‘The Walking Dead’ season 3 shambles out its fifteenth and penultimate entry with Sunday’s “This Sorrowful Life,” but how does it hold up to the comic book continuity? The conflict between Woodbury and the prison reaches a boiling point as Merle takes it on himself to hand over Michonne, while makes a life-changing decision for he and Maggie, so what’s next for ‘The Walking Dead’ as the season continues?
As AMC's incarnation weaves in and out of storylines from the books and adds its own original characters and developments, we've compiled an in-depth guide for fans of the comic as well as AMC's ‘The Walking Dead’ to enjoy! Check it all the comparisons we found, and let us know your thoughts on ‘The Walking Dead’ season 3 episode 15 “This Sorrowful Life" in the comments below!
AMC: Though his conscience (and continued visions of Lori) seemingly get the better of him, and Rick ultimately decides not to hand Michonne over to the Governor, Rick, Hershel and Daryl all tacitly agree to hand over their sword-swinging friend in exchange for an admittedly slight chance of peace with Woodbury.
THE COMICS: Despite the fact that Michonne’s mutilation of the Governor was far worse in the comics than on AMC, removing an arm and an additional appendage as well, the Governor never offered Rick peace in exchange for Michonne, nor have we any reason to believe that Rick, or any of the other survivors would have even considered it.
AMC: Unaware of their plot to hand her over, Michonne comes up with the idea to plant barbed wire along the prison’s outer courtyards in order to prevent vehicles from easily driving through. The sword-wielding warrior reasons that making the prison enough trouble for the Governor to take would dissuade him from further assaults, even if the prison survivors don’t necessarily win the war against Woodbury.
THE COMICS: Unlike on AMC, Rick or the other survivors had no intention of abandoning the prison or acquiescing to the Governor, setting up a number of cars and overturned buses for cover and explosive defenses against invasion. Barbed wire setups were out of the question, given that both Rick and the Governor wanted to keep the prison as secure against walkers as possible.
AMC: While Merle wrestles with his decision whether or not to help hand over Michonne, Carol calls him out on his refusal to genuinely pick a side between Woodbury and the prison. Merle notes that Carol has grown particularly strong since he saw her last, and no longer fears the shadow of abusive and hostile men like her former husband.
THE COMICS: Whether by AMC’s story constraints or not, the Carol of the comics had been through considerably more strife within the prison, having endured a tense breakup with Tyreese, and slit her wrists amid increasingly unhinged behavior. Eventually, Carol made “friends” with a captive walker, and “opted out” before Woodbury ever returned to menace the prison.
AMC: The prospect of handing over Michonne weighing on his conscience, Hershel prays with both Beth and Maggie, telling them he would do anything to ensure their survival, particularly in light of the ominous threats looming over their lives at the prison.
THE COMICS: A praying man in his own right, Hershel ultimately decided to stay behind and defend the prison against the Governor, even as Maggie and several others returned to the farm for their own safety. Only Hershel’s son Billy remained behind, who has no AMC counterpart.
Glenn Asks Herschel's Blessing
AMC: Now presuming to understand the significance of Hershel’s pocket-watch gift, Glenn tells Hershel he intends to marry Maggie, even without a ceremony or the promise of their lives lasting longer than a week. Hershel gives his blessing, and asks no more of the young boy.
THE COMICS: In the books Glenn was sure to find a ring before asking Hershel’s permission to marry Maggie, though the elder man similarly agreed to give his blessing. His only stipend was that Glenn not get Maggie pregnant, at least until their lives were on safer footing.
AMC: After securing Hershel’s blessing, Glenn travels between the fences and observes the walkers clawing at him, finally finding a female corpse with a wedding ring still on her fingers. Glenn cuts the walkers’ fingers off through the fence to procure the ring, and hopefully at least washes it afterward.
THE COMICS: Comic Glenn similarly found a ring for Maggie on one of the prison’s nearby walkers, albeit in a slightly different manner. Here, Glenn rushes to prevent Axel and Tyreese from burning a cache of felled walkers, and rummages among the inactive bodies for a suitable wedding ring.
Merle's Assassination Attempt
AMC: Finally stirred to the side of good, Merle ultimately lets Michonne go free, and decides to undergo a solo assassination attempt on the Governor as he waits for Rick at the old mill. Merle gathers a number of walkers to his car, and slowly leads them to the rendezvous point in hopes of causing enough chaos to get a shot at the Governor, but ultimately fails.
THE COMICS: In the books Michonne and Tyreese made their own attempt on the Governor’s life as the Woodbury force prepared for a second assault, but the mission went similarly askew. Michonne didn’t succeed in killing the Governor, and Tyreese was captured and beaten for his efforts. Somewhat reminiscent of Merle’s fate, Tyreese was ultimately made an example of as a warning for Rick’s group.
Ben Goes Down in the Crossfire
AMC: Though very little attention is drawn to the death, Ben accidentally steps between Merle and the Governor and takes a bullet to the head. Later, Merle is seen feasting on the boy’s remains, Allen presumably having been unable to recover his son’s body in the chaos.
THE COMICS: Allen’s family differs quite a bit in the books, as Ben was far younger and had a twin brother named Billy. Sometime after his parents’ deaths and the evacuation from the prison, Ben coldly murdered his brother Billy, not understanding the immorality of his actions in a world where the dead rise. The group struggled with how to handle the presence of a boy who could comitt such horrible violence at any time, but it was Carl who took it on himself to end Ben’s life in secret. Both brothers were buried before the group continued onward.
AMC: Before meeting up with Rick and the others for an announcement, Glenn finds Maggie in the prison courtyard and places a ring in her hand, to which she eagerly accepts.
THE COMICS: Glenn’s proposal was played for humor a bit in the books, as Maggie initially declined, leaving Glenn heartbroken on one knee. Maggie quickly gave up the joke and accepted, wondering how they might hold a wedding within the prison.
AMC: Gathering the group (minus Daryl, Michonne and Merle) for a meeting, Rick confesses his original intent to hand over Michonne as part of the Governor’s deal, explaining he opted not to go through with it. Rather than continue on with himself as the unquestioned leader, Rick admits the group should no longer live under his previous set of rules, and should vote together to leave or remain at the prison.
THE COMICS: Following a brutal fight with Tyreese and Allen’s death, a wounded Rick addressed the group to concede his agreement with removing himself as the leader. Rick praised the decision to form a committee of leadership, but the speech quickly took a dour turn as Rick pointed out their lives would never return to the way they were before the apocalypse, and they should instead consider themselves “The Walking Dead.”
Pour One Out For Merle, Y'All
Any comic fan well knows that both Daryl and Merle are original creations of AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead,’ even if they occasionally serve similar roles to the comic characters. That said, we’re still going to miss Michael Rooker’s portrayal of Merle Dixon, and pour one out all the same.
What did you think of ‘The Walking Dead’ season 3 episode 15, "This Sorrowful Life?" Did we miss anything else from the comics you might have caught?
Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check back next week for our in-depth comic-to-TV comparison of episode 16, season finale "Welcome to the Tombs!"