The Walking Dead, Ep. 4.08, “Too Far Gone” brings carnage and one major misstep

WalkingDeadTooFarGone

WalkingDeadTooFarGone

The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 8: “Too Far Gone”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Seth Hoffman
Airs Sundays at 9pm ET on AMC

I rarely bring up the Walking Dead comic book within my reviews, but this week I deem it necessary. That said, I won’t spoil any future events from the comic series; instead I will point out a few differences between the original source material and the television show, in order to prove a point.

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The Walking Dead season 4 brings heavy action with its midseason finale “Too Far Gone”. The Governor and his troops make their assault on the prison, and the face off between them and Rick’s group is a reckoning, and more importantly, a long-awaited resolution to a story that has been dragging on for far too long.

With the previous two episodes, “Dead Weight” and “Live Bait,” the writers of The Walking Dead were trying their best to incorporate elements from Rise of the Governor, a spin-off novel of The Walking Dead comic book series that explores the back-story of Philip Blake. Unfortunately for The Walking Dead, it did little for the television series, and forced The Governor story line to spin around in circles, while frustrating many viewers along the way. Often the changes that the writers make from the original source material are ultimately satisfying. Not only does it provide readers of the comic series with plenty of surprises, but often, the rewrites are far more interesting. Take for instance the Shane and Rick storyline, which only lasted a few issues in the source material. In the comic, the war at the prison is a huge event that results in a huge number of deaths, including Lori and baby Judith. Lori obviously already died on the series, and in one of the most emotionally devastating scenes yet no less – but where does this leave baby Judith?

Amidst the crowd pleasing action of “Too Far Gone” comes a potentially big problem: we the viewers are not entirely sure what to make of baby Judith’s fate. Little Asskicker’s birth was a bleak moment for the series. Not only did Lori sacrifice her life but Carl was left to clean up after her death. Judith’s birth offered a rare bit of hope in this post apocalyptic world, and while she’s been kept mostly silent in the background, she’s remained a symbol of hope and a reason for Rick to keep moving forward. The simultaneous death of Lori and Judith in the comics is arguably the darkest, most depressing moment of the entire series. But as much as the TV show likes to push boundaries, I’m not sure they’re willing to kill an innocent baby in such horrific circumstances. When Rick and Carl find the remains of Judith’s bloody baby seat, the stunned despair on Carl and Rick’s face, should remain one of the show’s most powerful moments, but instead, the scene leaves us confused as to whether or not Judith is still alive. Rick and Carl’s reaction signifies the worst, but considering we were never offered any indication as to what happened to Judith after Beth grabbed the baby, it seems as though there is hope she survived. Ending your midseason on a cliffhanger is expected, but if Judith is indeed dead, the creators of the show robbed viewers of the devastating impact the death of a child brings. Of course, we won’t know the answer until the series returns next year, so let’s hope for the best.

“Too Far Gone” nicely returns to the central theme of the first half of season four, questioning the ability to let go of the past and start fresh no matter what terrible things one has experienced or done. With this comes three character highlights worth mentioning. Unlike Judith, Hershel’s death is utterly heartbreaking. It was obvious that of the major players left alive, his character was next in line to die. His truly heroic actions back in “Internment,” coupled with his John Steinbeck quotes and words of wisdom, telegraphed that his death was near. At least he went out with a smile on his face, knowing Rick made the right choice by offering to put aside any past rivalries with the Governor in spite of what he’d done. Meanwhile, Michonne finally gets her chance to pass her katana right through The Governor’s back. But when it’s time to finish him off, she walks away, proving she let go of her need for vengeance. Hershel may be gone, but he left knowing he fought side by side with some truly good people, and so in  a way, it is a bittersweet ending for him.

While the Governor’s attack on the prison seems a bit repetitive given the season three finale, “Too Far Gone,” at least delivers the action and mayhem in spades. This episode is nothing short of explosive, a gargantuan spectacle with a fuckin’ tank blasting its way through the prison. It’s been somewhat of a rocky ride all season, but the excellent action set-pieces and superb direction has overpowered some questionable plotting. The hair-raising pace and zero-cool heroics of the second half of “Too Far Gone,” makes up for any time spent listening to The Governor’s tiresome speeches in the first act.

The second half of season four will feel like a complete reboot, while simultaneously leaving us with many questions, concerns, and a few minor mysteries to consider for the return. Viewers should rejoice in knowing we will never see The Governor again, and readers of the comics should be happy knowing we are one step closer to Abraham!

  • Ricky D

Other thoughts:

If Tara is alive, I’m betting she rescued Judith.

Megan’s death offered a nice surprise but ultimately carried little emotional weight.

Glen is on a bus surrounded only by characters who we don’t care about. With his and Maggie’s anniversary around the corner, we can only assume bad things to come for our lover-boy.

So, now that the prison is destroyed, where will they go? How about anywhere but a prison.

Will they all regroup?

Will Carol and Rick cross paths again?

You have to love the editing during Hershel’s decapitation. When the Governor first slashes his neck, it cuts to Maggie’s reaction. With the second slice, we cut to Beth’s reaction.

Don’t forget to listen to our Walking Dead podcast for more thoughts.  New episodes drop every Monday night, with a different special guest each week.

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