Nothing good will come of this.
What They Say:
Too Far Gone – After things begin to calm down at the prison, Rick and the group face imminent danger.
As we hit the mid season finale for the fourth season of the series, there’s definitely been a lot going on. The show hit some really good notes in the last couple of episodes with its focus on the Governor and what happened to him after the third season. Rather than making him a continual focus over the course of the fourth season, we got to see his story in a condensed but well done two part piece that brings us full circle with the events at the prison. The prison arc has been difficult for some since it felt like it wasn’t doing much overall, but we got some excellent character material along the way, dealing with the fallout from Rick going all inside himself and seeing how others were stepping up after all the events of Woodbury. But we also winnowed down the cast that survived from there and things have not gone well overall. You can see the push towards a leaner group that will go on the move again, but you also see the way they’ll really fight for the place. Bringing the Governor back after all that they suffered through as a new threat, with him a very different man but just as driven as before, well, it makes him a whole lot more sympathetic, even if his approach is the right/wrong one for this world.
His opening speech here to the group that he’s now taken control of is definitely interesting since he puts so much of it on them to do what he feels is right, which obviously does make some amount of sense considering what they’ve seen. He’s also got his own agenda that ties in nicely with it by going after the prison, who is just getting past their own tragedy now. Running his little speech to convince them as we see what he’s done prior to that with the capturing of Michonne and Hershel definitely has him going through a different kind of approach than we’ve seen before. But similar to what we’ve seen out of the Governor so far this season, it’s not exactly going to be so cut and dry. It’s always hard to tell which is the real thing he’s doing and what’s just his cover to achieve his larger goal. While it’s obvious that he’s looking to protect the key members of his group, he’s also got revenge so close that he can taste it. It’s just a matter of control.
There’s definitely an interesting discussion that happens as the Governor makes it clear what he intends to do while talking with Hershel and Michonne and it’s definitely a different person than he was since he holds no harm towards Michonne anymore. It goes well into covering that he knows that he and Rick can’t live together peacefully, nor him and Michonne as well, but he intends to use them to get what he needs in order to protect his people. Hershel does make a good case in a short space to try and tell him that Rick has changed, much as the Governor has, but the telling moment is that we have the Governor coming so very close to saying that he wants to be the good guy. He’s admitted to knowing that Penny wasn’t really alive so he can’t truly hold it against Michonne. But he also knows he’s done a whole lot of bad things since everything went south and he really wants to be seen in the right way, the way that Rick is in some ways.
While the drama outside the prison is picking up with how it’s all circling together, we do get a few things taken care of within the prison as well. Rick has told Darryl about what happened with Carol and he’s handling it better than he should since he has obvious feelings for Carol. But he’s also a pretty good follower and that’s something that really is deep inside him that allows him to accept on some level what Rick did, even if he shouldn’t. Of course, they have to go and tell Tyreese what happened as well and neither of them are looking forward to that. So much so that it’s amusing that Darryl is completely armed up to talk to him. Naturally, they don’t get very far in that discussion since other things start to happen, from a nod towards the rats and then to… well, a tank blowing a hole in the prison that has the Governor standing atop it.
Dramatic moment is dramatic.
The standoff for it all is pretty good when you get down to it, though it’s easy to imagine people being upset that it’s not a slam fest of action, especially with the way the Governor makes it clear they can all just leave and he’ll let them live. Whether that’s true or not is another thing, but a part of you wants that flat out roll in and take it by force action. While we do get Rick trying to negotiate somewhat with what’s going on, it’s a good holding action while we see how Darry quietly arms everyone so they can try and cope with it the best they can depending on how far south it all goes. It is admittedly all a numbers game, one backed up by a tank, but one that does feel off somehow because it takes so long until the walkers actually enter the picture. Having gone from a recent sequence involving the fences about to be rushed to there being barely any around, it’s too quiet.
What’s great about the way things go here is that as Rick does his best to plead with the Governor, and with everyone else, he provides a real sense of hope. Something that has been very, very minimal in the series for obvious reasons, which is what makes this all the more wonderful to see. But also because you know it’s not going to impact the right people and that there will be death. Cold, simple death but also one filled with a lot of emotion as we see Hershel sliced down, but done so with such pride in his eyes towards the way that he sees Rick has grown and is in the right place to move forward again. You can see that he knows he can leave this world and his daughters in something far better here. The action it sets off is minor compared to that, but it’s also what’s necessary as we see the two sides going at it. And made even more poignant when another death arrives on the scene, one that speaks to the Governor more than anything else.
Because of the way the fight goes, there’s obviously a lot of bodies falling and plenty of walkers that are drawn to it, which leads to chaos all around and a lot of situations where they toy with us in seeing who will live and who will die. It’s the kind of action that you can’t do too often in a show like this since it would minimize the impact of it, so what we get here is quite good. Everyone does their best to fight, there’s a lot of uncertain moments that come along and of course a good old slugfest between Rick and the Governor that most of us have wanted to see. And we get to see Carol’s kids really step up to defend the place in a way that proves she did do the right thing. Something that also gives Tyreese something new to focus on for a bit beyond either revenge or his own survival.
There are, of course uncertain moments that keep things open when it should be final. Michonne stabbing the Governor through the back with her sword? That should be final, but she doesn’t finish him off. He should be dead, but there’s no real certainty to the moment. That does come in a different form at least so we’re not left wondering long term if he’ll be back, and I’m uncertain as to whether Michonne did the right thing in that. The other is having Rick and Carl find the baby carrier that Judith was in but no body and just a lot of blood. That’s very open to interpretation. But what’s not uncertain is the final scene in the episode which plays off of one of the most iconic moments of the comic series for me that it gives me hope that we’ll have some great Carl and Rick episodes for a bit when the show returns in February.
With the series having hit this point, it’s definitely for the best. We’ve got the carnage and death that people wanted, closure in some areas, open panic in others and the loss of home. The prison has always been an interesting aspect of the book since it made so much sense and offered a lot of potential, but it’s also something that needs to be moved past. Rick has had a rough time since all the events of the third season and how he worked through it to where he’s spent months (off screen) basically farming and letting others do things. Now he’s back, wounded in a different way now though, and the show is going to have a lot more uncertainty due to having no central place to operate out of for the time being. I’m definitely enjoying this season a lot and where it’s going and looking forward to what’s next. This episode caps off the first half of the season right and gives it a new energy going forward.