The midseason finale of season 4 of AMC's "The Walking Dead," "Too Far Gone," featured an epic prison showdown between Rick and the villain the Governor, chaos and bloodshed and the death of a veteran character.
Check out 15 highlights from the episode, which aired on Sunday, Dec. 1. Warning: Spoilers ahead!
1. What's the Governor's plan?
The Governor, aka Brian, aka the megalomaniac formerly known as Philip (David Morrissey), gathers his new group around to tell them that there's a prison that would make a perfect home and coaxes them to help him drive out its residents, which he says are mostly "thieves" and murderers" who mutilated him, burned down his past camp and killed his daughter.
His new love interest, Lilly (Audrey Marie Anderson), is not happy about all the violence. He says they would be "killing killers" and promises to keep her and her daughter, Meghan (Meyrick Murphy), alive. He also says, "I love you." She isn't falling for it, saying: "I don't know who you are."
2. Hershel and Michonne in danger
The Governor is seen in a flashback kidnapping Hershel (Scott Wilson) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) at gunpoint. He tells his followers that the pair are "the key to help us take the prison without firing a shot."
The Governor is later seen talking to Hershel and Michonne, offering them food. He says kidnapping them "isn't personal" and that he understands that Penny, his Walker daughter that Michonne killed, was "dead" already. He says he doesn't want to hurt anyone -- "no one needs to die" -- but that they would still be helping him take over the prison. Michonne, not missing a beat, says she's going to kill him.
The Governor also, by the way, appears to be visibly annoyed when Hershel calls him "Governor," saying: "Don't call me that." Hershel pleads for him to find another solution, adding that he would be hurting his daughters. "If you understand what it's like to have a daughter, then how can you threaten to kill someone else's?" he asks. "'Cause they aren't mine," the Governor replies.3. How are Glenn and Sasha doing, by the way?
Last we saw Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), they were coughing up a lung and then some in a quarantined prison block. Well both are alive but weak. Glenn is especially happy to see Maggie sitting by his bedside. He tells her that their anniversary is coming up. Yes, you are correct -- their anniversary is indeed the day they turned a pharmacy into a Motel 6, as Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie, hinted on talk show "Talking Dead" following the episode.
4. Daryl finally asks Rick about Carol
The much-awaited confrontation between Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) was anti-climactic. Rick had banished Carol (Melissa McBride), who was close to Daryl, from the group after she admitted she killed two members who displayed symptoms of a mysterious illness that had threatened the prison residents. One of them was Tyreese's love interest, Karen.
Rick speaks to Daryl and tries to excuse his decision by pointing out that Carol has a car, supplies and weapons. "She said it was for us. She wasn't sorry," he says.
"That ain't her," Daryl replies, adding: "What are we supposed to do about those two girls?"
The girls to which he is referring are Lizzie and her sister Mika, who Carol had taught how to use a knife in a bid to sharpen their own survival skills. Handy skills in a zombie apocalypse.
Rick says he told Carol the group would look after them and that he has not told Tyrese (Chad L. Coleman) yet. Daryl says they're going to do so now.
5. Here's the tank ...
Daryl and Rick find Tyreese, who shows them something he found -- a dead rabbit. Over the past few weeks, an unknown person has been feeding rats to Walkers outside the prison, which had helped make them accumulate in large packs outside the chain link fences, making them weaker. "We got a psychopath living with us," Tyrese says. "We gotta find them." Rick, understanding wearingly that Tyrese is still looking for Karen's murderer, explains that he doesn't think the rat killer is the same person. An explosion is heard.
The Governor and his group, armed with a tank and six SUVs and plenty of weapons, stand outside the prison. The explosion was the sound of one of the watcher towers blowing up. As flames burn from it, the Governor tells Rick they need to talk. He says it's not up to him anymore -- "There's a council now." The Governor asks if Hershel and Michonne are on the council. They are on their knees, execution style, as two of the Governor's people stand by them with rifles.
6. Daryl - the perfect sergeant-at-arms
While Rick is negotiating, Daryl prepares their group for battle -- he tells Sasha and Tyrese to take the prison residents, including the children, to the bus and starts handing out rifles to Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.), Maggie and younger sister Beth (Emily Kinney). Daryl also controls trigger-happy Carl (Chandler Riggs), Rick's son -- as he and the boy take aim at the Governor from behind a fence and Carl says he could end it right now, Daryl tells him he has to trust his father.
7. The Governor presents a deal
The Governor tells Rick that he and his group have until sundown to get out -- "or they die," pointing out the obvious -- "I got more people, more firepower." Rick pleads with him, saying there are children, including sick kids, who won't survive. The prison watch tower continues to burn.
8. Great parenting leads to zombie snacking
Lily is not watching her daughter at all as she's making mud pies (or peanut butter sandwiches, or whatever imaginary gooey snack she's assembling) -- instead, she's focused on the river. On the opposite bank is a walker, who stumbles slowly towards the edge and falls in the water. He wades a bit before sinking in the deep water. The Governor had told her that the "Biters" can't make it across the water.
Megan is digging in the mud and calls for her mom to help her but is dismissed. The girl uncovers a sign that reads "Warning - Flash Flood." Guess there was one at some point during the zombie apocalypse, because a Walker begins coming out of the mud, grabs the child and bites her. A gunshot is heard.
9. RIP Hershel
"We're not too far gone," Rick tells the Governor. "I know we all could change."
"Liar," he replies and slashes Hershel's neck with Michonne's Katana sword.
All hell breaks loose. Everyone's shooting, Hershel's daughters are shooting and crying, L is expressing her disbelief about the situation to her girlfriend and there's Megan, holding the bloodied body of her dead daughter. The Governor shoots the girl in the head, then tells his people that they're going in. "Kill 'em all!" he says.
10. G.I. Beth
Beth, formerly known as the caretaker of Rick's baby daughter Judith and the resident amateur singer, joins her warrior sister and both make good use of their rifles throughout the episode, shooting at Governor loyalists through their tears. Maggie at one point starts to leave and tells her sister to go and get the people on the bus. "It's your job. We've all got jobs to do," she says, making a callback to a similar quote by Beth in season 4, episode 3 - "Isolation."
However, later, Maggie enters the bus and sees Glenn but NOT Beth. She runs off to find her sister, who had gone to find Judith.
11. Daryl's close call -- and explosive victory
With the fences destroyed by the tank, the Walkers surrounding the prison are able to stagger inside to try to score all the human Happy Meals running around. At one point, Daryl almost gets killed (the 17-second-long suspenseful moment is entirely too long and from what I hear, almost caused riots among women) but -- in true Daryl fashion, always thinking on the fly and figuring stuff out -- uses one of them as a human-Walker shield.
Daryl also understands that the most lethal weapon in the battle needs to be destroyed. So he tosses a grenade into the cannon barrel of the tank. Boom goes the dynamite.
12. Carol taught Lizzie well
With her childhood and innocence lost amid a zombie apocalypse and past death of her father, Lizzie is now on her way to stand a change of surviving a zombie apocalypse, thanks to Carol's secret self-defense lessons. Seeing that Tyrese is in danger of getting shot by Alisha (Juliana Harkavy), she shoots the woman. Right between the eyes.
13. RIP Governor
Meanwhile, as people from both sides are shooting, Rick and the Governor are beating the crap out of each other.
Michonne gets her justice -- she stabs the Governor in the stomach with her Katana sword while he's choking Rick, but leaves him alive. Who finishes the job? Lily, who probably did not take kindly to her boyfriend shooting her soon-to-be-zombified daughter in the head and failing to fulfill his promise to keep the child alive.
14. The group is divided
Members of the group appear to have been separated into smaller groups at the end of the episode -- there's Daryl and Beth, who failed to find the children, the people on the bus -- which includes Glenn, plus Sasha, Bob and Maggie -- who were left behind during a gun battle and watched the bus drive off ("We'll figure it out," Sasha says), Tyreese with Lizzie and Mike, Michonne on her own and Rick -- nursing a leg wound -- with son Carl.
15. Where's baby Judith?
Two little girls carry Judith in a baby car seat to the bus -- as Daryl had instructed. Lizzie stops them, saying they need to get guns - as Carol had told them -- and help.
Later, Rick and Carl discover a bloody, empty car seat. There is no sign of the baby. They hug and sob. Carl shoots an approaching Walker. "Don't look back, Carl. Just keep walking," Rick says, as dozens of Walkers head toward the destroyed prison.
Bonus highlight - welcome back Clara, or rather, zombie Clara, who is seen approaching the prison with dozens of fellow walkers.
The remaining episodes of season 4 of AMC's "The Walking Dead" will begin airing on Feb. 9, 2014.
UPDATE: Find out how "The Walking Dead" midseason 4 finale did in the ratings!