luke kalamar looks at the finale of the third season of The Walking Dead …
Plot: After Merle’s (Michael Rooker) ambush which killed eight of his men, The Governor (David Morrissey) has decided that enough is enough. It’s time for The Prison group to suffer for what they have done. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his group know that an attack is coming, and they have to decide whether or not they want to stay. Meanwhile, Andrea (Laurie Holden) is forced into a situation where her life hangs in the balance.
This is it everyone. The moment we have all been waiting for. The Governor is officially done with The Prison and heads up to kill them all. In the comics, The Governor literally screams “kill them all!” while on top of a tank and a ton of people met their maker. News broke earlier that 27 people would die in “Welcome to the Tombs,” so anticipation was high for a very epic battle and finale. Was The Walking Dead able to deliver? As much as it burns my fingers to type this, “Welcome to the Tombs” was not able to live up to the hype. The episode wasn’t terrible, but it ended the season with more of a dull moan as opposed to a roaring scream.
First off, let’s talk about that expected “showdown” between Rick and The Governor. Did you notice that I put showdown in quotes? Yeah, there’s a reason for that. The highly teased and anticipated assault on The Prison simply did not deliver, and was less of an assault and more of a panic. Everything was going fine when The Governor showed up, and when Rick’s group was nowhere to be found, the tension built exponentially. The revealed trap and subsequent ambush by Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) was definitely an unexpected and enjoyable touch too. Rick clearly planned ahead and I like that.
The Governor’s response to this is where everything sort of fell apart. Instead of forcing his group to stick his ground, everyone from Woodbury retreated. I mean, I get it. A lot of them are regular citizens who have never seen combat before. The Governor however has and did nothing to keep his army around until after they were long gone. Plus, his army was so gung ho on killing regular people, but once everything went to hell they’re suddenly against it? With the exception of Jody getting straight up gunned down by Carl (Chandler Riggs), no one died during the actual assault either (unless I missed something). This is on par with The Governor’s showy attack earlier in “Home” where he killed Axel (Lew Temple). That wasn’t supposed to be an end all assault and this was, so to see that the two ended up being so similar is disappointing. There was plenty of flashy zombie killing though.
The high points from The Prison frenzy were definitely the aforementioned Rick preparation and Carl showing how cold he has truly become. Even though the attack was underwhelming, the ability for Rick and his group to fend off a crazy army with grenade launchers and massive machine guns was definitely impressive. It’s truly a shining example of how badass and efficient that small collection of survivors has really become. As for Carl, holy freaking shit. He killed an innocent kid and had no problems with it! At all! To top it off, his reasoning wasn’t even bad either. Rick let Andrew (Markice Moore) live, and Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) died. Rick let The Governor live, and Merle died. The fact that Carl has no problems doing the hard thing to ensure that the people he’s close to survives is both a terrifying and welcome addition. I fully expect Carl’s descent into hardcore darkness to be a huge focus next season, and I can’t wait. Man that kid sure has changed.
The events immediately following The Prison event were more jaw dropping than the attack itself. Remember how I said that 27 people were to die this episode? The majority of that number came from The Governor’s army by The Governor’s hand. It was one of the craziest moments of the show and true proof that The Governor has gone completely insane. Everyone you brought to murder people with suddenly doesn’t like it? Why not kill them all? The ringing in The Governor’s ears, silencing the protests of Karen (Melissa Ponzio), was the perfect touch. I’m also extremely happy that The Governor is still around and we’ll get more of him and David Morrissey next season. Morrissey was the perfect addition to the cast and it’s great that he’ll be around for another season. It would’ve been even better if Merle was still around too, but this is still amazing. I was hoping for The Governor to be more of a one season character too, so I’m very happy it panned out this way.
Andrea’s struggle to survive was pretty enthralling, more so because it was a great spin on the classic “ticking time bomb” scenario. Long story short, she had to find a way to escape before Milton (Dallas Roberts) become a zombie and ate her. I’m surprised that Milton held on for as long as he did, but that did add to the tension. I’m sad that both Milton and Andrea didn’t make it out of this either. Sure, Milton was a goner from the start after he was stabbed by The Governor, but I was really pulling for Andrea to make it through.
To have Andrea gone now is tragic for multiple reasons, the most prevalent of them being that she never got a chance to live up to her potential. Even though everyone agrees that she was supremely neutered this season and no one really liked her, I give her a lot of credit for attempting to save everyone (even though it totally backfired and caused even more people to die). I was also looking to Season 4 for her to change and become a fan favorite, like in the comics, but now that’s not going to happen. Milton was becoming really cool too, and it would’ve been nice to see him stick around. All things considered, I’ll miss Milton and Andrea.
Last but not least, I cannot hold back my happiness that Tyreese (Chad Coleman) pulled through and he’s now on Rick’s side again. Yes! We can finally get that Rick/Tyreese friendship that was such a high point in the comics! Rick bringing in everyone to The Prison was a nice change in the show too, showing that he’s set to become that leader who will save everyone from this horrible world that surrounds them. Choosing the cramped Prison over the much more comfortable Woodbury will probably be a debate amongst fans, but both places really have their ups and downs. Perhaps this will be a mainstay in Season 4. Should we go to Woodbury and stay in homes, or remain in this well protected Prison? I guess we’ll have to see if that is actually brought up.
“Welcome to the Tombs” was teased as being a massive, explosive finale with a lot of deaths and a crazy showdown between Rick and The Governor. Yes, there were explosions and people died, but not in the manner viewers expected, with both good and bad results. In the end, the actual Season 3 Finale ended this record breaking season in a much quieter and subdued fashion than the Mid-Season Finale “Made to Suffer”. I loved Season 3, A LOT, and it’s a shame it ended in a very underwhelming fashion.
All Photos Credit: AMC