‘The Walking Dead’: The Governor at the gate

The Walking Dead
“Too Far Gone”
December 1, 2013

The short version of the episode:





The long version of the episode:

Gather round, New Woodbury, The Governor needs to discuss something with you. As great as it’s been, this hodgepodge of RVs and laundry piles just isn’t going to keep everyone safe for much longer. The walker pits are filling up and it’s simply a matter of time before they break through and nom everyone’s faces off. The Governor is thinking that it’s time to move into something more permanent and he happens to know just the place: it’s fenced in, has plenty of privacy and showers, and there’s even room for a garden. And all they have to do is evict the current residents, who, The Governor happens to know, are a bunch of murderers and reprobates.

The Governor knows what you’re thinking: “Oh, boo hoo, are we going to hurt people?” In fact, no (not unless they have to). The Governor happened to run into a couple of the current residents in the woods just now and they’ve agreed to help New Woodbury negotiate their way into this new paradise. Sound good? Then grab yourselves a big scary gun and some ammunition — just for show, of course — and gas up the tank, they’re moving in!

“Hooray!” says New Woodbury, “Showers! Spaghetti Night!” And everyone runs off to pack their bags and their guns for the big move, except for Lilly, new Mrs. Governor, who is deeply concerned about The Governor’s big plan to kill all of the people. The Governor insists that they aren’t killing people, Lilly, just killers. Morally, they’re in the clear! And did The Governor mention that he loves her? He totally does. He totally loves her, so that makes it better, right? Now, why doesn’t she and Megan run along and pack their things and he’ll come back for them once they clear out their new home.

The Governor then checks in on his two negotiating chips: Michonne and Hershel, whom he ran into in the woods while they were burning walker bodies and who he bonked on their heads to take them hostage. How did he get them back to camp by himself? Shut up, that’s how. The point is, the pair are in his camper where he informs them of his plan to take the prison. Michonne informs him of her plans: to kill him, and The Governor is all:

Hershel tries a more Hershel approach, suggesting that they can all live together in the prison: there’s plenty of room! Everyone can have their own cell block, in fact! The Governor is preeeeeety sure he and Rick can’t live under the same roof, so, no, Hershel, they aren’t going to be dorm mates anytime soon, but he promises to take the prison as peacefully as possible. Hershel notes the equivocation in The Governor’s turn of phrase, and attempts to appeal to The Governor as a daddy. How can The Governor threaten someone else’s daughters when he knows what it’s like to have one of his own? Yeah, well, Maggie and Sister aren’t his daughters, SO THERE, HERSH.

Lilly tries one last time to talk The Governor out of killing all the people killers, but he’s not hearing it. He assures Lilly that she and Megan will be fine here by the river, because walkers can’t swim.


In fact, Lilly will be so safe, she should put her lawn chair on top of the RV while Megan plays on the riverbank several yards away because THAT’S JUST GOOD PARENTING. Speaking of Megan, The Governor gives her a big, muddy, foreshadowy hug. Bye, Peanut! Don’t get eaten!

Back at the prison, hey! Glenn is looking better! Yay! He’s still not great, or anything, but he’s definitely better. Also better, but not yet perfect, is Sasha who tries to thank Bob for saving her. But Bob’s not interested in her gratitude, just whatever is in this mystery box of his. (Booze, obviously.)

And we finally, finally learn how Daryl takes the news of Carol’s banishment: not well. But he also doesn’t crossbow Rick in face, so it could have been worse. Daryl and Rick go to tell Tyreese about Carol, and find him all keyed up about an artfully dissected rabbit he found in the tunnels. Tyreese is understandably concerned that between this and the torchings, they have a psychopath in their midst. But before Daryl and rick can correct him on the second point, there is an explosion over their heads. WELL GREAT, WHAT NOW.

Running running running, guns guns guns, and that’s when they find The Governor, his new minions and a tank patiently positioned outside their fences. The Governor demands that Rick come down and talk to him, but Rick refuses because he’s not in charge anymore: The Governor will want to address his complaints to the Council. “Oh? Is Hershel on this ‘Council?'” The Governor asks before revealing that he has both The Governor and Michonne.

With a heavy sigh, Rick heads down to talk, while Daryl directs Sasha to prepare Plan B — as in “Bus.” Everybody pack your bags and rabbit taxidermy and start loading up in the bus, because who knows how this is going to go down. Accordingly, the kids grab The Baby in her car seat, and start making their way out, when New Sophia instructs them to turn around, grab a gun and help fight. Didn’t Carol teach them ANYTHING? Elsewhere, Daryl surreptitiously passes out the guns to the rest of the adults and instructs everyone to BE COOL.

Down at the fences, The Governor informs Rick that he and Team Prison are being evicted and they have until sundown to get out, so they might want to start packing the bus. Rick pleads that they have sick children in the hospital who won’t survive if they are forced out, but The Governor is unmoved.


Back at New Woodbury, from her perch atop the RV, Lilly keeps an eye on a walker attempting, and failing, to cross the river, which is why she’s not able to reach Megan in time after she unearths a walker that promptly noms on her shoulder. Good parenting awards for all!

Rick still hasn’t budged at the prison, not even when some curious walkers shamble up and The Governor shoots them, pointing out that the noise is just going to attract more, and that Rick’s time is running out. Rick seconds Hershel’s suggestion: how about they all just live together in the prison and be cool? It could work out! Hasn’t The Governor ever seen a buddy cop movie or read a romance novel? The leads always hate each other at first!

In response, The Governor takes Michonne’s sword and threatens Hershel’s neck with it. AW, COME ON, Rick pleads, IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY! Listen, they’ve all done bad things, things to survive, but he’s changed, they’ve all changed! Change is good!

But The Governor insists that they’re too far gone, and to prove it, he brings the samurai sword down on Hershel’s neck.



In the chaos, Michonne slips away and manages to free her binds on a trailer hitch, and Hershel, who is STILL ALIVE, crawls away. Or attempts to crawl away until The Governor finds him and finishes the job he started.

And that’s when Lilly arrives — SHE JUST KNEW WHERE TO GO AND WAS ABLE TO WALK ALL THAT WAY CARRYING DEAD WEIGHT, SHUT UP — carrying her daughter’s dead body. The Governor, demonstrating that he has, in fact, changed, decides to forgo the chain leash for Megan and instead puts a bullet in her head. Progress! The Governor then gives his minions the order to move forward and “kill them all.”


As the tank rolls forward, some of Team Prison run for the bus and Maggie runs back inside to find Glenn, ordering Sister to stay on the bus with the others. Glenn! FIND GLENN! Fortunately, Maggie finds him, but by the time she brings him back to the bus, Sister has disappeared. WHY CAN’T ANYONE FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS? And so Maggie leaves Glenn on the bus while she goes to retrieve Sister from God knows where. YOU HAD ONE JOB, SISTER.


Meanwhile, Rick and The Governor have a good, old-fashioned fist fight there in the yard. Fight fight fight choke fight.

And that’s when the walkers arrive, because of course that’s when the walkers arrive. Daryl puts them to good use, however, using a walker as a shield, allowing him to slip out of a tight spot and shove a grenade down Charlie’s tank and an arrow into Charlie’s chest.

R.I.P. Charlie. Again.

In the meantime, Maggie still hasn’t found Sister, but she does find Sasha and Bob who promptly gets himself shot (but merely injured, not killed). Which is when the bus pulls away.


Tyreese, meanwhile, has managed to get himself cornered by Hott Military Lady and some dude. Tyreese can do little more than dodge their bullets behind some potted plants when, unexpectedly, Some Dude is shot and killed. Hott Military Lady is as surprised as anyone to discover that the shooter was New Sophia, but she doesn’t have much time to process this information as New Sophia calmly trains her gun on Hott Military Lady’s forehead and kills her. Well done, New Sophia! Now, what have you done with The Baby? You had her in her car seat earlier, so where’d you put her? HEY, DON’T RUN AWAY!

Daryl does what Maggie isn’t able to: find Sister, who was out looking for the kids, who were busy shooting people in the face, and he announces that it’s time for them to go. Now.

And back at the fist fight, The Governor has managed to gain the upper hand and is strangling Rick when O HAI, MICHONNE!

“I’m not dead yet!” protests The Governor as he rolls around moaning in the grass, but Michonne is not interested. He can just bleed out for all she cares. He’s lucky she didn’t just take out his other eyeball. The Governor doesn’t suffer for long, as New Mrs. Governor, Lilly, appears behind him and shoots him in the head. K BAI, THE GOVERNOR. IT’S BEEN REAL, YOU JERK.

As for Rick, he stumbles around looking for Carl, just like the good old days: CAAAAAAARRRRL! CAAAAARRRRRRRLLLL! But Carl’s fine, just cold shooting walkers in the head. Father and son reunited, the two turn their attention to The Baby. Where’s The Baby? OH MY GOD IS THAT THE BABY’S CAR SEAT? THE ONE COVERED IN ALL THE BLOOD?

And so, sobbing bloodied messes, Rick and Carl hobble out of the prison and into the woods, Rick urging his son to not look back, just keep walking.


First of all, The Walking Dead is going to take a little break, because walkers have no place at Christmastime (they’re more of a Hanukkah monster, apparently). The show will be back on February 9th, so mark your calendars.

But what will we find when we return? Team Prison has been dispersed: Glenn is off in a bus with a bunch of no-name characters; Daryl and Sister are off on their own; Maggie, Sasha and Bob are presumably together; who even knows where Tyreese and Michonne have gone off to; and Rick and Carl appear to be by themselves

And then there are the kids … where are the kids and, bigger question: what happened to The Baby? Thanks to all that blood all over the place, Rick and Carl jump to the conclusion that she didn’t make it, which is a fair assumption. Even for a show this brutal, it might be a step too far to show an infant being devoured by zombies. A 6-year-old? Sure. But a baby is TOO FAR, and they may have chosen to simply imply her death with the bloodied car seat.

On the other hand, notice that the buckle is unclasped in the car seat. Unless the walkers became very dexterous when I wasn’t looking, someone had to unclasp that buckle. Because, yes, she was strapped in to that car seat earlier:


That, of course, doesn’t rule out the possibility that someone unstrapped The Baby and moments later she was eaten by some of the walkers; it just suggests that whatever her fate, she wasn’t in the car seat when it happened.

Spoiler alert for the comics: In the comics, Lilly unwittingly kills Lori and The Baby during the run on the prison, and furious to learn what she has done, she shoots The Governor. The point being: in the comics, The Baby is dead. However! Plenty is different between the two stories, so it remains possible that in this Walking Dead universe, The Baby lives. God, let’s hope so.

I’m sure the back 8 episodes will be the different groups separated from one other and wandering the wilderness looking for their friends and family. And I’m willing to bet that towards the end of the season some of them will find each other again. At least those who have made it. (And Carol, right? Surely Carol comes back into play at some point.)

A few final thoughts on this half of the season: before it began, the creators, having replaced showrunner Glen Mazzara with Scott M. Gimple, promised us that this season would make the walkers scary again and be action-packed. Unfortunately, until this episode, they failed on both counts — and in this episode they only succeeded on one.

I understand what they were trying to develop character-wise this season (or half-season as it were): both Rick and The Governor were struggling with the cost of leadership on their souls, and trying to salvage something themselves in the wake of devastating tragedy and loss. And in this particular episode, the writers were brilliantly successful in drawing the sharp, horrifying contrasts between the two men. Rick has come to a place where he is willing to do anything, compromise with literally anyone, to assure the safety of his people. And The Governor is willing to shed the blood of innocents, like Hershel, to guarantee that such compromise — which he sees as weakness — can never be possible. Well done, writers: The Governor was never sympathetic, but his motivations were clear and his death was befitting a great villain.

However. That said. The second half of this episode was by far the best 20 minutes of this season. Let us not forget how dreadful The Governor’s first episode back was — and that while The Governor’s first episode was certainly the most boring of the season, it was not the only boring episode. The act of watching most of this season has, perhaps appropriately, felt like being in a waiting room: a depressing, dimly lit waiting room with no new magazines to read. Nothing much happened, but we were all stuck there, waiting for the bad news. Between Rick’s moping and Tyreese’s moping and Maggie’s moping and Bob’s moping and The Governor’s moping and the moping of so many other, tertiary characters, this season has been very depressing and VERY boring, and I’m not a little relieved to step out for a little while and get some fresh air.

So, here’s to hoping that when the show returns in February, the story gets its groove back. Without the safety of the prison walls or their makeshift community, maybe our heroes will truly be challenged, and maybe the walkers will truly be frightening again. Cross your fingers.


The Walking Dead airs on AMC on Sundays at 8/9 p.m.

This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Tubular.

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