And then The Governor doubled down by noting that there was an enemy in their midst. "One of those terrorists is one of our own: Merle." He said that Merle led them to Woodbury, that he let them in. "You lied," he said. "You betrayed us all." I think you can read this as simple punishment for Merle's lies about killing Michonne, but it played perfectly for the crowd: The Governor had taken the abstract Terrorist enemy and made it concrete, right in front of them. Even better, he had another guy to throw to the crowd: "Merle's own brother." Out came Daryl Motherf---ing Dixon -- clearly only pretending to be captured, right? right? -- and the crowd chanted, "Kill 'em! Kill 'em!" The Governor gave Merle a dead stare: "You wanted your brother. Now you got 'em." Meanwhile, Andrea looked down on the brewing carnage, with a look that seemed to say: "Bwaahhhhh????"
I'd be intrigued to know, fellow viewers, if you were frustrated that the show left off there. (It's off the air until February.) Even though it wasn't a huge cliffhanger, it did leave me wanting more. The Dixon Brothers are reunited, and are once again a hounded pair of outcasts. Rick is returning with the Melee Squad to a prison that has gained four new citizens, and also which really really needs to fix that back fence. The Governor looks to be turning into a full-on military dictator. Andrea is realizing that she may have kinda bad taste in men. It was a thrilling end that made me forgive some of the episode's contrivances -- unnecessary Oscar, imaginary Shane, the Mexican Standoff that wasn't. The second half of Walking Dead's second season was a great follow-through, and it's a fair bet that the Woodbury/Prison showdown will be a bloody affair indeed. Even if you're skeptical, you can't help but be intrigued.
My fellow Dead viewers, what did you like/loathe/feel neutral about? Sad to see Oscar go? Happy to see Tyreese arrive? Comic Book Fans: Are you as disappointed as I am that this Tyreese apparently doesn't have a certain daughter or a certain boyfriend?
And let's get big-think here: What do you want to see in the show's back-half? Trench warfare? A gunfight between The Governor and Rick? A little bit of romance? An episode of The Dating Game where Michonne chooses between Daryl, Rick, Tyreese, and Axel? Anything is possible. See you in February.
Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich