What is with mid-season finales? Is this going to become a common trend? It happened in season three as well, but this was because one of the cast members had a scheduling conflict. Oh well, the respite is welcome because the most defining moment of the comic books was re-enacted on the show — and you know that there will be heartbreak.
Spoiler break starts here! Don’t read if you don’t want to spoil the TV series AND the comic books for yourself.
The Walking Dead TV series will always have the stigma of being based on an existing printed work. I knew that Hershel was going to die, because he was killed in the prison showdown in the comics. However, several order of events have been changed a bit on the TV show:
1) The Governor beheads Tyrese (who was captured along with Michonne) instead of Hershel in the comics. Hershel was killed instead by a bullet to the head after surrendering in the prison.
2) Carol dies before the prison showdown in the comics. She technically commits suicide by allowing a walker to bite her.
3) Lori and Judith are killed simultaneously during their escape from prison in the comics, when the former gets shot by a bullet through the torso while carrying Judith.
4) Andrea survives and is still alive as of issue #102 in the comics. She becomes highly skilled with a sniper rifle and ends up becoming the group’s sharpshooter. She and Rick become a (reluctant) couple.
5) Michonne was sexually assaulted by the Governor in the comics, but in the TV series, it was Maggie who was the victim instead. Michonne does not stab the Governor with her katana.
Point 3 was the most defining and shocking moment of the comics, because it happened so swiftly and suddenly at the very end of the prison showdown’s climax. Lori died giving birth to Judith in the TV series, which I think is a slightly better way for her to die.
I found it much better for the Governor to behead Hershel instead of Tyrese. TV-Hershel is a symbol of goodness and compassion in the group, easily the most likable main character in the cast. Killing him instead of Michonne or Tyrese, would be a massive moral blow to Rick and his group, showing just how far the Governor has changed back to his old self (or how much he refuses to accept Rick’s offer of “change”).
I also found it quite odd that Maggie was the one sexually assaulted by the Governor in season three. In the comics, Michonne’s sexual assault was a major factor for her hatred toward the Governor — a point which felt quite muted in the TV show. However, having TV-Michonne stab the Governor was a brilliant alteration. Sweet sweet poetic justice.
Having said all that, the TV series does have some advantages over the comic books. Shane died incredibly early in the comics — he was killed by Carl (!!) in issue #6, but he survives until the end of season two and has a more fully developed character and rivalry with Rick. The season three episode where Rick goes back to visit Morgan is also an alteration from the comics: it’s an excellent episode which shows just how far down the crazy rabbit hole people can go once they lose their grip on reality and refuse to come back.
I’m really excited now for the future of The Walking Dead TV series. It is a perfect example of how to stay respectful to its original source material, while introducing plenty of different surprises and changes to keep things fresh.