We made it through this entire season of The Walking Dead, dear readers. It was a long, arduous journey. Sometimes people died. There were a lot of purposefully gross zombie kills. Two crazy dictators. Many appearances from Ghost Lori.
The show never exactly rose to the heights of its heart-stopping first season and now, as it ends its third season with “Welcome to the Tombs,” it never exactly redeemed itself. Sure, there was a high death count in this finale — but at what gain? Even with the Prison vs. Woodbury war finally upon us, the finale still came across as somewhat sterile, with Team Rick opting for leading a “bloodless war” against Woodbury. I applaud Rick’s sentiment, sure. I applaud the logical reasoning for the survivors to join forces and become stronger as one, united force. But while the episode’s opening was very strong, something about this finale just seemed hollow and it’s tough to put my finger on exactly why.
Perhaps one of the main reasons why the finale came off as lacking is the show’s enduring tendency to flip flop on the way it develops its characters. Let’s use Carl as a template there. Carl was hardly ever a very developed character, other than being Rick’s kid. Suddenly, however, Carl is an angsty tween who can’t stand his father…which is understandable, given that Rick was off being crazy for some time. But now that Rick is finally making sense and bridging communities together? Nope – Carl’s not having it. He even kills a Woodbury boy in the forest as he is handing over his gun to Carl – as a preemptive measure. Carl is stone cold. When Rick asks him about the incident (as reported by Hershel) Carl gives a stoic, and somewhat logical self-defense, saying that Rick let a lot of people live, and in turn, could have prevented Lori’s death. He even drops that sheriff star on the ground, making a statement, y’all.
However, if we can think back to just a few episodes ago, didn’t Carl want, nay insist, that Tyreese and company should stay at the prison? Didn’t he want the Prison to be more inclusive? Now that Rick is doing what he had initially wanted, he’s not giving his dad a congenial high five, but is rather off glowering somewhere. I mean, obviously, Carl is a child, but at least make his characterization consistent.
Same thing with The Governor…kinda. His entire “thing” when he first appeared on the show was maintaining the artifice of “perfect community” of Woodbury, having control over his people by creating a sense of order. And now he willingly flees Woodbury for the prison and kills his people willy nilly? Oh, right – that’s because he’s crazy. That’s supposed to be sufficient explanation. Sure, him killing his own people is a but of a surprise, and a bit disturbing, but it, again, comes off hollow. It’s like the show’s writers were like, “Oh! I have an idea that’ll surprise ’em!”
And yet, the opening scene of the episode was quite effective, and it included The Governor coming up with a rather clever plan. It opens with a zoom out of a rather beautiful, ladylike blue eye. Wait – it’s The Governor’s! Didn’t realize his eyes were that breathtakingly blue. He’s in the middle of beating up Milton, who he obviously figured out was the burner of the zombie pit last week.
He wants Milton to torture and kill Andrea, who happens to be tied up in the same room as they are in. Of course The Governor knows that Milton won’t kill Andrea, and he fatally stabs the faux scientist in the tummy so that he will turn and eat the tied up Andrea. Such a good plan, right? And it works! Though I knew he was a dead man, Dallas Roberts as Milton was one of the things I really liked about this show, and I’ll miss him.
Will anyone miss Laurie Holden as Andrea? Judging from my own personal opinion and the preponderance of stuff I read on the internet, that’s highly unlikely. Another main character death would have perhaps carried more weight (though I think the masses would be sad if it were Hershel or Daryl), but I guess killing Andrea is worked well enough here. And her peeps from the Prison – Rick, Michonne and Daryl – came to give her a good enough send off. And she was able to make amends with her bestie Michonne. Andrea, pour yourself a glass of “cab” in heaven – you earned it (kinda). Good death scene!
It’s also somewhat annoying that The Governor just evaporated from the finale after killing his people. So, it’s just going to be an ongoing threat of him coming back next season? It would have been significantly more gratifying if he died at either the hand of Rick or Michonne, since the entire season was leading up to a showdown of sorts and he’s already jumped the shark of crazy. He ran his course as a villain, so to bring him back almost seems like a cop-out. When they do bring him back, they’d better really bring it…otherwise this show will fall into that same trap of monotony that it’s been in many times before.
This is the end of the Mazzara era and the dawn of the Gimple era. Gimple, do your worst.
The Upside: Good episode opener and good Andrea death scene.
The Downside: Inconsistencies in character development and an overall unsatisfying, hollow finale.
On the Side: Check out David Morrissey in the Basic Instinct 2 trailer!