Let’s get the SPOILER WARNING out of the way ‘kay?
This is a recap/review/discussion post on the latest episode of The Walking Dead so it WILL contain loads of spoilers about the episode. If you haven’t seen this week’s episode yet and you don’t want to read any spoilers I strongly suggest that you skip this post and come back after you’ve seen episode 8 of The Walking Dead. You’re pre-warned so don’t complain if you read anything that you do not want to know as yet, because that will make you the opposite of Daryl Dixon….
Now THAT, people, is how you do a MID-SEASON FINALE!! This week’s episode of The Walking Dead was the culmination of 7 weeks of story and character building, and boy, did the writers deliver on their promise of an explosive mid-season finale. We said goodbye to some of our favorite characters and at long last we said goodbye to the prison. Rick and his gang are on the run and even worse, they’ve had to split up. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s get into the details of the episode…
The episode started off where we left the show last week – except we learn that The Governor has taken Herschel and Michonne hostage. He’s trying to convince his group that they need to attack the prison; it’s the safest place for them to live but that the group, who is currently living there, won’t give it up that easily. He tells them a very one-sided account of how the battle at Woodbury and the prison went down the first time and in the end he manages to convince everyone but Lilly that attacking the prison is their only option. She’s not on board with them killing people in order to take over the place where they live. “Brian” has gone into full Governor Mode by now so he doesn’t care if she’s on board or not, he tells her to go find a weapon and get ready to fight.
“Brian” goes to talk to his hostages but he’s made up his mind, Rick and the survivors need to leave the prison. They won’t be able to co-exist, not after the history between Rick, Michonne and himself. Herschel tries to reason with him but there’s no reasoning with an evil psychopath. Herschel tries to reason with the father inside The Governor, saying to him that he understands what it feels like to have a daughter, so he shouldn’t be trying to kill someone else’s daughters. The Governor replies to this plea by stating that they are not his daughters to worry about. This is a strong statement of his own mission in this post-apocalyptic world – protect what’s mine and to hell with anything or anyone else. Many of our survivors share this philosophy but somehow The Governor just gives off a creepy and disturbing vibe. Did you notice him putting the White King chess piece in his pocket during this scene?
Back at the prison Maggie and Glen shares a tender moment, talking about their upcoming anniversary and how they would like to go on a holiday to celebrate. Glen seems to be much better than when we last saw him *lets out a HUGE sigh of relief* Elsewhere we also see that Sasha survived the flu virus and she’s thanking Bob for saving her. He doesn’t feel like a hero but she tells him that he’s part of a duo that saved her and he needs to deal with it. Bob was sitting with a mysterious box when Sasha found him and we never get an explanation of what he’s keeping inside the box. Some rats maybe??? He’s acting shadier as time goes by, I just don’t trust that guy one bit.
NOW FOR THE MOMENT WE HAVE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR: Daryl’s reaction to the news of Carol’s actions against Karen and David and her subsequent banishment from the prison! He’s angry and very upset … but he’s okay, I have to admit, I was hoping for a stronger reaction but the only thing that he’s upset about is the fact that Rick didn’t wait until the meds crew got back from the college. I strongly doubt if Carol would’ve met the same fate had Daryl been there during her banishment but I think that he wanted to have some control over the situation. Maybe he would’ve left with her, I don’t know. He storms off to go find Tyreese to tell him the news but when they find Tyreese, he’s got news of his own. He found a dissected squirrel on the hallways of the prison – I’m 100% certain that this is linked to the rat-feeder but before we get time to explore this find and what it might mean for our survivors, their conversation gets interrupted by the arrival of a huge tank and its new owner, The Governor.
Rick and the survivors run outside to see what’s causing all the commotion and they find The Governor and his group outside the fence with a huge ultimatum – they’ve got time until sunset to leave the prison or they face an attack by The Governor’s group. Rick tries to reason with The Governor, even offering himself in exchange of Herschel but The Governor is not interested. He even goes as far as telling Rick “I have a tank, and I’m letting you walk away from here. What else is there to talk about?” Wow, The Governor sure is happy and excited about his new toy right?
We go back to The Governor’s camp where Lilly is watching over Meghan playing in the mud. She sees a walker trying to cross the stream but when she starts to panic the stream topples the walker and it gets carried away by the water. But off course this is where the innocent little girl will get bitten by a walker right? This is my KILL OF THE WEEK – not because the little girl gets killed but I loved the old-school image of the zombie rising from the ground to attack her. I have to admit that the set-up is a bit ridiculous because what mother would leave her child playing in the mud when she sees a walker coming through the stream? She should’ve gotten up right then and there to go fetch Meghan, I think. Then again, The Governor promised her that they would be save in that spot and the walker not being able to cross the stream, echoes what he told her about them being save from walkers. Okay, so maybe it was an honest mistake on her part then.
When we return to the prison, you see Rick offering to share the prison with The Governor. It’s the harder choice but it’s the right choice at this stage. Herschel approves of how Rick is handling this situation and how he’s trying to reach out to the rest of the group, trying to convince them that they will be welcome at the prison and they will be safe from harm, but The Governor is not buying it. Rick stands his ground, telling The Governor that they either need to accept his terms or it will end up in a fight for the prison, which they will not win. Rick says to him that he believes that they can get past their differences and the past, saying that they’re “not too far gone” and that he knows that they all can change. There is a moment so thick with tension and anticipation that you would need a katana to cut it. And because The Governor knows that he can’t change, with one fell swoop he kills Herschel with Michonne’s sword, igniting a full-scale battle between the factions. This is the way it went down in the comic books except for it was the Woodbury residents vs. the Prison Survivors. The is the best enactment of a scene from the comic books I’ve seen in the TV show to date, and it was written and directed masterfully.
We knew this was coming but it didn’t make Herschel’s death any less shocking and sad. He made a lasting impact on the group and the viewers, having played such an important role in saving Glenn and Sasha from the flu virus and its quite fitting that his death is the catalyst to the start of this epic showdown. Herschel will be missed sorely RIP
Just then, Lilly appears with Meghan’s body in her arms. The Governor takes the girl from her and shoots her in the head before she can turn. The Governor has smelled blood and he wants a piece of it, telling his group to “kill ‘em all”. Mitch breaks through the fence with the tank and The Governor’s group advances their attack on the prison.
Rick and The Governor engage in fierce hand-to-hand combat as gunfire erupts all around them. It’s a battle that Rick was losing but Michonne comes through for him, killing The Governor by stabbing him in his chest. With one fell swoop she ends the battle between The Governor and herself and finally getting retribution for what The Governor did to Andrea and herself, closing The Governor chapter in her life
We see the prison survivors break off into several little groups, like Maggie says; they’ve each got their job to do. Some of them are getting a bus ready for evacuation and Beth is told to gather the kids and get them on the bus. Tyreese ends up in an extremely tight spot and he’s saved from a sure-death by the kids of the prison. In an extremely ironic twist he assumes responsibility for the children, similar to how Carol would’ve done it. Maggie, Sasha and Bob, who was injured by gunfire, watches helplessly as the bus leaves without them but they still manage to escape on foot. Daryl takes out Mitch and the tank in a spectacular way and can I take this moment to reflect on how bad-ass Mr. Dixon was throughout this episode? Honestly I had a moment where I panicked when the walker attacked Daryl but in true Daryl fashion he not only survives the puny attack but he also uses the walker as shield to advance upon their attackers and the tank, throwing a grenade down the barrel of the tank.
Rick and Carl limps away into the woods, devastated after finding Baby Judith’s car seat bloodied and empty. I don’t think she was eaten by zombies, do you? Walkers won’t take the baby and go find a comfortable spot to eat her; she would’ve been in her car seat while the walkers were chomping away. But if not taken by walkers, by
whom then? Did Carol maybe slip in through the chaos and managed to save the baby? Or it could’ve been Michonne who took the baby from harm’s way. It would be a nice tie-in to her moment she had with Judith during the season premiere.
As for the Gorbelli sisters, Tara is seen walking away from the violence and Lilly gets the honor of being the person to finally kill The Governor, once and for all. I’m not happy about the fact that a relative unknown gets the title of Governor-killer. He deserved to be killed properly by Michonne or even Daryl, not by someone who I don’t even care about enough to worry if she makes it through the massacre alive. This was the only letdown for me during the whole episode. Awesome shot where the sneaker-walker steps on The Governor’s White King chess piece right? And I also enjoyed the return of Creepy Clara from episode 1 as part of the walker horde who invades the prison at the end of the battle.
No burning questions at this stage as none of them seem to matter anymore. I would’ve loved closure on the rat-feeder storyline and maybe we will get it in the second part of season 4 but now that they’ve left the prison, it doesn’t matter anymore right?
This episode was truly a showpiece of The Walking Dead at its best. There’s no other show that can progress so slowly at storytelling and yet stay riveting at the same time. The first 7 episodes came together in one huge mid-season finale, and it reminds me of the season 2 mid-season finale (the one where the survivors found out that Sophia was in the walker barn all along). Season 2 also seemed to be dragging its heels through the first half of the season and then all hell breaks loose in the second half. I think it’s going to be the same in season 4; we’re in for a bumpy ride when The Walking Dead returns on February 9 2014 ….