The Walking Dead Review – “Four Walls and A Roof” S5E3

Every once in a blue moon, The Walking Dead takes a break from the divergent path it has made from the comic books in order to really bring it back to the source material. While the first three episodes of this season have varied in characters, their likeness to the comic books is completely uncanny. Whether or not it has done Robert Kirkman’s story justice is up for debate. If you’re having a hard time hitting the nail on the head, why not just get a bigger hammer, right? Viewers who have not read the comic books are in for a special treat, but avid readers may not get as much out of this episode as they would have liked.

The Walking Dead - %22Four Walls and a Roof%22 4

In some ways, “Four Walls and A Roof” translates the events of the issues it takes its materials from (Volume 11: Fear the Hunters) flawlessly. The writers are able to seamlessly blend the events of the comic books with what has already happened at Terminus – a concept that doesn’t exist in the books – and make it all flow together. Word for word, the entire “Tainted Meat” scene is taken from The Walking Dead #66, and was a horrifying, yet appropriate way to open up the episode. We knew Bob had to go after we saw him legless at the end of “Strangers,” but that doesn’t mean he can’t go out in style, because he said the line we were all waiting for, and went out like a true G.

The Walking Dead - %22Four Walls and a Roof%22

The Terminians, as the show has branded them, have always been a smart group of people. I mean, how else would they have been able to take back their camp, survive for so long, AND get the upper-hand on Rick’s group? Their downfall, however, would be their ridiculous arrogance. Leaving themselves a trail like Hansel and Gretel to get back to Terminus (is there even anything left there?) is inviting anybody – say, Morgan for example – to follow them. Also, while painting a big bloody “A” on the church when they returned Bob was spooky, a notion to the group that the Terminians still had them trapped, but it gave themselves away too early on.

However, Rick and Co. prove that their arrogance would be their undoing, as a small group trick the Terminians into entering the church under the pretense that all the strong members were leaving the weaker ones at the church to ambush the Terminians, but were rearing back around to surprise them. It was all going well until somebody, once again, decided to bring the baby to the apocalypse party. I swear, Judith better have the cure to the zombie virus because she is a complete crutch at this point. The scene where Rick finally finishes off Gareth and the rest of the Terminians is pretty quick. There’s not nearly as much build-up as I felt there were in the books, and even the poetic justice of Rick hacking away at Gareth with the red machete is a bit cliché. I would like to think that if I am about to commit gruesome revenge murder on somebody who just ate my friend’s leg, that I would have come up with a better punchline than “I already made you a promise.”

While the scene that unfolded in the comic books was not as visually vile as the one on the TV show, I felt an inane sense of horror reading it. The reaction that Rick, Sasha and Michonne get from the others is half-surprise, half-disgust. From the get-go, Maggie, Glenn and Tara have always known Rick’s group to be the “good guys,” which definitely challenges the idea of Rick gutting Gareth like a pig. Could that have been an influence for them to immediately join Abraham’s group in traveling to “Washington DC?” It seems as though Glenn has become the voice of reason in the group, and while Rick is not talking into disconnected telephones anymore, he sure doesn’t seem level-headed. Glenn even has to use his balls of steel to tell Rick to stand down.

The Walking Dead - %22Four Walls and a Roof%22

With another episode of The Walking Dead in the books, we lose another group member in Bob. Bob’s character has gone through quite the transformation, going from the drunkard that Daryl almost through off a roof to a solid member of the team, and the only one able to crack the ice cold persona that Sasha had. The actor behind the Bob, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., has always been a Hush favorite. His place on the show has always been an auxiliary one, not one of great importance. Hey, at least he lasted longer here than he did on The Wire.

Speaking of that timeless show, the guy who really stole the show here was Seth Gilliam (Ellis Carver in The Wire), who plays the timid Father Gabriel. Under the confession-influencing blade of Sasha, Gabriel spills the beans about his cowardice when his congregation came to him at the start of the outbreak. Gabriel’s teary confession was both chilling and sad, making us really feel for him as a character. Gilliam plays the character to a T, really exploring the depths of his acting ability and making him instantly recognizable as the same character in the books. Although not necessary “useful” in the traditional sense of murdering scores of the undead, his spiritually-driven words will ground Rick Grimes, who seems to be teetering off the edge of normalcy.

The Walking Dead - %22Four Walls and a Roof%22 3

Aside from the fact that the episode is primarily taken directly from the source material, there are a few Easter Eggs that the show refers to that might be of interest:

Tyreese face...
Tyreese face…
... is the new Dale Face
… is the new Dale Face
  • When Father Gabriel voices his disapproval of the church slaughter to Michonne, and explains that he still hears the voices, Michonne coldly says, “Yeah, that won’t stop – hearing the voices.” This could be a reference to Michonne’s comic book character, who, like Rick and his phone, talks to her former lover through her Katana. When she states earlier that she did not miss the sword, perhaps she was trying to move on, but the pull of having it was a bond to more than just her killer, badass self, and more to the loved ones she has lost before joining the group.
  • The marquee in the church has a series of Bible passages that relate specifically to the zombie apocalypse, or the second coming of Jesus, or whatever:
    • Romans 6.4: “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
    • Ezekial 37.7: “So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone.”
    • Matthew 27.52: And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised”
    • Revelations: 9.6 “During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.
    • Luke 24.5: “In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”
  • Although not exactly in sync with The Walking Dead timeline, Morgan does make a brief appearance in the books about 15-20 issues after the Hunters are dealt with. It doesn’t look like Morgan is in the same frail state of mind we left him in Kings County seasons ago. Will he be good? Bad? Crazy?

Hush Comics gives “Four Walls and A Roof” a B for its solid adaptation of one of the most brutal chapters in this now over a decade-long series. The episode has effectively transformed Rick’s group into cold-hearted killers, where the role of the “good guy” is extremely subjective. The acting in the episode was phenomenal, from Andrew J West as Gareth to Seth Gilliam as Father Gabriel. However, I feel like comic book fans got the raw deal here. Where the show largely succeeds is its variation from the source material, and what he got here was a complete reenactment of what we already knew would happen. We would have liked to see a bit more originality and suspense. We do know that next week’s episode “Slabtown” will at least give us that much, as we get to see just what the hell Beth has been up to. #praythestrainaway?

All pictures belong to AMC.  They are credited to Gene Page.

The Walking Dead Review – “Strangers” S5E2

I should have known when last week’s episode of The Walking Dead concluded that the happiness I felt would be short lived. In all honesty, I knew the peace and serenity would be short lived for the characters I love so much, maybe I just didn’t want to admit it. At least last night’s episode, “Strangers”, was able to snap me out of my delusions.
First of all, let’s talk about Father Gabriel. Is he good? Is he evil? Like basically every single other person they’ve come across? I’m no fool, I know how this works, and clearly that man has some darkness in his past that he is trying to hide. Something is up with him and it’s very obvious, from the knife carvings on the outside of his oddly intact forest church to how clean his clothes are. I don’t trust him, but I feel bad for him. The man is terrified, regardless of what he was up to before he met our group. Yet, it was still sad to watch him panic.
Am I good? Am I bad?  Does it matter since I was on The Wire?
Am I good? Am I bad? Does it matter since I was on The Wire?
For fans of the comics, the small screen adaptation of the Priest is spot on.  I was impressed with his skiddish-ness, his deer-in-the-headlghts looks, and fear of being “found out.”  So what did Father Gabriel do?  Well technically, he didn’t lie to Rick, answering the three interrogation questions as honestly as he could, but leaving out one major detail.  No, he hasn’t killed anyone; instead SPOILER, he just refused to let anyone in the congregation into the church because he wanted to save himself and all the food.  Is this just as bad as killing them himself?  It could be, but for a man of God, I think he really doesn’t care what others think, because only God can judge him, despite the ominous etching on the church that reads “You will burn for this.”
It is clear, though, that Father Gabriel judges himself.  He is very guilty about his actions, and this comes across flawlessly in this episode.  As fleeting as his character may seem right now, he is still around in the comics series.  He may be a character the audience will have to learn to love.  As a side note, Seth Gilliam, who plays Father Gabriel and is another alum of The Wire (Ellis Carver) is a fantastic actor.  This role is a total 180 from what I was used to from him.
“Strangers” was the good old The Walking Dead we all know and love, it was intense, gut-wrenching, and when it ended, all I could think about is how the hell am I going to make it to next week?! Not only that, but it was very aptly titled. The group doesn’t just meet a new stranger, who doesn’t repent to strangers, but in many ways they realize how they are strangers to themselves and each other at this point.
Do we really know any of these people?
Do we really know any of these people?
The beginning of the episode spent a lot of time on Carol and her “strangerness.”  There are things she has done that parts of the group don’t know she did: David, Karen and Lizzie.  Carol is a stranger to the group, and frankly to herself.  If this was the Carol who was around when her husband was beating her up or when Sophia ran off, she may have been never gotten beat and never lost Sophia.  But it was all that, and her acts of murder, that changed Carol from abused housewife to full-on Linda Hamilton.  Unrecognizable.
Even Carl is a stranger.  He is not the kid who runs out of the house foolishly, but he still has a glimmer of humanity left in him.  He innately wants to help people.  He always is the one to run towards screams in the woods.  Carl is the man Rick was before the apocalypse.  He doesn’t torment walkers anymore, now he investigates.  Carl will continue to change drastically, at least I would guess so.  He is a teenage boy growing up in a very dangerous landscape.  The things that happen to him now will shape what kind of man he will become, and that could go one way, or the other, if he survives.  With that being said, in the comic series, at this exact point Carl is a murderer.  He killed a kid his age.  I doubt they will show this in the series, but it is the definitive moment of the books for Carl, in my opinion.
And then there is Rick.  Between his wife being a whore (yeah, I said it), having to kill his best friend, battling The Governor, losing people he loves, and losing not-his-baby, Rick is the best stranger; he has nearly lost all of his old humanity.  But we still trust his judgement.  And by we, I mean the audience (I assume) and his group.  They even say so by agreeing to go into the church in the first place.  Let’s face it: Rick is a murderer.  But he is loyal to people who don’t screw him over, and for the most part, he keeps them alive.
And now, for some rapid fire thoughts:
  • From an outsider’s prospective, who doesn’t have to eat cesspool beanie weenies, it seems obvious that Eugene is a fraud. But I suppose that in a moment of “We almost got slaughtered” that he seems like their only hope, but he is no Obi-Wan for sure.
  • Would you get in a cesspool of zombies and water leakage that have been cooking together for about two years?
  • Would you eat the food that has been sitting in that cesspool whether it was canned or not?
  • Michonne doesn’t miss her sword? Well I do.  She does explain that she found it in the first place, just like she did in the comics.
  • Beth! Beth!  Carol and Daryl go after her!  Will they be in the next ep?  And so much for that whole, “we are sticking with Rick from now on” theory.
  • The amount of religious symbolism was beautiful.  Father Gabriel has been copying the Bible word for word.  The carvings and quotes around the church are particularly poignant.  Especially “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has Eternal Life” from John 6:54, in reference to Jesus’ promise of heaven on the last day.
  • Episodes written by The Walking Dead daddy are always great.  Thank you, Robert Kirkman for being so deliberate with your attention to detail.
At the end of last week’s episode we were shown how the “Termites” were once people, too, if you will, and that at one point all the survivors had their humanity intact, begging the question how much could a person take before they break? When Gareth comforted his poor mother in the train car I thought, “Okay, I might feel some sympathy for this guy. Maybe he’ll grow on me!” But after seeing what institutionalized evil becomes when it’s in the wild, I know that Gareth will only make the Governor look like the fat kid from Stand By Me.
Hey Beth.  I'm bringing my last girlfriend with me to come rescue you.  Hope that's ok.
Hey Beth. I’m bringing my last girlfriend with me to come rescue you. Hope that’s ok.
But what about Bob? (Yeah that was an intentional reference to the Bill Murray movie) Ever since Bob was introduced, I have been watching week after week, biting (ha!) my nails, waiting for the terrible inevitable death that awaits him. He’s a moral compass for the group, but more than that, he is their ray of sunshine. Yes, baby Judith gives us all hope simply by surviving, but Bob tries every day to find the beauty in the life he has, which was clear in the game he and Sasha play. When Bob got pulled down by the sewer walker, my heart stopped, but then he rose up and seemingly triumphed. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t sitting there for the rest of the episode waiting for the reveal that he had in fact been bitten.
It is clear that Bob is the new Dale.  Not only for the show but a stand in for the comic book version.  The moral compass never stays around too long. And even though we have no official confirmation he was bitten down in the flood water, if he is in fact replacing the Dale of the comics, he was.  Will we get the famed line, “Tainted Meat!”?  I certainly hope so; it is one of the hallmarks of the entire comics series.
Will our group meet Gareth’s group again? Will there be a battle a la the comics?  Will Gareth’s group die because they are eating someone who is about to turn?  And what the hell happened to Beth?  There are so many questions still looming! How exciting!  Hush Comics gives “Strangers” an A- because it gave viewers exactly what we look for; a major cliffhanger, intense moments of stress, and reminders of why we love these characters so much and we tune in to root for them week after week.
All pictures belong to AMC.  They are credited to Gene Page.

The Walking Dead Review “Alone” S4E13

This week’s The Walking Dead “Alone” continued to set up for our survivors to find the Terminus camp.  With the absence of Rick, Carl, Michonne, Tyreese, Carol and the three girls, and only three episodes left, it left one to wonder how epic this Terminus place is going to be.  Clearly it won’t happen in the next episode, which leaves two possible episodes to wrap up all this set up.  Let’s hope all this build up is epic.  The only way for that to happen is for Terminus to NOT be the answer to the comic’s Alexandria compound.  It would be to predictable for comic fans, and a let down for television audiences in the long run.  What do I think it should be?  Give me a week to answer that question.

The episode begins with the story of Bob.  Before the prison, he had survived the death of two previous groups, was alone on the road and got drunk off of Nyquil.  Times are tough when the apocalypse happens.  In his travels, he built a little house, found a truck trailer to sleep on top of, and eventually is picked up by Daryl and Glenn.  Daryl asked him the all informative three questions, “How many walkers have you killed?”,”How many people have you killed?”,”Why?”  Bob tells him he killed one person because she asked him to.  This intro was very short, but it’s hard not to care about Bob.  He is a man just trying to cope.  The lack of dialogue was great, because for once, TWD was able to show instead of tell.  When he is asked if he has any questions, he tells them it doesn’t matter who they are.  In the end, no one wants to be alone.

Bob eats

The convenience of the Bob getting bitten over his bandage on his shoulder was a little irritating.  As was Maggie overhearing Bob and Sasha’s conversation about Glenn being dead.  Also, wasn’t it nice that the one town Sasha decided to stay in, Maggie was also there?  It seemed too tidy considering how long everyone else has been separated.

Then there is the heart wrenching stuff.  Beth and Daryl.  Daryl and Beth.  Baryl.  Yeah, fan fiction with that little name will be crashing the net in a few hours to days here.  And I don’t mind.  Has Carol been getting hotter every season?  Yes, but she also kinda killed some people, or at the least burned their bodies.  She is no longer the woman who needed a Cherokee Rose.  And Beth kinda saved Daryl.  So yes, I will be a fangirl for those two.  This episode did a wonderful job of making us invested in them.  Turns out he likes her singing.  And he likes her.  She changed him, which he proves when he stares into her eyes when she questions why he changed.  Their scenes also gave the best line of the season.  When they find a stash of food in a mortuary home they stumble upon, Daryl says, “Peanut butter and Jelly, diet soda, and pig’s feet.  That’s a white trash brunch right there.”  If someone isn’t going to market Daryl Dixon’s Pigs Feet, I will.  All their scenes were very sweet.

Bethyl 

But nothing is permanent.  After a scare of walkers that turned out to be a one-eyed dog (if you don’t watch The Talking Dead, the dog only has one eye because he lost the one saving his owner from a carjacker), walkers really do invade the home.  In the wake of the scare, Beth runs and Daryl leads the hoard to the basement morgue.  In one of the stirring moments of this season, Daryl used the examination tables to block the walkers into the room.  It is many a close call.  Does it seem likely that a table with wheels would hold a large group of zombies off?  No, but it does seem likely that Daryl would be able to get out of it.  But the big “What the fuck?!” moment came when Daryl runs outside, finds Beth’s bag and sees a car peeling away.  Who kidnaps people in the apocalypse?  Who would ruin BARYL?!  WHY???

Straight from Tumlr.  Thank you, shippers.
Straight from Tumblr. Thank you, shippers.

Ahem, anyway, the other plot of the episode was mediocre at best.  Sasha acts like a bitch about finding Glenn and Terminus.  She argues and mopes.  Bob is a good guy trying to cheer her up, but there is only so much he can do.  Maggie leaves them behind to find Terminus and eventually the others follow her.  Maggie had a major gross out moment where she killed a walker and used its guts to write a note to Glenn on the side of a shed.  It dawned upon me this episode that nobody uses hand sanitizer.  They all touch really gross things and then eat with their hands.  Ew. Too much time was spent focusing on Sasha.  She may be a tool, being used to make us to like Bob, but on the flip side, I already liked him.  He kisses Sasha to show her that there is hope in a world that she is afraid of.  She is really just afraid of finding out Tyreese is dead, which is understandable, but she reacts in such an adverse way.  More time could have been spent on Glenn, Mullet-Boy and friends, or even the show-runner, Rick, Carl and Michonne.

The most important scenes came at the end of the episode.  In the town Sasha decides to settle in alone, she finds the best loft apartment in Georgia.  Then she finds Maggie (coincidently).  Sasha and Maggie have their own zombie hoard to fight.  Armed with a sharp stick and a “No Parking” sign, the women easily defeat the walkers.  It was a little Buffy-esque and a reminder of the Buffy/Faith tag team.  No doubt I was lovin’ that.

maggie and sasha
I’ve never seen somebody kick so much ass in a sweater before.

However, once Sasha saw the walkers outside and away from where she was, why should she run outside, and she had none of her bags?  She is a woman who acts before she thinks.  It is amazing she survived this long with that train of thought.  Maggie gives the speech to Sasha that finally turns her attitude around.  The moral being that hope still does exist.  They catch up with Bob, who really isn’t alone anymore, which was a nice little wrap up to the beginning.

Daryl continues to look for Beth and sets down in the middle of a fork in a road.  Not to mention right by the train tracks.  Then the same biker gang Rick ran into surrounds him.  Daryl is forced to join them, but probably had a better chance of doing so then someone who wasn’t wearing biker attire.  I think it is of note that the actor who plays Joe the leader, Jeff Kober, rarely plays a good guy. Perhaps this is the group the comic book fans have been ready to eat.  I mean, meet. *wink*

daryl and the bikers
A wolf joins a pack of dogs

Finally, we see Glenn.  And he sees the map to Terminus.  It all starts to come together.  What can all this lead to?  Thoughts for the remainder of the season wonder if this will culminate into something worthwhile.  Who will die? Will it be Daryl with the foreshadowing of him sleeping in a casket?  Or, will he survive in the biker gang and never look back?  Is Beth a goner?  Where the heck is Rick?  There are still a lot of questions without a single answer of where we are heading.

Hush Comics gives “Alone” a B.  It was slow beginning with too much emphasis on Sasha rather than Bob.  The perk was the chemistry between Beth and Daryl as well as the real terror of the walkers entering their new found sanctuary.  But it still seems so far away from a way to wrap up the season with them all in the same group again.

All images belong to AMC.

written by Adrian Puryear

The Walking Dead Review “Too Far Gone” S4E8

“Too Far Gone” .  Battles were fought.  Some won and some lost.

If you don’t want to know the specifics of those winners and losers, then for the love of whatever God you pray to, don’t read ahead.  In fact, if you haven’t seen the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead don’t go on the internet.  Just don’t internet.

The episode starts with The Governor giving his big campaign-style speech about how they all need to take the prison.  He becomes a voiceover for himself as he abducts Hershel and Michonne from the prison gates.  He explains to his groups that their territory isn’t safe, the prison is and that the people who currently live in the prison killed his daughter and the town of Woodbury.  Once Tara, his lover’s sister, says she’s “in” the others join in.  What sheep.  How can so many groups of people be sheep in this world? I suppose it is one of the points of this series.  Meanwhile, his lover, Lilly, is the only one who questions his actions and motives.  He has already admitted that he kidnapped two people from the prison.  Yet, he believes his sweet-talking works on her, but it will prove him fatal.

The Governor holds Michonne and Hershel in an RV as his personal inmates. He talks to them and Hershel tries to convince him that they can all live in the prison.  The Governor tells them they won’t get hurt, but they can’t all live together. At one point, Hershel calls Philip “Governor” and he is very quick to order Hershel not to call him that.  It seems so odd that he is promising them they won’t be hurt when we all know they are bargaining chips yet he doesn’t want to be called by the name he deserves to go by.  The two golden nuggets of this scene were The Governor telling Hershel, “You’re a good man; a better man than Rick” and Michonne telling The Governor, “I’m gonna kill you.”  Oh, Michonne.  What a clairvoyant.

michonne gonna kill

The Governor has the group packing up for war as he leaves behind Lilly and Meghan. Lilly wants to just move somewhere by water since it seems safer.  The evil mastermind says his goodbyes to Meghan, who is making make believe peanut butter sandwiches out of red mud.  The Governor picks her up in his arms as if she is his own.  He believes that her legacy for the world will be to be alive.  We know that children who can’t protect themselves can’t stay alive.  The Governor does not know this yet.

Back at the prison, Maggie and a healing Glenn have cute couple banter.  Their anniversary is coming up.  Sometime.  Daryl and Rick discuss Carol’s ousting.  Unfortunately, we don’t get to see the entire talk, just Daryl’s mediocre reaction to it.  When Rick says he was worried about Tyreese’s reaction to Carol, Daryl threatens too late he would have taken care of it.  Daryl and Carol forever.  Sasha thanks Bob for helping save her life by treating her with meds.  He still feeling bad about life, probably the alcohol incident.  He was staring at and holding a shoe box.  What is in that box?  We will have to wait until February to find out.  Tyreese approaches Rick and Daryl before they approach him.  He found another rat that had been ripped apart, but by a human.  Right as Rick is about to tell Tyreese the “truth” about Carol (there is much debate in the Hush household about whether Carol really killed Karen) the prison gets hit by something big enough to rattle the concrete.  Rick and the rest run outside and are encountered with The Governor and his crew with the tank.  The Governor wants to talk and Rick tells him there is now a counsel.  When Rick is presented with the bargaining chips of Michonne and Hershel, who are brought out on there knees, it becomes clear that one if not both of them will be killed.  Comic book readers immediately know what is going to happen.  Clearly Rick in the TV series has not read the comics because he says, and I quote, “I don’t make decisions anymore.”  Uh, what?  Obviously there is a counsel for the poor decisions that were made but this seems a little more urgent than just throwing your hands up and saying, “Nope.  Uh-uh.”  But of course The Governor lets him know what is what and responds, “You’re making decisions today.”  Gulp.

The Governor music bangs loudly. Alisha stands behind Hershel and proves what a sheep she is.  Rick hugs Carl and walks down to the gate to have the chat.  As they start, Daryl begins to hand out the weapons to the group and conduct a plan for escape.  As Rick tries to negotiate, we see that the prison watchtower is ablaze from the tank.  The Governor and Rick go back and forth about who owns the prison, whether they can live together, that there doesn’t need to be violence.  Yada yada.  Negotiations cannot be made.  Did anyone else notice that Michonne has a band-aid on her forehead from getting pistol whipped?  Hershel must have found it in the RV.  What a sweetie.

Lilly sits by the river in a lawn chair.  She sees a walker on the other side and he adeptly makes it through the water considering he is lifeless.  “Mommy, can you please help me dig?’ Meghan calls out.  It is then that I knew Meghan was a goner.  If anyone digs in this world, it is for graves.  Meghan is still playing in the red mud and finds a sign that reads “WARNING: FLASH FLOOD AREA”  Just as she is able to read the sign, a hand reaches out of the mud from below her, in true zombie horror movie fashion.  The buried walker rises from the dead and takes a big bite from the little blonde-haired girl.  Take note blondies, dye your hair before the apocalypse because your future is bleak.

horror movie zombie

Back at the stand-off, some walkers approach The Governor’s group.  He shoots them, though not adeptly, but they die evenutally.  Carl and Daryl aim for fire in the background and Carl talks big game.  Daryl calms him down.  Two of the little girls from Carol’s Knifefighting Academy carry baby Judith in a baby seat.  Lizzie tells the other girls that they should all have guns.  I would not want her on my island if it was just us.  But in an crisis, she is kind of smart.  Back at the non-negotiation, Rick tells The Governor that without the fences, the prison is worthless.  “We can all live in the prison, or none of us can.”  This was all The Governor needed.  He jumps down from the tank, grabs Michonne’s kitana, and puts it up to Hershel’s neck.  hershel with sword

Rick calls upon Tara aka “you in the ponytail” and asks if this is what she really wants.  Mitch chimes in saying they want what he (Rick) has.  Considering his brother was just stabbed in the back, he is such a dick.  Rick tells the group about having the people of Woodbury as their leaders in the prison and that they can be one of them now.  “We can still come back.  We’re not too far gone. I know we all can change.”

hershel smiles

Hershel smiles at Rick ever so slightly, motioning that all those talks and pieces of advice had finally worked for the shows hero.  The Governor does not like Rick’s speech.  He snarls “LIAR” and slices Hershel’s neck with the kitana.  Is this a direct reference to the labels we saw in the last episode?  It would be great writing if it was.

The slow motion reactions of the group to Hershel’s death are palpable.  Maggie and Beth scream with no sound.  Choosing this effect worked so well for the emotion of the scene.  Rick screams, draws and fires his gun.  Michonne quickly rolls behind the cars of The Governor’s group to get out of the way of the gun fire.  Both groups are aiming for anybody they can.  Hershel isn’t fully dead, which is hard to watch him wiggle on the ground with half his neck detached.  Michonne gets out of her restraints.  The Governor takes her sword and begins to literally hack Hershel’s head off his neck.  For a split second, it seems that he is maybe stopping a zombie head from coming to life, but it is really just The Governor being a sick and twisted fuck head.  Ces’t la vie.

As the Governor gets done practicing his slicing skills, he looks up to see Lilly carrying a deceased Meghan.  He runs towards them.  Tara hides behind a truck and is panicking.  Alisha, her lover, tries to calm her down, but Tara brings up probably the most valid point ever said in The Walking Dead, “He chopped a guy’s head off with a sword!”  That sums following people for the sake of it pretty damn well.  The Governor takes Meghan’s lifeless body from her mother’s arms and shoots her in the head before she reanimates.  He has no emotion on his face.  He comes back to the group and commands them to all go for the prison and “Kill them all!” an iconic panel for comic fans.

kill them all

From the time Hershel is so brutally murdered to the time The Governor orders the raid on the prison is only 3 minutes of screen time.  All this happens in 3 minutes.  Just soak that in for a minute.

The tank takes down the gates the prison, and really, who else thinks this is really dumb?  The Governor was able to convince them to go to the prison to take it as theres.  By running the gates down, the Prison has no use.  And then.. oh Jesus, and then, they start blowing holes in the prison walls with the tank.  Uh, what?  The one command of “Kill them all” was really enough to make a fairly peaceful group of Winnebago dwellers go all Full Metal Jacket?  Well I guess for the sake of time left in the episode it was.  But holes in the prison walls is not really a safe habitat for the RVers now.  The RVers shoot there way in as The Governor rears the back.  Beth and Maggie stop shooting and run to the bus.  Maggie instructs Beth to get everyone on the bus while she gets Glenn because “we all got jobs to do.”  Oh now they are gonna make me cry, pulling out Hershel’s advice not moments after he died.

When The Governor finally makes it to the gates of the prison, Rick attacks him and starts punching him in the face.  A lot.  It’s awesome.  They engage in fist-a-cuffs for a while and neither of them are in good shape.  Random people from both sides are shot.  Maggie and Glenn get to the bus and find Beth missing.  Beth was going to find Judith, so Maggie leaves to look for Beth.  Daryl is surrounded.  On one side, he has crazy Neo-Governors shooting at him and on the other side he has walkers.  But did anyone really think Daryl would go down like that?  Nope.  He uses one of the walkers as a body shield to be able to approach the real killers and throw a good ole grenade their way.  Bob gets hit by a bullet in the shoulder and just then, the bus takes off.  Sasha says, “We’ll figure it out.”  Clearly, she has missed a bus or two before.  Tyreese is ganged up on by Alisha, who apparently is cool with guys getting their heads chopped off.  He jumps in the garden and BAM, Lizzie and her kid sister are holding guns.

little ba girls

They shot Alisha.  The clearly graduated from Knife School.  They run off and Tyreese tells them to go the other way.

The Governor is now on top of Rick strangling him.  He is inches away from death when:

gov gets it

FUCK YES Michonne!  She skewered him.  She fucking skewered him.  Best female character on TV right now.  And she just watches him writhe in pain.

Rick gets up and goes to look for Carl.  Daryl throws a grenade in Mitch’s tank.  Shit blows up.  Daryl shoots Mitch with an arrow.  Beth runs to Daryl.  She couldn’t find the kids, but Daryl tells her they need to go. Rick yelps for Carl and is then approached by walkers. Carl takes them out and he and his father hug.  They go to look for Judith and instead find a bloodied baby seat.  A little too bloodied to be from somebody picking her up out of the seat, but not too bloodied to have been a plate full of zombie finger food..  It does not look good for Lil Asskicker.  A walker approaches and Carl shoots it too much and then he finally cries. And not just any cry, but a sad, sad cry. Like a Jennifer Lawrence Hunger Games cry.  He and Rick walk away.

As The Governor fights for life, Lilly approaches him and shoots him in the head just as he shot her daughter.  A hoard of walkers enter the prison, one stepping on the white chess piece.  The King is dead.

stepping on the king

Rick and Carl are in the hills beyond the prison.  Rick tells his son, “Don’t look back.”

rick and carl dont look back

Wowza!  What an episode!  What a way to end!  So many cliffhangers.  The Governor is dead, but the rest of the group is in shambles.  At episode end, Glenn is with the bus, Daryl and Beth are together, Tyreese is alone, Sasha is with Bob, Maggie is alone and Rick and Carl are off in the woods.  Will they all come back together?  Will one of them stumble on Carol?  Will they join up with some of the RVers who feel badly?  The trailers hinted at some more comic book convergence, with Rick sick in the house alone with Carl. Another crazy thing is that Chandler Riggs is a growing boy. All the events in the books that occurred with him as a timid eight-year-old are now taking place with him as a pubescent young man with a deadly trigger finger. And where the hell is Carol?? We have to wait until February.  Oh, man.

Hush Comics gives “Too Far Gone” an A.  It was the best episode of the season thus far, but only because it was so full of action.  We finally have a dead Governor, but Hershel gone.  No more for our one-legged Summer Santa with the wisdom of a farmer.  Until February, fellow Dead Heads.

written by Adrian Puryear