Whoa! There is a ton of heavy stuff to discuss from Sunday night's midseason finale of "The Walking Dead" on AMC, but first, a serious question: Is the Governor really dead?
I know that we saw him get stabbed through the center of the back and chest with Michonne's Shinobi sword, and then we saw Lilly stand over him and fire her gun in the direction of his head. But we never actually saw him die. I've learned that in shows like these — "The Walking Dead", "Magnum, P.I.", "Legends of the Hidden Temple" — that a character isn't actually dead and gone until we see their rotten, decomposing carcass.
I know that "Talking Dead" included the Governor in their "In Memoriam" segment, but that could just be misdirection. After all, "Talking Dead" is there to promote "The Walking Dead" and its storylines, and we were clearly meant to assume that the Governor had passed.
Ditto for Judith, though that was a little more ambiguous and she was not included "In Memoriam".
All right, before we get too far ahead, lets step back and examine how all of this excellent carnage came to pass.
The episode, entitled "Too Far Gone", started off with the Governor stubbornly and recklessly whipping his fellow trailer park denizens into a frenzy to overtake the prison. He had already executed the first part of his plan, which meant kidnapping hapless Hershel and Michonne while they grinned at each other near the prison border. They should have built a moat.
Next was to bring Hershel and Michonne back to the prison to use as bargaining chips. Hey guys, get out of here or the old man gets it.
Well, Rick tries to hide behind his precious "council" but the Governor is like "what council? You mean these idiots?"
Forced back into a decision-making role, Rick takes the high road, offering to share the prison with the Governor and his smelly friends. Rick is voicing all these reasonable ideas of harmony and self growth and compromise and then Hershel smiles with his cute little snow white facial hair, and you pretty much know at that exact moment that Hershel was going to get his neck chopped off.
The Governor is like "hold that thought Mahatma Gandhi, I've got a neck to chop." And that's exactly what he does. The Governor must still be a little weak from his goth phase, because Hershel is still hanging in there, just with a big wedge missing from the side of his neck. He should have made ONE last good joke where he asked if anyone had a Spongebob Squarepants Band Aid he could borrow, but instead he just crawled off behind a truck to die with dignity.
Unlike the Governor, there was no ambiguity to Hershel's death. The Governor kneels over him and hacks away with that sword like he's cleaning a freshly caught swordfish or something. All while Beth and Maggie have to just sit and watch through the fence. You are one sick puppy, you know that, the Governor? Oh don't worry, you'll get yours. (Spoiler alert)
Maybe Hershel will be like old "Ben" Kenobi, and come back in visions to mentor Rick and Carl. Especially if they eat some "medicinal" mushrooms.
At this point, it was on, and there was a huge skirmish.
In all the mayhem, these things happened:
- Rick and Governor had a big fist fight, and just kept punching each other in the face. "Gorgeous" Governor seemed to be getting the upper hand on "Ravishing" Rick, until Michonne had a good run-in and prevented Governor from getting the pin by stabbing him with a sword. The Governor didn't have a very good killer instinct in that fight.
- Tyreese looked like he was in a bit of a spot, until those psychopath kids came out of nowhere to rescue him. It was kind of a cute scene, because Tyreese isn't too proud to admit when a bunch of munchkins saved his supper.
- Daryl was PUTTING IN WORK! He did that whole body shield maneuver, then he pulled off the ol' grenade down the turret gag, and the ol' shoot a man (Mitch) in the chest with a crossbow bit. I was like "Oh Daryl, will you ever learn?"
A few things that I should mention that happened away from the prison yard battle:
- Rick tells Daryl about the whole Carol exile situation, and while Daryl isn't thrilled, he doesn't flip out either. However, they both decide that it's probably best to not tell Tyreese that Carol killed Karen at this juncture.
- Little Meghan got bitten by a zombie covered in peanut butter sandwiches, and then the Governor shot her dead body in the face. It was just a thing that happened.
- Tyreese found this strange rat nailed to a piece of wood outsider art piece that proved that the person who was feeding rats to the zombies was in the prison. I bet it was those kids.
DID YOU NOTICE?
- Maggie and Glenn talk about visiting Amicalola Falls for their anniversary. #Romantic #Sweet
- Daryl was wearing his awesome "fallen angel wings" denim vest.
- That woman with the cool accent from a few episodes back, Clara, shows up at the end of the episode as a zombie checking out the prison.
- The army tank is called "Lil' Louie". I like it when things are called Lil' something.
- It was funny when that drunken man tried to walk across the raging rapids and he was like "I got this, I got this! ... I don't got this."
PEANUT BUTTER SANDIES
Mmm, I keep on thinking about those peanut butter sandwiches that Meghan was making, and how they'd be good with a huge glass of ice cold milk. But then reality slaps me in the face when I remember that they were just huge clumps of nasty mud, and they were on a fictional television show being filmed 1,000 miles away several months ago, and if I really wanted a peanut butter sandwich I could just go to the grocery store and have one in less than 20 minutes. Remember when Meghan rubbed mud all over the Governor's cool black leather jacket?
LILLY MAY BE ON TO SOMETHING
Remember when Lilly said she wanted to live by the water? At first I was like "Well that's just a dumb idea from a dumb idiot." Because while the water would protect you on one side, it would also trap you. Unless, I thought, what if the water was on ALL sides! And that made me think of a moat or a cruise ship. Plus on the cruise ship you would have "Dance, Dance Revolution" and a yoga studio.
IF YOU'RE NOT DOING ROLLS LIKE MICHONNE YOU'RE DOING THEM WRONG
Right after Hershel got his neck chopped up like a log, Michonne just started doing these crazy, mind-blowing sideways rolls with her hands still bound. For a moment I sat in stunned silence, but then I reacted by screaming "THAT ... JUST ... HAPPENED!" These people were like, "Sir, this is a public restaurant, and you're frightening the other customers. We said that you could use the free WiFi, even though you only bought a four-piece McNuggets, and we allowed you to change the channel from Sunday Night Football, but now you're taking it too far."
When Hershel died, I lost a piece of my heart. It was the piece that stores tender thoughts for sweet old men with enchanting snow-white facial hair. I'll always remember that brilliant non-sequitor that Hershel told about spaghetti Tuesdays on Wednesdays, and the way he released a little bit of magic into the world around him every time he smiled. I liked to call him "Harshel", but that was just between me and him, so we'll move on from that.
Governor: "There's nothing between us and the rest of the world, nothing between us and them. We stay here and we'll die ... we could live there ... if we're willing to take it from them."
Governor: "These people; they mutilated me, burned my camp, killed my daughter."
Michonne: "I'm gonna kill you."
Hershel: "If you say you understand what it's like having a daughter, then how can you think about killing someone else's?" Governor: "Because they aren't mine."
Governor: You and your people have until sundown to get out of here, or they die ... I have a tank and I'm letting you walk away from here."
Meghan: "Mommy, can you please help me dig?"
Rick: "We can all live together. There's enough room for all of us." Governor: "It coulda, but it can't. Not after Woodbury, not after Andrea."
Mitch: "What we want is what you got, period. Time for you to leave @$$holes."
Rick: "We all could change." Governor: "Liars."
Tara: "We're not supposed to be doing this. He chopped a guys head off with a sword."
Governor: "Kill'em all."
Rick: "CARRRRR! CARRRRRRRR!"
Rick: "Don't look back Carl, keep walking."
Winner: The Governor, in his final appearance. Or is it??
BEST ZOMBIE KILL
It's got to be when Daryl used the metal pipe to brain a zombie, then used that zombie's husk as a body shield so that he could chuck a grenade at some of the Governor's thugs.
It'd be the one who was just hiding out in a big pile of peanut butter sandwiches under the flash flood sign by the river bank. He kind of looked like tarman zombie from "Return of the Living Dead".
Zombies: I counted eight in all of the mayhem, for a total of 204 on the season, but I'd be perfectly happy just calling it a nice, even 200.
Humans: I counted eight, including Hershel, Meghan, Mitch, Alisha and four other randoms, for 34 on the season, but I'm not counting the Governor or Judith until I see a carcass.
Are the Governor and Judith really dead? Who was on the other end of that radio transmission from earlier in the season? Who was messing around with all of those dead rats? What is Carol up to? How about Morgan?
A look ahead to the next episode (Feb. 9)
Well, let's just say that there are going to be zombies, and survivors of the zombie apocalypse. And the other humans might be more of a threat than the zombies! The episode will be directed by Greg Nicotero, so that's good news.