Ain’t Gonna Beg: The Most Merle Scene in TWD
BG Blogger breaks down the scene that to her best defines Merle Dixon in The Walking Dead
Merle had a lot of big moments during the three episodes that he appeared in intermittently on The Walking Dead, but there is no scene more quintessentially Merle than the first few minutes of Episode 103 “Tell It to the Frogs,” where Michael Rooker delivers a performance worthy of an Emmy. In this scene, we get a true look at the many sides of the complicated man that is Merle Dixon.
We find Merle on the roof, still chained to the pipe where T-Dog left him, blocking the door to try and protect the man from the walkers that were trying to get in through the front door.
Seemingly calm, Merle tells an audience only in his mind about how he ended up in military prison. He gloats about how he stood up to the officer and about how he knocked out five of the man’s teeth.
Although he concedes
he assures his unseen companion that
Merle Dixon is a man who lets impulse and anger rule him. He is quick to react, and he pays harsh consequences for his actions. Before the apocalypse, it cost him months of his life in military prison. It ended up costing him his arm after.
Later in the series, Merle admits that he’s a mystery to himself, and this anecdote that starts off Episode 103 shows that he acts first and deals with whatever happens as a result, suffering from the effects of his causes even when he doesn’t know what motivated him in the first place.
Suddenly, the camera begins to pull away.
We see Merle from above, and as we drift above him, viewing a larger swath of the roof beneath, he gradually gains his own new perspective and remembers the bigger picture.
Panic sets in. He struggles against the restraints. He calls out to God and to Jesus for help.
Walkers hear his shouts and begin to clamor at the door. Merle realizes death could be imminent.
Tearfully, he pleads for mercy, not to an unseen audience now but to a higher power. He admits that he has done bad things, but he begs to be given another chance, to be delivered from certain death.
He asks for guidance, but there is only the sound of the walkers. No words of redemption, of encouragement are offered for the man in a prison of his own making. No one is coming to rescue him, he believes.
Suddenly, Merle’s mood shifts again. He grows angry. He rails against God, saying that he’s not going to beg.
Instead of cowering, he begins to try and fight again, struggling to try and bring the gun closer to him with the belt. He insists:
And those words are repeated in his final moments with The Governor.
The scene on the rooftop ends with Merle struggling, roaring with rage as he fights for his life much the way he seems to have his entire life.
As a man who was once a boy with an abusive father and an alcoholic mother, Merle is used to having no one to come to his aid. While he knows his actions are wrong, he can’t allow himself to be weakened for long by regret. He just powers on to another extreme act meant to help him survive or at least give him some sense of satisfaction.
Merle is a man capable of horrible, violent things–knocking out a man’s teeth without remorse, torturing prisoners, killing in cold blood–but he doesn’t set out to do those things. Somehow, he makes wrong turns and ends up trapped.
In the end, only by dying did he finally break that pattern, his final extreme act of taking on The Governor’s men alone finally giving him that redemption he longed for on the roof two seasons before.
And died as he lived his life, fighting on, tirelessly…and without begging.
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