After the rescue, Daryl decided to return to the prison. I think that thought was in his head from the moment he left Rick, but we can't fault him for going with his brother. That was the choice he needed to make at the time. As much as it was the right choice to leave Merle in the woods and return to the prison. Daryl needed to remember where he belonged. Of course, Merle followed after him and their arrival at the prison couldn't have been better timed. But we'll get to that in a minute.
Back at the prison, Rick was wandering around outside the gates chasing after his Lori mirage. He admitted to Hershel that he knows she's not real, but he was convinced he needed to be out there for some reason. Is it possible that being out there when the Governor showed up helped in some way? We did see Lori wandering around the guard tower, which was where one of the Governor's guys was positioned. But aside from being shot at and attacked by walkers, I'm not sure I saw the benefit of Rick's position outside the gates, so maybe there's more to this ghost-Lori thing than tonight's episode had to offer.
Axel was the lone victim of the Governor's attack on the prison. He took a bullet to the head while he was making Carol smile. Poor Carol. If anyone is due for a breakdown, it's probably her. People keep leaving her or dying around her. It seemed like she and Axel were hitting it off too. With so few smiles to go around inside that prison, it's a shame Axel had to go. He seemed like a nice guy. Optimistically, at least he never saw it coming. It sounds awful to say that but when we consider the terrible ways some people have died on this show (RIP Dale, Otis and T-Dog), Axel had it easy.
The Governor's attack came in waves, starting with gunfire on the people inside the prison, followed by Rick getting shot at, and finally someone showing up with a walker-filled clown car that tore through the gates and unleashed a truckload of hungry walkers onto the prison. That last bit was sort of amazing and horrifying all at once. Everyone was shooting at everyone. But for all their efforts, Axel was the only actual casualty on Rick's side. The sniper in the tower was the only casualty on the Governor's. Of course, now there's a busted gate and there are walkers all over the yard. And a lot of bullets were wasted in the process.
Rick seemed done for on the outside of the gate, and he was about to be eaten by a couple of walkers who clearly don't discriminate against the grimiest of Grimes, and then an arrow came through the face of one of them. Daryl had arrived! Daryl and Merle showed up and helped Rick out of his situation. The episode ended with them still outside the gate, but I'm assuming they'll find a way in, and maybe Merle will even manage to get inside too. With Axel gone, there is an opening in the prison, and he did just save Rick's life. I can't imagine Rick will want to let him in, regardless, but if there's ever a chance for Merle to get inside, this would be it. And if Merle gets to stay, then Michonne definitely should as well. Not only was she in the thick of things, helping to defend the prison, but she was also proactive enough to close the gate behind Rick when he wandered out after his prom date.
What's the score in this war? Either way, no one's winning. But the Governor showed Rick what he can do with just a few of his guys. This is far from over. At the very least, almost everyone survived the latest battle, and now it's just a matter of re-securing the prison.