The Walking Dead Midseason Premiere Recap: The Suicide King

The episode begins right where we were when we left off (and we've seen this clip before, too): with the revelation that the Dixon brothers will be expected to battle it out in the arena lest they both be torn apart by the Woodbury crowd. Andrea tries to make the Governor put a stop to it, but he claims to be deferring to the town, then tells Merle to prove his loyalty by killing Daryl.

The brothers look at each other briefly and then Merle launches into his crowd-pleasing routine, setting brutally upon Daryl, who doesn't fight back. A walker is brought into the ring with them, just as Daryl begins to fight back. A second walker is brought back in, and as the brothers struggle on the ground, surrounded by the crowd and walkers on leashes, Daryl asks Merle if he really believes the Governor will let him go. Merle simply tells him to "follow my lead, little brother; I'm gonna get you out of this."

The two get to their feet and begin to take out the walkers that they're being surrounded by, while Milton looks on with a disapproving look and Andrea continues to rant about the madness, to no one at all listening.

Moments later, though, the walkers start to go down, sniped from a distance by Maggie Greene with a rifle; next to her, hidden just outside the arena, is Rick Grimes, carrying another of the flash grenades from the prison. He launches it into the arena, causing the crowd to disperse in panic, while the Governor stands in the middle of the chaos and draws his gun.

Soon, both Rick and Maggie have machine guns and are shooting out the lights to cover the Dixons' escape. Daryl and Merle take out the walkers nearest to them while the rest of the crowd (except the Governor) flees. While Andrea stops to mourn a Woodbury citizen apparently downed in the chaos, the Governor blows a walker's brains out casually and one of Rick's group grabs a little girl about to be set upon by a walker and rescues her.

One of the Woodbury survivors, an unshaven black man, takes out one of the walkers with Daryl's crossbow, and Daryl runs past him, knocking the man down and taking his crossbow as he and Merle make their escape.

The Governor calmly seethes at the turn of events.

Making their way out of Woodbury, Merle offers to lead them through a clear path, but Rick is hesitant to let him come with them. Merle insists they don't have time for the conflict, and everyone follows him through a hole he creates in the defense wall. Outside is a small group of walkers (including Hines Ward), who are quickly dispatched as the group makes their way to the woods.

One of the walkers, though, didn't actually go down when he was bashed in the skull; just fell. Now, he's up and moving again--and pulling at the open panel of Woodbury wall our survivors just crawled through.

The next morning on the road outside the woods, Glenn and Michonne are waiting near the car. There's a brief confrontation with weapons drawn as Rick has to convince an angry, violent Michonne, Glenn and Maggie that Merle can join their group. It slows down briefly and then gets heated again after Merle reveals to the group that the Governor has been having sex with Andrea.

While Michonne refuses to tell Rick about her relationship with Andrea, Merle spills all that he knows, along with a few racist remarks to sweeten the monologue, much to Daryl's frustration. When the argument between the brothers starts to get too excited, Rick knocks Merle out with a pistol whip to the back of the head.

Back at the prison, Axel is making food while Carl and Hershel look after Tyreese's group. He reveals to Tyreese that his amputation was due to a bite, and Beth comes in with Judith in her arms. What follows is the scene we described earlier this week, in which Tyreese's group learns a bit more about how the survivors have been living in the prison after a brief misunderstanding as to whose baby it is and where the mother has gone.

Tyreese explains to Hershel that the world has only gotten worse, with zombies getting more and more plentiful and looking less and less human. He says that their group was at one point as large as 25 people, but that their camp was overrun. Their conversation quickly becomes very cordial and it's not long before Hershel cautions Tyreese against assuming that he has found a place to stay, explaining that it isn't up to him.

On the road, the group is still discussing what to do with Merle and Michonne, with most of the group wanting to cut both of them loose but at least one person advocating to keep each.

Rick tells Daryl that while Daryl is part of the survivors' family, Merle is not. Merle isn't welcome at the prison, and Daryl responds by saying that he'll leave with Merle rather than come back without him.

Frustrated by his inability to hang onto Daryl, Rick hisses at Michonne, "We patch you up and then you are gone."

As Tyreese and his group carry Donna's body out toward the field to be buried, they stop in the prison courtyard for a quick breather. Seeing Carol and Carl a ways off, Allen and his son see an opportunity to jump them and take their weapons, perceiving a kid and a woman as an easy target. Tyreese tries to talk them out of it, but Allen decides that it's "survival of the fittest." When Axel and Beth come to bring them shovels to bury the body with, Tyreese and Sasha head off the others, taking the tools before Allen and Ben can turn them into weapons.

Along the road back home, Rick, Glenn and Maggie stop to remove a pickup truck and a downed tree from the road; when Glenn opens the door to move the truck, a walker leaps out. Glenn grabs the zombie from the truck, throws it to the ground and stomps its head into paste, then starts arguing with Rick, chastising him for not killing the Governor when he had the chance.

After a brief argument in the street, Maggie suggests they can talk it out back at the prison, but Glenn says he's done talking.

In Woodbury, there's a general sense of civil unrest as Andrea emerges from a door to tell Milton that there are nine injured from the previous night's activities. Nobody has talked to the Governor, who refuses to open the door to his apartment. People and cars are crowding the gates, trying to leave town, but they're being held back by armed security.

While the guards struggle with zombies on the other side and Andrea comes to try to help defuse the situation, cars begin to honk at the locked doors, prompting a confrontation with the guards, who are concerned the noise will bring more of the undead.

While the Andrea tussles and argues with Martinez, a guard who has forced someone out of their vehicle, a series of screams can be heard from behind the crowd.

Walkers are in the streets, having already set upon and bitten one Woodbury citizen who lies bleeding after Andrea and Martinez stop the zombies. The Governor arrives to kill the suffering man in front of the crowd, then stalks back off.

Watching the gates of the prison, Carol and Carl make small talk that has a bittersweet tinge to it, before Carol tells Carl that his mother was proud of him. He says that all he thinks about is that he was mean to her, and then Rick and the others arrive. They open the gates and let the car in, closing out a small group of walkers who rush toward it, while Rick gets out of the car to hug Carl. Rick has to tell Carol that Merle and Daryl decided to head off on their own, leaving her despondent.

Andrea heads into the Governor's apartment to confront him about what he's just done, telling him that it's unfair to blame his citizens for not knowing what to do when he's spent all this time cultivating a society where they pretended nothing was wrong. He tells her that "barbecues and picnics? That ends now," that he's through with holding people's hands when a society is at war.

She asks what Daryl was doing in Woodbury, and the Governor comes clean that he was there to recover Glenn and Maggie. Andrea, shocked to learn that they were even still alive, challenges the Governor as to why he was shooting at them, and he tells her it's because they had killed his people. She asks why he didn't reveal to her that they were here, and he tells her that she's just a visitor, so why should he?

Milton enters to tell the Governor that the town is in the streets and that "it could get ugly again."

Back at the prison, Hershel and Beth are greeting Maggie and Rick; Rick sends Carl and Carol inside and stops to talk to Hershel. Rick describes the arena, asking "What kind of a sick mind does that?"

"The kind this world creates," answers Hershel, and then tells Rick about Tyreese and his people (off-camera).

Rick enters the room where Tyreese's party is being kept and keeps moving past them without a word. Allen is upset at being ignored, but Tyreese tells him to be patient and let Tyreese do the talking.

Rick comes and takes the baby from Beth, who cries as soon as she's in his hands, sending him into a panic.

Back in Woodbury, Milton tells the citizens that the zombies have been dispatched and the fence is fixed, but this doesn't pacify them. Andrea takes over the meeting, delivering an inspiring speech and dispersing the crowd while the Governor watches from inside.

Beth takes the baby back upstairs, where she's met by Carol. Carol, who suddenly wants to talk about Sophia, which drifts into a conversation about Merle. "Men like Merle get into your head, make you feel like you deserve the abuse," Carol says by way of explanation as to why Daryl left.

Beth tells Carol that she's worried they're weak without Daryl, but Carol says Tyreese seems a fit substitute, and not to be mad at Daryl for leaving. She takes the baby and the two put her to bed in a mail crate.

Hershel is cleaning up Glenn's wounds, when Maggie stops by and, after a pause, leaves. Hershel asks if they're alright, but gets no answer. Leaving to check on Maggie, Hershel tells Glenn that he's like his own son.

Hershel's conversation with Maggie is just as quiet, so he asks her about what happened in Woodbury but she says nothing. He tells her that he rests easy knowing that she can handle herself, and tells her not to "disappear on him."

Later, Michonne is passed out in the infirmary cell when Rick shows up to ask when she can travel; Hershel tells her a couple of days. Axel comes to join the group, and Rick is encouraged by all sides to seek "reinforcements" against the Governor. Rick, Hershel and the others go to see Tyreese and his group.

Tyreese offers to stay in the prison but live essentially separately from Rick, crossing paths only when one or the other group needs a hand. Rick initially declines, but it's clear the rest of the group disagrees. Rick says he can't be responsible for what happens to Tyreese and his people, but Tyreese tells him that if he turns them away, he is responsible. Hershel calls Rick over and tells him that he's wrong on this, that he has to start giving people a chance.

Rick seems, reluctantly, to agree until he sees a vision of Lori and begins talking to it. He draws his gun, having a sudden, violent break with reality, shouting and waving the gun around. Glenn sees Tyreese's group out for their safety, and the rest of the survivors stand around panicked.