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Walking Dead Season 4 Mid-Season Finale Review

Jason McDonald 20 Comments

Walking Dead Season 4 Mid Season Finale ReviewWARNING: If you haven’t seen the mid-season finale for “The Walking Dead”, then this post will contain all of the spoilers you’d want to avoid.  If you haven’t seen the episode then DON’T READ THIS POST.  Otherwise, continue on down below for the review.

“The Walking Dead” often receives criticism for having slow paced story arcs and too many quiet moments.  However, when it comes to their finales, the show usually pulls it together for some explosive moments.  And tonight’s mid-season finale was no different, with explosions taking place in the prison and… in my heart.

The episode kicked off with the Governor delivering an emotionally manipulative speech to another easily led mob in order to sweep them up in his grandiose plan to get revenge and take the prison belonging to Rick and the gang.  Of course, this is all under the guise of being for their safety and protection.

Say what you will about the Governor’s story arc, there’s no doubt that David Morrissey did a fantastic job of conveying the cold and callous nature of the character.  His ability to switch from charming manipulator to violent maniac in seconds was fantastic to watch.  It isn’t hard to make a character like the Governor vile and hated by the audience, but Morrissey did it in a way that raised the tension and made it enjoyable to watch.

However, his performance aside, the biggest problem I have with this finale is the redundancy of the plot.  The Governor had already tried and failed to take the prison at the end of season three.  So with him being left alive, it made me wonder if they were going to try and do something unique with his character.  At first, it seemed like they were.  They give him a new family and a fresh start, but then he quickly returned to his violent and scheming tendencies.

From a character point of view, his return to evil makes sense.  A man like the Governor just doesn’t change, he is forever tainted by blood and greed.  That progression didn’t bother me, but to have him ultimately do the same thing again with a different group just felt like a waste of the character.  This episode just felt like a remake of the season three finale.  And while this bothered me initially, it wound up being the season three finale we should have gotten.

With the Governor heading off to war, he decided to leave his new companion and adopted daughter behind to keep them safe.  This culminates in one of the dumbest moments of the episode. With Lilly (aka Lori 2.0) left to watch her daughter, she immediately sets out to watch the river they’re left next to with great intent.  Meanwhile, her daughter is off in the far background playing in the mud.

Keep in mind, this kid is already the luckiest little girl in the world.  While Death seems to constantly be after her, she manages to narrowly escape every time.  So I would think that she’d keep a close eye on a child that’s so prone to near death experiences.  However, Lori 2.0 is so busy watching a walker float down river that she doesn’t notice her daughter being bitten by an subterranean zombie.

I appreciate the karmic punishment of having the Governor lose a second daughter because he was away trying to violently take the prison for her protection.  It’s a tragic and fitting way to bring the Governor’s arc full-circle.  However, it’s disappointing that it came about by making a character act so  incredibly stupid.

Criticisms aside, the episode manages to build up to an intense and action packed climatic end.  It starts with Rick facing off against the Governor who has a tank and a fully armed group at his back, along with Herschel and Michonne as hostages.  Andrew Lincoln does an excellent job of delivering a passionate plea to appeal to whatever humanity remains in the Governor, but his performance falls on deaf ears and the Governor lashes out by halfway beheading Herschel with Michonne’s katana.

Not since Dale died in season two has a death felt like such a punch to the gut, which is fitting since the two characters played the same role of wise mentor for the group.  It’s a heartbreaking moment which leads to an utter bloodbath between Rick and the Governor’s groups.

And while there are plenty of deaths to be had the majority are, of course, the nameless characters in the background.  Still, all of the fodder gives certain characters an opportunity to show how badass they are.  Daryl, for example, uses a zombie as a meat shield and takes on a tank.  Meanwhile, the girls that Carol trained to fight put that knowledge to use and kill people in a strangely creepy moment.

Of course, the most satisfying death is that of the Governor.  With his hands choking the life out of Rick, Michonne delivers a stab to his back that emits a harmonious sound equivalent to that of a flight of angels.  And while it’s not the blow that kills him, there’s a great deal of satisfaction in seeing Michonne lay him out again.

And while “The Walking Dead” knocked me down with Herschel’s death, it kicked me one last time by killing off baby Judith. Yes, Little Ass Kicker was among the casualties of this episode.  Amid all the chaos and carnage, Judith was left in her baby car seat as zombies descended upon the prison.  While we never saw the deed, we do get an idea of what happened when Rick and Carl come across her blood stained car seat.  Knowing what Rick has gone through, it’s a moment that leaves you questioning how anyone could go on with life.

Of course, with no body and no eyewitness to say what happened, there’s always a chance that someone rescued baby Judith.  It’s one of the many lingering questions that’ll be left for the second half of season four.

At the end of the episode, the prison is in shambles and infested with Walkers.  The last shot we see is that of Rick and Carl dragging themselves away from the site with Rick meekly telling Carl to “not look back.”  Meanwhile, the rest of our heroes are scattered to the wind.  Glenn and a few others escaped on a bus, Tyrese ran away with some kids, Maggie was left with Bob and Sasha, and Daryl took off with Beth.

It was everything you could want out of a mid-season finale.  It resolved some plot lines while leaving you with threads to follow into the second half of the season.  This was everything the third season finale should have been, but like Rick says, we can’t look back now.  All we can do is move on from this tragic finale and hope our group can once again reunite.

What did you think ? Let us know in the comments how you liked the finale.

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20 Comments

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      1. Sandro Shinobi Dro Sanon December 2, 2013 at 8:45 am

        well done. it had people cheering and roaring with emotion. cant wait until Febuary!

      2. Beth Keller December 2, 2013 at 8:48 am

        i am so sad now

      3. Jimmy James December 2, 2013 at 8:50 am

        Why the fuck do you have a mid season final who came up with a shit

      4. Joel Humphrey December 2, 2013 at 8:52 am

        Fuck you!!

      5. Berserker Decker December 2, 2013 at 9:04 am

        Lily is as bad a mother as lori. Zombie world? Let’s allow the kids to play a thousand yards away

      6. Dave Walsh December 2, 2013 at 9:10 am

        Exciting- sad-heartbreaking all in one- FANTASTIC- roll on February.

      7. Pepper Clemens December 2, 2013 at 9:49 am

        Aaaaaaaaa damn, no hershell, and rick, rick is a pussy…

        • Dale Twigg
          Dale Twigg December 2, 2013 at 1:29 pm

          That means Daryl and Tyrese are in charge.

      8. Kevin Uy December 2, 2013 at 10:10 am

        Fuck the gov!! Want to kill him myself! Shitttt

      9. Kathy Murphy December 2, 2013 at 10:16 am

        prison open to walkers again (thank you Govenor Dumbass); Hershel murdered (thanks again Govenor Dumbass); baby Judith aka Lil Ass Kicker most likely eaten by walkers after Carol’s girls left her sitting in the parking lot so they could weapon up and join in the battle; Rick badly beaten up by Govenor and shot in upper leg; Maggie and Glenn seperated during the battle (he was on evac bus, she went back to find Beth); people stranded at prison (Daryl, Michonne, creepy Bob, Maggie and Beth, Carol’s girls, Sascha, Tyrese, and who knows who else); Rick and Carl escaped on foot through the woods after discovering Baby Judith aka Lil Ass Kicker’s empty bloody carseat where the girls left it……Oh yeah we still don’t know who the psychopath that was feeding the walkers rats was, and Tyrese discovered that said psychopath has been dissecting animals and pinning them to boards inside of the prison…. my money is on creepy Bob- yeah he’s an alcoholic former vetrinary student, but there’s something more going on with that guy… he just gives off a creepy vibe… I think he’s the one who fed the rats and dissected the critters and I’m not so sure people may not be next? Februrary is sooooooooooooooooooooo far away!

        • Dale Twigg
          Dale Twigg December 2, 2013 at 1:28 pm

          Kathy watch that scene again. The car seat was unbuckled. It looks like the kids took her out of the car seat and hid Judith with the other children. Zombies don’t usually unbuckle before they eat. It looks like someone bloody (human or zombie) touched the seat. It is possible that Lilli’s mother found the car seat and took her as well. They would have followed closer to the comic book had Judith been killed.

      10. Chris Wyble December 2, 2013 at 11:06 am

        Way to keep the spoilers to a minimum there. Hahaha.

      11. Carmen A. McCormack December 2, 2013 at 11:58 am

        Great review. Best ep ever I’d say. My money for the killer of the rats and the two survivors is the creepy young girl Carol was looking after. She had befriended a walker and I reckon carol was protecting her. Aside, Hershel’s death was awful. So sad to see him go.

      12. jeff December 2, 2013 at 1:35 pm

        i think you are off on judiths death….she is with lizzie and tyreese,,,lizzies sister went back and grabbed her. it took 2 girls to carry the baby carrier, thats why she left it behind

      13. Shanns December 2, 2013 at 3:33 pm

        Daryl should have let Carl try and take the Governor out when he had the chance. Sometimes I think Carl should be the leader of the group!

      14. Brian December 2, 2013 at 11:19 pm

        Awesome episode, loved the governor, but am glad he’s gone (It’s a war on Zombies, not Pirates). Can’t believe the wasted Hershel, which is why I can’t imagine Judith is really gone. Love WD, got me thinking about Zombie Insurance, check out attached link.

      15. manna December 3, 2013 at 1:13 am

        I think Carol came back and was injured and hiding in the prison. The kids ran back inside and that would leave Tyrese to face and deal with the fact that Carol killed his woman.

      16. manna December 3, 2013 at 1:30 am

        …..also that Carol saved his life by training the kids.

      17. ilovewalkingdead December 3, 2013 at 7:23 pm

        WHAT IF THE GOVERNOR ISNT DEAD?!?!?! THEY NEVER SHOWED HIM DEAD!!! :o

      18. jim beam January 25, 2014 at 11:01 am

        ilovewalkingdead: They did, after Lily shot him in the head..

        Once again Walking Dead creates drama through stupidity
        -Why would Lilly let her kid play far away at a moment when there are no other adults around…my mom never let me get all covered in mud right before we had to go somewhere
        -Why doesn’t anyone have a sniper rifle to take out the governor, or cover Rick, or just bc it would be a good weapon in an urban defense scenario
        -Why didn’t they prep for the assault on the prison…it was exactly the same as last time! Where are the bunkers, machine gun positions, trenches, sandbags, etc? Cmon ppl you had time to dig all those graves…
        -when the gov shows up everyone stands around and wimpers instead of getting to battle stations…shouldnt they have practiced for these situations. And why is the escape bus parked out front where it can be blown up…last time the gov had a grenade launcher!
        -I find the ballistics of these battles to be pretty dodgy…meat doesn’t stop bullets, chain link fences are not cover, wooden crates are not bullet proof, heck trucks and buses are not bullet proof…the only thing that IS bullet proof is the tank, everyone else should be dead firing machine guns at each other from ten feet away and hiding behind, basically, nothing.
        -The new camp ppl go from “I’m a nice person and I’ve never heard of the other crew” to “let’s risk everything to murder them all right now” after a two minute speech. Believable for Woodbury, vaguely, after a year of following the gov, who had saved them many times. Not for a camp full of strangers he’s led for all of an afternoon.
        -Weren’t the other camp ppl kind of wondering who the new guy was and why all their old leaders were turning up dead. At least three ppl knew the gov was the last one seen with his former #2. No one says anything. 2+2= let’s just follow whoever is talking!
        -Gov does a better job in this battle with a bunch of noobs he just met than with his trained and hardened battle crew in S3. Yeah they had a tank, but it wasn’t much use beyond knocking down the fence. Last time they had a truck to do that. And more belt fed machine guns, and the grenade launcher….the surprise factor alone doesn’t explain why they are suddenly good at fighting pitched battles in close formation behind a tank.
        -It takes at least three people to crew a tank…i presume two unseen red shirts died from the grenade? Or he was doing all the driving and loading and sighting and firing himself? No wonder it was mostly useless, (except as cover).