It’s Daryl’s Time to Fight on ‘The Walking Dead’

The Walking Dead Daryl Dixon Fights Merle

Last November, The Walking Dead left fans with the worst possible cliffhanger of all — fan favorite Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) was placed in a death ring alongside his beloved (a**hole) brother Merle (Michael Rooker), to fight to the — you get it, death. Without his crossbow. In front of the maniacal Governor, who had recently lost his eye and with it, what was left of his mind.

“It’s not easy!” actress Lauren Cohan(Maggie) told this week. “Our heartthrob is on the noose.” He is indeed. And Sunday night, one Dixon brother will emerge victorious. In case you can’t tell, we’ve officially chosen a side. So to distract ourselves (and you) until the big episode airs tomorrow night at 9, here’s a brief recap of what went down this fall.

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Where We Left Off:Hm, where do we start? The Grimes Gang infiltrated Woodbury to rescue Glenn and Maggie, and were successful — kind of. Maggie had already been sexually assaulted, Glenn had become a man hellbent on vengeance, and the black guy died. Daryl was delighted to learn that his brother was still alive and well, but when Michonne went in for an attack on the Governor and killed his zombified daughter, all hell broke loose. Her former friend Andrea almost killed her, the Governor ended up with a giant shard of glass in his eye, and Daryl and Merle somehow ended up in the redneck ring, forced to fight to the death. So now, while Carl, Hershel, Beth, Carol, baby Asskicker, and the new black guy hang out in the prison, the rest of the gang remains at Woodbury at the start of the big battle.

Biggest Jaw-Dropper of the Fall: Um, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) had Maggie cut out her baby with a rusty old knife during a raid on the prison, then had her pre-teen son shoot her before she could become a Walker. That’s kind of shocking. Oh, and then when Rick came in to survey the damage (Why, Rick? Why?) she’d already been eaten by another Biggest Loser-candidate Walker nearby. Memorieeessssss…

Biggest Let-Down of the Fall:This season has been a vast improvement over the second, so we can’t think of many. But someone needs to get rid of Carl’s stupid hat. Oh, and Judith’s name should have stayed Asskicker, because Daryl is right about everything and Asskicker is a great name. And we’d like to see more of Michonne, since all she’s done so far is scowl and not give away any of the useful information she has to the Grimes Gang.

Most Improved Character: Carl. Everyone gives that kid a hard time, but he’s done impossible things that no human being, let alone child, should have to do. He stepped up when his father lost it, he’s taken a leadership role in the group, and he doesn’t stop to stare at stupid deer anymore.

Least Improved Character: Andrea, think about your life. Think about your choices.

Why You Should Keep Watching: Why wouldn’t you? Everyone else will, so if you don’t you’ll be that person in the office shouting “no spoilers!” to the annoyance of all of your coworkers and everyone will hate you. Plus, Daryl is still on the show, for now, and he might hold a baby again. Plus plus, Tyreese and his prison gang should be a fun addition, and we can’t imagine giving up on the show before Rick and the Governor have their final showdown. And if Daryl and Carol finally have sex, well… let’s stop here because this sentence is about to get really inappropriate.

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What We Ultimately Want to See: The showdown! Also, Andrea’s final reunite with the Grimes Gang should be epic, and we hope to see the raw emotional aftermath after Maggie’s sexual assault — both from Maggie, and her beau Glenn. The show has taken on some real, human issues this season, and rape and horrific human-on-human violence are two unfortunately natural responses to turmoil and lack of authority. We hope they continue on this path, while keeping up the breakneck pace of the first have of the third season.

What Would Make us Turn Our Backs: I mean, no one would be happy if Daryl died. Just sayin’.