'Walking Dead' Recap: The Destruction of the Prison - Rolling Stone
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‘Walking Dead’ Recap: The Destruction of the Prison

Score after the mid-season finale: tank, 1; prison walls, 0

Maggie, Beth, Rick, Tyreese, Daryl, Carl, mid-season, finale, The Walking Dead, hershel, the governor

Maggie, Beth, Rick, Tyreese, Daryl and Carl in the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead.

Gene Page/AMC

Oh, hi, zombiefans! It’s mid-season finale time on The Walking Dead! (Already? Because, I mean, not a whole lot has happened? In terms of progressing the story? There was a flu, Carol‘s gone, and the human enemy is back. C’est tout?) The Governor gets to the Prison! Just like he did in Season Three!

Where we left offThe Governor killed off Martinez and anyone else who did things the wrong (read: not the Gov’s) way. This is a dude committed to keeping his new family alive and he’ll do whatever he has to do to survive. And now, for some silly reason that won’t make nearly as much sense as just going off to find his own prison (right?), he’s aiming a gun at Michonne.

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OK, so before we recap this episode, I just want to say: I know this is a show about zombies, fer crying out loud, so one must inherently suspend one’s disbelief about its given circumstances. But doesn’t tonight’s mid-season finale just seem full of absolutely unbelievable developments? Why is this prison in particular so damn important to the Governor that he has to risk everything he loves just to conquer it? Aren’t there any other prisons in Georgia? Prisons, perhaps, that are not overrun with flu germs and that contain fences that can withstand zombie herding? Other safe places, perhaps, where the inhabitants aren’t armed with assault rifles to defend themselves? And if the Governor is so fucking deadset on taking over this particular prison because he believes so firmly that it’s his only option for survival, why would he destroy its walls with a TANK?

Right, OK, backing up. The Governor takes Hershel and Michonne hostage and manages to convince his people that their only option for survival is to use the kidnapped pair as bargaining tools. He explains that this particular prison (sigh) is the best opportunity they have to stay alive. Over at the prison, Rick tells Daryl that Carol is out on her own because of the whole killing-Tyrese‘s-girlfriend thing. They decide to see what Tyrese thinks about all of this, but the big man himself wants to show them a mutilated animal corpse. Tyrese thinks that whoever killed his ladyfriend is also ritually disemboweling small mammals, but before Rick can tell him the truth, the prison rumbles. Oh, because a tank and the Governor’s militia just showed up.

Rick insists he’s done making decisions for the group (except, of course, he was the only one who decided Carol’s fate, but, OK) but the Governor insists that Rick is the only one with whom he will negotiate. The terms are simple: you give us the prison and vacate the premises. Otherwise, we will kill your friends. Rick argues that the prison is filled with the weak and sick, including children (those same children you abandoned in Woodbury, Mr. Governor). He tries to persuade the Governor that both sides can live together in the prison – they can even live in separate cell blocks. The Governor’s like: um, I have a tank. Rick tries to appeal to whatever remains of the Governor’s human sense of empathy but, of course, that never works on this show. Rick pleads that they can all come back from the horrible atrocities they’ve committed in the quest to survive. So the Gov slices off Hershel’s head with Michonne’s sword. AW MAN, SERIOUSLY?

And of course, back at their camp, the Governor’s surrogate daughter Meghan is making mudpies and manages to pry up a piece of wood. It’s a sign. No, it’s actually a literal sign, not some auspicious moment, and it warns about flash floods. So of course there’s a zombie just waiting in the mud beneath the sign and OF COURSE Meghan gets bit and now she’s a goner, so really, what the hell is this whole battle over? The Governor wants to keep his daughter safe, but now that she’s undead, does all of this still matter? Even when her mother Lilly drives her dead body to the prison just so the Gov can put the final bullet in her brain, even when he’s busy taking down a prison with a tank? Sure. Sure.

Cop wannabe Tara freaks out because suddenly everyone around her is dying and her girlfriend Alisha tells her to run away if they get separated. And then there’s lots and lots of crossfire until finally Lizzie and her sister Mika prove their strength by shooting Alisha, thus saving Tyrese’s hide. And Daryl jams a grenade down the tank’s gun barrel and then destroys the Governor’s Number Two, Mitch

Maggie is desperate to find her sister Beth who is simultaneously trying to round up all the little children and everyone keeps getting on the schoolbus and then off the schoolbus. Some of them are on the bus. Some of there aren’t on the bus. ACK. But they all seemed to know the schoolbus plan so maybe they also have a secondary escape plan? I hope so.

The Governor beats Rick to a bloody, bloody pulp and wants to strangle him into zombiedom until Michonne rams her katana through his heart. HUZZAH. Rick stumbles off to find Carl. Lilly puts the final bullet into the Governor’s brain. Carl once again saves his dad’s life with his amazing gunshot skills. And L’il Asskicker, a.k.a. Baby Judith, is not in her carseat, and that carseat is covered with blood. Yeah, it all happens pretty fast. Like eight episodes’ worth of action in one episode, not that any of us saw that coming. (Ha.)

So everyone on Team Governor is dead, except for Lilly and maybe Tara (if she ran away). And most of the prison population was on the bus, but Carl and Rick are in the woods. And Michonne is somewhere being Michonne. And Maggie got off the bus even though Glenn was still on the bus? And where is Carol? And is that baby alive? The prison falls and Rick tells his son not to look back, lest he turns into a pillar of salt. (Kidding! Kidding.)

Death Toll: Martinez’s camp, including Mitch and Alicia and some other people who had a line or so here and there. Little Punkin’ Meghan. That dang one-eyed Governor. The Good Doctor Hershel, whom we’ll miss most of all. Especially his elderberry tea.

Last week: Power Struggle


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