We tease Chris because he [almost] always deems the most recent show "the best episode ever!"
I haven't talked to him yet about this one, but I'll probably have to agree. It was the best episode ever. And also the worst episode. I was planning on settling in for cyber Monday web surfing, but AMC just sapped the wind from my sails.
Sunday's mid-season finale captured the essence of why this series is so good. It's not about zombies, and ultimately it's not really even about surviving. (If it was about real survival, that faux consumption epidemic would have hit several seasons ago). It's about people. Good people and evil people and mediocre people and people choosing what kind of people they want to be. People choosing what hope or hate they want to fill their hearts with.
The Governor had a choice. It was as clear as the light reflecting off his sword as he held it over Hershel's head. It wasn't about survival; he'd been offered peace terms. It was about whether he wanted a new life (albeit with uncomfortable conditions) or power on his own terms: his old terms, his old life.
His choice was not predictable. Its consequences were.
And on a side note, kudos to Rick. You could imagine the strain in his heart looking up to that gun turret and the Governor. He looked so tired and so old, and for a brief minute I underestimated him and thought I knew what his decision would be.
Was Rick's choice courageous or just stubborn and stupid . . . or prideful? Maybe he knew that running away from bullies buys you time but not any lasting peace. Wherever you go to build something good, someone else will want to take it for free.
Rick was right not to go along.