SPOILERS GALORE! BE FOREWARNED! ABANDON HOPE OF NON-SPOILAGE, ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE!
Here’s what I’m surprised about from last night’s The Walking Dead mid-season finale.
- I’m kind of surprised Daryl wasn’t angrier about Carol‘s banishment.
- I’m sorry Hershel died.
- Rick lost another shirt.
- I didn’t expect who actually pulled the trigger and put a bullet in The Governor‘s brain.
- Oh, and I hope they’re just messing with us and somehow, someone got baby Judith to safety before a zombie (or whoever) had the bad form to bleed all over her car seat.
Here’s what I’m not surprised about:
- Everything else. Mostly.
The prison was getting claustrophobic and that story arc was playing itself well out, so I’m not terribly sorry or shocked to see it go. In the episode where Rick banishes Carol, I was relieved to be in a town and see a setting that wasn’t just gridded catwalks and cement. Besides, as a storyline…what do you do with the prison now? The superflu has passed and they’re not all spewing blood on one another in quarantined cell blocks. As much as it pains me to say this, good TV is not made by domestic tranquility. Not even with relentless hordes of zombies roaming the outsides. Oh, look, the walls held them back. Oh, look. The walls held them back again. Here, son, have a bean. And?
So what have we got, now that the mid-season finale has come and gone and the prison has been blown to smithereens by The Governor?
Daryl, in one of the greatest examples of how to manipulate the available resources in the postapocalyptic world–sticks a zombie on his crossbow bolt for use as a “human” shield, fights through to the goddamn tank, and disables it with a grenade. BOOM. He’s out in the world with Beth, Hershel’s insipidly boring daughter. I mean, I don’t want to see Beth die simply because people are an increasingly rare commodity in the zombie world, but damn, I have yet to figure out her point.
Maggie‘s stuck with Sasha, recovering from the flu and Bob Stookey, who we’ve learned from past episodes has the uncomfortable habit of being the lone survivor of the bands he’s traveled with. Here’s hoping Maggie shanks him before his bad luck rubs off on her.
Glenn, still weak with flu, is on a school bus full of children and other sickly types, driving who knows where. I say we put the PA from an old ice cream truck on the bus, let the music rip to draw the zombies to it and call it a day, because that thing is rolling walker bait.
There’s a pack of child soldiers that Carol created, headed by the incomparable Miss Lizzie, running around in the woods. They pretty effectively saved Tyreese‘s bacon after he ended up diving into a spot from which he couldn’t retreat during the invasion. And by “saved” I mean, they shot two people point-blank in their heads so he could get away.
I like that you can see my Christmas lights twinkling in the upper left hand corner of the screen.
p.s. In the five seconds of this episode that didn’t deal with The Governor’s invasion of the prison, there was a nod to the “who’s messing with the rats” story arc, which I assume will show up again in the second half of the season. I still say it’s Lizzie. Remember when she played toesies in Glenn’s blood and sputum? Ew. Girlfriend’s got issues. Hence when Tyreese found the board with a disemboweled rat nailed to it, it begs the question: can it possibly be the work of anyone other than toesie girl?
As for Tyreese, who knows where he is?
So sorry, Hershel. I knew he was history when they handed The Governor Michonne‘s sword, and Hershel was closest by. Because you don’t hand a lunatic a katana and not expect him to swing for the bleachers.
RIP poor little Meghan Chambler/Chalmers/Whatever, who was toast as soon as The Governor, that one-eyed Master of Disaster, The Captain of Crazytown, El Jefe de Horror, the Cyclops of Chaos, promised he would take care of her. Because everything he touched turned to shit, that’s why. There’s no reason she should be any different.
Meghan’s mom, Lilly, is off on her own (more on her in a minute), as is her aunt Tara, who drops the mic on The Governor’s militia with perhaps one of the greatest “Fuck this, I’m out” faces in the history of TV.
Which was smart of her, since pretty much everyone else who was fighting on the behalf of The Cyclops of Chaos ended up as zombie food.
And so. To The Governor.
Brian Heriot didn’t last long. The kinder-gentler, yearning for personal reform Governor from…was it only two episodes ago?… Done. Finito. I think it’s safe to say the title of this episode pertains directly to The Gov. His pathos and paranoia and love of power ran too deep for him to stop before hitting absolute bottom. Kind of like Richard III, with zombies.
Richard III The Governor arrives at Bosworth Field the gates of the prison and draws forth a final battle, where he nearly strangles Rick to death but instead, is stabbed through the chest by “ooh, he so had this coming” Michonne, who’s anti-Gov laundry list looks something like this (and is in no way complete):
- Remember when you confiscated my sword and wouldn’t let me and Andrea leave?
- Remember when you kept your zombie daughter in a secret closet?
- Remember the creepy-ass walker head aquariums you kept in your office, next to your zombie daughter?
- Remember when you assigned Merle to kill me?
- Remember when you almost killed Glenn and Maggie?
- Remember when you tried to make Merle and Daryl duke it out gladiator style?
- Sorry ’bout the eye.
- Andrea, Andrea, Andrea.
Suffice to say…
Michonne left him to suffer in the field, though. She didn’t finish the job, and left that to the hordes of walkers closing in on him. Which, in its own way, has got to sting. Michonne has taken off for parts unknown, and it’s my hope that she’s the one who got her hands on baby Judith and is off in the woods with her somewhere. Baby tucked in a rudimentary sling strapped to her chest, katana on her back. Dig it. You CAN have it all–a career and a baby.
So at the end of the day, Meghan’s mother Lilly dealt The Governor his death blow. Covered in bits of Meghan–and in rage and betrayal–she did what nobody else was able to do before and bring an end to
Richard III the Captain of Crazytown.
And a word about Rick: of course he didn’t die in this fight with El Jefe de Horror. Rick’s is the story arc upon which this entire series hinges. He opened the show in the hospital, vulnerable and alone in his tacky hospital gown. It’s his journey we’re watching, though other characters come and go along the way and divert us. But expecting that Rick might die is like expecting Harry Potter to die. Preposterous. You don’t kill The Boy Who Lived. (Note to writers: I am not issuing a challenge!)
So now Rick’s prison people are scattered to the four winds. Rick is alive, but hurt, but has son Carl the sharpshooter with him. At least he won’t have to worry about running into The Governor any more. And he’ll need yet another shirt.
As for what’s going to happen…I have no clue. Since the writers have gone all metaphorically insane-regal, I’m half hoping they’ll run into mad Queen Carol, who’s become a post-apocalyptic Elizabeth Bathory and bathes in the blood of her enemies. And Lizzie will, of course, have found her, and will be her handmaiden from hell. Other than that…who knows? We’ll see in February. Just keep ‘em coming, AMC. Thanks.