It’s been a tale of two camps so far on this season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, but tonight’s mid-season finale put a definitive end to one of them. Fans of the series may have felt that the last few episodes have been a bit of a retread of previously explored plot territory. While that may have been the case, the events of tonight’s episode will force the survivors out of their comfort zones and into some tough decisions in the second half of the season. We also lost some characters along the way, one who was beloved by fans, and one of whom viewers simply loved to hate. Hit the jump for my recap and review of tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Too Far Gone”.
While I was holding out hope that last week’s closing scene of The Governor (David Morrissey) spying on Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Hershel (Scott Wilson) in the prison camp was from time before the illness swept through the prison, that turned out not to be the case. This eliminated the Gov from being the mastermind behind spreading the disease among the prisoners; all fingers now point to a psychopath hiding among the survivors, as evidenced by the plague rat flayed and displayed within the prison. It’s unfortunate that the Gov didn’t get a chance to add bioterrorism to his resume, but it looks as if this mystery will continue into the remaining eight episodes.
Enough about what didn’t happen, let’s take a look at what did. The bulk of this episode centered on the conflict between The Gov’s new group and Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) decimated camp of survivors. While Michonne and Hershel managed to escape the disease without any ill effects, they were unable to escape The Governor as he captured both of them rather easily at the outset. Although he appeared ready to listen to a compromise in exchange for his prisoners, The Governor opted not to budge when Rick offered him and his people room and board within the prison. Instead, the lunatic hacked Hershel’s head off with Michonne’s katana.
Needless to say, Rick’s group didn’t take too kindly to that, and all Hell broke loose soon afterward. In addition to The Governor’s new soldier, Mitch (Kirk Acevedo), rolling his tank through the prison fences and shelling the crap out of the structure, all the commotion drew nearby Walkers to the scene. This proved to be too much for some of the prison dwellers to deal with and Hershel was only the first casualty.
Since this episode was, in essence, The Governor’s swan song, it was interesting to see how he was dispatched. While he was busying himself with warmongering, his new surrogate wife and child – Lilly (Audrey Marie Anderson) and Meghan (Meyrick Murphy) – were watching Walkers float downriver or digging up Flash Flood Warning signs. Meghan quickly succumbs to a Mud Walker bite, so Lilly does the sensible thing and carries the child’s dead body to where The Governor is assaulting the prison. Not wanting to go through another situation like with that of his undead daughter, Penny, The Governor puts a bullet in Meghan’s head. After he got the upper hand in a knock-down, drag-out fight with Rick, interrupted by Michonne managing to run the Governor through with a katana, Lilly returns the favor by finishing him off with an off-screen kill shot. If there was any doubt that The Governor was really and truly dead, the shot of a Walker tromping on the Eyepatch King chess piece should put that question to rest.
Other more relevant questions include: Where the hell is everyone? Michonne saved Rick and then disappeared. Glenn (Steven Yeun) got the survivors into the bus, but then the bus took off. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) both help an injured Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) get to safety. Tyreese (Chad Coleman) is now the sole chaperone of a bunch of gun-wielding children (which is a spin-off I’d definitely watch), and Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Beth (Emily Kinney) were last seen together after perennial badass Daryl took out the tank and driver, Mitch. Also seen heading into the woods to escape the horrors of the overtaken prison were Rick and Carl (Chandler Riggs), who not only saw their home overrun, but found Judith’s car carrier covered in blood and suspiciously devoid of the Grimes’ youngest family member. It remains to be seen if Judith found safety with one of the aforementioned groups or if, gruesomely, she fell victim to hungry Walkers.
The writers apparently hate having any sort of consistent sage in the group as they’ve killed off both Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) and Hershel. While I fully expect the group to find another wise old character in the near future, I have equal expectations that that character will meet their demise sooner than later. Much like Rick’s group of survivors, sometimes this show’s writing feels like it lacks a consistent voice of reason and experience. Did we really need to revisit The Governor’s assault on the prison? Not really, but if it brings closure to The Governor as a character while forcing our protagonists into making more difficult choices in the future, it was a worthwhile decision.
Odds & Entrails:
Walker kills: 7
Casualties: Meghan, Hershel, The Governor, Multiple Red Shirts on both sides of the conflict, Mitch and … Baby Judith???
Best Kill: Rick/Michonnne/Lilly’s combined kill of The Governor. Rest in pieces.
Best Effect: Daryl’s assault on the tank. The guy is unstoppable.
Lilly: “Killing people?” Gov: “No, killing killers.”
Hershel: “Governor…” Gov: “Don’t call me that.”
Hershel: “If you understand what it’s like to have a daughter, than how can you threaten to harm someone else’s?” Gov: “Because they aren’t mine.”
Gov: “Any place that’s safe, really safe, someone’s already there.”
It was nice to see Glenn and Maggie back to their usual cuteness, but with the talk of their anniversary and the eventual splitting up of those two at the prison, I was worried one of them wasn’t going to make it out. (Did anyone else think the tank was going to target the bus as it drove away?)
Glenn: “You know, our anniversary is coming up.” Maggie: “When?” Glenn: “…sometime.”
We didn’t get to see Carol (Melissa McBride), but Rick and Daryl did remind us that she’s out there. Will Tyreese and the kids run across her in the wild?
Rick: “I haven’t told Tyreese yet. I don’t know how he’s going to take it.” Dary: “Let’s go find out.”
Gov: “Rick! Come down here! We need to talk!”
Rick: “I don’t make decisions anymore.” Gov: “You’re making the decisions today, Rick. Now come on down here and let’s have that talk.”
Rick: “You got a tank, you don’t need hostages.” Gov: “I do. This is just to show you I’m serious. I don’t want to blast a hole in our new home.”
Rick: “I have a tank! And I’m lettin’ you walk away from here. What else is there to talk about?”
Honestly, Rick was just starting to get back to the confident enforcer of old. Now, with an old nemesis nearly killing him, his home being ravaged by disease and destroyed by invaders, and the possible grisly death of his baby daughter, I’m quite worried for Rick’s sanity once again.
Rick: “We can all live in the prison or none of us can.”
Mitch: “Time for you to leave, asshole!”
Even if Rick was lying to himself by saying that everyone could get along in the prison, I appreciated the effort.
Let’s take a moment to lament the departure of Hershel, who saved Carl from a gunshot, survived a Walker bite and amputated leg, acted on the council as advisor, and cared for multiple survivors along the way with his medical expertise, including almost single-handedly getting the group through the epidemic.
Gov: “Kill em all.”
The Walking Dead returns Sunday, February 9th at 9pm on AMC.