They say you do crazy things in the face of death, but going just plain crazy? That’s reserved for guys like Merle, who certainly wasn’t the sanest person to begin with. And now that he’s been handcuffed to the roof of a building with a horde of zombies trying to break through the padlocked door, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to ensure his safety – even if that means begging to Jesus Christ himself. Of course, Merle knows better than to rely on old JC to solve his problems and decides that he’s going to have to free himself on his own. And wouldn’t you know it, that hacksaw is just a belt-length away from his reach. It’s a good thing he’s wearing a belt.
Not that anyone would miss Merle – except, of course, for his brother Daryl, who’s currently away hunting for deer when the scavengers return to camp. But before they deal with that particular situation, the survivors welcome back the group and are introduced to Rick, who is finally reunited with his family. Lori actually looks happy that her husband is alive, but Shane isn’t quite as relieved, as he’s forced to watch from afar as they reconnect with one another. In fact, Lori doesn’t want anything to do with Shane now that Rick has returned, and that includes him spending time with Carl. So why the sudden change of heart? Well, it seems that Shane told Lori that Rick was dead, and she’s not at all happy about him taking advantage of her emotions. That pretty much confirms what I initially thought – that Lori and Shane’s romance is fairly recent – but I’m still not sure what’s worse: Lori having an affair, or the speed in which she moved on after learning that her husband was dead. Neither one is very flattering.
Unfortunately, Rick is too busy playing the hero to realize what’s going on between his wife and best friend. After T-Dog informs him that he padlocked the door to the roof to prevent any zombies from getting through, Rick decides that he can’t leave Merle to die up there alone, and wants to go back to Atlanta to rescue him. It’s not exactly a popular decision, but when Daryl returns to learn about his brother’s fate, he agrees to join him on the mission. Daryl might just be an even bigger loose cannon than Meryl, and the scene where Shane and Rick had to restrain him was an excellent display of the show’s ability to sneak in a little humor:
Daryl: “You best let me go.”
Shane: “Nah, I think it’s better if I don’t.”
Daryl: “Choke hold is illegal.”
Shane: “Yeah, you can file a complaint.”
Shane doesn’t understand why Rick would risk his life for someone like Meryl, but there’s an added incentive in going back to Atlanta. After discovering their first zombie within the boundaries of the camp, the survivors are going to need more guns in case it gets worse, and Rick happens to know where a bag filled with guns and ammo is located. The bag he dropped also contains the walkie talkie that he was using to communicate to Morgan with, and he feels that it’s his duty to warn Morgan of the danger in Atlanta in exchange for saving his life. Rick also convinces Glenn to tag along since he knows the layout of the city, and T-Dog agrees to go as well because he’s still feeling guilty about dropping the key.
While the quartet makes its way back to Atlanta, the tension among the rest of the survivors reaches a fever pitch. The women are upset that the men don’t do any of the hard labor around the camp, and when they start joking around to help pass the time, Carol’s husband, Ed, steps in to crack his figurative whip. Not one to step down from a fight, Andrea confronts Ed about beating his wife, which leads to him doing exactly that. Shane steps in to break it up, and though Ed certainly deserved a few jabs to the face to put him in his place, Shane continued to take out his anger about the whole Rick/Lori situation on him. It wasn’t pretty, and it will likely become a major turning point for both characters. Ed is going to do something stupid sooner or later that will put the lives of the other survivors in jeopardy (like earlier with the fire), and Shane’s jealousy will likely yield a similar result.
It’s probably a good thing that Rick is gone at the moment, although he’s not having that much more luck in Atlanta. After making their way through the department store (I love that Daryl retrieves his arrows after he makes a kill – how resourceful), the group climbs up to the roof to discover that Merle is no longer there. He did leave behind a hand, however, as well as a trail of blood and the hacksaw he used to cut it off. But even if he managed to get out of the handcuffs, how in the world did he get through that horde of zombies unharmed? It looks like we’ll have to wait until next week to find out, but it sure was a great way to end the episode. And for those of you who have read the comic, it was an amusing wink and nod as well.