Friday, March 2, 2018

The Walking Dead - Too Far Gone



**½ / ****
While I can’t say that Too Far Gone isn’t a powerful episode, I just consider The Governor so positively stupid the results of his actions (and the choice of the creative team to kill off one of the show’s stalwart, sage heroes) give us plenty of violence and dead bodies, but I guess the question will always be why. Why must we waste our time with The Governor for the last two episodes just for this psychopath to obliterate the very sanctuary he so desperately seems to covet? It is to me merely a reason for the villain to evacuate the cast from their congregation, in turn splitting them apart to tell multiple stories for the rest of the season, and to bump off a main character just for the hell of it. The excuse being that anytime you have a character whose wisdom and experience is depended upon for advice, with the ability to carry on a conversation that will compel us to listen (no matter how melodramatic his speeches and sermons might be), and has lived long enough to understand human nature—hopefully capable in talking sense to those often quite difficult, hardheaded, and lost—he or she must be taken off the show for emotional impact. And why not kill this beloved cast member—with a character who offers a screen presence that is meaningful and commands respect from many of us needing someone to believe in when there are few available—so those left alive can no longer lean on him or her for support. Hershel was a father with two daughters, a friend to all who certainly needed one, and a mentor to Rick whose leadership skills were often questionable. I think many of the parts far exceed the whole in quality, like Hershel’s smile when he looks over at Rick offering an olive branch to The Governor, willing to live together in the prison and function separately until compromise could be found, instead of going to battle over a property that would be worthless if the two sides start killing each other. Hershel witnessed a progression in Rick that he appreciated before The Governor strikes his neck with the sword. It was a brief moment he could be proud of until The Governor takes off his head. The smile goes away as the katana blade splits his neck and machine guns fire. The tank punctures the prison structures and bends over the gates, leaving a sanctuary meaningful to no one. Instead of attempting to at least try and see if what Rick was proposing could work The Governor just destroys Hershel.

So The Governor, seemingly a different person in the RV facing a bound Michonne and Hershel (and when affectionately hugging Meghan and caressing the face of Lilly), talks to this makeshift group formed from parts unifying in the hopes of forming a community in need of a competent leader (*competent* not *insane*) about attacking the prison. Yes, they have guns and a tank. So the reason to do this is because The Governor wants to be in charge of a new community. The prison would be Woodbury 2.0. I was wondering why the flu wasn’t mentioned but perhaps that was a plot thread no longer of creative interest since it killed off enough. This flu served its purpose, gave us a virus to decrease the numbers, and enlisted a few at the prison with a mission to go on. Hershel was given an episode dedicated to his humanistic nature (even if he was unable to save many of them), allowing us to spend one last episode with him committing to helping those in need…of course because of that it was curtains for him. Exit the premises because any further attention to him would require serious effort. And because he has a bum leg, going on the run now that the prison fell would demand certain creative energies. Judith, the child of Rick’s and sister of Carl’s, was brought out into the open by the girls Carol had been a mentor to, leaving her to supposedly be taken off by zombies. Much like Hershel, Judith would be a liability to the characters since they would be on foot or in constant motion due to the undead and various marauders / stragglers out there willing to use violence in order to better their own situation.
















Too Far Gone is appropriately titled to underline how there’s no hope for The Governor. The potential growth of this character at the end of Live Bait is not as much discarded as slotted in spots that leave me a bit indifferent towards the character. He plays chess with Meghan then later smashes a former ally over the head with a golf club, dumping him into a pit of zombies. He hugs Meghan and comforts Lilly with soft hands, telling her that he’d do all he could to not kill, yet not long after cuts Hershel’s head off initiating a gunfight that leaves many on both sides left behind for zombies to munch. I guess this is an attempt (and Morrissey often alludes to this when talking out of character about The Governor) to muddy the waters and consider the character a walking dichotomy who tries to straighten up and instead winds up worse than before. And I couldn’t help but question why those under the new leadership of The Governor would just be cool with going over to the prison to take it without offering any resistance. Rick is reasonable in his argument that killing each other solves nothing and only ruins everything…but The Governor is beyond reason. Yet prior to this The Governor assures his folks that he would only kill if necessary, convincing them that violence was a last resort. The Governor tells them that Rick and his people are murderers and thieves, asserting to his folks how bad they are so that it would be easier to attack the prison. As warmly as he hugs muddy-handed Meghan, he coldly shoots her in the head when Lilly arrives at the site of the ongoing fight with her dead body. All of this so that Michonne could penetrate The Governor with the blade and Lilly, with no feelings of love for him left, would put a bullet in him.

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