The Walking Dead Review: Episode 4×08 “Gone Too Soon”

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The Walking Dead 4x08 Gone Too Soon

Heads Flew This Week on The Walking Dead Winter Finale

AMC’s The Walking Dead isn’t the type of series to shy away from killing off its main characters. A fact the series proved this week on the 4th season winter finale. The prison crew lost one of their own as well as an old foe. Countless others lost their lives as well as battle lines between Rick and the Governor were drawn through the dilapidated prison fence. Now that the group has lost their moral center (again) and have been forced to scatter to the winds, we’re left wondering if our friends will ever be able to find their way to one another again.

“We can have it. We don’t need to kill anyone.” Ever since the Governor reemerged back on the scene three episodes back looking resolutely across the yard as Rick and Carl ate peas in the garden, viewers knew it wouldn’t be long before these two nemesis were forced to go head-to-head in a heated battle for the ultimate boss. What the Governor didn’t realize was that Rick was no longer the “Ricktator” hellbent on leading the group with a “My way or the highway” approach that was putting him on the fast track to be the next incarnation of the Governor, but instead had relinquished his power to the newfound Council so that he could concentrate on being a better father for Carl and Judith. In the next episodes viewers learned that Rick wasn’t the only one who had changed, or at the very least tried to. The Governor himself had tried to turn over a new leaf. One that didn’t give him followers, a crew to boss around, or any of the other trappings of power. Instead, Phillip had become Brian Heliot, a name he found spray painted on the side of an abandoned building, and tried to play house with fellow survivor Lily and her daughter Meghan. But after trying to go “straight” and play the normal guy, the Governor discovered he was too far gone and lost too much to ever go back to who he was before the zombie plague.

The Governor: “No one’s going to hurt you.”
Hershel: “I don’t believe that.”
The Governor: “I don’t care.”
Rick: “If you know what it’s like to lose a daughter, how can you think about killing someone else’s?”
The Governor: “Because they’re not mine.”

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How to Win Friends and Influence People… The Governor was so hellbent on getting revenge on Rick for some blight he believed Rick had committed against him in the past that he endangered his new family. The very ones he claimed he only wanted to protect. With Hershel and Michonne as his hostages, the Governor rallied his troops to the notion that they would be safer living in the prison. He had already killed a camp of survivors, and used the incident to blame Rick & Co. for the heinous crime. Incensed that a band of murderers were inhabiting the very place they needed in order to survive, the Governor was able to get the army he needed to take Rick on. I have to hand it to him. The S.O.B. was pretty crafty. He managed to convince his troops that they didn’t need to kill the murderous group, but would scare them by the obvious amount of weapons they had and their hostages.

“You’re making the decisions today, Rick. Come on and let’s have that talk.” All season long I waited for Rick and the Governor to engage in a battle of wits like last season, and this episode absolutely delivered. Hershel had been trying to impart his brand of homespun wisdom to Rick after the ex-lawman gave up his gun, and though Rick never seemed to be listening, it turned out he was. The Governor has a brand of logic that seems to make sense on the surface, but if you’re not willing to dig deeper you can be unwittingly carried away into a moral bankruptcy that will end up destroying your soul. Martinez saw it, and that’s why he ran away from the Governor following the Woodbury Massacre in the dead of night. Rick, on the other hand, took a break from the reigns of command and became a new man. One who could use logic to sway others towards a reason and morality that is slowly draining away from the survivors in light of their horrible situation. The Governor knew he would kill Hershel the moment he heard Rick’s moving plea for communal living, and anyone watching knew it too.

The Governor: “Kill them all!”

“We’ve all got jobs to do.” Things looked bleak for Rick & Co. The Governor’s army had a slew of machine guns and even a tank, while the prisoners were running low on supplies, and were weighed down by nearly half their population dead from the zombie flu, and a quarter still in recovery. The Governor’s people planned their invasion, while the prisoners were caught unaware. Things looked bleak, indeed, but while the Governor’s army had greed as their motivator, Rick & Co. had the horrific image of the Governor hacking off their beloved Hershel’s head seared into their brains. Maggie and Beth weren’t the only ones out for revenge against their father’s killers. In that one instant, a seeming defeated group of rag-tag survivors rallied together to take down the Governor and his people once and for all.

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“Too Far Gone” had many connections to the comic book (Issue #43), and posed the question of when do we come to the line that once crossed to the bad, can never be crossed back into the good? The Rick we saw at the beginning of the season believed he had done too much dirt to ever go back to the person he was before the zombie apocalypse. By the end of the finale, in the face of his once mirrored future, Rick realized that what Clara told him in “30 Days Without an Incident” was wrong – You can go back. While Rick had an epiphany that he had managed to regain the person he thought he lost, the Governor realized the opposite. He has done too many horrific, terrible, unforgivable things to ever be Philip Blake again. He is the Governor now and forever. A man who’s thirst for vengeance and blood is willing to sacrifice the life he once longed for. A man who doesn’t die by the hands of his enemy, but a woman he convinced himself he loved enough to kill for.

All of the survivors are scattered. Rick and Carl couldn’t find any signs of Judith, and believe she was eaten by the numerous Walkers that walked through the trampled prison fence. The kids ran away after shooting some of the Governor’s soldiers. Glenn and the other ailing prisoners took off on the bus for parts currently unknown, and I hope everyone has a previously discussed meeting point so that Glenn can reunite with Maggie. With Hershel dead, she’s going to need all of her loved once to help her get through her grief. At least she has Beth. Daryl, Tyrese, Sasha, Michonne, and Bob are all off to who knows where. The prison they once called home is left in shambles. With so much death, loss, and destruction, the group are bound to be changed in many ways. Let’s just hope they don’t use their pain to hurt others, and return this February as the people we know and love.


The Walk Dead Returns Sunday, February 9th, 2014 at 9|8c on AMC