Walking Dead Recap: Too Far Gone
Well was Sunday’s The Walking Dead something else or not? I was so over the preceding governor episode that I couldn’t bring myself to write a whole guest post on the subject so I’ll just lump a couple notes on it in here. This episode, however, made up for a lot of lost ground. Definitely some good television. Some disjointed ramblings follow. Beware, spoilers abound. If you haven’t watched the episode yet then avert your eyes!
-The bright spot for me in the preceding Governor episode was the pan out to the tank. This was like catching sight of a familiar landmark after wandering in the wilderness for a season. Followers of the comic were confused in that the comic narrative had the prison falling to the Governor’s crew who stormed the facility using a tank. The initial Woodbury assault last season both was lacking in the lumbering ordinance and also in the damage to the prison rendering it uninhabitable. The presence of the tank signaled that the show was turning back to a familiar direction for the comic book fans. It also signaled (along with his especially heroic and moral recent stint) the looming doom of Hershel.
-Another return to tradition: the desire of the Governor’s crew to acquire and inhabit the prison. If you’ll recall, when he was comfortably ensconced in Woodbury the Governor was not particularly interested in the prison as a place to live. This is because a walled off town is obviously a much more pleasant place to live than a concrete prison. It remains somewhat of a plot hole that the Prison group remained in the prison after their Woodbury victory- then again the prison does appear to offer more potential in the arable land department. I doubt Brian (the Governor) is introspective enough to regret any of the idiotic stuff he’s done but I wonder if he ever thought to himself “ya know self, burning Woodbury down may not have been a very good idea” ?
-I was generally pleased with the Brian’s group. Selling them on assailing the prison struck me as quite believable. They were desperate and, yes, the holes and makeshift barricades they have been assembling were manifestly inadequate as a defensive perimeter. The capture of Hershel and Michonne was a bit pat but I accepted it unenthusiastically. I thought ol’Hersh wasn’t allowed outside the prison on account of his leg? Well ya can’t get captured and martyred without going outside so we’ll just overlook that.
-The interrogation scene was pretty good too. I found Brian’s somewhat absent “not now” to Michonnes death threats astonishingly funny. Hershel seemed almost mesmerized at staring at his moral opposite across the philosophical gulf that separated them. The two have been written as pretty much opposites (a significant promotion for Hershel over his comic book incarnation).
-The dissected rat was fishing gross! I continue to assume it’s little miss creepy though with all that happens subsequently her zombie feeding predilections may no longer be relevant. Perhaps some time roaming in the wilds without prison fence or Woodbury walls will snap our young lady into reality. You don’t think so? No, neither do I. Still, the disgusting rat-board served to sidetrack Tyreese, Rick and Darrel long enough for the Brian to show up which defers the Carol revelation to a later date. What odds will you give me that Tyreese falls in with Carol now that he’s out wandering the wilds?
-Lily and Meghan. I’m sorry but since I knew the little girl was DOOMED™ I was far more interested (as apparently was her mother) in the effect of rivers on walker locomotion. Long story short: walkers are not good with running water. This confirms that large rivers would offer significant benefits as barriers and refuges. Not only do they keep the walkers out but they offer a transportation route for scavenging. If Georgia was closer to the Mississippi I’d suggest Rick and crew should be looking to scope out a river island to hole up on. To give the walkers their due, however, the one that chomped Meghan was creepy as all get out as it emerged from the mud.
-Ricks negotiations with the Brian were well acted, particular on Hershel’s part. His approval when Rick unbent enough to pitch co-existence was touching. As a practical consideration, also, how awesome would a merger have been? Sans Brian himself the rest of those people were almost exactly what the prison group was in need of- capable healthy adults mostly of sound mind. The prison group and the prison itself were exactly what Brian’s group needed as well- a good refuge, some good leadership and some dependents to help provide purpose. That ended with Brian’s chop-chop bit.
-The battle that ensued was well done. A particular shout out goes to the tank. In this episode we see exactly why militaries have adored tanks since they were first invented. This battle was the epitome of what tanks excel at. We see the tank advance, crushing through barriers that humans would find very difficult and providing a rolling barrier for the infantry behind it. Is the enemy dug in behind shelter? The tank has an answer to that too; blow it up. Note, also, that the tank was taken down by an infantry maneuver (Darrel threw a grenade down the barrel). Were Brian’s group not amateurs this would not have happened. Tanks and infantry naturally complement each other: tanks provide the heavy muscle and rolling shelter infantry need against dug in opponents; infantry hiding behind a tank can gun down the guerilla attacks (molotovs, grenades, strapped on explosives) that tanks most easily fall to. Brian was well within his rights to be smug, that tank was a huge deal.
-A special shot out to the Walkers; their strategy was pretty good. Organized group with a fishing tank? Hide in the woods. Two groups of crazy humans fighting each other and knocking all those pesky fences down? Swarm out of the woodwork and line up for the buffet. An interesting element to consider in human on human conflicts: any such conflicts in TWD world draw walkers like crazy as a side effect of the battle. That’s an interesting element to consider when choosing between force and diplomacy.
-The prison, frankly, has never looked lovelier. The inner courtyards in particular had more plants, terraces and general livableness built in that I don’t recall previously seeing. They also went out of their way to up the light level too. Remember that prison block where Glen and co were dying in three episodes back? Shimmering with sunlight for his love scene with Maggie this episode. If they’d ramped it up slightly more and added some cicadas they’d have approached the near otherworldly paradise feel of Hershel’s farm.
So what did you all think?