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