The Walking Dead season 4 midseason finale
I wanted to wait about a week before I posted my review on this episode, because there will be spoilers, and I think by now, it's ok to talk about the spoilers.
This is it! This is what we have been waiting for since the introduction of Woodberry in season 3: the prison war! The Governor has amassed his forces to take down Rick once and for all!
The Governor opens up the episode by kidnapping Michone and Hershel. Then, the Governor gives a big speech to his newly acquired group of survivors to encourage them to attack the prison. And once again, The Governor convinces these gullible people to attack the prison. Granted, you see a lot more hesitation from these people, alongside the ones who are bloodthirsty. Next, we rejoin the prison. Glenn and Maggie celebrate Glenn's recovery from the sickness, which kind of just died off as a whole and disappointedly has been dropped as a plot point. So, that stinks.
Also, Daryl now knows what happened to Carol. He obviously did not take it well, but he wasn't furious with Rick. You could see that he understands why Rick did it, but he is clearly not happen. And just when they are going to tell Tyreese, THE GOVERNOR ATTACKS!
The Governor lines up his people outside the fence, with plenty of guns and a tank. Hershel and Michone are lined up, execution style, and Rick is given his ultimatum. Rick and his people can all leave peaceful, or The Governor will take it by force. The Governor has more firepower, more people, more leverage and a tank. Rick gives a big speech to the people, saying that they don't have to do this, and that people can change, they all can live together in peace, which is big for Rick. Then, the Governor, with one word and one swing of the sword, and the war begins.
Meanwhile, Lilly and Megan are back at their group's camp site. and after a very draggy scene, Megan dies. Yep, she gets bitten by a zombie. Not much was lost. She was a cute kid and all, but she wasn't around long, and didn't really do much.
Like I said, The Governor started the war with one sword slash. Unfortunately, Hershel's neck was on the receiving end. Yes folks, Hershel is dead. It is really sad to see the voice of reason go. And it wasn't quick, Hershel actually tried to crawl away while his head was half hanging on (disgusting), and The Governor took several more hacks to finish the job. Not only was it tragic to see Hershel die, but it was so brutal. And Hershel didn't deserve such a harsh farewell.
Then, the last 15 minutes of this episode are non-stop, fan-satisfying action. Which was good, because the rest of the episode was a drag. But once those 15 minutes hit, it was the best content this show has ever put out. Lilly shows up to show The Governor Megan's dead body, He simply takes the body and puts a bullet in the head. No remorse, no compassion, and this was after Lilly saw Him kill Hershel. Daryl dons a zombie meat shield (which was complete ridiculousness, but awesome) and takes out a tank (again, stupid, but badass.) Maggie, Tyreese, the psycho little girl, Beth and others get some awesome take downs. Carl gets a great moment taking out 2 of The Governor's people, one we loathed, so it was great to see him blow her brains out.
Then, the best part of this entire show: RICK VS THE GOVERNOR. As The Governor advances on the prison, Rick tackles him down and the fist fight begins. It is intense and brutal, but Rick is at a disadvantage because his leg got scraped by a bullet. So naturally, The Governor was winning. He pins Rick to the ground and starts suffocating him. Then, it happens, it finally happens. Michonne stabs The Governor through the heart! She gets him! Then Carl comes and rescues Rick and they walk away. Michonne takes a look back at The Governor, and shows us that her vengeance is complete, then walks away. As the Governor starts dying off, Lilly walks up and shoots him in the head. Now yes, Lilly kills The Governor in The Walking Dead, and I hated it in the book. It was anti-climatic and disappointing. In the show, honestly, I felt similar. Now yes, we met Lilly in a different way and built her up a little bit. And it is symbolic because of the experiences The Governor had with Lilly in the past 2 episodes, and Lilly did, so the huge book fans get to be happy for their similarities, but honestly, the concept is still disappointing. So many people should get that savoring shot. Daryl for Merle's death, Rick for everything, Maggie or Beth for Hershel's death. So many people could take out the Governor, heck I'd even be happy with Carl killing him for his dad! That would've been awesome! But no, it was Lilly. I get it, but I feel like it was a wasted opportunity for something bigger, especially Daryl. I think more people should've gotten in more hits on The Governor before he was killed. But, The Governor is finally dead, that is what is important.
Then, amongst all of the carnage, our heroes had to escape as soon as they could, so unfortunately they are separated into small groups. Daryl and Beth got away together, Glenn is on the bus with the remaining Woodberry nameless people, Tyreese has the 4 little kids, including Lizzie (psycho girl), Maggie and Sasha took an injured Bob with them, and Rick and Carl are together. We have no idea where Michone went, and we don't know what Lilly and the remaining Governor army will do, but I hope it is like the book and we never waste time finding out. So, there is a lot of pandemonium amongst our heroes. One more thing, Rick and Carl find Judith's baby cradle with a little blood in it. So they think Judith is dead. However, before the fight, Lizzie and the girls have Judith, and when Rick and Carl find the cradle, there is only a tiny bit of blood, and the strap is normally undone with no damage. So, I don't think she is dead. And that is how the episode ends: with everybody scattered up into groups, like the book did. The similarities to the prison war story in the books are plentiful, minus Lilly's presence. The commons things are great, because it helped make this show's story end on a high note, like the comic's story did.
The character performances were top notch this week. The highlights are too plentiful to list. There wasn't a weak performance amongst the main cast to be found, and it helped solidify the great ending to this story arc, except for Glenn who did nothing this week because he is recovering. I get it, but it is disappointing he was used so little. Rick and the gang at the prison really solid their state of peril, especially Beth and Maggie seeing their father die, and especially Rick and Carl thinking Judith is dead. Their reactions are heart-wrenching. And these moments of emotional peril are capped off with the explosions and death in the background. It is somber, it is emotional and it is awesome. It all mixes together to form a great episode with plenty of fan-satisfying moments.
Overall, this episode finally delivers on things that have been building up for over a year now. We finally are done with the prison, The Governor is dead, and we can all move on to new stories. Remember, the first 2/3rds of this episode can be slow and dull, but the ending third is the payoff we have been waiting for. Hopefully these fantastic moments at the end carry over next February, be here when it happens.
I give The Walking Dead season 4 midseason finale 4.5 sword stabs out of 5