If you’re getting phone calls from the dead, then I’d usually point you towards the nearest psychiatric ward. But Rick’s conversation with his recently departed wife gets him back on the sane train. Season 3 of The Walking Dead has presented the slow descent of Rick Grimes’ sanity, but “Hounded” marks the moment Rick resumes being a strong leader again.

Rick and Lori’s Final Moment

Hershel’s pep talk and reassurance to Rick that he has kept this group alive isn’t enough to end the boiler room camp out. Rick being able to say some final words to Lori and hear her say she loves him provides closure. Even if the sentimental moment is shared with a “ghost,” Rick can finally release his guilt and start caring for his crew again. It’s incredibly sweet to finally see Rick hold his newborn daughter and realize there still are beautiful things left in this world.

Of course, any beautiful moment has to be followed up with a healthy dose of creepy because this is The Walking Dead. For Rick, there isn’t anything much creepier than seeing a strange woman holding his group’s supplies and being surrounded by a zombie posse. But Rick doesn’t realize he is being introduced to the most awesome slicer and dicer of zombies known to mankind, Michonne.

Michonne is Awesome at Being Awesome

Is there any person alive that can possibly dispute that Michonne is the definition of awesome? Look it up in the dictionary, because I’m pretty sure the description just has her name beside it.

Michonne not only knows Woodbury is a dreadful place to stay and has far more sense than to get in bed with the Governor (really Andrea?!?), but she also is wise enough to realize he sent his henchmen hunting for her. She leaves her stalkers a nice zombie corpse message, and gives them a whole 30 seconds before separating their heads from their necks. Merle shoots her leg, but I’m pretty sure their sword fight is going to lead to him losing a few more limbs if it isn’t for the the zombies crashing their party. Hopefully, the two will get a rematch in a few episodes.

Michonne is going to be the catalyst for the long-awaited Rick’s crew against Woodbury. A showdown now must happen considering Merle captures both Glenn and Maggie. Did Michonne bring her zombie gut soaked self to the prison because she wants to help them, or does she just want revenge on the Governor and Merle? I’m wagering we are going to find out Michonne has a mighty heart hidden behind her zombie slaughtering exterior.

What is the Future for Darryl and Merle?

The showdown against Woodbury is going to be action-packed, but also filled with some intriguing drama. Hopefully, Michonne’s rather strong evidence that the Governor is a creep will be enough for Andrea to finally remove her head from her butt cheeks. The most compelling moment will be the eventual confrontation between Darryl and Merle.

Merle wants to find his brother, but it isn’t entirely clear if his motives are pure. Even if they are, Darryl has become a very different person since they were last together. Darryl continues to prove how much of an extraordinary person he has grown to be on The Walking Dead. He lifts up the spirits of a heartbroken Carl, even if his consolation efforts are unconventional. Darryl is emotionally torn apart when he thinks he has to kill zombie Carol, but his face declares his love when he finds her fully human.  The group has made Darryl a better person.

Merle will likely force Darryl to choose sides. After all the amazing growth and special moments with Darryl, I hope Merle is the one that gets disappointed.

The Walking Dead is delivering its best season yet. You’ll want to keep track of all the action by downloading the free BuddyTV Guide app.

(Image courtesy of AMC)

Chris Spicer

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV