No character, no matter how beloved, is safe from the threat of being made zombie dog food or being given a gristly death in “The Walking Dead.” (Is someone taking his cues from “Game of Thrones?”)
The list of characters that have died on the show has piled high after four season: Shane, Andrea, Dale, T-Dog and Merle, just to name a few. That body count grew last night.
The midseason finale was a bloodbath, but one that “Walking Dead” aficionados knew was coming. Much like that moment before a shot in the doctor’s office, the lingering anticipation was almost as bad as the second where the needle pushes into the skin.
The episode kicked off like a lit fuse and ran down to the explosive 20 minutes of the finale. A lot of questions were answered last night and like any good cliffhanger, a lot more was left up in the air.
Any lingering doubts about the Governor perhaps becoming kinder and gentler were dispelled by the end of the episode. “Too Far Gone” started with him capturing Michonne and Hershel and bringing them back to his new camp, where he proceeded to rally the troops, promising them a new home in the prison once they forced the people living there to leave.
The only naysayer is Lilly, the Governor’s new girlfriend. She tries to talk him out of attacking the camp, but she might as well scale Everest without a rope. After a touching moment with his new daughter, Meghan, the Governor and his new posse head out for a confrontation at the prison.
While that’s happening a pissed-off Darryl is red-hot with Rick after he finally finds out that Carol was banished from their camp. They go to tell Tyreese the truth about who killed his girlfriend, but right when they find him there is a loud boom from outside the prison.
They race outside to find the Governor, a tank and the people from the other camp waiting for them. The Governor gives them an ultimatum: They can vacate by nightfall or he will kill Hershel and Michonne and take the prison anyway. He forces Rick to make the decision, even though Rick has given up his leadership role (funny how that keeps boomeranging back on him).
As Rick tries to negotiate with the Governor, the others prepare for war inside.
In a last ditch attempt to keep the peace, Rick gives a stirring speech to the Governor and his people. “I’ll open the gates right now,” he tells them. They can all live together. It’s about survival and being tired of the pointless bloodshed.
When he finishes, a conflicted look momentarily crosses the Governor’s face. Has Rick changed his mind? Nope. The Governor pulls back the sword he is holding, mutters the word “Liar,” and slits Hershel’s neck with the blade, killing the voice of conscience on the show.
All hell breaks loose then, inside and outside of the camp. Everyone is firing at each other. Maggie races and puts a still recovering Glenn on a bus with other survivors so they can get out of the prison. The tank rolls through the fence and starts blowing holes in the prison walls. Michonne escapes in the gunfire. Rick is shot in the leg. Walkers start overrunning the prison through the holes in the fence.
Right before all of this though, we cut back to Lilly and Meghan waiting for the others to return. Meghan is making mud pies by the river. She digs up a sign that says “Warning Flash Flood Zone” — the viewer is expecting the hand to shoot from the ground about a minute before it finally does. A walker buried in the silt rises out of the earth and bites her before Lilly can kill him. The Governor’s new daughter is dead just like his old one.
A battle ensues at the prison but one that nobody is bound to win. While walkers are stream in from all sides, the survivors run in different directions. Darryl and Beth head one way. Tyreese chases after two of the younger girls, after they shoot a member of the Governor’s camp who was firing at him. The bus takes off with most of the former prison residents, but without Maggie, who runs off in search of her sister.
The Governor and Rick finally meet on the battlefield, beating each other bloody. Just when it looks like the Governor is going to kill Rick, Michonne appears with her sword and skewers him. She warned him that she would kill him earlier, and she has made good on her promise.
As Rick frantically searches for Carl, Lilly appears and shoots the Governor in the head as he is dying.
The episode ends with the survivors scattered. Rick finds Carl, and they are devastated when they come upon the empty but bloody car seat that had contained Judith, Rick’s infant daughter and Carl’s sister. Is she dead?
The father and son cast a final look back at the overrun prison as they make their way into the woods, and whatever adventures await the survivors in the dangerous outside world they’ve been thrust back into.