WARNING….MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!
Sorry for the delay folks! In a mid-season finale so epic, I thought it was fitting to bring in a little back up to bring you guys a review that was just as epic as the episode itself. Without further ado, here’s the review for The Walking Dead mid-season finale, Too Far Gone. Courtesy of Spin Dash, Space Chief, and myself!
Space Chief: The mid-season finale of The Walking Dead doesn’t pull any punches right from the jump as The Governor, AKA Brian, AKA Philip, tells his recently acquired constituents a revisionist version of what happened at Woodbury.
Tara, to her credit, immediately questions kidnapping Hershel and Michonne to use as leverage to conquer another group…(a successful prediction on my part in last week’s TWD Predictions article right here at Following The Nerd!)… but he says that Rick and his inner circle are responsible for destroying his camp, mutilating him and killing his daughter but since there are innocent people at the prison, he plans to let them leave without bloodshed and take it over. This is clearly a lie.
From the look on his face and the sort of apologetic tone and demeanor he adopts, to his carefully chosen words, you can see why he is called the Governor. He is a master manipulator, a born psychotic politician. He makes it sound as if he really struggled with what to do in his mind before coming to the conclusion to lead a strike against a rival group.
For us, the audience, we know what this guy’s plans are. He intends to kill every last man, woman and child at the prison. Through his reasonable words you can see in his eyes that he has revenge and conquest in mind.
I found it interesting that we saw a glimpse of the “real” inner turmoil he experiences in the last two episodes. After meeting Tara, Meghan and Lily we saw a little bit of the man Philip Blake used to be, the family man. He seems completely satisfied to play this role until he is forced to deal with the danger outside once more. He is uneasy with being rescued by Martinez. He is reminded constantly that he used to be in charge, that he called the shots. His true struggle is: Can I just be a family man again? Can I come back from what I’ve done? Can I give up power and control and just exist? The Governor side of his personality wins out of course and he quickly rises to leader of the new group after literally feeding Martinez to a pit full of zombies, killing his replacement then threatening the next guy in line. It is almost as if he has no choice, he has to lead.
After convincing Tara and the others that they simply have no choice The Governor is approached by Lily. She is visibly shaken and confused at the whole idea of taking over the prison, killing people or kidnapping. He tells her he’s glad she knows what they are doing and that she needs to be prepared. Lily is still not convinced.
Governor Phil goes to visit his prisoners to tell them how he wants this to go down. He says he doesn’t want anyone to get hurt. He even tells Michonne no hard feelings for putting Penny down. This would seem like The Governor was a changed man to Hershel, having never spent any time at Woodbury but Michonne is not fooled. She asserts this position by saying “I’m going to kill you”. The Governor’s curt way of speaking and keeping his back to them is enough for me to think he doesn’t mean any of the words coming out of his mouth. There is also a clue that he likes being in charge when he tells Hershel that his plan allows everyone to live and then trails off when he continues saying that he gets to “keep being”…Keep being what? A leader? A hero? It comes off as lip service to make Hershel, Michonne and maybe even himself believe he has changed and means no harm.
The Governor leaves Hershel and Michonne and runs into Lily again. She wants to cut and run and forget the whole plan. He tries to convince her once again that the prison is what they need to give the group, especially Meghan, a better chance of survival. He walks over to have a moment with Lily’s daughter before heading out and we are taken to the prison.
Things are getting back to normal with the survivors as Glenn, recovering from the flu is talking to Maggie. Next we see Rick trying to convince Daryl that banishing Carol was the best course of action. I found this scene interesting because you can see a little of the politician coming out of Rick. He and Daryl go off to find Tyreese and tell him what’s up and we see Bob and Sasha have a moment.
Rick and Daryl find Tyreese and he frantically tells them they need to see something he found in a dark prison passageway. Before they have time to explain about the murders, Tyreese shows them a mutilated animal apparently pinned to the wall. Tyreese is convinced they have a psychopath living with them. I have a feeling he’s right but it’s not who you might guess. More on that in the next predictions piece!
Spin Dash: With his “army” poised outside the fences of prison and with Hershel and Michonne as his prisoners the Governor was set to take the prison by force if so needed. Rick’s group was undermanned and outgunned mostly due to the fact that the Governor had a freaking tank! Not caring to negotiate and with no desire to all live together the Governor gives Rick the ultimatum to leave the compound or die. To prove his point that he is willing to show force to make Rick surrender the prison he holds Hershel at sword point.
This leads into a very well done speech by Rick stating that in this world there has been a lot of death and that they have all done things to survive. He goes on to say that they all can live in the prison together; they can make it work as there should not be any more killing going on. You really get the emotion of this speech from actor Andrew Lincoln; he really poured a lot into doing this scene as we truly see his need to not let his friends die in another pointless bloodbath. I got goose bumps during this speech and I loved it even more watching it on the replay later on. So kudos to the actor and writers for this speech as I feel it truly sums up basically what they have all gone through and show a change in Rick’s attitude from a season ago when he turned away Tyreese and his group.
However after saying that it also made him a bit of a hypocrite in the fact that he says they can all live together yet he turned away Carol a few episodes ago and even says he doesn’t make decisions as there is a council in the prison. Yet he did not consult the council when it came to sending Carol off on her own. It is a conundrum of how Rick really feels and if he only said that speech to save Hershel or has he really changed? However I feel that may be a moot point seeing as how his speech doesn’t have the desired effect and the Governor beheads Hershel right in front of him.
Now I need to go on a rant here for just a second as I read on twitter so many tweets about people boycotting the show because they killed Hershel and they need to bring him back. Ladies and Gentlemen, while the show is different from the comic book, Hershel never made it out of the prison in the book. He was killed by the Governor in the book just as he was in the show; however he was given the death that Tyreese received in the book. People will die in this show and that makes the deaths even more impactful when a character dies if you have formed a massive bond with the character.
Now the fire fight ensues and we get the scenes of people fleeing the prison, being separated and Rick and the Governors final showdown. I feel this whole segment was fantastic as there was so much going on and so much to see that it truly made you sit on the edge of your seat until it was over. I was shaking I was so excited to see how this was all going to go down and I literally yelled HOLY SHIT when Lizzie popped two of the attackers in the head. I loved this part and I was screaming Hell Yeah for Lizzie as she has truly become a child of the apocalypse and is ready to defend herself and others if needed. She has been growing on me other the season and she has now become one of my favorite characters.
Jake: Just as Spin had his “hell yeah” moment when Lizzie stepped up to defend her home, mine came watching Daryl single handedly take out a tank with a grenade. Space Chief told me a couple of weeks ago that he hoped to see Rick deliver his infamous “we are the walking dead” speech from the comic books. While we didn’t get that in the mid-season finale, I do feel like we got a speech very much in the same vein. Rick telling the Governor “we can come back” shows just how far he’s come along since the season started. Seeing that smile on Herschel’s face when he saw that he finally got through to Rick right before he died was the single most heartbreaking moment in the entire run of the show so far. (Unless Judith is actually dead, then it’s a toss-up!)
Though I’m not at all a fan of this “mid-season finale” stuff that seems to be happening all over TV, this was one of the most epic episodes in the history of television. It displayed everything people have grown to love about The Walking Dead, but made us feel a true loss for the first time with the loss of Herschel and maybe Judith. Yeah, the show has killed off characters before, but none that were such an intricate part of the story. I’ll miss Herschel on the show, but it was pretty evident his time was coming to an end. (Chief and I both predicted it actually!) Season 4 has definitely been one hell of a ride so far, and I can only see it getting better when the show starts back up in February. Is the group going to band back together? How far off the deep end is Rick going to go after watching Herschel get executed and maybe losing Judith? Are we heading to DC? Only time will tell, but as for the mid-season finale? We can’t give it anything but…
5 out of 5 nerds