Thursday, April 4

The Walking Dead Friday - 'Welcome To The Tombs.'

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Season 3 - Episode 16: 'Welcome To The Tombs.'

The Season Finale of The Walking Dead Friday is upon us. We have much to discuss.

I know everyone's going to have their own personal opinion about this episode, and as a viewer, I always attempt to differentiate between what I want as a fan, and what I feel would be good for the show as a whole. With that being said, I wasn't all that satisfied as a fan, and I'm having a hard time understanding how Sunday's finale was good for the series as a whole, either.

In my head, it sort of seemed like a cut-and-dry finale that would have satisfied everyone: Rick and the Governor go to war, there are a couple of high-profile deaths, the Governor meets his fate and Rick's crew are forced to hobble out of the prison and into their next adventure. That's what we expected, and I also believe it's what we wanted. The last thing Walking Dead fans want a flashback to is the eternity spent hanging around Hershel's farm in Season 2.

But yet, here we are. Andrea and Milton are dead, but that's not going to keep anyone up at night. Rick and company are still at the prison, now with a few dozen more mouths to feed in the form of women and children that will serve them no protection in the event of another invasion. Oh, and the Governor's still out there, but it's anyone's guess if we'll ever see him again. It was vague, anticlimactic and didn't excite me one bit for Season 4. In fact, I feel that almost nothing was accomplished here in the grand scheme of things.

Character-wise, Rick's in a better place (he's not seeing Lori anymore), and he's attempting to bring some sort of human domesticity to Carl before he goes completely psychotic, but that doesn't always make for riveting television. Maggie and Glen are going to get married, Carol and Daryl might get closer as they bond after losing Merle, and Michonne and Tyreese will probably get to know each other better as well (if the comic has any say in it).

But is this what we're interested in, first and foremost? Not me. I wanted to see justice for a Governor that slowly descended into madness, slaughtered dozens of innocent people and put Rick and company through hell. I wanted to see someone, anyone that had a reason (and there were plenty), inflict some backwoods justice on one of TV's great bad guys. I wanted to see a change of location. You'd think that at least one of these things would happen, but nothing did.

Not even Andrea's death was all that surprising. I said last week that her character had fallen so far outside the realm of being accepted back into the good graces of the fans, that nothing short of killing the Governor would save her from dying this week. And I was right, but being right didn't make the episode any more or less interesting. Sunday's episode ran five minutes over, and my friends didn't know that, so they were nervous as 10pm was approaching, afraid that we were going to get some sort of 'To Be Continued' ending. I told them not to fear, and that we'd surely get the closure we thought we deserved during the five minute overrun. Nope.

So, what do we do now? Where does Season 4 take us? I'm not sure, but I have a pretty good idea of where it's going to start: Back at the same prison we hung around in all last season, with no firm resolution in Woodbury and more hypothetical scenarios than actual action. The tension and action that picked up once Rick and company left Hershel's farm was what made The Walking Dead the most popular show on television (literally). To hit the brakes with such a lackluster final ten minutes seemed like quite a misstep, if only in the short-term.

But shit, what do I know? Maybe the Season 4 premiere will be Rick, Daryl and Michonne sitting around a wooden spool, bringing the fans up to speed on the last few months of storyline:

"Boy, we sure killed the Governor good, didn't we?"

"Yup, and remember when all those Woodbury refugees just up and disappeared in the middle of the night? That sure helped in regards to our supplies."

"Absolutely. And remember when we ditched the prison for Woodbury, because they had water and beds and shit?"

I don't know.

Let’s take this episode behind the shed and put it out of its misery, because it’s time for The Thick And Meaty!

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Despite all the work he put into his snazzy torture chamber, the Governor leaves the murder of Andrea up to Milton for some reason. When Milton refuses, the Governor mortally wounds him, leaving Milton to turn and (presumably) attack Andrea while she’s all tied up and whatnot. Upon leaving, the Governor says, “In this life now, you kill or you die…or you die and you kill,” which is one of the better catchphrases I’ve heard this season.

Meanwhile, Rick and company are preparing for war. In Woodbury, they do the same. Tyreese and Sasha tell the Governor that they’re going to hang back at base camp to protect the women and children (that’s the job I would have volunteered for, too). The Governor, who seems to be slowly losing his patience with anything and everything on Earth, reluctantly agrees.

The Governor and his people storm the prison, using all manner of weapons to decimate the exterior (a rocket launcher?!). Once they get inside, it appears to be abandoned, until they are ambushed by Rick’s crew and hastily flee. And hey, say what you want about the Governor, but he’s not hanging back like a coward; dude is in the front lines, looking to kill people. I admire that in a leader.

A Woodbury teenager encounters Carl and Hershel in the woods while fleeing. Carl asks him to drop his weapon, but then decides to kill him anyway before really seeing what he was going to do. Carl later justifies his actions to Rick by saying that the teen didn’t drop his weapon, a claim that Hershel disputes…but not me. I feel that this was war and the teenager didn’t act quickly enough. Carl had every right to be afraid and defensive. But I understand that they’re trying to drive the plot point that Carl is becoming cold and detached, and Rick needs to create some sort of domesticity so he doesn’t snap completely, so I’ll go with it.

In the chamber, Milton lets Andrea know that he left a pair of pliers behind her chair. Then he totally dies.

Outside of the prison, the Governor orders his convoy to stop. When they almost unanimously express desire to return to Woodbury and leave Rick’s group alone, the Governor goes on a shooting rampage and kills most of them (except for a couple of his right-hand men). Karen plays dead and is spared when the Governor runs out of bullets, and he leaves her behind. This, right here, is the Governor in his purest form. He went from a justifiably bad guy to a complete lunatic in the span of this season, and I think it was a commendable performance by David Morrissey, even if I don’t really want to see him return in Season 4.

Rick asks Carl about the teenager he killed. Carl mentions that Dale, Lori and Merle all died because they didn’t seize the opportunity to kill potential threats when they arose. Point taken, Carl.

Rick, Michonne and Daryl head off to Woodbury to finish the job, when they encounter the massacre the Governor left behind, as well as the surviving Karen. Meanwhile, Milton reanimates and advances on Andrea, who gets bitten just before killing him for realsies. Rick’s group shows up just in time to realize that Andrea isn’t going to make it. Andrea apologizes for her actions, then promptly shoots herself in the head (off-camera).

The episode ends with Rick’s group returning to the prison with a school bus full of the women and children that were huddling at Woodbury (including Tyreese, Sasha and Karen). Carl’s pissed. Oh, and because of all this closure (to Rick at least), he’s no longer seeing visions of Lori.

Smash cut, season over! Now let’s Break It Down!

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1. Regardless of if I thought this was a good episode or not, the ratings were predictably massive, drawing an all-time high of 12.4 million viewers. This makes it not only the most-watched episode of the series to date, but the most-watched drama in the history of cable TV. Every single week, this show is making history in one way or another.

2. This episode was written by the (now departed) showrunner/executive producer Glen Mazzara. Good luck in Season 4, Scott Gimple; expectations for success are more than a little high.

3. AMC sent a press release shortly after the finale to let people know that David Morrissey would be returning as the Governor in Season 4, so don’t expect him to stay M.I.A. for very long.

4. This episode marks the final appearances of both Andrea and Milton, and although Michael Rooker was credited, he was the only main cast member to not appear (cuz’ he’s dead, you know).

5. With Andrea’s death, Carol (of all people) becomes the last surviving female from the original Atlanta group. Furthermore, Andrea’s death also leaves only five members of the original Atlanta group remaining (Rick, Carl, Carol, Daryl and Glenn).

And with that, we’re done with The Walking Dead for Season 3. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend. The CDP will return shortly with regularly-scheduled essays and pop culture goodness all the way through Spring, so stick around.

I think a Governor/Michonne encounter is still to come. Those chains were there for a reason.
That's fine, but the idea that they couldn't have fit it all into Season 3 is ridiculous. This storyline should be over; The Walking Dead is full of different bad guys and cities, so there's no reason they can't pick up the pace without fear of running out of content.

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