We've come to a mid-season finale for season four, a group of episodes that have been half-great and half-unfortunate; "Too Far Gone" gives us a stand-off between the group of survivors at the prison and the Governor, who has come back from feeling bad for himself to focus on how much he wants to take over that prison again. He's like a dog fixated on a bone, and he can't let the place go - fortunately, he's got a few people under his power, and a tank to boot.
Much of this season has been about putting the survivors in danger without being forced to utilize humans or zombies; the infection has done much of the killing, and the intensity of those first few episodes came from the unknown threat. The second half of the season focused too much on the Governor, so much so that everything sort of looped back around to season three again, which is where "Too Far Gone" picks up. Basically, this stand-off feels a lot like last season's finale, except this time something actually happens - eventually.
The beginning of "Too Far Gone" centers around the Governor rounding up the troops for sacrifice in a later battle to take the prison. He gives them a spiel, similar to the ones he used with the citizens of Woodbury, and though he's really just met these people, just recently taken power, and quite clearly has some hand in the deaths of the other leaders in the group, everyone decides that he seems like a good, trustworthy dude and that they'll follow him even for questionable motives.
The other side of the episode deals with the survivors, who try to gear up for the stand-off. That's pretty tough, seeing as the Governor has a tank and all, but they manage to assemble, with a bus for getaway just in case. A long, tedious chat ensues between Rick and the Governor, most of it a rehash of the basics from the last time the two came together. Except there's more at stake: old Govs has Hershel and Michonne captive, and he won't hesitate to kill them.
Rumors have been flying about losing characters, and The Walking Dead confirmed it last episode in the previews. The question was who we were going to lose, and would we really care about it. A resounding yes seems to be the opinion, and HERE BE SPOILERS. The unfortunate victim had resigned himself to death a couple of episodes ago when he risked his life for another cause, so it wasn't surprising that we lost him, but the way in which he went was fairly brutal - and the Governor's terrible nature was on display quite memorably.
There are a lot of people lost in "Too Far Gone," many of them insignificant to the plot. But one that has become very important, at least to the governor, is also offed in an insanely entertaining moment that is quite possibly the most interesting scene in the episode. That that's reserved for a character we just met doesn't bother me, because it's clear that The Walking Dead had many tricks up its sleeve for this episode to throw at us back to back.
It's easy to forget these things because of the later events in the episode, but ultimately the episode is plagued by a lot of flaws that, when contemplated, don't really make sense. Still, the end of the episode leaves me quite intrigued for the cleanup that is sure to follow for the next half of the season. There are a lot of questions left unanswered, and even if this climax probably should have happened at the end of season three for maximum effect, at least we're finally out of prison. Thank goodness for that.
We'll take a break and think about what's happened so far, and then we'll be back in February for more immediate coverage of The Walking Dead. Let me know what you thought of the episode!