor shoots him.

Back at the prison Rick calls a meeting, but before Glenn and Maggie head over, Glenn proposes to her. She says yes, and they go to see what Rick has to say.

Rick lets them in on his plan and how he changed his mind but Merle had already taken Michonne. He tells them that these things should be everyone’s decision, not his. He isn’t their Governor, he doesn’t tell them what to do. He says they can stay and fight or they can go. He goes to the watchtower and sees Michonne walking back.

Daryl tracks Merle to Woodbury and finds him zombiefied and eating one of the Governor’s men (update: apparently Ben, Allen’s son, didn’t even realize). Waling Merle sees Daryl and shambles toward him. Daryl continually pushes Merle off until he finally decides to kill him. He stabs him in the head repeatedly, sobbing. The episode ends.

Ah man, poor Daryl. And poor Merle. I knew Merle would go out a hero. Merle, you may have been a bigoted, racist murderer, but by the end you were OUR bigoted, racist murderer.

What happens now? Does Rick’s group attack Woodbury? Does Woodbury attack the prison?

Will Andrea live to see season 4?

Was Glenn’s proposal weak sauce?

Does Daryl now have dibs on the Governor? Man, everyone has a good reason to kill that guy.

Reminder: if you know something about NEXT week’s episode beyond AMC’s teasers, don’t post it here. Don’t ruin it for others. I know you want to talk about whatever you might have heard or seen, but let’s do our best to keep it fresh for others. Thanks gang!