Image credit: Gene Page/AMC
CAN'T TAKE MY EYE OFF OF YOU In the comic books, The Governor was a great villain, but he was essentially a grotesque: All bad, all the time. Whereas TV-Governor has an intriguing lust for world-building, a character trait shared by all the great leaders and terrible despots in history. This nominally makes him a more interesting character. But does it make him a better villain?
Merle Rooker Dixon didn't like all this talk about diplomacy. Back at the prison, he was rallying a special squad for a special mission. Call it Team Backstab: Kill the Governor now, when his guard is down. (ASIDE: From what we saw, The Governor only brought three people with him -- and only one of those people, Martinez, was a legitimate threat. Clearly, he must have had snipers in the forest around the conference area, right? Like, if you're a war chief with a well-armed security force, you wouldn't meet your worst enemy with just Milton watching your back, would you? END OF ASIDE.) Carl said that Rick had the situation in hand. "Your dad's head could be on a pike real soon," Merle pointed out. Glenn was the ranking officer at the prison, and he said: No Backstab.
(EVEN MORE IMPORTANT ASIDE: What's the chain of command in the Grimes Gang? Rick is pretty clearly in charge; Daryl Motherf---ing Dixon is the Sizemore, the Chief Lieutenant who should probably always be second-in command; then comes Glenn. Who's after that? Maggie? Hershel? Does Carl qualify for an officer position at this point? Isn't he basically that kid from Master & Commander? Can't we all agree that Master & Commander is a great movie? END OF ASIDE.)
Finally, Merle couldn't take it anymore. He was going stir crazy, which for Merle is just crazy on top of crazy. He grabbed a raft of guns and made for the door. "Yoouuu shall not paaaaassss!" said Glenn. Then Merle made an unseemly reference to The Governor "copping a feel" on Maggie. Glenn tackled Merle. Merle strangled Glenn. Maggie tackled Merle. Basically the entire Grimes Gang had to restrain the guy, and then Beth fired a gun into the air, which had the double effect of stopping Merle and of reminding you that Beth is still on this show.
I would've thought that, after a showing like that, the Grimes Gang would've locked Merle up in a cell and given him some time to calm down. (By "calm down" I of course mean "ram his forehead into a wall until the wall said 'Uncle!'") But a little bit later, Merle ambled over for a chat with Michonne. He pointed out that there was no way the Prison would win this fight. If this was a war, it was a war between an actual army and the Island of Misfit Toys. They tried to clear the air a little bit. When Michonne asked him why he hadn't killed her, Merle said, "I must've been seduced by your sterling personality." Then he offered her a plan: "You shogun the Governor's ass. I'll take care of the rest." Merle wins the week for using "shogun" as a verb. But Michonne wouldn't do it.
Meanwhile, Glenn was outside keeping an eye on the perimeter. Maggie asked to keep him company. They joked about Maggie's chokehold. Then Glenn had to apologize. "I made it all about me," he said, referring to their return from Woodbury. Maggie told him: "I'm with you. I'm always with you." They started making out. And then they started mwaking out. The Walking Dead doesn't really do sexuality. It's very much a modern entertainment: The violence is ridiculously graphic, and the sex is almost nonexistent. But the Glenn-Maggie scene felt like a nice, relatively unadorned moment -- two young attractive people, crazy in love, escaping from the madness outside for a couple precious minutes.
NEXT: The Governor wants vengeance