For those looking for a quick refresher on where we last saw Rick, the Governor, Michonne, et al., allow us to help with a brief recap before Sunday’s midseason premiere, “The Suicide King”:
It’s been a rough couple of months for Rick Grimes. He welcomed a new baby daughter, Judith, into the world the same time he lost his wife. He’s still suffering from all the rage/despair/insanity that tragedy brought on, as well as the continued fall out from killing his former friend and colleague, Shane, in cold blood to protect his group.
In the finale, Rick led a small team — Michonne, Oscar and Daryl — into Woodbury to rescue Glenn and Maggie. That mission was a dispiritingly qualified success: Glenn and Maggie made it out alive but Oscar died, Daryl got left behind, and Michonne proved she has her own agenda.
Also, during the shoot out, Rick thought he saw Shane coming at him with a gun, and shot and killed the man who turned out to be just one of the Governor’s random soldiers.
A brutal fight with Michonne inside his secret lair cost the Governor his right eye, zombie daughter and several fish tanks full of severed zombie heads. But he’s more determined than ever to make his power known and use the fear in Woodbury to his own advantage.
Separated from Rick’s group since the end of Season 2, Andrea somehow managed to never see any of her former friends’ faces during the raid on Woodbury. The only person she saw — Oscar — was someone she had never met, making it easy for her to believe the Governor’s claims that Woodbury was being attacked by terrorists.
And she didn’t know what to make of the aftermath of the Governor’s showdown with Michonne. When she came upon the scene, it looked like her BFF had gone insane and tried to kill her boyfriend. So what if the Governor kept all those zombie heads inside a secret room with his chained up zombie daughter?
It’s not until the Governor calls all the residents to the arena that Andrea sees something even she probably can’t excuse: he’s pitted Merle against Daryl in a fight to the death.
Daryl and Merle
The Dixon brothers who haven’t seen each other in the flesh since Season 1 were finally reunited under some pretty grim circumstances: The Governor — pissed at Merle for lying about killing Michonne — has all of Woodbury cheering for their deaths in the arena, as Andrea looks on in horror.
She almost died battling the Governor. Plus, she had to deal with Andrea choosing to stay in Woodbury and blame Michonne for trying to take lethal revenge on the Governor. With both her body and her spirit broken, Michonne has to convince Rick he stills needs her, even though she abandoned his group for her own mission once they got to Woodbury.
Glenn and Maggie
The good news: They’re out of Woodbury. After Merle hand delivered the lovebirds to the Governor, he physically and psychologically abused them while interrogating them for information about Rick’s group. Glenn and Maggie have survived a lot of ugly, nasty stuff in the world of walkers, but these wounds aren’t going to heal so easily.
Carl, Hershel, Beth, Carol, Judith and Axel
Left behind to hold down the prison while Rick led the Woodbury rescue mission, Carl took his dad’s place as the de facto leader. Hershel kept everyone’s spirits up, while Beth and Carol cared for baby Judith, and former inmate Axel continued to try to prove his worth (and also learned that no, Carol is not a lesbian just because she has short hair).
Tyreese, Sasha, Allen and Ben
A new group of survivors found their way into the prison and were nearly overrun by walkers until Carl led them to safety. Of course, he promptly locked them in a cell so they couldn’t cause any trouble. Siblings Tyreese and Sasha, and father/son Allen and Ben, now find themselves the latest survivors looking to Rick’s crew for a little mercy. Unfortunately for them, compassion is the last thing on Rick’s mind after the worst case scenario experience with the prisoners.