Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Walking Dead- Season 4, Episode 8: Prison Riot

The days of the prison are over, the Governor's dead and the episode we TWD comic fans have all been waiting for finally came and it did not disappoint! Since the Governor character has been introduced we knew this showdown was coming. It was the destiny of the two leaders to collide. Reason had to clash with madness at some point. Even though the Governor had tried to convince himself he was a good moral leader in the end he inevitably chose the dark side. Standing on that tank, the man had a personal realization like that of an ancient Babylonian demi-god. All Philip Blake really wanted was blood. This dark clarity manifested itself in the death of not only Hershel, but himself and damn near everyone who had the misfortune of crossing the Governor's path.

Before all the chaos happened we finally got to see Daryl's reaction to Carol's banishment, which in hindsight was a blessing. Daryl finds out and goes to tell Tyreese who has I think found the twisted science project of Lizzy. Just before Rick tells Tyreese, destiny comes knocking in the form of the Governor's tank blasting away a guard tower. They drop all their drama and run out to see the Governor and he means business because he has Michonne, Hershel and is asking for Rick. I want to point out really quick how bad-ass the scene was with Rick walking up to Philip with a dozen people pointing automatics at him and a freakin tank barrel starring him down.

Here Rick gives a great speech that clearly shows the distinction between him and the Gov. I think that no matter what Rick would have said Philip was going to start a war. Rick's speech hadn't meant nothing, it gave Hershel peace to know that his wise words had meant something. I think he smiled because he knew that in the end he did impart something, there was a plan, and true good could still exist in this world. But like the duality of man, good will exist alongside destruction, and Hershel met his graphic end which was lifted right out of the comic. The only difference is it was someone else who was on the chopping block.

The Governor delivers a flawless victory to Hershel, decapitates him and all Hell breaks loose. Bullets start flying and the inevitable war begins, but not before the writers deliver some more fan service with the iconic "kill em' all" line from the Gov. The tank rolls over the gates destroying what our heroes fought so desperately to maintain in mere seconds. All the while, the tank is blasting holes in the sanctuary and the main group starts fleeing in every which way. What I really loved about this episode was that it let the tension build and build. From the opening monologue the Governor has you sense the doom clinging in the air.

While all the chaos unfolds, we are left with Lilly and Megan. After Lilly pleads with the Gov to call off the attack, she is left behind with her daughter. Unfortunately after playing in the mud, Megan meets her end with a pretty sweet zombie attack scene. As morbid as it sounds, Megan had to die. Megan's death was all Philip's fault. He could have been there to protect the family, but instead he let his ego take control and nothing else mattered to him.

Glenn ends up taking off with the bus, Maggie, Sasha & Bob take off together, and Daryl flees with Beth. The battle was epic and while we didn't see the giant CG horde we saw in the past episode its clear the prison belongs to the walkers now. In this bookend to the prison arc, we also got the final showdown between the leaders, and the Governor bested Rick. He was about to choke the life out of Grimes no doubt and it was intense seeing Rick on the brink of death, and inches from meeting his end with his arch enemy's hands around his throat. However, Michonne finished him like she promised she would. I like how the Gov died in the series. In the comic it was by Lilly, but she was a stranger and had no relationship with Phil, but here we got to see Michonne seal his fate, and Lilly end him.

So in the end Philip is reduced to an absurd man who not only killed a ton of innocent people, but ruined a perfectly good sanctuary and hopeful community and got himself killed in the process. This was the end to the prison chapter that the long time fans have been waiting for and it was worth it. They dragged out the Governor's story a bit but I think it was for the best. They had a lot of build up to this episode and I think it would have been less climactic if we saw it all end at the end of Season 3. Although I still think the 3rd season finale was weak, but it at least bought us some more time, and we got to see this prison grow into a community and that of course makes it all the more tragic when we see it burn. This episode was packed with shots and references taken from the source material. I have to say as a huge fan of that material, seeing the shot of a defeated Rick & Carl climbing over that hilltop with the burning, war torn zombie infested prison in the background brought to life on screen after seeing it on the page years ago, it gave me chills.

I loved this episode. It demonstrated everything this series is and has the potential to be a dramatic and gory sprawling epic. After being well past the prison story in the comics, I can promise you the story of Rick and his group is just getting started. There's many more chapters in this saga. I am dying to find out where they are going to take this and from checking out the sneak preview of the 9th episode, I think all of us comic book fans have an idea. It's going to get even more wild, dark, and dangerous. For the first time these people are split up and alone. The world outside is no less cruel or scary, and again it will be proven that in a world plagued by the undead, other desperate humans are what these people should fear the most.

Overall, I'm satisfied after this episode. I'm curious if they actually killed Judy, because she didn't make it in the books. After seeing that empty bloody car seat, I don't think she will make it off the prison. So all in all, I'm giving this episode a 10 out of 10. The Walking Dead has hit a major mile stone in the story and they did not fuck it up. Gimple & writers you've done it, you showed the whole world ya got balls. I am dying to see where this show goes next. The stage is set for a whole new adventure and now all we have to do is wait till Febuary to find out what happens next. See you then!

Written by Isaiah Mueller

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