The Apex Award represents the pinnacle of the last week in pop culture. This week’s winner is…
The Final Moments of AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD, Season 3, Episode 15, “This Sorrowful Life”
Norman Reedus-“Darryl Dixon”/Michael Rooker-“Merle Dixon”/Scott Gimple-Writer/Greg Nicotero-Director
When Darryl Dixon cries, you know it’s for a damn good reason. The fan favorite character has been one of the high points of THE WALKING DEAD’s transition from comic to television show, driven primarily by Norman Reedus’s amazing performance of a man who has found something of a second chance at a purposeful life after most of the world has died. But in the closing moments of this week’s episode, Reedus, and Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon, truly outdid themselves without saying a word.
Considering that there hasn’t been much screen time shared between the Dixon brothers throughout the show, their relationship has been explored rather effectively. Without any dramatic monologues or unnecessary expository scenes, a complex history was revealed that provided insight into both characters as well as the lives that shaped them. This all came to a powerfully conveyed end when Darryl found a turned Merle in the aftermath of the latter’s attack on The Governor, and was forced to put his brother out of his misery. The immediate focus on Merle’s eyes upon his reveal as a zombie provided an inspired anchor for the emotions of the scene. These emotions continued to build with each of Darryl’s attacks until Merle was truly dead and Darryl collapsed under the weight of it all.
The scene is a testament to the directorial skills of Greg Nicotero, the writing of Scott Gimple, and certainly the amazing performances of Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker. It is without a doubt one of the most emotional moments in THE WALKING DEAD’s history, and it is our third ApexFan Award winner.