Last night, The Walking Dead had its mid-season finale titled “Too Far Gone,” where fans witnessed Rick and The Governor go head-to-head against each other. This was a doozy of an episode and was filled with huge moments. XXL hopped on the phone with Pharoahe Monch, a huge fan of the series, for an extended discussion about this episode, the death of The Governor, Megan and Herschel and if the baby is still alive. P.S. We miss you Jean Grae! —Emmanuel C.M. (@ECM_LP)

XXLThe speech from The Governor in the beginning sums himself up right there—a bad guy faking that he's good.
Pharoahe Monch: Yeah, and that’s exactly what transpired. The writers are pulling on the fans' and viewers' emotions. “Who am I rooting for?” I get it. The Governor is trying to be good and change his life. This is a whole new situation for him. He tried to let himself die but it didn’t happen. Then halfway through the speech I was like, “Bullshit!” [Laughs] Halfway through I was allowing myself to be one of those people in his congregation. I was like, “relax and listen to his speech.” Even if I was in that camp I would have been like, bullshit, you’re contradicting yourself.

I liked how Lilly started to turn on The Governor and eventually killed him at the end.
Yeah, because you look at who he was when they came to his house vs. who he had become in a short time. Like I was saying when we started doing this, when he showed up as a new person and we was like, “We wouldn’t even let him in the house.” That guy who went to get the oxygen tank, all the metaphors were in place when he got the oxygen tank but bashed [the father] in the head with it when he turned. All the symbolism was still there that at the end of the day, he was still just out for revenge. Especially when he gathered the amount of people to help get revenge and just completely went back to old Governor.

When Herschel offered the peaceful ending, did you think he would accept it?
I knew he was going to reject it. One, because that would be a horrible plot in terms of writing. What’s beautiful about the show is that we all have a place in our heart for peace at the end of the day. But the show asks us to put ourselves in a place of survival. So I think everyone is watch this show feeling like Rick; it will be okay, we can all share this space and it doesn’t have to be this way. But at the same time, [The Governor] was really all about the revenge factor of it. He can assort it out that way. He pretty much wanted the war.

The scene with The Governor and Hershel discussing how, as a father, you can go around and kill children and the Governor responded with, “Because they’re not mine,” was so cold-blooded.  Then he has this daughter-to-daughter moment with Megan before he goes off to war.
About to kill somebody else's daughter. It was a great play on yin and yang of those emotions and that made it one of the best episodes. His “daughter” wound up getting bit.

How nuts was that scene. I know Jean Grae was ecstatic when that happened. That was such a crazy scene. I hated Lilly for not watching her daughter.
Again, beautiful writing. You’re looking for the writing in the plot and the back story and the character development. They draw you into different characters so that you can make it meaningful if you lose somebody in real life. They have the little girl who got almost bit once in the last episode and she winds up going in the very next episode. Which I totally didn’t expect that to happen. Until The Governor turned like he did, I totally didn’t expect that to happen. I was like, there's going to be yin and yang with that too.

Did you feel like the camps were mirrors of themselves except for the leadership?
Definitely; the kids, the one guy who was the marksman, the women of interest and so on and so forth. I think that’s the beauty of life and the story. Even with God and the devil; the devil at some point ultimately wanting to be God or better than God. Almost the yin and yang and the similarities of power and how you got these mirror images of The Governor and Rick and them fighting over the same thing, for survival. With all of that being said, it’s pulling from real life situations and your alter egos and all of these different things that we struggle with. It’s brilliant.

Three moments stuck out to me. Of course, Michonne eventually stabbing The Governor causing his demise. But another one, which brings back more layers, is the two girls who shot the guy and Alisha.

Oh, that was major.
Which brings back Carol and her hardcore training with the kids. Even right now, you may have to kill somebody. Right now on this planet, these are the new laws. Survival is the new rule. And back when I was watching, I was like Carol is buggin'. She’s right about survival but the kids are young. But is she wrong? And then it comes around full circle. Even the scene with the girl is like, “We got to go, we got to fight, we got to get guns." I was just blown away by that. When they shot the guy, that was my moment like, “Alright, Walking Dead, has redeemed himself and made it worth my while by spending all these countless hours watching the show.” And it was inspiring me as a writer myself. In terms of even writing and developing stories and albums sounding like albums in which songs lead into another song. This is why writing is the art form that you love. The last but not least, it brings the longing question: Where the hell is Carol? Her teachings were so instrumental in that fight scene and I keep thinking she’s going to show up. And she’s going to be so instrumental to the survival of Tyrese, that everybody is going to have to forgive her.

Yeah, she’s going to be a major player in the 2nd half of the season. But lets talk about when The Governor kills Herschel. I had a feeling he was the one to go but wow, still hurts.
I got friends with kids and I question why their kids are watching this. But the kids were crying, I mean boo-hooing, on the couch. I know a couple of people who said they cried.

It was really tough to watch. He was like the father of the show, sort of the conscience. I wonder who replaces that? I also got the reason they beheaded him. He was such a big character he had to have a memorable death.  The more important you are the more gruesome you have to die.
Last but not least, where is the baby?

What if Carol came back and took her?
That’s what I felt. First thing I felt was Carol saved the baby. Rick is going to have to settle this and squash it because she just redeemed herself.

What if Carol came back, took the baby, put her on the bus and she was the one that drove off? Also can we talk about the part when Tyrese brought Rick and Daryl back in the prison and showed them that disgusting thing on the wall?
That was weird. I didn’t know what the fuck that was. But it was a cool way to introduce something new to the show. What was that an alien rat hole. What are they introducing to the show now? But it was cool because in the midst of all the craziness that was going on, it got washed to the back of your mind. That alien matrix or whatever the hell it was. [Laughs]

It’s like they trying to insinuate there may be a psychopath in their pack.
But what was it? What was it that they were showing? Another thing, how do you reconcile all the peacefulness that you found? Finding a new place, gardening, the crops, some type of civilness and then it's back to the wild again. Back to surviving out in the woods again. I think that was one of the pains of the show. In terms of seeing Rick and his son, not only the loss of his daughter, but that they have to start over again. Just having a baby in that situation, in that world, the zombie apocalypse and having to deal with not knowing where she is and then now. As the show is going on he’s like, “We got to go,” and still trying to go on and still trying to survive. Crazy.

Any final thoughts?
It feels good man, I’m happy for the show. It took their turn really good. I’m excited to wait. I’m not one of the people who didn’t watch and binge on the last two seasons. The last two seasons was so good. Anybody who’s not up-to-date, its worth the wait.