Now we're talking. Wow. Stuff happened in this episode. Like woah. Let's go through the plot, and then I'll squeal about the awesomeness that was this episode. Of course, I wouldn't be me if I didn't have a few complaints as well, but to be honest, this episode kicked some major ass. Here we go!
So, the Governor has captured Michonne and Hershel. He talks to the rest of the people in his group, and discusses his plan to take the prison. Most everybody agrees, although Lilly is nervous about it. The Governor tells Lilly that he doesn't care about anyone in the prison, and that he'll do whatever it takes to survive and to get Lilly and Meghan somewhere safe. Lilly and Meghan stay behind while the Governor and the others go to enact their plans. Michonne and Hershel, as prisoners, are taken just outside of the prison. Hershel continually insists that there's another way, and that the two groups of people can find a way to work together. The Governor refuses to listen.
At the prison, we see our main group still recuperating after the recent illness. The Governor and the rest of his people show up outside of the gate and give Rick an ultimatum - get out of the prison by sundown, or Michonne and Hershel will be killed, and the rest of the prison will be subjected to the Governor's superior weaponry and manpower. Rick tries to talk some sense into the Governor (yeah, I don't know why he thought that would work), and then tries to appeal to the others, especially Tara. He says that if they put down their weapons, they can come join the prison and be a part of the group. While there is a bit of discomfort expressed by the Governor's group, ultimately they hold firm. While all of this discussion is happening, Daryl has been surreptitiously arming everyone (Maggie, Beth, Tyreese, Sasha, Carl, etc.) in case a shootout begins. And then...
Well, the Governor is apparently tired of all of this logical talk of peace, and instead decides to chop Hershel's head off. This starts an all out war between the two sides. You've got Maggie and Beth firing through their tears, Rick and the Governor fighting hand to hand, the children rushing to get to the bus, and then Lizzie convincing the kids to stand and fight, like Carol would have told them to. Michonne kills the Governor, but in the ensuing chaos the group is badly separated - most people get away on the bus, including Glenn. Maggie, Beth, Tyreese, Sasha, and Bob are all left behind. Rick and Carl get the unpleasant surprise of finding Judith's empty and bloody baby carrier, and the two of them leave the prison together.
Oh, and as if all of that wasn't enough, while this is happening, Meghan gets bitten and killed by a Walker. Lilly brings Meghan to the Governor, who calmly shoots her in the head. Later, as the Governor lays dying, Lilly repays the favor and shoots him.
Wow. A lot of things are going on here. Essentially, this episode is one big long action scene. Once it gets going, it really gets going. I'll briefly mention the few things that didn't sit right with me, because although I loved this episode a lot, there were a few little things here and there.
For one, we still spent too much time with Lilly and Meghan. I know I've harped on this already, but these new characters were just treated with too much time and not enough depth. We've only known Meghan for three episodes. Yeah, it sucks that she died, but my reaction to this news was not even a fraction of my reaction to learning of Judith's death, and she was an infant with no personality to speak of. The other thing that sort of bothered me was that all of the Governor's men jumped on board with the plan so quickly. When Rick is passionately begging and talking about the sick children inside, a few people start to look uncomfortable, but every single one of them still goes through with it. The only person whose hesitation really pans out is Tara, who does run away from the fighting. But who knows if we'll even be seeing more of her? On the one hand, we should, because her character is totally useless otherwise. On the other hand, I don't really care about her, so I'd rather focus the time on the characters I do give a damn about.
But now that that's out of the way, I'll just mention the kick-ass awesomeness of the rest of this episode.
The action scene was just brimming with amazing stuff. Hershel! No! The pacing and the very heart-wrenching moment of his death was done just so brilliantly. Kudos to the acting on Maggie and Beth, because they did such a good job portraying their grief and anger. I've got to say there was one moment that took the cake in terms of powerful images, though... when little Lizzie and Mika save Tyreese and Sasha, they do so by shooting someone in the head. Not a Walker - a human. God, that was messed up. I gotta say, I don't think that was what Carol had in mind when she told the girls to be brave.
Oh, and speaking of Carol, they did a wonderful job of talking about her in the beginning of the episode. Daryl was pretty pissed at Rick for sending her off (although I admit I wish he'd been a bit more pissed, but that may just be because I want the two of them to make out a little bit. Um.) And then we have the Governor's appearance interrupting the rest of that conversation. Who knows where Carol is, and if they're ever going to be able to find her again?
I could just keep gushing and cooing about this episode, but I'll spare you. The point is, this was an installment fueled by a ton of action, and it worked very well. Everything was fast, and intense, and really rather depressing, of course. I am beyond excited to see where we go from here, and I'm bummed that we have to wait such a long time to see what's next.