Picking up from the fall finale's cliffhanger, the Governor forces Merle and Daryl to fight to the death in front of the whole population of Woodbury. Merle seems about to oblige, though he hints to Daryl that he has a plan. But before he can put it into action, Maggie and Rick come in shooting to rescue Daryl. In the chaos, Merle comes along, which makes for a pretty tense moment when the four of them meet back up with Glenn and Michonne. Both of whom understandably want to kill Merle on the spot, but Rick talks everyone down. Unfortunately, he's less successful at talking Daryl out of staying out in the wild with Merle when he understandably refuses to bring the elder Dixon back to the prison. And thus we witness the genesis of Angry Glenn.
Back in Woodbury, things are falling apart in the wake of the attack, not to mention a minor zombie incursion that is the result of Merle tearing a hole in the wall on his way out with the others. The townspeople are panicking and on the verge of rebellion, the guards are getting hostile, and the Governor is totally checked out. Andrea tries to make him get his act together and feel bad about lying to her about her friends, and is unsuccessful on both counts. But she ends up being the one to pull Woodbury back from the brink with the kind of cheesy inspirational speech I didn't think anybody could listen to with a straight face any more, let alone deliver.
At the prison, the newcomers are hoping to stay long-term. Ben and Alan want to do that by trying to take the place by force while they can, but Tyreese and Sasha insist on catching more flies with honey. When Rick and the away team return sans Daryl and Oscar, but with a re-wounded Michonne and a young couple who are no longer talking to each other, discussions ensue. Rick doesn't want to let the new people in, but Hershel manages to make him see sense. Unfortunately, that's when Rick sees something else: the ghost of Lori. Rick promptly flips out and angrily expels the new people. What's more, he does it in a way that seems to make the people in his current group wish they could follow. Nice one, Lori.
Seconds later (meaning seconds after the end of the fall finale), the Governor glowers with his one good eye at the helpless, unarmed Dixon brothers standing in the middle of the crowd of angry Woodburians howling for their blood. Andrea fights her way free of Milton toward the circle and tries to appeal to the Governor, only to find herself at gunpoint as well courtesy of the Governor's thugs. "He's my friend," she protests. "It's not up to me anymore," the Governor tells Andrea, saying that the people have spoken. He raises his voice and publicly challenges Merle to prove his loyalty to Woodbury, right here and now. "Brother against brother. Winner goes free. Fight to the death!" The crowd roars its approval, because you should always listen to a guy who has blood leaking down one cheek from behind the fresh bandage over his recently-ruined eye. While Andrea continues to beg vainly for a stop to this, Merle commences a speech to the crowd which he interrupts with a sucker punch to Daryl's gut. But then he finishes the speech while kicking Daryl across the dirt, which is good because I hate it when someone leaves a thought unfinished. Some goons with neck-snares herd a couple of zombies into the circle and hold them in position at the perimeter while the brothers hold onto each other's throats. "You really think this asshole's gonna let you go?" Daryl says. Merle tells Daryl to follow his lead and he'll get them both out of this. I'm sure that's true, but Daryl will be getting out of it feet-first. Daryl hauls Merle to his feet and they stand back to back against the encroaching walkers, fighting them as well as they can with bare hands and boots. Andrea keeps whining, "Phillip, stop this!" Suddenly the heads of one of the zombies explodes: Maggie's shooting from behind a Dumpster, which is cool. The next one to go down is the girl who tried to train Andrea on wall duty, though, so I guess Maggie's just shooting anyone. Rick throws a couple of smoke grenades into the center of the crowd, and the people panic as he and Maggie keep shooting. The Governor draws his automatic and grins while Andrea makes a run for it. Soon the whole courtyard is filled with smoke. The Governor stalks through it, casually shooting a walker while barely looking at it. Andrea kneels over the young woman Maggie just shot. Daryl reclaims his crossbow from the large, bearded and increasingly familiar local who was using it until that moment, and they vanish into the night. And the Governor just slowly walks through it all, looking cold-blooded and bad-ass, but not actually accomplishing anything.