Well, folks, it’s here.The showdown we’ve been waiting eight (plus) episodes for.Rick versus the Govenor.Since Woodbury, we knew the Governor must die.We knew it must happen – no one that hateful, that soulless, could go on living, even in a world as morally bankrupt as the one they live in.
It’s been a slow 360 for the good ole Gov.Since Martinez and his crew ditched him after he killed all his men, we’ve been subjected to a long, plodding story of self reinvention.It seemed, albeit momentarily, that the Governor may have turned over a new life, found a new identity as the adopted patriarch of a family, complete with a new name: Brian Herriot.
But Brian’s time in the sun was short lived.Only days after he was reunited with Martinez, he turned on him: knocking him to the ground and literally dragging him to his death at the hands of a pitful of biters. He takes over Martinez’s crew: a rag tag bunch of people just trying to survive.
This group is weak – they need a leader.They are scared – they need a safe haven.Gov plays on these traits, just as he did in Woodbury.He convinces them that violence is the way to protect themselves.And they go along with it, just as any scared, weak person would.
Only Lily, the Gov’s lover and mother of his surrogate daughter, Meghan, questions his actions. With Michonne and Hershel as his hostages, the Gov sets out for the prison, determined to take it by force.His claim to desire a peaceful exodus is as empty as his one eye.Hershel’s attempts gain a bit of leeway with an argument toward compassion fall on deaf ears.The Gov has made up his mind.
His makeshift army descends on the prison, the Governor’s ultimatum is final and non-negotiable: either Rick’s group vacate the premises, or Mitch’s tank will blow a hole in the prison wall.With Glen still incapacitated from the flu, Carol gone and Michonne held captive, Rick retaliatory forces are decimated.He makes the only play available to him: negotiate a share.The Governor’s group will hole up in one cell block, Rick’s in another.But the Governor refuses.
Rick’s last ditch effort is an attempt at reason – a tactic as lost on the megalomaniacal Govenor as Hershel’s attempt at compassion.But it’s not lost on Hershel, who has come so far since his days at the patriarch of his own farm, ruling with an iron first.Rick’s speech about getting to come back is as much about Hershel as it is himself, or the Gov.
But it’s lost, and with one swipe at Hershel’s neck with Michonne’s katana, war begins.As the groups open fire on one another, the Gov finishes what he started, decapitating Hershel.Just as he completes his gory task, Lily appears with the lifeless body of Meghan in her arms: another daughter, lost to the biters.
In the hail of gunfire that follows, the prison camp springs to life.They have had an exit strategy mapped out, and immediately begin their exodus.The children of the camp band together the way Carol coached them to: procuring weapons and playing their part to protect themselves and their keepers – even saving Tyreese’s life.
The Governor and Rick finally meet in a head to head battle: a fist fight for the ages, full of two lifetimes of regrets, lost wives and daughters, vendettas that will never be paid.It’s only Michonne’s katana that finally ends it, slicing through the Govenor’s sternum.As he lays dying, as Michonne and Rick limp away to collect the vestiges of their formerly happy group, Lily comes upon him, delivering the final shot that finally ends his reign.
As the prison burns, the group is splintered.Glen, still ill, escapes on the bus as Maggie makes a run for it with Bob the alcoholic and Sasha.Tyreese is left to escape with Carol’s charges while Beth and Darryl find themselves alone in the prison yard.That leaves only Rick and Carl – the two left to make a gruesome discovery of Judith’s bloody baby carrier.There is no time to mourn, they must escape before the prison is overrun.
Rick’s last words as they flee into the woods to Carl are “Don’t look back.”A fitting last line to a season where it seemed finally, some happiness might be found.The group is now flung to the far corners of the world – it will take a miracle for them to find each other, safely, all over again.
Tags: The Walking Dead