“Too Far Gone”
(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)
Well, people, here we are already…the mid-season finale…I am not sure who, where, or whence the ol’ mid-season finale concept came, but I, for one, am grateful for the idea. I am too busy in a million different ways to be able keep a boner going for any show, no matter how awesome, for 16 weeks in a row…especially through the holiday season. The Walking Dead would have had pretty much one of the best shots at keeping me going for a straight 16-weeker…but it would have cost me.
I would have rallied, but it might not have been pretty at the end.
So, thank you, genius of television who came up with the mid-season break idea…for saving our collective sanity, and giving us something to look forward to in the last part of dreary winter, the January/February slump, where the weather is cold and grey, and there are no real breaks or holidays except Presidents’ Day and Valentine’s Day…and sorry, but in my experience, those two “holidays” are never really as fun as they could be.
However, Season 4, for me, as been a pretty epic one, more fun than I could have imagined. For one, it’s been the “coming out” season of barnfullawalkers, and despite the long hours of writing, rewriting, sleep deprivation, and technical difficulties that have come with this endeavor, it’s been a super rewarding adventure to start this blog and write about The Walking Dead. My WD buddy and I agree that Season 4 has been one of our favorites so far, on many levels.
I personally have enjoyed where Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple, Greg Nicotero, and the entire gang of WD have taken us in the story line of this season, and I like how dark elements and characters of the comic series have been woven back into the television series. For me, the writing team has done a masterful job of maneuvering the scope of these dark times while still keeping love, hope, and humanity alive in key characters…and it seems the actors have been inspired by such a high level of writing by the haunting performances that all of the key actors have delivered so far in Season 4. For some actors, these performances were their final ones for the series, and mad props need to be given to: David Morrissey, Scott Wilson, and Jose Pablo Cantillo for wrenching our hearts and guts all over the floor…and to the actor that played Red Shirt Walker, who rolled over from his prison cot and spilled his guts all over the floor…mad props to that guy.
I also must give mad props to Melissa McBride, who plays Carol, gone but not forgotten…I will add another level to the ongoing Carol Theory, and say the I feel that we will definitely be seeing Carol again, perhaps in some leadership capacity elsewhere, where the bounds of morality are based more on brute survival than human compassion…but we shall see, won’t we?
I have also enjoyed, in Season 4, the addition of music from different musical artists, blending with the ongoing genius of Bear McCreary, to create a soundtrack for each episode. I have read and heard various interviews with the actors of The Walking Dead where they said that they used music to prepare for, inspire, and come down from key scenes and performances throughout the series. For me, it just makes sense…music and The Walking Dead just go together.
Ok, enough preamble…let’s get to it, shall we? I’m not really going to get all recappy with this one…if you are reading this, you know what the fuck happened. But we have definitely got some shit to hash out here, tears to cry…memories to share.
“Too Far Gone”
I was pretty curious how the Gov was going to spring his evil plan to the RV gang, and so I enjoyed listening to the Gov’s rallying speech at the beginning of Episode 8. And, true to form for Season 4, the beginning was double-layered, with two scenes interposed, serving to turn the plot gears at double speed and getting the viewers right in there, and I, for one, am loving it.
In this episode, the Gov’s speech scene was interposed with the scene of him ambushing Hershel and Michonne in the woods… For me, it was super-pimp the way the Gov popped Michonne with the butt of his gun, dropping her, then with a single turn of the wrist, pointed the gun straight and true at Hershel, who knew he was bested…so poor Hershel just set down his gun and put his hands up, like, “Dude, sucks to see you, but that shit was pretty Bruce Lee, right there…why the fuck can’t you be on our side, again?” (Don’t get me wrong…I am Team Prison all the way, but I just have to throw some admiration at the Gov’s style of kung-fu.)
And then, in inimitable Gov fashion, we see how “Brian Heriot” turns on his unique charm to sell the RV gang on the hostile prison takeover, twisting their emotions and the facts to achieve his nefarious scheme. “I want you to survive,” he tells them…calls the peeps of the prison the ones that destroyed Woodbury, took his eye, killed his daughter. Damn, what a storyteller…he’s good, that Gov.
And I love how he just throws in there, at the end of his initial pitch: Oh, and btw, I just happened to capture two hostages…not that I’ve ever TAKEN hostages before, because, you know, that would be weird…I just was thinking that a couple of hostages would be a good bargaining chip for my peaceful hostile takeover plan, you know, the one where nobody gets hurt, and they leave gladly, and we live in peace and harmony at the prison for ever after…and we need to do this, like now, or we’ll lose the element of surprise and they’ll notice that their buddies are gone…not that I’ve ever done this before!
The Gov plays their emotions and fears, and before they know it, the group is nodding and agreeing to his plan…all except Lilly, who has overheard the Gov’s pitch and is not having it…girlfriend’s got her arms crossed and looks pretty pissed. When Lilly calls him out, the Gov throw out all the stops, telling her the only judgement he cares about is that she and Megan are alive and breathing…then, the Gov throws in a, “I love you,” for a good measure Hail Mary pass.
Lilly replies, “I don’t know who you are.” Get used to it, girlfriend…that’s life with the Governor!
The scene with Hershel, Michonne, and the Gov in the RV, with Hard Pass Mitch standing guard outside, is pretty crazy. I love how Hershel calls the Gov out when the Gov tells them that nobody is going to hurt them…”I don’t believe that” says Hershel.
In response to this, the Gov avoids looking at Hershel and Michonne by pretending to pack up some battle snacks for later. “Well, I don’t care,” he replies. When pressed by Hershel to please explain what is going on, the Gov tells them that he needs the prison, nothing personal, and that he needs them to help him get it as peacefully as possible, without anyone getting hurt if it can be avoided.
It’s hard for me to know if the Governor is actually believing any of this story he’s telling at this point…is he just sugar-coating it, rationalizing it, to those around him to make them do what he wants them to do, or is he really telling himself this story, over and over, so he can believe that he really is the good guy in this “peaceful hostile takeover” scenario he’s cooked up?
When Hershel proposes that the two groups can find a way to coexist at the prison, peacefully, the Governor resists, acknowledging that Hershel is a “good man, better than Rick.” Hershel points out that it seems the Governor has changed, and tells him that Rick has changed as well…the Governor stops him right there, tells him there is no way that Rick and he, or he and Michonne, can live together in the same community.
When Hershel presses, the Governor snaps, then recovers his poise, telling them there’s many ways he can do this, and this way, “You get to live, and I get to be…”
The Gov never finishes that thought, seeming to get lost in the question of it. Who could he really be, when it’s all said and done? Could he do it differently this time, or would things progress the way they did with Woodbury? Things are already getting pretty fucked up as it stands.
Hershel asks the Governor, “If you understand what it’s like to have a daughter, then how can you be willing to kill someone else’s?” The Gov replies, “Because they aren’t mine,” and exits the RV.
The Governor has the RV’s moved to the water’s edge, assuring Lilly that they will be safe there, as the walkers cannot cross the river…he doesn’t really focus on teaching Lilly, Megan or those who stay behind at the camp the basics for defending themselves while he and his Makeshift Army 2.0 go to battle “peacefully” for the prison…instead, he makes a show of giving Megan, who is making mud pies, unsupervised, by the water’s edge (and the bushes’ edge…how is that a good idea?) a big goodbye hug, and that proves to be a fatal lapse in judgement for the Governor…and little Megan.
Back at the prison, poor Glenn is still looking pretty green, not quite recovered from the Explodey Flu…but he manages to laugh with Maggie and joke about needing a vacation…meanwhile, Rick is having the dreaded Daryl Conversation, and Daryl takes it as well as can be expected, which is not very well, at first…he’s pissed, he’s pacing, he doesn’t believe that Carol would kill those people…Rick seems to convince him, because when Rick tells Daryl he still needs to tell Tyrese all of this, and that he’s not sure how Tyrese is going to take it, Daryl says right away, “Let’s go find out.”
Like I said before, Daryl understands dude code better than anyone else…he isn’t happy with Rick’s decision, but he will not let Rick go have The Tyrese Conversation without a second to back him up if Tyrese goes apeshit at Rick’s news.
They find Tyrese down in a darkened hallway…and he’s got some news for them…he shows them the creepy mutilated rabbit and brain art that some fucked up person is making…he thinks that whoever killed Karen and David is the same “psychopath” who made the rabbit and brain painting and who was feeding rats to the walkers…Rick begins to tell Tyrese that he doesn’t think it’s the same person, and when Tyrese asks why, they are (saved by?) interrupted by a huge explosion.
Cue the pulsing Bear McCreary music…and here he is, ambassador for peace, standing atop a tank: the Governor, flanked by his Makeshift Army 2.0, calling for Rick to come down and “talk.”
God, Rick is so hot when he bellows back that it’s not up to him, there’s a council now….the way Rick handles himself in this crisis just ups his hotness index by like a thousand degrees, if that is even possible. The Gov is all silky and slithery as he asks, “Is Hershel on the council? What about Michonne?” and his minions trot out the hostages and force them onto their knees, for Team Prison to see.
When Rick asserts that he doesn’t make all the decisions any more, the Governor tells him that he, Rick, will be making the decisions today…”So come down here, and let’s have that talk.”
Rick quietly nods to Daryl, checks in with Carl, before going to face the Governor, the Gov’s tank, and his army, armed with only a pistol…like the lone hero in a cowboy movie…so freaking hot…Daryl’s making plans with Sasha and Tyrese to get everyone on the bus, to make their escape.
Rick tries to reason with the Governor, telling them there are sick children at the prison who would not survive leaving…to no avail…the Governor is being the dick with the tank and giving them until nightfall to leave.
Back at the RV camp, Lilly sees a walker making its way pretty easily so far across the water…then he goes down…Megan pulls up a flash flood area sign from the mud, and unearths a walker who was buried under the sticky mud and sign…it grabs for her, and before Lilly can get to her, poor Megan gets chomped:
Back at the not-so-peaceful takeover, Rick delivers his epic speech: “We can all…we can all live together. There’s enough room for all of us.” The Gov pipes in that he doesn’t think “his family” would sleep very well with Rick and the prison gang under the same roof, as they (mistakenly) believe that Rick and the gang are the bad guys, not the Gov. Rick counters that the two groups could live in different cell blocks, that they wouldn’t even need to see each other. Hershel turns and backs Rick up by telling the Governor, “It could work…you know it could.”
The Gov is being a big baby about it, and the camera focuses on Michonne’s face as he says he can’t, not after Woodbury, not after Andrea.
Michonne is so hating him, and right now, so am I. The Governor tortured and killed Andrea, deliberately and maliciously, and Rick and the gang were just rescuing their people. Rick is too gracious to bring this up, saying instead that it would be hard, a lot harder to make it work than to go to battle, but that there is no other choice. Rick says they will not leave without a battle, a battle that would draw the walkers and tear down the fences, making the prison worthless.
The Governor then jumps down from the tank and seizes Michonne’s katana, holds it to Hershel’s neck. Hershel looks unafraid. Rick points to Tara, asks her if this is what she wants, if this is what any of them want. Hard Pass informs him that what they want is what he’s got, and it’s “time to leave, asshole.” Nice, Hard Pass. Way to turn on the charm and the diplomacy.
Rick counters that he has fought the Governor before, and after the fight, former residents of Woodbury and compatriots of the Governor were welcomed into the prison community, where they became leaders. Rick invites them to put down their weapons, to walk through the gates of the prison, and become “one of us.”
Rick looks right at the Governor, who is still holding the sword to Hershel’s neck, but who seems uncertain now.
“We can let go of all of it,” Rick tells the Gov, swiping the air with his arm as if wiping a slate clean, “and nobody dies…everyone’s alive right now…everyone’s made it this far…we’ve all done worse kinds of things, just to stay alive…but we can still come back…we’re not too far gone…we get to come back…I know we all can change.”
The Gov lets the sword down for a moment…Hershel smiles at Rick, proud and happy to hear Rick speak of love and forgiveness instead of dwelling in fear and uncertainty, as he had before.
The Governor, no doubt overcome with hatred for yet another Hero Brother, whispers, “Liar,” and slices Michonne’s katana into poor Hershel’s neck. Maggie and Beth scream, and Rick screams, “No!” and fires…and Battle Royale has begun.
As Battle Royale begins to rage, Michonne manages to sneak away, cutting ropes that bind her wrists after tripping an enemy soldier and stomping his face.
The Governor catches up with Hershel and finishes the job, badly, hacking away at Hershel’s neck until his head is severed. He then looks up to see Lilly, bearing her daughter, Megan’s, body. The Governor takes Megan’s body and rekills Megan with a shot to the head. Tara cannot bear to fight, dropping her gun and covering her ears, despite Hard Pass’s orders to pick up her weapon and fight. Alisha tells Tara to run somewhere safe, and after the battle is over, Alisha will come and find her.
The Governor is in full kill mode, ordering the tank and trucks to run the fence down. “Kill them all,” he orders. “Roger that!” yells Hard Pass, waving his shitty hat in circles above his head… it’s his big dick moment. He puts throws tank in gear and proceeds to mow down the prison fences. Tyrese orders Sasha and Bob back, and Maggie orders Beth to get the others in the bus.
“We all have a job to do,” Maggie reminds Beth. (Hershel! 😦 We love you!)
Maggie runs into the prison to get Glenn, brings him to the bus, then runs to find Beth, who has disappeared. Rick tackles the Governor, and they commence with a western saloon-style beatdown, which the Gov almost wins, until:
Lizzy proves that she is Carol’s daughter when she saves Tyrese by killing some unnamed minion, then killing a shocked Alisha, putting a bullet right between her eyes:
Daryl pulls off a sweet maneuver, deftly slipping a grenade into the gun barrel of the tank (while using a dead walker as a shield). He kills Hard Pass with an arrow to the chest before grabbing Beth and hauling ass away from the prison, which is becoming overrun with walkers.
Unfortunately, Lizzy and Mika forgot about poor baby Judith…after Rick and Carl find each other, they make the horrible discovery of Baby Judith’s car seat, soaked in blood, with Judith nowhere to be found. Anguished, Rick and Carl run for the hills, with Rick advising Carl not to look back.
As walkers overrun the prison grounds, the group is splintered into factions as they flee the prison for their lives. As the Governor lay gasping, we see Lilly come to take her revenge:
And we see a familiar face from the past:
So, there we have it…the prison is gone, the gang is gone, and some beloved characters have gone. So, here’s a little something to help cheer you up…enjoy!
(After this mid-season finale post, I plan to expand to social media with barnfullawalkers, and to keep posting, starting with the Episodes Gone Bye where we rewatch and revisit the entire WD journey thus far, starting with Season 1, Episode 1, “Days Gone Bye.” In addition, I will watch and post on all the Walking Dead webisodes, which, if you haven’t seen them, are like creepy little vignettes that are essential to getting the full scope of the Walking Dead story….so stay tuned, and thanks for reading!)
Weezer, “Say it Ain’t So”
Nirvana, “Oh Me” (for Rick)
Nirvana, “Lake of Fire” (for the Gov)
The Dexateens, “Still Gone” (for Judith, Carol, Megan, Alisha)
The Queens of the Stone Age, “Mexicola”
Radical Face, “Welcome Home, Son” (for Hershel <3)