The Walking Dead "Too Far Gone" Review: Just Getting It Done

By Tim Surette

Dec 02, 2013

The Walking Dead S04E08: "Too Far Gone"

You know, for an episode that featured a tank shooting up the prison, the deaths of a handful of main characters, and the showdown between the Governor and Rick that we've all been waiting for since the Season 3 finale ripped us off by skipping, "Too Far Gone" wasn't really that great. Relative to the last two episodes—which dragged on for what seemed like four—the first two thirds of The Walking Dead's mid-season finale were more of the same: The Governor was acting all sweet and like he cared about the best interests of the group, when we all knew that he was a dick. The big hoedown at the end was fun to watch, but it was preposterous, even for a show about walking corpses eating the living. It was a sloppy hour that wrapped up plots by kicking them in the groin and pushing them off this runaway train of a show, but hey, that's The Walking Dead, television's okayest series that we all want to be great (but that probably never will be). And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that. Just kill some zombies and some characters I like, and I'll put up with a lot.

But at some point I'll probably get tired of the same old, same old,  and *gasp* maybe I'll begin to start the process of thinking about maybe pondering the idea of possibly quitting the series. Me? Not watching a zombie show? The idea of that happening seems crazytownbananapants. But the last three episodes of this first half of Season 4 actually have me thinking like that, and what should have been a fun mid-season finale saw plentiful stupidity outweigh the less-frequent awesomeness. The biggest problem I had with it was all the hair I pulled out of my head during the many "Whyyyyyy????" moments that got in the way of brainless amusement. Among them:

  • Why did everyone from Camp Martinez have no problem with the Governor telling them what to do after getting their panties all the way up their butts when Pete said he was going to take over? This is residual from last week, but it made me all the more crazy when these dopes just agreed to attack a prison without asking even one question. "Yeah sure, let's go take over this prison because our new leader said so. You know, the new leader with the evil eyepatch who just showed up a few days ago right before our other leaders mysteriously died."
  • Why do all the parents in this show WANT their kids to die? Who (Lilly) lets their child (Meghan) play unsupervised on zombie-infested land while all the people who normally protect the perimeter are off attacking a prison? Couldn't Lilly have watched the river for zombies AND kept an eye on her daughter at the same time? Maybe tell Meghan to play near the lookout point instead of a hundred yards behind Lilly? And why did the zombie that bit Meghan decide to pop up right then? Did that sign keep it from digging through the dirt?

  • Why did Lilly show up in the middle of a gunfight with dead Meghan in her arms? And did she carry Meghan's body all the way through the woods to the prison? And why didn't Meghan turn during the long walk there?
  • Why can anyone land a headshot on a zombie with one bullet in the middle of chaos, but when it comes to shooting another human—even one who's retreating with no cover around him (like Rick)—all of a sudden everyone has the aim of a drunken toddler?

  • Why did a bullet go right through Bob as if he was made out of tissue, but then Daryl held a zombie carcass up as a human shield and suddenly it was like Kevlar? Last week, Tara grabbed a zombie's ankle and it peeled away like the skin of a wet grape. This week, zombies were bulletproof.
  • Why did the tank shoot holes in everything if the prison was so important?
  • Why didn't Rick shoot the Governor instead of punching him in the side of the face?

  • Why didn't Michonne kill the Governor? Seriously, WHY? You said you were going to, Michonne. Now you're just a windbag of empty promises. And why would the writers choose Lilly as the one to kill the Governor? Did they sit around and wonder, "What is the least satisfying way we can kill this dude off?"
  • Why didn't The Walking Dead just kill the Governor in Season 3 if this was how he was ultimately going to meet his end? Why did we have to sit through the last two episodes if all the Governor was going to do was meet a new chick and rally some randoms to fuck up the prison?
  • Why is AMC doing some stupid #FanRomance campaign and what was with that lame commercial about that guy who proposed to his girlfriend at a zombie-themed party? 

But let's back up to that last WHY, the one just before the #FanRomance one. When Rick told the Governor that he wasn't giving up the prison and they would fight it out if the Governor turned down Rick's request to be roommates, it was exactly what the Governor wanted to hear. I don't even know if he wanted the prison at all, he just wanted to ruin Rick's day and kill a bunch of people, even if it meant he would fail. What a jerk! 

"Too Far Gone" was Season 4's chance to reveal the meaning of its two Governor-centric episodes, and it failed to use any of the foundation it spent two hours laying. The Meghan thing didn't matter, the Lilly thing didn't matter, the Governor supposedly changing after losing everything didn't matter. In the end, what we always thought about the Governor was correct, and the detour about him embracing a new start and becoming Brian Hariot was a confusing and meaningless diversion. If The Walking Dead's writers had used the Governor as the insane villain we always knew he was instead of making him into a family man with a soft spot for little girls who also happens to be a power-hungry maniac who kills off great guest-stars, these last three episodes would have been a lot more fun. Instead, we got to see him have sex in the back of a truck and make chess metaphors. I just wanted him to die and get off this show. There was no point in keeping him around, and his death should have been a moment for all of us to high-five, but instead it just sorta happened.


But for all the narrative faceplants, "Too Far Gone" did have those "AHHHHHHHHHHHZOMG" moments that are still worth talking about. Deaths! We already discussed the Governor's overdue demise, and now let's never speak of it again. And Meghan was only a plot device that the writers didn't even fully use, so we can skip her, too. But Hershel! They killed Hershel! The old man had enough moxie to crawl away with half his neck severed in his final moments... and then the Governor went Theon Greyjoy on him and took several hacks to take his head completely off. The Walking Dead has never been one for ceremonious send-offs, and this will go down as Exhibit A for that. Just a few weeks ago, Hershel gave us one of the show's best episodic performances in "Internment," and his payment for that was a death completely out of his control. It's like Scott Wilson's face was the one that got pierced on the writers' room dartboard full of cast members as they decided which character would be this episode's big exit. It's The Walking Dead's prerogative how it wants to handle character deaths, and right now the show's approach appears to be "RANDOMLY," in big bright lights. In a way it makes sense, because of this crazy world the survivors live in. People would totally suddenly drop dead or get their heads cut off by eye-patched lunatics in a zombie apocalypse. But with a TV series that we tune in for each week, it's drama for shock value and nothing else. 


And Judith! Little Ass Kicker got her ass kicked! Or did she? That bloody car seat certainly wanted us to believe that Rick's daughter became a zombie delicacy (mmmm... baby flesh), but I'm following Habeus Corpus rules here and saying no body means no death. The Walking Dead doesn't seem like a show that would say, "Whoa whoa whoa! We're not showing a dead baby, that's just too far." In fact, I'd bet they'd jump at the chance. If it can show Rick shooting zombie Sophia in the face and a zombie gnawing on Meghan's shoulder, it can show a severed baby leg in a bloody baby shoe. Tyreese probably picked her up or something. The Walking Dead wouldn't deny us the pleasure of seeing a zombie use a baby femur as a toothpick, would it?

"Too Far Gone" was entertaining mop-up duty with a fun and frustrating finish, but SURPRISE it wasn't top-tier television. Maybe that's the destiny of The Walking Dead. Maybe the show won't ever reach the heights it occasionally flirts with. As long as it has zombies, gore, and deaths, I'm going to watch it. But this back-and-forth game of "Is this the season where The Walking Dead gets its shit together?" is a game I think we should all stop playing. Some of you reached that point a long time ago, but I'm a sucker, and the strong start to Season 4 pulled me back in again. Now? I may just start fast-forwarding to the parts with spraying blood. Oh who am I kidding, it will pull me back in again, I know it. Damn you, show!



NOTES

– I think the most nervous I was during this whole episode was watching those kids carry Judith in that car seat. She wouldn't have survived the trip to the bus the way the little'uns were flopping her around. That was Shaken Baby Syndrome waiting to happen!

– Hello, Lizzie! She rounded up her posse of short-stacks and they became the toddler cavalry and saved Tyreese's life. That was some pretty accurate shooting for a bunch of kids who just a few days ago were learning how to use a knife. I still hate you, Lizzie. 

– Daryl was his usual great self, and his grenade slam-dunk into the turret of a tank was awesome. And even though I complained about a zombie being an effective human shield, that move was fantastic in a cartoonish way.

– A couple things put off a little longer than they should've been this season: the rest of the group learning about Carol, and the culprit responsible for feeding rats to zombies and making freaky animal dissection displays in The Tombs.

– Don't worry, David Morrissey (who played the Governor) already has another pilot at AMC lined up.


  • Comments (937)
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  • shawilmendoza Feb 12, 2014

    how can i watch this episode?

  • jessicakroeber Feb 13, 2014

    All video links are posted in the WATCH ONLINE section of each episode page. For example: http://www.tv.com/shows/the-walking-dead/too-far-gone-2985386/

  • syyllables Dec 23, 2013

    Apparently, you have many questions of why. I would like to point the ff:

    • You're right when you said that Lilly should have stayed with her daughter while she plays, because starring at a walker crossing a river is more important to her.
    • When Lilly was rushing to her daughter, she could have shot the walker right in the face. Instead, she waited until she get there and boom. I really believe that Lilly has turtle reflexes.
    • Meghan could HAVE turned while they went to the prison. But it didn't happened. Remember why? Because Dr. Jenner said, (accdg to their first studies) that they can turn at least after 3 minutes or as long as 8 hours.
    • The walker buried in the mud wasn't a mistake, we don't know how many people died there before the apocalypse. it quite cool because walking dead have included the typical zombie scenario which is the dead will rose from the ground kind of thing.
    • It's just right when Daryl made the walker a human/zombie shield, I've seen tons of movies doing that so we shouldn't make a big thing out of it. And at the season 3 when the Governor attacked the prison for the first time, one of Governor's people shot Oscar in the head while Carol is lying right at his back for protection.
    • I only thought of one thing through out the episode: the people in the prison who are just waiting something to happen with the Governor and Rick was a wrong move. The mere fact that Hershel and Michonne were right right kneeling before Rick, it is a fucking that "Hey guys do you mind to scatter, go the woods and attack the Governor and his people at the back so nothing can happen to us and that this son of a bitch will finally die?" Nooope, that didn't happen. Let's assume that the Governor posted a bunch of people in the woods just in case the prison people will do that, they could kill em all in a minute. Pssh, if that only crossed the minds of the writers/producers/director, it should have been great in a diff way.
    But over all the episode was e tear-jerker, the fall of Rick and Carl when they saw Judith gone, one of the best.

  • kaikka May 31, 2014

    "we don't know how many people died there before the apocalypse. it quite cool because walking dead have included the typical zombie scenario which is the dead will rose from the ground kind of thing."

    Err, no. We haven't seen any old corpses rising from their graves. Neither would it make any sense since those who died before obviously weren't infected.

  • nefuscula Dec 21, 2013

    WTF this review? It's like we watched two different shows. Stop reviewing this show, Tim. And people comparing TWD to Alias? I guess that would explain the quality of most TV shows these days, if they are targetting people who think like that. WTF!

  • Akyriel Dec 18, 2013

    late to the party here, but I just marathoned the last 4 episodes and had to comment. Not wanting to read 927 comments, forgive me if anyone is still reading them and I state the same thoughts.

    Why did Rick sound like he was going to cry while talking to the Governor?

    Why didn't he sow any seeds of doubt among the Governor's new posse by telling them what he's done in the past?

    Why did Rick, an experienced sheriff's deputy and survivor get his ass kicked so easily???

    Episodes like this are great to watch, but the point Surette noted do sink in and bug you. The Governor being shot by Lilly made little sense, but showing more of her realization of what a monster he truly was may have helped that scene better. In case no one pointed it out though, she drove in the car behind her you have pictured. A cool end to the Governor, aside from Michonne, might have been a scene where Meghan, having been turned by the zombie (any zombie actually) kills the Governor in some surprising way. Maybe he survives the prison fight and goes back for her and Lilly, which, of course, would mean some total rewrite, but still would have been better justice.

  • Devon39219 Dec 12, 2013

    Man... Herschel.. Why... this show depresses the heck out of me.

  • dolphin_intern Dec 12, 2013

    I think it was an awesome episode but I do have to agree that I don't feel with this show what I did say watching something like Battlestar Galactica, 24, Alias or even Lost. All of those shows pulled me in every week and there was only a few duds here and there (exception of Alias cause I mean come on Seasons 4 and 5 blew) but they all had great consistency unlike the Walking Dead which can be awesome for a few episodes only to then derail with the likes of 'Live Bait' and 'Dead Weight'. I own three of the four the shows I mentioned and watch religiously cause of how freaking good they were but I can't say the same for Walking Dead.

  • jenniferlmelv Dec 08, 2013

    I was dreading a rehashed rerun of the Tombs episode from the previous season and boy was I glad to be wrong. An attack was promised and actually delivered on. I think that Michonne did not kill the Governor because she gave him a fate worse than, dying and coming back as a walker and then she gets to kill him all over again.

    The Governor, in my opinion (and I havent read the novels), seemed to only want to eff up the group and piss off Rick because if he really wanted the prison he could have gone in without blowing the crap out of it. I thought for one minute was a gonner but there is still time after the beating he took.

    What next now they are all scattered and separated? Do they have some where to meet up or is this just a way for the writers to get rid of characters and make space for new ones without any blood shed?? Will Carol be back or will it turn out to be the lamest end to a character who was finally coming into her own??

    As for the kids, who knew they would turn out to be able to shoot better than the adults?? I hope the baby isn't dead, maybe some one else picked her up on the way out of the prison. The problem with mid season breaks is we have too long to wait to find out.

  • ionee24 Dec 09, 2013

    The kids didn't shock me because Carol had been teaching them how to handle several weapons, if the knew how to use knives they sure must have known how to use handguns.

    Just because Carl was the only kid we've seen with a weapon doesn't mean he was the only kid in the prision that knew how to handle them.

  • christieg77 Dec 07, 2013

    So I decided that I would read one of Tim's reviews for the first time in a long time, because I thought, after an episode like that, no way Tim can be a dick about it. But first paragraph in, yup Tim is still a dick. I am not even going further. You are hands down the dumbest person on this site Tim. They keep you employed because you know how to stir the pot and piss people off, and that's about it.

  • ShawnG6 Dec 08, 2013

    Here is my counterpoint to Tim's review.....

    ShawnG6's Post

  • ionee24 Dec 07, 2013

    Now I'm thinking Michonne rescued Judith from the bloody car seat because her arms must have been covered in The Governor's blood after she killed him.

    Its strange she didn't go back for Carl or Rick afterwards, so I figured she rescued Little Ass kicker and they are hiding together somewhere safe.

  • tonyaking5036 Dec 08, 2013

    That looks like too much blood someone would leave behind by just picking up a baby out of a car seat. But anything is possible in TWD world.

  • ionee24 Dec 08, 2013

    Good point, the stain would fit the amount of blood left by Bob's gun shot shot wound rather than the amount of blood left in Michonne's arm.

  • ktfahel Dec 08, 2013

    She didn't kill Gov. She did one better: mortally wounded him, and left him to bleed out...then turn. That's both cold and cool.

  • ShawnG6 Dec 06, 2013

    Okay, you couldn't be more wrong about this episode.

    Tim, you may not be the appropriate person to review this show. You do realize you're in the FOURTH YEAR of a zombie movie, right? Zombies are not complex; trying to maintain a show on the premise of "OMGGG MOAR ZOMBIE KILLZ PLZ THX BYE" like you seem to insist be done in each episode is myopic. Too many of your reviews yearn for more zombie gore. Perhaps you should watch more WWE RAW.

    • "Why did everyone from Camp Martinez have no problem with the Governor telling them what to do after getting their panties all the way up their butts when Pete said he was going to take over? This is residual from last week, but it made me all the more crazy when these dopes just agreed to attack a prison without asking even one question."
    Martinez was eaten after irresponsibly stumbling drunkenly into the zombie pit. Essentially he died of mishap. Relative Fear Level: Low. There was much rabble rousing and concern for peoples' democratic rights in the group, but probably not many potential leaders.

    Then "Alamo" Pete dies going on a supply run. Pete was a great guy; everybody loved him! (And "Everybody loves a rallying pointerrrrrrrr.... hero.") He didn't die of irresponsible happenstance; he was slaughtered. Everyone is reminded how serious the zombie threat is. Relative Fear Level: High. That makes for a scared, malleable populace.

    But first, One Eye Bri smartly makes sure to neuter the only other "real" leadership option in the group, Tank Guy. Now everybody is listening to the one remaining strong voice, the Governor's. His speech to them talking of the certain death at the hands of terroristerrrrr....... WMDerrrrrrr....... zombies unless they go to war plays on their fears and that's why they agree. Plus, he promises that it can really all be accomplished with no boots on the grounderrrrrrrrrr...... no shots needing be fired. (You must admit, the process works. The only thing that was missing was a "Mission Accomplished" banner flying from the top of the tank.)

    • "Why can anyone land a headshot on a zombie with one bullet in the middle of chaos, but when it comes to shooting another human... everyone has the aim of a drunken toddler?"
    Because the zombies shuffle directly at you at 1mph. Humans are zigging, zagging, and duck-and-covering.

    • "Why did the tank shoot holes in everything if the prison was so important?"
    Mob mentality had taken over by that point. And if that wasn't enough, realize you have an army tank gunner, in a tank, in battle, thinking like -- an army tank gunner in battle.

    • "Why didn't Michonne kill the Governor?
    She left him to get eaten by zombies and/or turned into a zombie. A death much worse, especially to the Governor, than simply lopping off his head.

    • "And why would the writers choose Lilly as the one to kill the Governor? Did they sit around and wonder, "What is the least satisfying way we can kill this dude off?""
    Probably because he came into her life, gave her hope, then totally annihilated all that she had. And she probably hated him for it, but hated herself more for being complicit in it. So she gets the "BOOM headshot" moment. (Unless of course he talks himself out of it right before she pulls the trigger because, you know, chicks.)

    • "Why is AMC doing some stupid #FanRomance campaign and what was with that lame commercial about that guy who proposed to his girlfriend at a zombie-themed party?"
    See my previous comment: "because, you know, chicks." AMC would probably like some watching their little TV show because, you know, advertising demographics.

    • ""Too Far Gone" was Season 4's chance to reveal the meaning of its two Governor-centric episodes, and it failed to use any of the foundation it spent two hours laying."
    The foundation they laid had you thinking that, just maybe, Rick's words would have an affect on the Governor. That maybe the next season and a half would be filled with drama caused from these two people having to live together, vieying for control of the group. That the empassioned speech would somehow win over the Governor, and his flock, and that maybe the flock wouldn't blindly follow into war simply driven by their base fears. That maybe, there could be civilization, and humanity, in the face of this zombie apocalypse......

    And that all gets torn away when the Governor says, simply, "liar." Those two hours put hope into your heart that there can be better..... only to have that ripped from you, and catastrophe follows. It's a much better way of setting up the next season and a half. They needed to blow up this prison safe haven they had managed to create, so that the show can go of into new directions.

    • "If The Walking Dead's writers had used the Governor as the insane villain we always knew he was instead of making him into a family man with a soft spot for little girls who also happens to be a power-hungry maniac who kills off great guest-stars, these last three episodes would have been a lot more fun."
    "The insane villain we always knew he was" Do you want a simpler, straightforward show with nothing more than zombie kills and good-guy-vs-bad-guy shootouts?

    If you see characters in such black and white, unchangeable terms, then you really close yourself off to possibilities of where characters can go. As you yourself admitted in a previous review, you like that they're building out the secondary characters. That's the only way they're going to find further success with the show. They can't lock characters into easily dismissed typecasts like "Insane Villain Guy" or "Was Abused By Her Husband Girl" or "Old Limping Guy."

    "Power-hungry maniac who kills off great guest-stars" Uhm.................... that's why they're guest stars.

    • "And Judith! Little Ass Kicker got her ass kicked! Or did she? That bloody car seat certainly wanted us to believe that Rick's daughter became a zombie delicacy (mmmm... baby flesh), but I'm following Habeus Corpus rules here and saying no body means no death."
    Naw, that bitch had to die. She was the most dangley of dangling plot devices and at least her death had an emotional charge to it. That bloody car seat, after all the chaos and agony and ripping away of hope, was a summary image that gave her entire existence purpose.

    I really don't think Tim the Reviewer has an appreciation for the subtlety that the show has introduced in this fourth season. Subtlety is a key ingredient that should keep the show more entertaining in the long run. I don't see myself of anyone else continuing to tune into this show over and over just for more zombie gore. "As long as it has zombies, gore, and deaths, I'm going to watch it." Indeed.

  • Trident Jan 25, 2014

    "Why did everyone from Camp Martinez have no problem with the Governor telling them what to do after getting their panties all the way up their butts when Pete said he was going to take over?"

    Because the Governor is a great orator, and we should always assume there is uncovered TIME between the events shown on-screen (time in between the scenes is time really happening for the characters). This time could have been used by governor to convince people of his capabilities.''

    "Why did the tank shoot holes in everything if the prison was so important?"

    Obviously the prison was NOT that important. Taking the prison was supposed to be justified by the governer wanting safety for the people he cared about. But didn't we see in the end just how LITTLE he cared about anyone? So why would the prison still be the main issue? Obviously, beating Rick was the most important; getting his way was the most important; being the uncontested king was the most important. See: his slaughter of his town people in last season's episode. His RULE was most important to him, and Rick's speech was about to destroy it because it was starting to convince everyone. But how do you rally people behind you? You start a war.
    And the tank commander was just a mini-governor. He too was obviously just a would-be-despot using justifications for violence.

    "Why didn't Michonne kill the Governor?"

    As far as she was concerned, she did. She just wanted him to suffer from his wound before he died, maybe even leave him for the walkers to chew on.

    "And why would the writers choose Lilly as the one to kill the Governor?"

    I expected her to be the one the moment she realized he wasn't as good a guy he pretended to be. It could actually be a criticism that Lilly being the one to kill the governor was predicable. Another criticism: why show Hershel getting his noggin chopped off, but shying away from seeing the governor getting a bullet in the brain? Either that is lame, or they somehow still have him come back in the future because Lilly didn't kill him after all.

    For the other points, i cheer ShawnG6 for delivering a good rebuttal.

  • ktfahel Dec 08, 2013

    Wow! I could have written most of what you said, we agree that closely! There are a few things I'm going to disagree with. First, I'm a chick who LOVES the show on its own merit; I don't even know what the frack that ad mentioned is! I'm totally lost on #fanromance...not a clue. Another was Judith. I saw huge possibilities with Ass-Kicker's storylines. I'm hoping that she was rescued.

    I'll also add that I think there was a possibility that Rick COULD have talked the crowd in going against Gov...until Tank-Guy opened his big mouth. I can't explain it...it's just how I feel

  • ShawnG6 Dec 08, 2013

    Unless Little Ass-Kicker's blood turned out to be the antidote to the zombie disease, or they jump ahead 25 years to show her as a real Kick-ass Zombie Hunter (a la The Terminator's John Connor) I don't see what else they could do with the baby except have Beth sing to her every episode.

    I agree with your point about Tank Guy opening his mouth though. That second, commanding voice reinforcing the Governor's eliminated any reasonable second thoughts the people in their group might have had.

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