The Walking Dead’s fourth midseason finale episode, “Too Far Gone,” could easily have been called “About F—king Time.” It was everything fans have been waiting for since Season 3’s snooze-worthy ending. After a year of buildup and fake-outs, the Governor (David Morrissey) finally engaged the prison in all-out war. There was a tank, there were grenades, and Daryl (Norman Reedus) came this close to becoming walker meat. (Imagine the riots!) The prison walls were torn down and self-appointed child soldiers blew invaders’ heads off. We finally got the bare-hands fight to the death between Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and The Governor that’s been overdue for half a season. And there were four significant deaths, one of which got millions at home shrieking for joy: The Governor is finally dead!
Philip Blake, a.k.a. Brian Heriot, a.k.a. World’s Most Tedious Bad Guy got his just desserts, sort of. I was rooting for Michonne (Danai Gurira) to poke out his other eye then for him to get eaten alive by walkers—but being impaled then shot in the head by Lilly (Audrey Marie Anderson), the woman whose daughter died because of his insatiable need for power, works too. His death came at a moment when we couldn’t have hated him any more—besides making us suffer through two slow-paced, melodramatic episodes about his attempts to become a new man, he had just used Michonne’s sword to hack Hershel’s (Scott Wilson) head off in front of his two daughters. Hershel was The Walking Dead’s Dale 2.0: wise, selfless and the show’s moral center. Rick relied heavily on his advice and his medical skills. During the outbreak in “Internment,” Hershel even proved himself a hero by saving Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Lizzie’s (Brighton Sharbino) lives.
The Governor, on the other hand, had led us to believe he wanted to put his bloodstained past behind him. But even after adopting a new family, all of one episode elapsed before he was back to lying, murdering (R.I.P. Martinez) and plotting to take the prison. It’s unclear what ultimately becomes of his adopted family—except for Meghan (Meyrick Murphy), the little girl he treated as a surrogate daughter, who is bitten by a walker while spending way too much time reading a sign she found in the mud. It’d be a shame to never see Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Lilly again. They were the only people in the Governor’s camp to realize just how evil the bastard was.
The fourth and saddest death was Judith’s. Rick’s infant daughter was lost in the chaos at the prison and it wasn’t until the walls had finished crumbling and most of the Governor’s camp was dead that Rick and Carl discovered her bloodied car seat. Rick doubles over in pain and Carl shoots wildly at a walker before he runs out of ammo and breaks down sobbing. ‘Lil Ass-Kicker’s’ death is painful, but it brings us to the last—and perhaps best—thing to come out of this episode: Rick and his group finally leave the prison.
Even with the virus that swept the cellblocks and the swarms of walkers threatening to bring down the fence, it has been difficult to keep the prison environs interesting. The show’s first season was spectacular in part because the group was constantly moving in search of bigger answers about the zombie outbreak—and it slows down every time the characters find a place to stay put. In executive producer Robert Kirkman’s comic books, Rick and the gang eventually head up north, where they meet a man who says he knows what caused the zombie outbreak and leads them toward Washington D.C. Though the graphic novels and the show only vaguely mirror each other, a move like this couldn’t come at a more perfect time. But we’ll have to wait until February to find out.