First, Rick is proceeding with his plan to give Michonne up to the Governor. I wasn't shocked that Rick was telling Hershel he would do this a few episodes ago, but it does seem a little hard to believe that Rick was still moving ahead with this. Therefore the least surprising event tonight is when Rick changes his mind.
But tonight was not really Rick's story. It was Merle's. Daryl's older brother brother has been a pretty poor excuse for humanity throughout the series. About all he is good for is killing walkers - and he's one of the best when it comes to that - and fighting alongside of Daryl. So it's no surprise when Merle enthusiastically - enthusiastic for Merle - signs on to selling out Michonne. Unlike Hershel who's against this but goes along reluctantly in support of Rick's leadership, and Daryl who feels and does the same, Merle says yeah let's do it, and adds only that Rick likely won't have the stomach to follow through and turn Michonne over.
And Merle's of course right about Rick. But when he takes it on himself to deliver Michonne, without Rick's knowledge at first, we get one of the best segments in this or any season of The Walking Dead. Michonne, loquacious and eloquent since her trip to town with Carl, says all kinds of true and significant things to Merle as his prisoner. And it works ...
And Merle the racist unexpectedly lets Michonne go and proceeds to almost take out the Governor with a savvy plan. He's just a bullet away from succeeding, but the Governor's luck holds out and he shoots Merle dead. My wife mentioned that if Michonne had accompanied Merle on this mission - not as his prisoner but his partner after he let her go - they might have succeeded. But, as it is, Merle the lowlife dies a noble death, and, just for good measure, Daryl arrives on the scene and has to kill Merle a second time as a walker.
As I've said earlier about this season of The Walking Dead, its presentation of family conflict and angst - especially father and son, brother and brother, son and mother - make this series the 21st century equivalent of Shakespearean drama.
See also The Walking Dead 3.3 meets Meadowlands ... The Walking Dead 3.4: Going to the Limit ... The Walking Dead 3.9: Making Crazy Sense ... The Walking Dead 3.10: Reinforcements ... The Walking Dead 3.11: The Patch ... The Walking Dead 3.12: The Lesson of Morgan ... The Walking Dead 3.13: The Deal ... The Walking Dead 3.14: Inescapable Parable