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Governor: “You kill or you die, or you die and you kill.”

What a season finale! I have some reservations but the writers completely surprised me and I loved the ending.

I expected a blood bath and I got one, just not the one I expected. The Governor is now a completely certified psychopath. Well, he was already, but gunning down your own people is completely over the edge. There is no Woodbury left to protect or destroy. Would he have gone back and gunned down the young and the elderly who were left? Or would he have tried to feed them a line about losing at the prison? Thank goodness we’ll never know. We will have to wait until next season to see what other havoc he might wreak and how long Martinez is going to continue to follow him. I think the only reason Martinez didn’t shoot the Governor right then was because he was in shock.

This episode was full of tension and possibilities. I had predicted a massacre at the prison with few survivors and I was totally wrong but that doesn’t mean I didn’t spend the whole episode expecting it. I was sure that when Glenn took off his helmet saying it was all clear that either he or Maggie was going to get shot. I expected the Governor to come roaring back to the prison when Rick, Daryl and Michonne were gone and I only expected Carl to make it out of that. I was wrong on all counts and I was glad.

I was disappointed by the Andrea and Milton piece. I wanted Milton to be the mouse that roared but instead he was the mouse that tried to roar, got stabbed and turned. So much for standing up for yourself and what is right. The Governor was ready for him when he turned to stab him instead of Andrea. He didn’t stand a chance although just like Andrea, he tried. And I was at least right about Andrea dying although I didn’t expect the way it happened. I am surprised that Andrea, finally out of the cuffs, with a set of pliers, couldn’t fight off zombie Milton, but at least we didn’t get a torture scene so, thanks for that. Still there are two pretty clear messages. Peace and intelligence don’t get you very far and there isn’t much room for strong, opinionated women in this show.

Which leads us to the most disturbing part of this episode — Carl. If peace and intelligence don’t get you far then perhaps Carl is growing up to be exactly the right kind of man, a brute who kills anyone who isn’t on his side. That sounds an awful lot like the Governor to me. Watching Carl dress down his father for not killing people who were later a danger to the group was awful. He is still a child, particularly in his understanding of power, masculinity and what it means to be human. He sees the world very categorically and I think the juxtaposition of Carl and the Governor illustrates what immature masculinity looks like. Although he is right about his father’s choices he doesn’t see the whole picture, he hasn’t yet figured out what it takes to be a man. Maybe this new world won’t actually give him the opportunity to find out and he will grow up to be brutal and rigid. I certainly hope not. And what does this kind of gender rigidity mean for poor Judith — assuming she makes it. Will she learn to shoot and kill but still look to the men in her life to make the decisions and protect her? Not a very rosy picture of survival. One has to wonder what is the point then?

It will be interesting to see what next season brings us. Our group still has the prison but now they have more people to take care of and only a few extra fighters. The Governor is still out there and who knows what Carl is going to do. At least Lori has disappeared. I can’t see the prison lasting without some new protagonist but the writers have surprised me before and hopefully will again. It will be a long summer waiting for the next instalment.

Bits and Pieces

Carl made the call about whether Michonne could stay or not. There is a lot to be said about the intuition of children but that’s an awfully important decision for a kid.

It didn’t take much to scare away the Woodbury crew. They didn’t even seem to lose anyone and they had a rocket launcher!

The Bible message left for the Governor was a nice touch, but I did wonder where they got the highlighter from.

How did Tyreese know where they kept Maggie and Glenn? Why didn’t he check it out as soon as the Governor left?

Things I could have lived without: Milton getting beaten. Andrea getting to redeem herself by shooting herself, saving others from the task while Merle got to at least take out some bad guys and delay the attack on the prison.


Governor: “They kept you safe, they kept you fed."
Milton: “As long as I looked the other way.”

Milton: “I’m still here. I’m still alive.”

Hershel: “Rick, I’m telling you, he gunned that kid down.”

Carl: “I did what I had to do. Now go, so he doesn’t kill any more of us.”

Andrea: “No one can make it alone now.”
Daryl: “We never could.”


  1. This was not at all what I was expecting, but I think I'm mostly okay with that. I was certainly feeling extreme tension throughout, and I kind of liked ending on a strangely hopeful note for a change (even though their situation hasn't necessarily improved). The dynamics between Rick and Carl were very engaging, and I'm looking forward to more exploration on that front. This seems a legitimate, and reasonably well set up dilemma to tackle: what does growing up in this kind of "kill or die" environment do to a pre-adolescent's sense of morality. And how does Carl starting to turn into the "animal" that Lori feared affect Rick? Particularly given that it seems to stem largely from Rick's own choices and failures. Could be really fruitful and interesting ground to explore.

    My primary stumbling blocks this week were: (1) the Prison Crew's weird ambush tactics, (2) Andrea taking time out from her escape efforts to wax nostalgic about her desire save everyone (save yourself, woman!), (3) Andrea's inability to take down Walker Milton before he could bite her (totally agreed there, Doc --- she had three limbs free and a weapon! --- didn't she take out three walkers at once two weeks ago?), and (4) Martinez's bizarre decision to get in the truck with the Governor (shock is probably the best explanation, Doc, but the choice had me yelling at the TV, "WTF?!").

    But, seriously, what was the Prison Crew trying to accomplish with that ambush? If they just wanted to scare everyone away, then why immediately decide they needed a raid to "finish the job"? Shouldn't they have just "finished the job" when they had the makeshift army trapped in the tombs? Or when Glenn and Maggie were firing on them as they fled? It didn't seem like they were trying to kill anyone, so why then chase them back to their home turf? Sudden change of heart? Were they just hoping to get the Governor? It was bizarre.

    To answer your question, Doc: Tyrese didn't know where they kept Maggie and Glenn. Rick was telling him they were held there --- and did worse than question them --- and Tyrese was expressing surprise at the information.

  2. Best scene for me was Rick and Carl. After all he's been through at such a young age, can we blame Carl for seeing things the way he does?

    And Andrea! Pliers! Really? Yes, she was scared, and Milton was dying, but that scene just went on and on while we were going, c'mon! pick up the freaking pliers and get free before he turns, you idiot!

    And yet, I'm certain I'll be watching next October. This is a fascinating show.

    Thanks for a season of terrific reviews, Doc.

  3. Yeah I'm gonna sashay in here with all the negativity.

    What in tarnation was that? I actually paused at the end and went, "Hey this is a pretty good set-up for the season finale." My brother quickly pointed out that this actually was the season finale and I died. No wonder the showrunner was dropped man. The missed an opportunity to showcase a turning point for Rick's group, but decided to pass it up for this mamby pamby nonsense. They've turned into the gangbangers from the first season.

    How the toot did not one person try to sneak in a shot at the Governor during his little murderous temper tantrum? Even if they're scared and inexperienced someone would've at least panicked and started spraying bullets at him. But instead he somehow gunned down like 15-20 people with a single mag, shooting from the hip. This man has friggin' superpowers I tell you! And to top it off, after displaying unease at the Governor's actions, Martinez and Nolines Mcmuteman just hop in the car with the Governor. What keeps them loyal to them? Fear? That seems unlikely since both of them have proven to be deadly and skilled. Maybe some kind of twisted alternate version of respect like Daryl has for Rick? I got nothing.

    I'm with you on the prison scene, Jess. Did they seriously just try to demoralize Woodbury? Or are Glenn and Maggie all of a sudden the most terrible shots this side of television? I will never accept missed shots in this show after the headshot bonanza that the season 2 finale was. Granted, they probably didn't want to kill the "innocents" but is it worth the risk of them maybe regrouping? I honestly was hoping they rigged the halls with explosives gathered from Morgan's joint. But apparently they didn't grab ANY of the heavy artillery that was sitting there.

    Andrea. Just...Andrea. She can't even DIE in a cool way! I'd feel maybe a little bad if it started to become painfully clear that she caused her own death. She would pause to stare at Milton, pause to talk to Milton, and it took her like a day and a half to slide over and pick up a pair of pliers with her feet. Did she have arthritis in her feet or something!? Maybe incredibly painful athlete's foot from not wearing socks in boots. Yech. She actually managed to get the second pair of cuffs off in like 2 seconds flat, so if she didn't spend precious time jawing at a dead man she could've walked out even BEFORE he turned.

    I wouldn't have minded her death by incompetence if she was just kinda dead or in zombie form when they found her. But instead they gave her a "movie death" and let her yammer on a bit longer and basically apologize to the audience. Seriously if that, "I tried." line wasn't addressed to us I'd be surprised. She gave her last wise sage advice to touch everyone's hearts and wasted a precious bullet from Rick's revolver. She didn't even have the decency to shoot herself with a 9mm, no she had to use the .357. I suppose it was a little awkward for Michonne when Andrea's noggin' went kablooey all over the room and her face since like...guns do that to skulls.

    And my last complaint, I promise. I'm bothered that the Governor escaped. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Psychopath or not, The Gov still does not come off as much of a threat to Rick's group. So if they're planning on having him regroup and somehow recruiting some other group of crazies just to be a thorn in Rick's side. That just ain't cool and seems a tad far-fetched. I suppose they'll use the next season as a chance to truly make it like the face-off in the comics though, since the Governor definitely has fully embraced the crazy now.

    I know I complain about this show a lot, but I do enjoy those increasingly rare moments of genius and I still find the concept fantastic. Also your reviews are dynamite Doc so even if an episode leaves me cold at least I have your reviews to look forward to.

  4. So that was it? The big finale with the even bigger war?

    I don´t know what the writers were thinking? Basically half a season was wasted for the build-up of the big finale and than that. A 5 minute showdown with zero fatalities and the rest of the finale we watched a whining Andrea and her pathetic try to free herself. Funny how another try of the writers to make Andrea more likeable failed - in epic fashion. How can they spend so much time on a character in the finale who most of the viewers don´t like and they expect us to actually care? Her sudden inability to take down one walker cannot even be explained by her weakend body.

    The showdown was ridiculous and even the Governor´s 2 minutes of absolute craziness were more entertaining. What the hell was the plan of the prison gang? And now they are still at the prison - just with more redshirts to kill next season. Great, sounds already like fun - not.

    Why anybody wants to be with the Governor anymore is beyond me. Maybe the two other dudes joined him in crazytown but the viewers don´t no yet. But maybe we will get a chance next season since they will stick around and bore us with their cartoonish and cliché evilness. Thanks to the 20 something Woodbury people who were too stupid to shoot back.

    And Carl....I know he has a hard time and a rough life. But does he have to be so annoying? His constant "I need to be there" speeches make me want to shoot either him or myself. His adult, badass and "I have to lecture actual grownups" attitude I just can´t take it anymore. And it will probably get worse next season now that he might be a Governor in the making.

    The season started strong and I liked it but after the break it got worse every week. No development whatsoever: Gov still alive and the group still at the prison. I hope they change the status quo in the first episode of season 4 after all the backlash they get now. Hopefully the new showrunner can make something of the mess he inherited from Mazzarra.

    Best moment: Carol and Daryl.

  5. Thank-you for the comments everyone. While one half of my brain is yelling many of the same things that everyone else is saying, the other half is going, that was actually pretty cool because the show went in a completely different direction than anyone expected and that takes a lot of guts. They must have known how people would react. For many reasons we expected a huge battle and it didn't happen. So what that means is that we have a whole new path opened up which is totally unknown. I was going along playing out in my head exactly how things were going to go - lots of death, leave the prison, back on the road with a smaller group. Now what? Exactly.

  6. I just wanna point out the "good things" i felt after the finale.

    I enjoy the potential inner turmoil with Carl being Shane 2.0. To be honest I woulda popped the dude in the face too. He didn't drop the gun like they asked and was handing it over to them with the barrel in their general direction. Maybe I would've given him a second warning but even Rick put down those fools in that bar that one time. Hershel needs to tone down the bleeding heart shtick. He's turning into Dale at the the end of his life.

    I like that Tyreese and Sasha are in the group. Considering that they kinda pointed out that Sasha was a crackshot in an earlier episode I'm going to assume that she's going to be Andrea's replacement and basically be the comic version of Andrea. And even though they're a democracy, Rick will still be "the leader", so it'll be interesting to see the dynamic with Tyreese who was also shown to be a natural leader. Not to mention that their relationship in the comics was a major plot point for some time.

    As grim as it sounds, I like that they have more red shirts to die when the press comes down. It wouldn't be very compelling if it was just Rick's group of zombie killing pros.

    Last but not least, with Andrea dead I'm shipping Rick and Michonne. They had a little moment there. It's gonna happen, I'm telling you.

    See? Not all of my comments are doom and gloom.

  7. You know, the thing about the Carl business that was the most interesting to me, is not whether he was right or wrong to shoot the kid, but how he reacted to what happened. Or rather didn't react. Shane killed in ways he viewed as justified, but it still clearly tore him up. He didn't feel good about what happened with Otis, and that was the real start of his psychological breakdown. Rick, too, has made similar kills to protect their group, but it has had a tremendous impact on him psychologically. Even Merle was carrying the weight of the dead on his shoulders.

    But Carl? Carl killed that kid --- the first human life he'd ever taken --- and he seemed "light as a feather." "I did what I had to. End of story." His primary emotion seemed to be anger that they then wouldn't take him along to kill more "enemies." And then anger that they brought back people from the "enemy camp" to join them. And that's the most interesting and disturbing aspect of it to me. His complete lack of empathy for anyone except those he deems "one of us."

  8. WTF! Seriously - W.T.F!

    Like several have said before me - Andrea wasting time talking and looking at a guy whom they both know is going to die. It's beyond stupid.
    So is moving everyone into the prison. With the governor gone the smartest place to be would be Woodbury - with supplies, fortifications and everything.
    This too - beyond stupid.
    I'm so annoyed with this, I might actually drop the show. I mean, I thought the comic had it's lowpoints here and there, mostly from the prison/Woodbury-conflict and onward but this...this is just...bafflingly bad.

  9. Going to Woodbury isn´t so smart as it seems at first glance. It is much more difficult to defend and even more so if you have the Governor with his lose marbles out there who knows that place like the back of his hand.

    They should leave both places and move on. I am sick of both settings and don´t want another season there.

  10. Have to add this: I just finished playing The Walking Dead-game from Telltale (the gameplay is story-driven and you get to make certain important choices in action and dialogue) and it by far surpasses the second half of this WD-season.

    TWD really needs to get back to being a show about survival and the inner conflicts of a group.

    If you haven't played the game, I highly, highly, recommend it.



  11. Disappointing finale yet surprisingly unexpected. You know how sometimes you watch a movie and you're just so damn perplexed by it that you aren't quite sure whether you liked it or not? That's exactly how I feel towards this particular episode.

    Major Complaints: 1. WHY ON EARTH THE BLOODY GOVERNER STILL ALIVE?! For god's sake I have been waiting for his sorry ass to bite it since he was first introduced. Not for a single second did I find that stupid, senseless, psychopath character compelling in any way and now he's going to be there for another season? I will lose it I swear to god. And none of that redemption crap. This character needs to go and soon. Hopefully in the next episode itself. How long can they drag this Governer bullshit on for? And as some of you mentioned above, how did he manage to kill so many people and still walk out without a single scratch? This man dodges death like a pro, I swear. It's ridiculous. He. Must. Go.
    2. I am so sick of the prison and Woodbury. Both places are incredibly dull and if it wasn't for a few captivating characters, I would have dropped this season a long time ago. I was hoping Season 4 would welcome a change in scenery but nope. Seems like we're back to square one -- with more mouths to feed! TWD has so many cool opportunities to expand on this apocalyptic world. What is the budget of this show? It's super popular, it can't be too low. I mean honestly, why can't they head to the West Coast? Maybe there's a beach they could find. Zombies can't swim, can they? Or how about something chilling like a ruined McDonalds or Mall or Movie Theatre. How cool would that actually be? Instead we're stuck with this boring ass prison again. It's annoying.
    3. Andrea. WTF GIRL!? I was just beginning to like you again and then you started making doe-eyes at a dead man and continued your trend of useless, corny speeches towards the very end of your arc. WHY? I just wish they'd improved her character, she was the only kickass female other than Michonne. Of course, Maggie is badass in her own way, but I, just as you all, am tired of how male-oriented this show can be. Grr.

    What I liked:
    1. Carl's whole dilemma, while chilling, is incredibly interesting to me. Considering what the kid has gone through, you can't exactly expect him to be very sympathetic. I'm sure they'll redeem him, he's just a kid. For now, his position, especially with his father, is intriguing.
    2. Daryl and Carol <3
    3. Maggie and Glenn didn't seem to have much to do in this episode, but they were great in the scenes they were given.
    4. I'm so glad that Tyreese and his sister and some of the others were saved. I'm sure most of them will be red shirts, but still. I'm hoping to get some new, awesome characters. I mean, the snap change in Carl has obviously sparked Rick's brain cells and he's not going nuts anymore. Hence the lack of ghost Lori.

    Anyway, I'm pretty sure I'm going to go watch the next episode now. I'm still not sure why I keep going back to this show, maybe those few moments of sheer genius is worth all the cringe-worthy crap. Anyway, thanks for the lovely review. ^.^

  12. I'm watching The Walking Dead for the first time now, and I'm reading your reviews, as always. They make the experience of watching a series a lot better!
    I just wanted to say that I noticed all your gender related comments and critics, and I'm really glad you addressed those issues. The comparison you made this episode about masculinity and childlike immaturity was a very pertinent one, for example.
    Those topics are relevantant; films and series contribute to the building process of our opinions and behavior. They can be part of the problem or part of the solution. So when reviews don't touch gender or race issues I feel they aren't complete.
    Yours are part of the solution =)


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