Spoiler Warning: If you haven’t seen this episode yet and want to keep it a surprise, turn back now! We will be revealing major plot points that are revealed in The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 6 “Hounded” as well as discussing the events in detail.

Hounded

Season 3 of AMC’s The Walking Dead has been quite explosive so far and has completely changed the lives of our rag-tag group of survivors for better or worse.

A lot has happened already throughout this season, and in episode 6 “Hounded” the plot deepens, chronicling three different stories through the point of view of many characters all at once. Merle and a group of others hunt down Michonne at the orders of the Gov; Rick and the others are back at the prison trying to live day to day and make ends meet; and finally Andrea tries to fit in back at Woodbury, trying to find a place for her in the Gov’s neighborhood community.

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode Photos

Hunted

Episode 6 starts off with Merle, that crazy psychopathic redneck, and a band of the Gov’s henchmen trying to hunt down Michonne, the deadly katana-wielding femme fatale. If they were smart, they’d back off…but Merle’s the type of guy who likes a hunt, and its here where he fully reveals his psychotic and dangerous nature.

The first encounter leaves one of Merle’s henchmen without a head: Michonne slices it clean off, displaying her fluid samurai-like skill with the blade and her ninja-esque reflexes. However ninja-like, Michonne isn’t immune to bullets, and she takes a shot in the leg, considerably slowing her down.

Merle pushes on, not dazed at all by the brutal loss of two of his men, and continues the hunt. At this point viewers aren’t sure who’s the predator and who’s the prey…and in the second encounter, Merle and Michone square-off in an old-fashioned bayonette-sword-fight, clashing blades in a stylish and deadly duel.

The fight is interrupted as a band of biters–aka walkers–roam into the fray, drawn forth by Merle’s incessant gunfire. The biters are dispatched, not before letting Michonne sneak off as Merle and his one companion are distracted. Rather than go after her–perhaps he is scared or intimidated by Michonne’s skill–Merle decides to trek back to Woodbury rather than pursue her further and tell the Gov that she’s been killed. His companion, Neil, doesn’t want to lie to the Governor…so Merle kills him, leaving his body out into the wilderness to rot.

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode Photos

Sorry, Wrong Number

In the last episode, Rick’s psyche was teetering on the brink of insanity, and he was left in a rage-induced stupor from the shock of Lorie’s death. After massacring the last of the walkers in the prison’s block, Rick stayed within the hallowed walls, festering in the gore-strewn darkness.

Only one thing pulled him back to reality: a phone call. At first, viewers may be thinking that the ringing phone is a hallucination or some sort of mind-trick that’s induced from his current state…however in this episode we learn that the call is in fact real.

The call itself acted as a beacon of hope, as Rick learned of a safe place, a new place–Woodbury, perhaps?–where there was other survivors. The basic commodities which Rick and the others have been struggling with–food, water and shelter–have all been solved in this place. This magical oasis where hope and happiness light the day. The phone call was brief, but Rick conversed with a woman who ignited the flame of hope within him, bringing him back to reality with the promise that she would call back later and discuss the terms of possibly taking on Rick’s group of survivors to their safe haven.

With this beacon of light and hope, Rick’s despair is cleared away, and he realizes that he not only has a son but a newborn daughter to take care of. He leaves the isolation of the dark cell block and returns to the others. They are surprised and elated to see him…and just like that he seems to be back to normal. While he is still mourning for his wife, he now is armed with hope, and no long is totally overwhelmed by emotion, shock and despair. Rick is ready to move on, and he keeps the proposal of the caller’s supposed sanctuary from the others for the time being.

Now the hard part begins: waiting for the call.

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode Photos

Back at Woodbury

The scenes at Woodbury give viewers a break from the chaos of the outside world and counterbalance its crudeness. Andrea and the Governor still interact quite frequently, kindling a relationship that is set off with a spark when the two kiss during a discussion in the Gov’s backyard. Andrea feels safe, secure, and for once in her new life, she feels she’s found love. Or she could be putting on a show to trick the Gov and to understand what’s really going on behind the scenes.

Last episode’s revelation of Woodbury’s twisted sports-like gladiator show both disgusted and enthralled Andrea: she was disgusted with the grimness of using “biters” for sport, as she’s seen firsthand how dangerous they really are, since she had spent so much time in the outside world.

But disgust wasn’t all she felt: she was enthralled by the whole ordeal, and it ignited that sense of brutality that’s within everyone. It’s the same kind of feeling we get when we can’t help but to look at gruesome photographs of car crashes, or how we always want to know just what happened in the latest murder case. This grim curiosity seems to be only satisfied with blood.

Now that Andrea has fueled a relationship with the Gov, she’s in the perfect position to unlock the secrets of Woodbury as well as figure out his plans. I have a feeling that once she finds out that he sent Merle to hunt Michonne, that Andrea will be quite cross with the Gov and may do something drastic.

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode Photos

Merle Strikes Again

At Woodbury, Merle actually seemed to be jovial and viewers may have felt that they can trust him again. However in this episode he shreds that trust and shows his true nature. Only a few hours after he slaughtered his own kinsman in cold blood–and after wounding Michonne with a bullet to the leg–Merle does something even more devious.

Maggie and Glen are out looking for supplies, on a proverbial “run” to gather what little commodities that haven’t been already scavenged. At a nearby strip mall they find a veritable treasure trove of food and other supplies–batteries, fuel, and even condiments.

Too bad that’s not all they find.

Merle comes creeping up, armed to the teeth with his cruel bayonette-hand and a gun in the other. Glen recognizes him, but still doesn’t lower his weapon, as Glen knows full well what kind of man that Merle Dixon is. Merle recognizes Glen and drops his gun, trying to convince Glen that he’s not a threat. He  just wants to know where his brother, Daryl is, and if he’s a live. After a stand off that builds intimidation and fear, Merle realizes that Glen isn’t going to tell him anything and he strikes, shooting out the back window of their car.

Before Glen knows it, Merle has a gun to Maggie’s head and is yelling for Glen to get in the car. Glen refuses to take Merle back to their camp, however the sinister madman reveals that they’re not going back to the prison. Apparently, they’re going to Woodbury, and will most likely end up in chains and fetters.

Meanwhile Michonne had been watching the whole ordeal from the shadows and was unseen during the exchange. She’s wounded so she couldn’t really save anyone…and as she doesn’t know who Glen and Maggie are, she doesn’t know if they’re even worth saving.

Glen and Maggie’s capture by Merle is another twist featured in this episode, and it will be interesting to see what happens to them back at Woodbury.

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode Photos

The Call

Back at the prison Daryl’s scout party, who is cleaning up the remaining walkers in the area, kill a zombie and find a curious memento lodged within the undead man’s neck: Carol’s knife. Daryl takes the knife, staring at it and what it may imply. Is Carol alive? Is she dead? Has she turned?

Meanwhile, Rick is waiting for the next phone call…but is extremely wary considering in the last call, the woman on the line somehow knew his name. He’s frightened and doesn’t know what to do…but the incessant warble of the ringer calls to him like a terrible psiren’s song, and he eventually answers.

“How did you know my name?”
“Because we know you Rick. And they know you. The people you were talking to today, Rick; that was Amy, Jim, Jack…”

“Lorie?”

This shocking revelation shows that the phone call is indeed in Rick’s mind, as some viewers may have been able to guess. Rick’s mind had been shattered when his world came crumbling down at the death of his wife. Now, through a psychological episode, he comes to terms with his wife’s death and eventually hands up the phone. This symbolizes his acceptance of her passing, and now he can properly mourn her.

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode Photos

Now we cut to Daryl, who is plagued by the questions that Carol’s knife brings: Is she alive? Is she dead? Has she turned? Where is she? In a fury, he takes her knife and plans to use it on a nearby walker who has been pushing a nearby cell door open–but never far enough to actually open the door.

Daryl moves the body blocking the door and swings it open, ready to slice the walker…and instead finds Carol, unbitten but seemingly hurt. To his elation he picks her up, carrying her to the others.

The episode closes with Rick walking out into the sunlight with the others with his baby, rejuvinated with a newfound sense of hope and determination. At the prison’s border many walkers have gathered, pressing themselves against the wire fences. Rick quickly realizes that one of them isn’t a walker, however, but a black woman with a samurai sword with dreads.

Michonne has found her way to Rick’s band of survivors…

Be sure to check out AMC’s official website for more on this week’s episode of The Walking Dead and a brief preview of what’s to come in the next episode.