So many things to be thankful for in last night’s episode. We were spared the cloying agony of a Glenn/Maggie wedding ceremony; the show’s most annoying character finally bought it, in unsuitably heroic fashion; and the lame contrivance of Rick having visions of Lori appears, mercifully, to be over. Little Carl’s getting more interesting by the week, too. Shooting that kid in the face proves that he’s well on his way to Shane-dom, and maybe eventually to becoming a Governor himself. (Carl’s “I did what I had to do” speech mirrored in some ways the Governor’s speech in the opening scene to Milton or Myron or whatever his name was.) I wonder if the writers have the stones to turn Rick and Carl against each other next season, with Rick forced to put down the Frankenstein he’s created in order to keep himself and the group safe.

The only disappointment was the Governor’s story arc. His journey from caretaker of an oasis in a world gone mad to eccentric warlord to crazed dictator who’ll kill anyone who defies him is so heavy-handed a lesson on how power corrupts that now he feels like a character in an especially preachy “Twilight Zone” episode. Only two paths left to him. Either he reemerges next season as a supervillain and dies in a climactic battle with superhero Rick (or, more likely, Michonne) or he goes the Darth Vader route and somehow regains his moral bearings at a decisive moment and sacrifices himself to save the rest of the cast. I’ll bet on number two. As with Merle, we’ve spent too much time with him to see him die in a way that’s less than grand. But in case there’s any doubt, yes, he’ll be back next year.

I’m embarrassed to admit it but I thought the final scene of Rick taking in the Woodbury refugees was kind of sweet, and a fine opportunity to inject some new blood into the cast. Assuming Carl doesn’t murder them all in their bunks in the first episode, I mean. Two exit questions for you. One: Why did Andrea waste precious seconds chit-chatting with a dying Milton/Myron instead of concentrating on the handcuffs? I could understand talking to him while you’re busy with the cuffs, to try to keep him conscious, but she actually paused to do it. What? Two: What exactly happened during the Governor’s raid on the prison? Rick’s gang lied low while the Woodbury crew entered the prison, then Glenn and Maggie ambushed them. But, er, why just Glenn and Maggie? Wasn’t the rest of the gang right there, in hiding, while they shot it out with the Governor’s men? Why didn’t they help? Or did I miss something?