The Walking Dead Recap/Review: “The Suicide King”

Shared from  Photo by Tina Rowden/AMC

Shared from      Photo by Tina Rowden/AMC

So, this show scares the crap out of me.

Last night, I discovered that I can’t even watch episodes that I’ve ALREADY SEEN when I’m alone. My husband was away, and I thought I’d watch some of AMC’s marathon. Nope. Couldn’t do it!


If you’re new to this whole “Recap/Review” thing, let me just tell you a little something: there will be SPOILERS!

I’m not going to waste time getting you caught up on stuff that happened during the first half of the season. I will, however, give you a link that will take you to all my previous recaps! I’m so nice.

Now, them Dixon boys was in a heap-a-trouble! (Bonus points to anyone who gets this! Tell me in the comments.)

The show opens with Daryl and Merle facing each other in what The (Pirate! He’s got an eye patch, now, remember?) Governor (TG) calls a battle to the death! They are in the walker arena that we’d seen before, and the townspeople surround the pair, a la blood-thirsty Romans in the Colosseum, yelling for blood and justice. Or maybe just blood. These people are whack. But, they’re scared whack, and scared people do stupid things. (However, I don’t really think it’s too far of a jump from the walker fight clubs they had already come to enjoy…yuck.)

Andrea recognizes Daryl and is suitably horrified. She begs TG to stop the fight, but he blames the yelling crowd, saying they demanded it. You could see he totally wanted it, too.

Since Michonne re-killed his daughter, Penny, TG doesn’t really have anything left to live for. He doesn’t have the need to preserve a piece of what the world used to be. I think that’s why he worked so hard for Woodbury, because it was his legacy for Penny. That’s also why he was so interested in testing walkers…because his daughter was one, and he didn’t want to give up hope that she could be healed in some way.

Merle, the loving brother we know him to be, starts beating up on Daryl. The younger Dixon looks pretty traumatized and goes down fairly easily. Then, walkers are trotted out on leads for an extra level of difficulty (+5 to the walkers for all attack rolls).

Merle gets close to Daryl, and tells him to follow his lead, saying they were going to escape. But, the pair doesn’t have to worry about it when gunfire erupts and Rick and Maggie swoop in to save the day (night)! Rick throws in a smoke bomb to provide cover, and Daryl and Merle escape. Huzzah!

Right away, though, there’s a problem with Merle. Rick doesn’t want to even let Merle come with them through the Woodbury fence. But, Daryl smooths things over, and they duck through a hole in the wall, leaving it open for a wandering walker to accept the invitation to the best meal he’s had in ages! (I thought that was kind of low. Sure, the town had just tried to murder Daryl, but leaving the perimeter breached? There were kids in there! Blood-thirsty kids, yes, but still! I dunno… Do you think Rick did it on purpose? Or was it just something that happened in their haste to get away? To the comments with ye!)

The light of morning greeted us when we saw Rick, Maggie, Daryl and Merle approach the SUV where Glenn and Michonne were waiting for them. The waiting pair had been left because they were both too injured to assist in Daryl’s rescue.

When he saw Merle, Glenn understandably freaks out and pulls a gun on the one-handed Dixon. The man had tried to kill him, after all! Michonne isn’t feeling very forgiving, either, and makes ready to cut him down with her katana. But, Rick intervenes, and a lot of shouting happens. Glenn declares Merle can not accompany them back to the prison, Rick and Maggie agree with Glenn, Michonne looks murderous, and Daryl balks.

Merle is Merle and insults everyone. He’s so pleasant!

Rick doesn’t bend, though, and Daryl decides to go off with Merle. The bond of blood proves to be thicker!

So, back to the prison go Rick, Glenn, Maggie, and Michonne. But, Rick made certain Michonne knows she’ll be sent on her way as soon as they could get rid of her. Trust is hard to come by in walker-world!

Glenn pitches a fit on the way back during a stop to clear the road (Are they taking a different road? Had this happened –walker in a truck and a tree blocking the road– since they came through the day before? Weird.). He was upset that Daryl left with Merle, the man who had done so much to Maggie and himself, and that they were all just supposed to move on. He was also obviously consumed with rage about the whole torture thing.

Man! Some people just can’t let go and move on!

The fit seems to drive a wedge between him and Maggie, and we are witness to a scene later in the prison in which Maggie refuses to go check on Glenn, preferring to take her father’s word that Glenn was okay.

Back at the prison,  Hershel warns Tyreese and his group that Rick will probably toss them out. This doesn’t set well, and later, when Tyreese, Sasha, Allen, and Ben go outside to bury Donna, Allen and Ben suggest they take over the prison, guessing the current residents wouldn’t put up too much of a fight. But, Tyreese and Sasha, don’t want to do that, saying that “these are good people!”

So, heads up, Allen and Ben are definitely going to be trouble. I’m calling it, now!

In Woodbury, folks are freaking out and trying to leave the town. It’s a mess because everyone is yelling and blowing car horns. The scene escalates as the wall guards tell everyone to get lost, and the people realize that they are basically prisoners. (Word, Michonne. Word!)

But, let’s just stop to consider this for a moment, shall we? These mob-mentality, crazy, blood-thirsty, people (who were calling for the death of a man just hours previous!) are freaking out because people broke into their town the night before. Yes, some townsfolk were killed during the night, but the whole scene just seemed incongruous to me.  They’re horrified at the violence that has befallen their town when they were calling for violence in the walker arena? And now, they want to leave Woodbury. Are these people really THAT sheltered? They have NO IDEA what the world is like now? They want to leave a (mostly) fortified town?

TG is noticeably absent, and Andrea wades into the fray, trying to calm everyone down. Then, there are screams as walkers (or biters, as they’re called in Woodbury) mosey down the road, grab some takeout, and begin a nice tasty meal of some poor idiot who wasn’t minding his surroundings.


The walkers are dispatched, and the takeout lays moaning on the ground. As the townspeople gather around, they beg for someone to help the dying man, but, Andrea, who is closest and who has a gun, is frozen, torn between exposing the people to more violence and a mercy killing.

She doesn’t have to waffle long, though. TG silently strides out, shoots the man in the head, and returns to his rooms. LIKE A BOSS.

The townspeople are shocked. (Again with the shock? It just seems odd to me in this world.)

Andrea follows TG back to his rooms and tells him that he needs to suck it up and be a leader. He’s rather over the whole benevolent leader thing, now, though. BUT, he’s ready for a war! Andrea watches as he gathers all kinds of guns and berates the town and the false sense of security that he created. He’s going to go after our prison group, and he’s going to go hard.

She leaves him and goes back out to the street. People are still milling about, and a sense of general hysteria is in the air, so Andrea steps up and makes a speech. (Stumping to be the new TG?) No doubt drawing on her days as a lawyer (She totally used to be a lawyer, remember?), Andrea basically tells everyone it’s gonna be okay, that they’ll heal eventually, and that they have a good thing going on in Woodbury.

The rabble agrees and disperses while TG glowers from above through the window blinds of his rooms. Andrea looks up and sees him and gives him a “this should have been you talking to these people” look.

Meanwhile, Rick, Glenn, Maggie, and Michonne arrive back at the prison and Carol and Carl let them through the gates. Rick jumps out to hug Carl (dad achievement!) and tells Glenn, Maggie, and Michonne to continue on to the prison proper. He tells Carol about Daryl, and she is upset, of course. She has a thing for the rugged bowman and was certain he felt the same way, I’m sure. (They belong together! Anyone can see that. I mean, their names even rhyme!)

Back in the cell block, Beth presents Rick with Judith. (Beth has become the babysitter, and I have to wonder if it’s only because she feels the need to contribute like she indicated to Carol in a different scene, or if there’s another reason. You know what I mean: Beth has a crush on Rick! When Rick reached the inner prison yard with Carol and Carl, the rest of the group came out to greet everyone, and Beth gave Rick an awkward kiss on the cheek. Awkward, I say!) When Rick takes Judith from Beth, he starts to go a little fuzzy. We see the blurriness and hear the voices become muffled as Rick holds his daughter.

You have to remember, Rick hasn’t been back from Crazytown all that long…if he even left in the first place! It wasn’t too long ago that he was answering fake telephone calls and talking to his dead wife. Plus, when he and the others were in Woodbury, he saw Shane’s ghost! So, he’s still having…issues, shall we say?

Rick hands the baby back and then goes into the common room to deal with Tyreese and company. At first, Rick is stalwart; Tyreese’s group must leave! Then, he starts to soften, listening to Hershel, who implores him to start trusting people again.

Just as he’s about to relent and let Tyreese and the others stay, he sees Lori’s ghost! BOO! She’s standing above the group on a walkway, and her face is in shadow. She’s wearing a white dress, which indicates innocence and perhaps an angelic quality. Rick’s guilt about her death and really about the entire situation he’s gotten his family into (Not that the zombie apocalypse is his fault, but it seems like he blames himself for overmuch, here.) is forefront in his mind, hijacking his brain and sending him to Crazytown.

He starts yelling at the ghost, commanding it to get out. Everyone else interprets this to mean he’s ordering Tyreese’s group out, and Glenn shoos them through the door leading into the prison yard.

It’s no surprise that everyone looks at Rick like he’s crazy! In fact, the last shot we get of him shows a confused, shifty-eyed guy who looks like he’s just seen a…(ready for it?)…ghost!

So, what’d you think of “The Suicide King?” Was it worth the wait?



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8 thoughts on “The Walking Dead Recap/Review: “The Suicide King”

  1. Molly says:

    I thought the difference in Maggie and Glenn’s reactions to what went down was really interesting. I got the sense he was mostly upset because he couldn’t defend her, but she seemed to be holding it together much better.

    I think the ghost thing is dumb. What’s next, vampires??

    • TJ Johnston says:

      One of the most interesting stories I’ve ever read was about Vampires protecting the last surviving humans during the zombie apocalypse. The humans needed them for protection; the vampires needed the humans for blood. It was pretty great.

    • Molly, I felt the same way about Glenn and Maggie! It’s almost like her irritation with him over the issue is because he’s dwelling on it more than she’s comfortable with. She just wants to move on.

      His need for revenge and his clear frustration over situational powerlessness will blow up in his face, I’m sure. He’s always been the group’s go-to guy, and he couldn’t do anything to help Maggie during the worst of their torture/ interrogation. That’s what’s driving him nuts, and I think he’ll do anything to regain what he thinks is a measure of control!

  2. Cortney says:

    First off, I too cannont watch this alone! Hahaha… I have to have my hubby by my side. I agree with Molly, I don’t like the ghost thing! It’s a little too weird. I am trying to focus more on the fact that Rick is loosing it! I am hoping that plays in further down the road. I thought it was a pretty good episode, but feel the show is either going to get really good or go into that really dumb, grey area… I am hoping for good 🙂

  3. Haley says:

    I was, initially, disappointed with this episode. I thought the big showdown with Merle and Daryl would be a lot longer and more intense, and I thought we would have TG actually meeting Rick.

    But in the days since, I’ve realized that this is one of those necessary transition episodes. “The Suicide King” really set up A LOT of relational tension (with brothers, with lovers, with leaders and followers) that will have massive effects when the battle between Woodbury and the prison finally happens. Group members have been dispersed, and questions are arising as to whom will join which group and, thus, who will survive.

    I’m also simultaneously relieved and annoyed by the appearance of Lori’s ghost. First of all, it seemed ludicrous that Rick should have one episode of madness and then be fine again. I think the timing of the ghost appearance was telling–Rick’s been fighting off walkers and saving his people, and now that he’s returned to a somewhat safe haven, the madness can start to descend again. But at the same time, I want him to be the leader he’s always been, and that’s not going to be possible if he keeps going crazy.

    Also, if Daryl doesn’t rejoin the group (he has to, right? Right?), I’m going to be one emotional wreck.

    • “I’m going to be one emotional wreck.”

      LOL! I know, right? I love me some Daryl! I even enjoyed the Time Warner commercial that he was in, and I HATE Time Warner! ( Norman Reedus is just amazing.

      I read some things complaining about a lack of action this episode, but I have to side more with you, Haley. Stuff needed to happen; situations had to be set up. Plus, we got a butt-load of character development! I’m always a fan of that. Sometimes, I think I’m one of the few, though. A lot of fans cry foul if the walker body count isn’t super high…

      I’m one of the few who liked…ready?…the farm time! (gasp!) Yeah, I said it!

      The show doesn’t have to be non-stop action. I want to see WHY people are doing things…not just them doing things! The title, “The Walking Dead,” refers to more than just the zombies. It refers to the people we’re watching, too.

      • Haley says:

        I agree with you about the farm time–I was genuinely shocked at the people who disliked the second season because of how it “dragged.” We need that character development for the show to be great. Why do I care if they survive the zombie apocalypse if I don’t actually care about the people who are surviving? All these monstrous/supernatural things I love–zombies, vamps, even superheroes–are so important because of what they say about our humanity and not just how badass they are (though that’s pretty cool, too!).

        I really enjoy reading your reviews of the show, Gabrielle. Can’t wait for Sunday night’s episode and your opinions!

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