So here we are at the mid-season finale. An episode filled with death and destruction, as The Governor invades the prison. This is an episode that is more concerned with action than anything else, but it at least delivers some nice emotional moments and moves the plot along significantly.
Now let us first deal with the two massive deaths in this episode. Firstly Hershel is decapitated by The Governor. This is a massive blow to the show as Hershel is quite literally the heart of it. He is the moral compass, the caring father figure and the only character who is still sympathetic. He (and Scott Wilson) will be deeply missed. His death is a cheap way of exploiting the audience's emotions, but it is also a drastic change to the show's dynamic. Without Hershel the survivors will probably fall deeper into despair. The showrunners chose wisely when picking the big victim for this episode. This gives the show a boost in its dramatic potential as the fallout from Hershel's death will no doubt touch upon all the characters. However his death still felt like a gimmick, something to make the mid-season finale seem important. Because loosing the prison wasn't enough for the writers. But no matter how you look at it you can't fault the way the show handled the situation. From the overly melodramatic "NNNOOOOOO!" moments to the utterly brutal way in which The Governor finishes the job, it was indeed the stand out scene.
Talking of The Governor his death seemed like a shocking decision, even if it is visually telegraph in advance. Granted you don't actually witness his death on screen (just the gun firing), but it would seem like the big bad has gone to hell. David Morrissey stole the show as the man fuelled by vengeance and delusions of doing the right thing by "his" people. He is the man who is "Too Far Gone" and there is literally no reasoning with him. For all his bluster about not wanting to kill, he is quick to act when the time is right. Morrissey's speeches are entertaining to watch and there is no wonder that people want to follow him. This episode is easily The Governor's best outing to date. On a side note it was nice that at least one of The Governor's new followers questioned the fact that they are following a man who literally chopped a guys head off with a samurai sword.
When the carnage begins at the prison we end up watching our heroes scatter to the wind. Allowing the showrunners to follow different strands when the show returns. It is a little ridiculous that our characters are expert killing machines, but can't organise a coherent escape plan. But everyone has a chance to shine in the combat as we find out that Daryl is better than a tank, little girls are amazing shots and drunks don't feel pain. It is all very entertaining, but the most compelling aspect of the episode is actually the teased future of the show.
There is one part of the episode which seemed a little unnecessary and that is the death of The Governor's surrogate daughter. There is little to justify the reasoning for her death aside form getting The Governor even more mad. It just seems bloodthirsty for the sake of it.
But on the whole "Too Far Gone" is an entertaining slice of Walking Dead action. It goes big and manages to succeed. It will no doubt please a lot of people. But when The Walking Dead returns it will be a entirely different beast, quite possibly a more interesting one.