The Walking Dead Recap: Gunsmoke

The Walking Dead Hershel DiesIn this week’s midseason finale of The Walking Dead, the Governor lays out for his camp a plan to “take that prison without firing a shot.” But, as you’d expect (and, blood-thirsty as you are, maybe hope), before “Too Far Gone” has lurched to its conclusion, approximately a zillion shots have been fired, and five survivors – two of them major players – have bought the farm. Who lives to return for the second half of Season 4? Read on and find out.

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ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR | As the hour begins, Lilly overhears “Brian” rallying the troops. And, to put it mildly, she doesn’t like what she overhears. Although her boyfriend intends to trade his hostages – Hershel and Michonne – for the prison, he tells the group that they have to be ready, if need be, to kill. “I don’t know who you are,” the nurse tells her boyfriend, thereby establishing her as what? About 80 percent smarter than Andrea (who went ages without smelling a rat). 90?

CAROL WHO? | Back at the prison, Rick is finally informing Daryl that he banished Carol, and Daryl is reacting with approximately the same amount of upset that I display when I find an anchovy on my pizza. (Not the scene we waited three weeks for!) Then, rather than take off after Carol – was I the only one hoping he would? – Daryl, like Rick, focuses on how Tyreese will handle the news that she killed his B-player girlfriend. Before they can get to that, however, there’s a knock at the door… in the form of cannon fire!

ADIEU OR DIE | Ignoring the fact that the jailbirds now are governed by a council, the Governor forces Rick to again act as their leader. Mainly, it seems, just so he can tell his former foe that, unless they hit the road by sundown, Hershel and Michonne will bite the dust. In turn, Rick argues – as eloquently as desperately – that it doesn’t have to go down this way. They can all live – operative word: live – in the prison. It is, after all, huge. They can come back from the things they’ve done. “We’re not too far gone,” he insists. And, for a millisecond, it looks like the Governor is really considering it. Once the millisecond has passed, however, he remembers the title of the episode, hisses “Liar!” and takes a swing at Hershel’s throat with Michonne’s samurai sword. After that, it’s bedlam!

KID STUFF | While all this is going on, Meghan is back at what used to be Camp Martinez, digging up a flash flood warning sign and, seconds later, being bitten by a walker long buried in the mud by one such flood. At the same time, over at the prison, the youngsters all head for the getaway bus with baby Judith in tow… until Lizzie reminds them of what Carol taught them. They need to be strong, she says. Also, they need guns.

FIGHT TO THE FINISH | As the battle for the prison rages, Lilly wanders into the fray with Meghan’s body, and the Governor shoots his substitute Penny in the head. Shortly thereafter, Rick gets the drop on the Governor, and they take turns beating the crap out of each other for a while. Then, just when finally it appears that the Governor is going to choke Rick to death, Michonne stabs her nemesis through the back with her sword, and Lilly finishes him off with a bullet to the brain.

LOOSE ENDS | Nearby, Daryl “decommissions” the Governor’s tank and gets rid of Mitch (thank you!); before Alisha can shoot Tyreese, Lizzie shoots her (thanks again!); an injured Bob, Sasha and Maggie are separated from everyone else – including Glenn! – when the getaway bus leaves without them; and, while Rick and Carl are reunited, all they can find of Judith is – gasp! – her bloody baby carrier. As they stagger away from their now-walker-infested former home, Rick tells his son, “Don’t look back.” Question is, what is there to look forward to?

Okay, your turn. What did you think of the episode? Enough excitement for ya? But at what price? I’ll miss Hershel and his voice of reason, much like I already miss Carol. Speaking of whom, what was up with Daryl’s reaction to her ouster? Were we the only ones who thought they were closer than that? Were you sorry to see the Governor get his comeuppance? (In any case, shouldn’t Maggie have gotten to finish him off rather than Lilly? The guy brutalized her boyfriend, nearly raped her and beheaded her father!) Did the finale leave you looking forward to the second half of the season? What do you want from the second half? Hit the comments.

The Walking Dead Season 4 resumes Sunday, Feb. 9 on AMC.