In the coming weeks, Ms. Hillary Bauer will be offering Episode-by-Episode reviews and recaps for TV’s most beloved Zombie Apocalypse Thriller: The Walking Dead. As an aside, this blog is in no way endorsed by the corporate fat-cats at AMC… But it probably should be! *Wink!*
Here’s Review #8, the midseason finale:
I don’t even want to write a recap for this week’s episode of The Walking Dead. I just wanna curl up in a ball and cry for the indefinite future. Sometimes I feel like I should just give up on watching shows that always end with my face buried in a pillow yelling “WHY?!” But then I remember that that’s the exact reason that I do tune into these shows every week. It is not an easy task to make viewers care about fictional characters to the point that when the writers screw with them, it actually hurts. The caliber of episodes in season 4 of The Walking Dead has been above average for the series, and the mid-season finale was no exception. So fine, I will grant that this was a pretty awesome episode, but that doesn’t mean that I have to be happy about it. Let’s work through the heart palpitations one by one.
We open on the Gov doin what he do: lying to people’s faces and being damn good at it. He starts with a sheepish disclaimer about how what he’s about to ask of them is a doozey, but ultimately the only way that the group can survive. Seriously, nobody is ever allowed to use the word “survive” on this show again; the Gov has used up the whole allotment. The Gov tells the fighters about the nearby prison that is home to the scoundrels who maimed him, burned his home, and killed his daughter. Why should they have the cushy cinderblock digs while all of the innocent people are on the worst camping trip ever?! It’s a convincing argument, if you don’t happen to be listening to the speech as a voiceover while watching him kidnap a couple of fan favorites.
The Gov goes on to tell his fighters about his hostages that he just happened to run into with the butt of his pistol. So don’t worry guys, the campers can get their hands on the prison without shedding a drop of blood! If there’s one thing that The Walking Dead is known for, it’s their steadfast policy of non-violence. The campers buy the Gov’s spiel and I don’t fault them for it; even with dramatic irony on my side, the Gov has managed to razzle dazzle me into rooting for him a couple of times since his return.
However, when the campers go to dust off the tank, Lilly pops out from behind them looking decidedly less convinced. Lilly has said over and over again that she’s perfectly happy building a new life in the camp, and has dealt with the Gov ignoring her over and over again. But hearing him talk about killing other humans is where she draws the line; especially since the Gov himself just said that they aren’t all bad guys. He quickly backtracks and declares them all guilty by association, but Lilly still isn’t buying it. The Gov breaks out the big guns and says the three words sure to placate even the most uppity woman. He seals it with a kiss and walks off before she can get another word out.
We head over to an RV guarded by jackass Mitch where an aggravated Michonne is yelling at the Gov as he goes about checking in on his prisoners of war. In line with the Geneva Convention, the Gov offers Michonne and Hershel some food but is only met with death threats from our scrappy samurai lady. Hershel takes the more pragmatic approach of reasoning with the man who has them tied up with a gun on his hip. Hershel tries to sell the Gov on the idea that there must be a way that this whole thing can be resolved without any bloodshed. (Oh Hershel, stay golden.) The Gov insists that he’s poured himself over the situation and that there is no other way.
In yet another Governor mind-fuck, he sounds sincere about having tried to find a way to resolve the conflict without having to return to the prison. The Gov is alone in the trailer with two people that he has no need to win over, even if he could, so there isn’t any reason for him to lie here. Hershel senses this sincerity too, and appeals to what he hopes is the Gov’s rediscovered sensitive side. Hershel calls the Gov on his vague threat against those who stand in his way and gets to brass tacks: Maggie and Beth are among those standing in his way. He questions the Gov about how he can look another father in the eye and threaten his daughters. The Gov looks over his shoulder, says “Because they’re not mine,” drops his mic, and walks away. Damn son, that’s cold blooded even by Governor standards.
We continue our romp with the Gov to check back in with Lilly. Why did I even get my hopes up about seeing back inside the prison this week? The Gov is setting up the non-fighters with the supplies next to a river which he says will keep them safe from walkers. Lilly keys in on that and asks why they can’t just build their camp by the river if it’s so safe, to which the Gov essentially responds, “jk, it’s not safe here.” He goes on to insist that all of the safe places are already taken, so they have to take one from somebody else. This is a weak ass argument if I ever heard one. Is the Gov seriously making the argument that Georgia is completely full up? It’s a state, not the Holiday Inn.
With Lilly put in her place, the Gov moves on to find Meghan who is making “peanut butter sandwiches” out of mud. The apocalypse is rough, but if people start eating mud, I’m throwing myself into a zombie pit. The Gov asks for a hug and lets muddy Meghan give him a big hug and mess up his jacket before he heads off for his day of killing. These are the moments that confuse me. The Gov obviously love this little girl. Whether he loves her or the idea of her is up for grabs, but he’s obviously invested.
Back at the prison (yay, the prison!), we check in on everybody’s favorite couple, Glenn and Maggie. Glenn isn’t looking so hot in his post-flu glow, but he’s alive so let’s pick our fights. This scene does make me super nervous though, because they are being too adorable. That’s the number one way to get yourself offed in Zombieland! We also get to see Sasha and PTSD Bob talk and potentially flirt. Sasha thanks Bob for bringing the antibiotics back, but he’s hung up on sulkily looking at a box. Is it full of booze? Basically all we know about his character is that he’s an alcoholic, so that’s the only guess I have right now.
Elsewhere in the prison, we finally get to see Rick tell Daryl about kicking Carol out of the prison. The whole scene feels like a cheat though. It’s been a couple of episodes now since Rick pulled his dick move, but I’m still pissed and I still wanted Daryl to punch him in the face. The pair goes to tell Tyreese the news, but are interrupted by Tyreese’s discovery of a weird art display. Somebody has dissected a rat and splayed it out on a board. Remember when somebody was feeding rats to the zombies through the fence and we never addressed the issue again? Yeah, I forgot about it too. But apparently we’re going to need to remember it in the second half of the season so the writers are reminding us. I actually watched this episode with someone who had never seen The Walking Dead before so I was giving them the play-by-play backstory as the episode went on, but we got to this and I was like- “I ain’t got nothin for you about this shit.”
Before Rick has a chance to tell Tyreese that he doesn’t think that the rat artist is the same person who killed Karen, an explosion hits that is so strong, it even shakes our camera! The Gov has arrived at the prison and he finally gets to yell “Hey Rick, come look at my cannon!” Even though Rick insists that the council is in charge of decisions now, the Gov insists on throwing our fearless leader into the limelight. The other prison residents talk amongst themselves about taking off in the bus if things go south and start gathering supplies. Mostly I’m preoccupied with the fact that I have no idea how many people are supposed to be left in this prison. The Gov insists that he has more people, but there’s only like twenty guys with him. Nevertheless, the Gov wants that prison and he is willing to wait hours to get it.
Back by the river, Lilly is standing guard on top of an RV when she sees a walker come out of the tree line across the rapids. He starts to make some good progress wading into the water when Lilly gets an “oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck” look on her face and stands up, because that’ll help. Meghan yells for her mother to come and help her dig up something buried in the mud. Lilly yells back a couple of stock “Mom’s busy right now” responses as she pulls her gun and readies herself for the possibility of shooting her first zombie. The walker is eventually swept away in the river and everything is clearly fine.
Oh wait! We’re watching The Walking Dead. I forgot for a second that once the dramatic music starts to swell, something has to jump out at someone. It’s like Chekhov’s gun with zombies. While Lilly was watching the red herring in the river, Meghan was busy digging up a flood warning sign which had apparently been holding a walker underground. (I wonder if this dead guy was attacked or if he was just a guy who drowned in a flashflood. I’m pretending it was the latter just because I enjoy the irony.) The walker pushes out of the muddy Earth and grabs the unsuspecting kiddo. Unfortunately for Meghan, she’s already used up all of her “get out of jail free” cards and the zombie gets a big ole bite out of her shoulder.
Well, that turn of events certainly dropped my jaw. The Walking Dead is undeniably dark, but unless I’m mistaken, you can still count the number of named children that they have killed on one hand. Meghan’s death is particularly interesting looking back at the Gov’s recent development. Since his supposed rehabilitation, the Gov has insisted over and over again that nothing was going to happen to his new family, which clearly hasn’t worked out. I had been on board with the idea that his rehabilitation had been a result of having something to fight for again, but maybe his entire on-screen existence has just been a lie. I’m hard pressed to come up with any honest word he’s said. Moral of the story: if the Gov tells you that you’re ok, you’re not ok.
The Gov and Rick are still at a standoff when the Gov acknowledges the possibility of a shootout. He asserts that the campers would win (tank and all), before shooting a couple of walkers in the head. Remember walkers? They used to be on our show, like three or four weeks ago. The shots are sure to attract more walkers, so the clock is ticking as Rick dives head first into one of his trademark inspirational speeches. He talks about there being enough room for everyone between the different cell blocks and not dealing with each other until everyone has worked through their feelings. But the Gov is vehement that none of that business is going to work after Woodbury or “after Andrea.” Damn it! I know that a lot of people weren’t crazy about Andrea, but Michonne and I liked her and that little comment has us pissed!
The Gov jumps down to hold Michonne’s sword to Hershel’s throat in response, and Maggie and Beth’s reactions make my insides turn. Rick appeals to the group supporting the Gov (targeting in initially on Tara who has been making unsure faces back there for the entire episode) and offers them a home if they lay down their weapons. We zoom in on all of our main characters’ listening faces and when we finally get to Hershel’s, I scream at my TV, “Don’t smile you old fool! That means you’re dead!” But the Gov is already pulling his sword back, and with the single word “Liar,” the Gov chops poor Hershel.
And then EVERYTHING IS AWFUL ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
Even though they just watched him murder a one legged old man, the Gov’s people still stand by him and start firing at the prison population. Tara is the only one who freaks out and lays down her weapon, despite asshole Mitch’s yelling and the pleading of her girlfriend that they have to go on fighting. Amid the gunfire, Michonne manages to roll away and the Gov goes about chopping Hershel’s head completely off. Just as the Gov finishes, he sees Lilly walking up with Meghan in arms. Seriously though, how did she find them? She just hopped in a car and instantly knew where the prison was? Regardless, the Gov takes Meghan and doesn’t skip a beat before shooting her in the head. Poor Meghan didn’t last long, but at least she deemed herself worthy of the double on-screen kill. Respect.
The Gov decides that if he can’t have the prison, nobody can and orders the tank et al to drive into the prison and “kill everyone.” The Greene sisters are shooting through the tears when Maggie lays down cover so that Beth can get to the bus. Before Maggie leaves her with the sick and feeble, Beth asks what she should do if all of the prison fighters don’t make it to the bus in time. Maggie tells Beth to go without them because “we’ve all got jobs to do.” AWWW, is it weird that I feel like Hershel was my daddy too? Beth apparently got confused about what her job was though, because when Maggie finds Glenn and brings him back to the bus, Beth is no where to be found.
The walkers hear the commotion and start working their way into the prison. A couple of zombies look like they’re about to get the jump on Daryl, but it’s Daryl so he’s obviously got this business under control. He takes out the offending zombie and then props up the dead guy on a post in the greatest use of undead corpse in this or any show’s history. I ain’t even mad that those bullets would have definitely gone through the dead guy’s body and taken out Daryl too. He just strolls up and throws a grenade in the pointy outy gun part of the tank (that’s probably what it’s called) and renders the whole thing useless. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, Daryl just took out a tank. Add that to taking out asshole Mitch and I’m ready to have that crossbow wielding SOB’s children.
In her search to find Beth, Maggie runs into Sasha and PTSD Bob. In the shootout, Bob manages to get himself winged but is happy that the bullet seems to have passed straight through. The joy is short lived though as they watch the bus drive away. The trio runs off to find another way to treat Bob, which leaves Tyreese on his own to fight the campers. He’s not doing all that well when a shot comes from off-screen taking out one of the campers coming after him. It’s creepy Lizzie and her Lord of the Flies army! Except just as I’m coming around to Lizzie and her creepy ways, she shoots Alisha in the head. Lizzie killed the lezzie! Still hate her.
In the scuffle, Rick and the Gov have found each other and are partaking in a particularly nasty round of fisticuffs. Even though Rick seemed to have had the early upper hand, the Gov quickly overtakes him and is in the process of choking Rick out when BAM, Michonne shish kabobs the bastard. Michonne looks over him one last time before leaving him bloody and dying on the ground. Lilly is the next person to find him lying there, but she’s not as happy with the profound walk away; she wants him dead. So, not with a whimper but with a bang, Lilly shoots our dear Governor in the head and ends a season and a half’s worth of suffering. Part of me is bummed that the last face the Gov sees is a character who has only been on the show for three episodes, but he did just shoot her little girl in the head, so I’ll allow it.
Newly released from the Gov’s chokehold, Rick tracks down Carl inside the prison perimeter. The two Grimes men are relatively alright, but there’s still the issue of Lil’ Ass Kicker. Neither of them knows where she is, so the blood soaked car seat that they find isn’t exactly a hope inspirer. I don’t buy it though. I bet my bottom dollar that when we do the “where are they now” round up after the mid-season break, somebody is gonna have a baby.
So that’s it, folks. 2013 has seen its last of The Walking Dead. I know I’ll personally be crying from 9-10 EST every Sunday night until February, but I’ll meet you here same bat time, same bat channel when the dead come back to life!
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