After weeks of build-up in The Walking Dead, the prison inhabitants led by Rick Grimes and the Governor’s faction of heavily armed survivors are coming together in a battle that promises to be epic. Surely people will die? Can anything be the same after this week? And doesn’t all this feel kinda familiar?
Yes, it’s the finale we expected back in season three. Better late than never, I suppose, just hope it’s good now it’s finally here. Let’s do this with spoilers!
The long-awaited dawn of MEGA-PERIL
So, after a little build-up, including the Governor motivating his people into action and Rick/Daryl’s long-awaited Carol argument being skipped right over, it’s basically fighty time. So, y’know, positives first: it’s a pretty bloody good fight. As always, this show is great in times of peril and intermittent when it tries to do characterisation between those bits, and this is MEGA-PERIL.
Loadsa shooting, loadsa running, death, explosions, Daryl taking out a tank (ridiculous), Hershel being decapitated (aww), the Governor dying (about time) after his girlfriend drags a little girl’s carcass out to the battlefield (why?) and a possible ambiguous maybe-death of a baby (owch). You can’t say it isn’t eventful, and it really is going to change the show permanently. Bye bye prison, for starters.
Yes, the placement of this sequence in the series is weird, but it is a satisfying ending to the Governor storyline, taking the one-eyed bastardman out and moving the show on to a clear new phase. It’s also fairly depressing if you were particularly invested in the prison or its characters, with all the senseless slaughter for no reason other than “We gotta move on”.
Zombie boxset loop momentum calculations
Hard to ignore how weird it is they didn’t do this at the end of season three, choosing instead to disappoint everyone, then loop round and do it anyway when the momentum had kinda died off. I guess it’ll be less jarring when future generations are cramming this show in boxsets, but nonetheless.
And even the positioning within season four is weird: after two weeks of solo-Governor stories building up the big baddie as a complete personality with a supporting cast, I thought we were doing something more ambitious than just massacring everyone in the next episode. I mean, fair play for wrongfooting me, but those two episodes do feel more pointless in retrospect.
So, that was the opening half of The Walking Dead season four, and next year we return to our raw survival roots. Despite the oddness of the Governor arc, I did mostly enjoy this while I watched it. If they’d condensed the Gov stuff down to a single episode, it would stand up well even in retrospect. In terms of execution, this was another decent enough story (even if a few of the details may not hold up) and I’m curious where they go in February.