The writers and producers of The Walking Dead have always told fans that no one on the show is safe. The Walking Dead mid-season finale episode Too Far Gone made that clear to fans by killing off one of the most beloved characters on the show. Hershel Greene, the father of Maggie and Beth and the character widely regarded as the moral center of the show, died horrifically at the hands of Rick’s nemesis The Governor. Hershel was not the only character to die in the episode but his death was the most traumatic for fans.
The Walking Dead Too Far Gone gave fans the confrontation between Rick and The Governor that fans expected at the end of Season 3. In the Season 3 finale The Governor and a crew from Woodbury attacked the prison. However the Woodbury group broke ranks and retreated when Rick and the prison group fought back with some serious firepower. Infuriated The Governor killed everyone he had brought with him to fight and took off with Shumpert and Martinez. The surviving citizens of Woodbury joined the prison group.
In episodes 6 and 7 this season The Governor reappeared. Martinez and Shumpert left him and after burning Woodbury to the ground he set out on his own. He found a new romance with Lilly and bonded with Lilly’s daughter Meghan. Meghan was about the same age as The Governor’s daughter Penny when she died. Having found a new family The Governor was determined not to lose them again. When The Governor, Lilly, Meghan and Lilly’s sister Tara went in search of safer surroundings they found a group of survivors headed by Martinez. Martinez, knowing The Governor’s past, was hesitant to let them join the group but took them in for the sake of Lilly, Tara and Meghan. The Governor then killed Martinez and took over the group.
Faced with keeping the small group and his new family safe without the solid structures of Woodbury The Governor decided he was going to take the prison from Rick and the group. One of the members of his new group had been a tank operator at Fort Benning when the apocalypse happened. He had escaped Fort Benning with an operational tank which The Governor knew the prison group would be unable to fight against.
While scouting out the prison The Governor came across Michonne and Hershel who were outside the prison burying some of the dead. The prison had just come through an epidemic of an illness that killed many members of the group. The Governor took Michonne and Hershel prisoner and used them to convince his new group that they needed to attack the prison. He told the group that he could exchange Hershel and Michonne for the prison. But he told them to be ready to go on the offensive if Rick wouldn’t give up control of the prison.
The Governor takes his group, the tank, and Michonne and Hershel to the prison and calls Rick to the fence to convince him to give up the prison. Caught off guard and with forces depleted after the epidemic Rick is not sure what to do. Rick gives a passionate speech telling the group backing The Governor that they can share the prison. He thinks if the two groups occupy different cell blocks they can co-exist peacefully. It looks like his speech is starting to work on the other group, who don’t want to have to attack the prison or kill anyone. So The Governor, trying to get control of the situation again, beheads Hershel in front of everyone. After that the battle between the two groups begins.
There were several standout moments in Too Far Gone. The death of Hershel had fans screaming at their televisions in shock and horror. Fans had been warned that one of the major characters in the show was going to die. Speculation online had pegged Hershel as the likely character that wouldn’t make it past the mid-season finale. But fans were not prepared for the gruesome death of the benevolent father figure of the show. After Rick gave his speech proposing the two groups put aside the past and live together Hershel smiled at Rick to show his approval and then Hershel received the death blow. It was a poignant and shocking moment that set the audience reeling.
The Governor finally got what was coming to him as far as fans were concerned. As the assault on the prison was beginning Lilly appeared carrying the body of Meghan, who had been killed by a walker. The Governor had left them behind at the camp to keep them safe while he attacked the prison.
After realizing he had lost his family again he became once again the ice cold killer that he was at Woodbury. When The Governor and Rick were fighting he managed to beat Rick down and was choking him when Michonne appeared and ran him through with her katana sword. Fans everywhere cheered. But it was Lilly, who lost her daughter because of The Governor, who finally killed him with a bullet to the head.
The group managed to defeat The Governor’s group but ultimately the prison was destroyed and the group had to scatter to survive. At the end of the episode the prison group was divided and out on their own. It’s safe to assume that the group planned for this and had some pre-arranged meeting place in case they got separated but there’s no way to know if they will all make it to the meeting point.
Too Far Gone completely changes the landscape of The Walking Dead. Just as the characters had the security of the prison taken from them fans have had the security of the survival of their favorite characters taken from them.
The writers have reminded fans in a brutal way that no character on the show is safe from being killed off. The Walking Dead mid-season finale also sets the stage for a major shift for the remaining characters. The prison has been their home for a full season and a half. Now they will have to go back out in search of a secure place to live. There will be new threats from other groups of survivors and the continuing threat of zombies. Fans will have to wait until February 9th to see what happens next for the surviving characters.