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The Walking Dead Recap: RIP Merle, Best Wishes, Maggie and Glenn

Michael Rooker, The Walking Dead Gene Page/AMC

We're down to the wire on The Walking Dead, and you know what that means: War is coming! The prison group, led by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), is pinned between a showdown with the Governor (David Morrissey) and zombies everywhere else. Something's gotta give.

Tonight marked the season's penultimate episode and, just like Lincoln promised in our juicy interview last week, there was death. And it was not minor.

Let's get to this week's nail-biter of a recap!

Speaking of sudden death: American Idol is down to 8!

WHAT WE LEARNED

Rick Has Decided to Play Dirty. Last episode saw Rick resigned to a war, unwilling to trade Michonne (Danai Gurira) for peace. But tonight, the strategy appears to have changed. Rick recruits Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Merle (Michael Rooker), saying he needs help delivering Michonne to the Governor (David Morrissey) in time to get Woodbury to stand down. Lots of chit-chat follows; Hershel (Scott Wilson) leads Beth (Emily Kinney) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) in some prayers. Glenn (Steven Yeun) reminds Daryl of what a piece of dirt his brother is. Carol (Melissa McBride) quizzes said piece of dirt about who's side he's currently on.

Then the ghost of Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) shows up in the prison yard and stares at Rick real hard. So...

Rick Changes His Mind Again. The prison leader now informs Hershel that his conscience won't let him send Michonne to her slow death. We're back to Plan A. Unfortunately, Merle didn't get the memo. He binds Michonne and drags her off on his own, leaving Daryl in hot pursuit. Then, in the middle of the road trip, Merle also changes his mind. He cuts Michonne loose and peels off on his own.

Glenn Wants to Marry Maggie. Sure, the union may not last the week, given that the Governor plans to kill everyone, but Hershel gives his blessing. Glenn cuts a ring off of a random zombie and proposes, and it's real sweet. Then Rick says...

Hold On a Second: They Just Killed Off Merle. Merle stops his car just long enough to attract a large entourage of zombies. Then he leads the biters to the meeting place where the Governor and his goons are waiting. The trick sort of works; Merle is able to pick off a few of the heavies while they're distracted. But then Martinez (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and the Governor get wise. The Governor beats Merle and bites off two of his fingers before finishing him off.

But Merle Ain't Done Yet! Because people come back as zombies in this here TV show! Daryl arrives at the scene of his brother's death to find that Merle has turned into a walker. Tears in his eyes, Daryl must send Merle to his final rest.

Missed last week's episode? We've got ya covered!

ONE-LINERS

"Once the Governor is done with me, at least I won't have to live with myself." —Michonne

"You're cold as ice, Officer Friendly." —Merle Dixon

"Anyone who needs their piss bucket emptied and you come a-runnin'."—Michonne

"I'm a damned mystery to me." —Merle Dixon

Check out the show's most amazing moments

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