But for all the life that was put back into the show during the midseason finale, ‘The Suicide King’ seems to come in and suck a lot of that life right back out. Sure, there’s a tense moment at the beginning of the episode that resolves the issue of Daryl (Norman Reedus) and his brother Merle (Michael Rooker) being trapped in Woodbury and potentially having to fight one another to the death, but the scene plays out almost too quickly. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his crew attack again, causing a stampede of formerly bloodthirsty Woodburians that, along with all the gunfire and smoke grenades, provides the perfect cover for Daryl and Merle to escape.
And while the action offers fans an opportunity for everyone to breathe a little easier knowing that Daryl isn’t next on the chopping block, it causes the action to shift into the series’ default setting of watching small clusters of survivors argue with one another. No sooner does Rick’s crew find their way back to Glenn (Steven Yeun), Michonne and the ever-lasting Hyundai, than the situation devolves into an argument highlighted by raised voices, guns and a sword. Naturally, nobody wants Merle in the group, but Daryl refuses to abandon his brother like he did before, and soon the Dixon brothers are off on their own adventure somewhere between Woodbury and the prison.