7:02pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Walking Dead' Recap: Who -- and How Many -- Died in the Battle for the Prison?
[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Sunday's "Too Far Gone" episode of The Walking Dead.]
AMC's The Walking Dead promised that the season four midseason finale would be a deadly one, and it delivered in spades. After all of season three and the first half of season four served as a lead-up to the battle between Rick and the Governor, the zombie drama offered one of its most deadly hours to date when the duo finally came to blows.
The Governor (David Morrissey), looking for a walled community to keep his new family safe -- and perhaps still fuming from his run-ins with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) -- finally attacked the prison.
After taking Michonne and Hershel (Scott Wilson) hostage, "Brian" tells his group that Rick's people are responsible for burning down Woodbury -- as well as killing his daughter and mutilating him -- and mounts a surprise attack in a scene ripped directly from the comics, tank and all. Lilly (Audrey Marie Anderson), upset that Brian is willing to kill for a new home, questions if she is with a bad person, examining who he really is.
Hershel notes that Brian -- and Rick -- have both changed, but ultimately, the semireformed villain explains that the two communities can never coexist, and he won't live in a group side-by-side with Michonne.
Meanwhile, inside the prison, Glenn (Steven Yeun) is recovering from the deadly flu, and Rick explains to Daryl (Norman Reedus) that he banished Carol (Melissa McBride) after she killed two members of their group without remorse in a bid to protect the community from infection.
Showing up at the prison with a literal tank, the AMC series brought to life a key scene from the comics as the Governor arrives with his pseudo-army and demands to "talk" with Rick, after revealing he has taken both Hershel and Michonne.
The Governor demands that Rick's people vacate the premises, ignoring the former sheriff's pleas to show mercy to their sick children. Lilly, left at home near the supposedly safe river with daughter Megan, watches as her daughter is bitten and killed by a walker buried in the flash-flood area.
Rick stands his ground and refuses to leave the prison, saying that either they all live together or nobody does as the walkers will take out the fences. After calling Rick a liar when he insists they all can change, the Governor takes a swing at Hershel, killing the group's elder statesman and igniting the shootout that's been 24 episodes in the making.
Lilly shows up with Megan's dead body to learn from her sister that Brian chopped Hershel's head off with a sword and puts down Megan. The Governor mutters his most famous comic line -- "Kill them all!" -- and orders his group to drive through the prison's fences.
Rick and the Governor come to blows, and just as he's about to strangle Rick to death, Michonne puts a katana sword through the Governor. After Rick finds Carl, together the two discover Judith's empty but bloody baby carrier.
Meanwhile, Lilly learns of Brian's true self and turns the gun on her duplicitous boyfriend, bringing an end to the Governor's storyline.
In a season in which the zombie drama has veered very far from the comics on which it is based, the decision to have Lilly eliminate the Governor serves as a direct take on Robert Kirkman's source material.
We'll be back shortly with our weekly postmortem with an executive producer from The Walking Dead. But in the meantime, leave your thoughts -- and questions -- about the deadly episode in the comments section below. Were you surprised to see the Governor, Hershel and Judith all perish in the battle for the prison? The Walking Dead returns with the second half of season four on Feb. 9.