The Walking Dead: 408 “Too Far Gone” Review
Reviewed by Rich Jepson.
WARNING – FULL SPOILERS
Well… at least Daryl didn’t die, so you can keep the riot gear locked away for now.
What an episode it was, finally we got the showdown that we hoped to see and I’m so glad that the writers didn’t delay for the sake of saving it as a season finale, because we definitely needed it now. Hershel’s death, Michonne’s revenge and an agonizing moment of despair looking at a blood stained car seat – these was a moments epitomized by the comics yet evolved by the TV series. It really was a testament to the confidence the writers for the show have to take that extra step away from the ‘Hollywood’ cast and truly shock us.
Let’s get into it then, the build up I’ll admit could have been done better. It takes nothing away from the whole episode because as soon as the tank fired we knew where we were heading but before this the rallying of this new group felt a little forced and too gun hoe. The Governor, sorry, Brian played the speech well I’ll admit but I still struggle to buy the unprecedented loyalty at his early stage of leadership, especially after he took a sword to Hershel’s neck.
If you leave aside the ‘convenience’ that got him a team together then this was a flawless episode and let’s face it, it had to be. The series has big boots to fill when it comes to the comics and I’m all for it taking a different route but there are moments when it just can’t back down or shy away from reaching for the bar that it’s literary cousin has set. It has to stand up and demonstrate that this show is not just another pile of special effects, ‘eugggh’ sounds and basic narrative like we see with other horror films and series.
Thankfully, it did all of this. The ‘Liar’ moment was the spark that set things off and although, for a moment, we fell into Rick’s ‘it could work’ speech this dragged us out of that dream and back into the nightmare that is this world. Finishing off Hershel in such a graphic and demonic style was gut-wrenchingly sad but the symbolism was core to illustrating just who the real Governor is. Looking back it seems Hershel’s valiant role in events this season has all been for this episode, it’s a typical thing to do when bringing down the curtain on any character but at least it wasn’t too obvious in it’s purpose.
Rick and the Governor’s fight reflected what would’ve happened in this kind of battle. Rick’s not the man he was and against the likes of such evil he didn’t really have it in him to beat him in a bare-knuckle brawl. I found it a little puzzling that Michonne didn’t slice his head clean off but perhaps this is due to a combination of her letting go of her desire for revenge in recent weeks and not wanting to mirror the Governor’s beheading of Hershel.
As for the rest of the battle, we saw allsorts of chaos unfold – Daryl kicking ass with a crossbow as per, using a walker as a shield and throwing a grenade down the tank’s turret were all at the level we’d expect for him. Maggie telling Beth ‘everyone has a job’ was a touching throwback to her father’s legacy and Carl showing that he’s his father’s son when it comes to firing off a few rounds. Oh and Lizzie shooting Alisha in the face? Kill. Of. The. Season. I was astonished but it also reconfirms the theory that she is the one leaving the traps and dissecting rats all over the place. Which we caught another glimpse of in the scene where Rick and Daryl were about to spill the beans on Carol.
Finally, coming to Judy’s fate – I’m not convinced at all. The last we saw of her was with the kids and it looked like Tyreese was heading after them so for me, my money is on him playing a Kindergarten Cop role come February. I don’t think the show has this much in it to truly have her killed off in this war. In fact, if you watch the last shot that the tank fires at the walkway between the two cell blocks you can see someone run underneath and they look to be holding something. This could have been Tyreese but perhaps it’s a random that’s taken Judy to safety in the heat of the moment? Maybe the show will use it as a payoff at the end of the season.
So February is going to be an interesting role call for the group, I’d expect the opening episode to be based solely around Rick and Carl as they deal with the aftermath of the prison and the assumed death of Judy. Outside of this, Glen is on a bus with the remaining (sick/recovering) Woodburyians, Maggie is with a wounded Bob, who will no doubt patch himself up over the holidays,and& Sasha, and it looked like Daryl got away with Beth. Michonne is the only one unaccounted for who may have gone solo once again or could hook up with Rick.
The road ahead looks wide open as I see it, the prison (like the farm) was a pinnacle setting in the comics so it had to be in the TV series but some of the locations next could be played around with much more so it’s up to the show runners to see where we head next. Either way there’s plenty to think about over the Christmas period. See you in February.
Scene of the Episode: ‘Liar’ – The moment that changed, not just the episode, but the entire series once again. This was the war we wanted to see at the end of the third season and, although delayed, I’d say it’s been worth the wait.