Television & Film

The WALKING DEAD Season Finale – Welcome To The Tombs

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Season 3, Episode 16 “Welcome To The Tombs”

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[photos: Gene Page/AMC]

DUSTIN: Anne-Marie and Tim think they’re SO FUNNY!! Bringing me a fork when I SPECIFICALLY TOLD THEM NOT to bring me a fork.

TIMOTHY: I think that’s kind of a ‘had to be there’ situation, sir.

((grumble))

I see you’re typing again. On a laptop.

Yes, I ‘borrowed’ my computer from work to do this recap. And to look at porn.

I’m KIDDING!!

Mmmm Hmmm. So, do we have predictions?

I’ll try, but I will tell you that I really have no idea what is going to happen this week. Literally no idea.

Give it a whirl.

Okay, here goes:

  • No one we care about is going to die.
  • Andrea will not be rescued.
  • Nothing will be resolved.
  • David Morrissey has a shiny new contract for next year.

Well, considering my fears about Glen and Maggie, and the fact that Andrea is in the Magical Murder Room, and we’ve only got one episode to wrap this all up… that’s quite the mix there.

Ok. Ladies and Gentlemen! Your Mssrs. Adair and Harvey present to you the season finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Joining us tonight is our returned Mr. Curtis Smith, fresh from his successful theatrical run, and as always, our very own Studio Audience Of One, Miss Anne-Marie. This recap, review and rant is formed of the opinions of this mighty band, and contains SPOILERS and much that may be inappropriate for some audiences. Consider yourself warned.

ON TO THE RECAP!!

31 Mar
They DEFINITELY, for SURE, need Rick now more than ever. Seriously this time.

We open on a single bloodshot eye. It’s The Governor’s bloodshot eye. He is not happy. He is punching the crap out of someone. Oh, it’s Milton!! The Governor is blaming Milton torching the walkers for the deaths of the people in his ambush party. So he’s punishing him for it.

Yeah, we saw this coming.

The Governor tells Milton a little secret: He likes the killing. He likes the smell of the gunpowder and the fire and the feeling he gets from knowing that someone else is dead and he is alive. Milton asks what The Governor’s daughter would think of him now. The Governor thinks about it and then he says that she would probably be afraid of him, but if he had been like this from the beginning, she might still be alive.

So this begs the question: Is the Governor actually insane or not? I mean, he knows what he’s doing, doesn’t he? And he recognizes what he is, what he’s become, but in a way he’s right, the same way Shane was “right”. If you set aside your humanity to protect everyone around you, if you can enjoy being the killer, you may be able to save more lives. IS that insane? Sociopathic certainly, but insane?

He takes Milton to the Magical Murder Room, where Andrea is tied to the chair. Andrea, of course, tells The Governor that it doesn’t have to be this way, and that they can still all be best friends, but of course not.

31 Mar
Awww. Andrea’s still alive.

The Governor tells Milton to get the tools from the Magical Murder Room’s table. Shaking, he drops the tray and tools fall all around the chair Andrea is tied to. He gathers up the tools, leaving a pair of pliers on the floor in the shadows.

Huh. Wonder if this is important. Of course he stares at them a reeeeeaaaaaaalllllyyy long time, so way to be subtle, Milton.

The Governor tells Milton that he is going to kill Andrea. He hands Milton a knife and tells him to go at it. Milton takes a couple of steps towards the chair before turning on The Governor. Of course The Governor stabs the crap out of him. As Milton slumps to the floor, The Governor tell him that now, he will die and turn and eat Andrea.

31 Mar
Well, of course Milton dies. Miltons don’t last very long in the wild.

The Governor says: In this world you kill or you die or you die and then you kill.

Hey kids! The Governor made a funny! A horrible, homicidal funny, but a funny none the less.

RIPieces, Milton. I’ll erect a shining pair of ovaries in your honor.

I’m sure he’ll appreciate that.

31 Mar
You kill or you die, or you die and you kill, or you take a commercial break.

So Curtis is playing the new The Walking Dead game… that’s not so new, it came out a couple of months ago in installments. I want to go over and watch him play. Anne-Marie asked what she could watch him do…

Anyway…

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So… at the prison, Carl is looking at the picture he stole from the Denny’s a couple of weeks ago. It looks like he’s packing. I hope Team Zombie is finally taking our advice and getting the hell out of Dodge.

Sure looks that way. Makes sense, considering they are outnumbered and outgunned.

Carl looks at Rick’s old badge. Then he gets his hat and heads off. Carl does not look happy as he takes his pack and heads to the cars.

Well of course not. His Hat wants him to stay and fight, and feed It’s power with more blood. Duh.

31 Mar
I hope Carl’s hat makes it to next season.

I have to stop right here. My notes say: He love had the pronoun, everyone looks a little put out.

It took me a couple of hours to realize that means: He must have loved that prison, but everyone looks a little put out.
Sometimes I can’t read my own notes, you guys.

And yet, sadly, I can. Sigh.

Anyway, Glenn and Rick talk about how sullen Carl is all of a sudden and Rick tells him that it’s all just kid stuff, don’t even worry about it.

Rick’s parenting style leaves something to be desired.

Off in another corner of the yard, Daryl and Carol talk about Merle’s sacrifice and how it gave them a real chance. Carol reaches out to Daryl, and he takes her hand.

And that’s why your Grindr hopes are so misplaced.

Shut up. Inside the Prison, Rick and Michonne share a moment. Michonne tells Rick that she understands why he considered the Governor’s offer, and also how grateful she is for him taking her onto Team Zombie. Rick tries to shrug it off, saying that it was really all Carl, he saved her initially at the gate, and again when he told his father that she should be one of them. Michonne smiles. “Carl, huh?” She says.

OK, I really liked this. Michonne gets to be human and warm and that is always welcome, and still address the Horrible Plan in a way that is well written and believable. (Of course, there is a problem, in that this conversation is obviously delayed quite a bit from her return to the prison, and should have happened a lot earlier, but hey.) And Rick gets to show that his humanity is returning too, without this turning into a monologue fest.

Meanwhile, back in Woodbury, The Governor is riling up the citizenry. He talks about how Team Zombie is all about the killing and they won’t stop until all of the Woodburyians are dead and the town is destroyed. Tyreese steps out from the Woodbury Militia, with Shovel at his back. He says that they would like to opt out of the battle at the prison. Killing walkers to protect themselves is one thing, but killing other humans is quite another.

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There is a tense second, where it looks like The Governor is about ready to gun them down in the middle of the street, but then, his teeth gritting with the strain of it, he gives Tyreese a gun and thanks them for volunteering to stay behind with the old people and children.

Oh, the sound of his voice when he says, “Thank You.” C’mon Tyreese, really?

The Governor’s Woodbury Militia arrives at the prison spoiling for a fight. Martinez shoots a rocket propelled genade at the guard towers and they basically storm the place. And Tim is… laughing.

Well, we saw Team Zombie packing right, so… What if you held an invasion, and nobody came?

31 Mar
Geeze it’s like the new Rambo movie.

They rush into the yard, and The Governor inspects the place. Why do I want him to see Lori standing on the Balcony, rubbing her dumb pregnant belly?

31 Mar
Why isn’t his eye-patch bedazzled yet?

So now we’re in the cell block and… there ain’t nobody there. The Governor is PISSED.

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He leads the Militia out of the cell block and into the uninhabited part of the prison, down in the dark, with the walkers.

This is such a bad idea.

31 Mar
Oh I can’t wait to see how they all die.

While in the dark, The Governor and his men come across a booby trap or a hidden member of Team Zombie, or something because the next thing we know, there are explosions and fire fights and walkers and it’s a melee.

The Governor leads the Militia out of the cell block where other members of Team Zombie are waiting!! I guess they didn’t abandon the prison  after all! There is a fire fight, but the Woodbury Militia is more like the Woodbury Track and Field Team, because they are off like a shot, leaving The Governor in the dust.

Team Zombie has won the day!!!

Wait, what? Hang on. It’s clear that our heroes are going out of their way to NOT kill the Woodbury folks, but while this is all noble and human, it’s incredibly dumb. Look, I like the fact that we’re not going the way of the comic here, because the two forces facing off against each other in the show would mean that Team Zombie would be so much mulch, but the Governor is coming to kill them all. They know the Governor is coming to kill them all. So their plan is to scare him off? Seriously? So he can turn around and come back? MAYbe with more people, since Team Zombie really doesn’t know that all of the able-bodied residents are attacking them? Guys, this… this is a terrible plan. Sure it worked, for now. But what if they come back?

Well, for the most part everyone runs away. Carl, Hershel, Daughter Fodder and Lil’ Asskicker were hiding in the woods and when a young member of the Woodbury Track and Field Team stumbles across them (I think it’s the kid with asthma that Andrea tried to get out of serving in the first place) Carl wastes no time in shooting the poor kid in the face, even though it’s obvious that he is scared and retreating and begging to surrender.

The Hat says kill.

Not very Team Zombie of you, Carl, you didn’t even spend a minute agonizing about the consequences of your decision before you made it. Your dad would have spent at least 2 episodes deciding whether or not to shoot the kid.

You know, the fact that the kid was surrendering… Carl is becoming quite the little monster himself.

31 Mar
The wrong kid died, g*dd*mmit.

Out on the road, The Governor and Martinez and the other henchman (who I don’t think has a name) finally catch up with the rest of the feeing Woodburians. The Governor cuts them off and demands to know just what the hell they think they are doing. The Woodburians, under the leadership of a lovely Uppity Lady (whose name is Karen or Linda or something) tell  The Governor that they are not going to fight Team Zombie anymore. They have made it pretty clear that they are crazy and better at this whole ‘killing people’ thing than they are, and as far as they are concerned, they are willing to let bygones be bygones.

The Governor handles this about how you would expect.

By murdering them all in the street.

Well. That’s one way to handle it.

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31 Mar
Carl’s hat told him to. Kill when the hat says kill.

In about a second, he mows down like 20 people while Martinez, the henchman and Angry, formerly of The Tailies watch in horror. Only Angry has the wherewithal to raise his weapon against The Governor, but he does not take the slight advantage he has and pull the trigger and The Governor wastes him too. After which, he climbs back into his truck, followed by a very apprehensive Martinez and Other Henchman and drives off.

Oh, and he doesn’t notice that Uppity has survived the bloodbath by hiding under the bodies of her dead friends.
And that’s the last we see of The Governor… this season…

31 Mar
I’m speechless. Thank the maker for this scene.

Dustin?

Yes? Oh. Folks? Anne-Marie has something to say about Martinez:

OH  MY @#$%ING GOD, WHY ARE YOU GETTING IN THE MOTHER @#$%ING TRUCK? *PAT PAT* SERIOUSLY? *PAT PAT* GOOD TO GO? @#$%ING HELL.

That has been a moment of outrage from Anne-Marie.

And an excellent question, if a tad colorful. Why humanize Martinez a couple of episodes ago, to make him just respond to this mass murder by acting like it’s all OK? And if it isn’t OK, why not shoot the Governor in the back when he has the chance? He can’t possibly think that he’s got job security, after watching the Governor murder/kill the people he’s “protecting”.

Back in the Magical Murder Room, Milton is… surprisingly still alive. He tells Andrea that he has left the pliers behind the chair and that if she can just get to them she might have a chance to escape the chair before he dies and eats her. Come on, Andrea, you can do it! Glenn did practically the same thing, like five episodes ago!

31 Mar
Miltons apparently have a stronger constitution than you’d think.

Oh, no. This is going to be awful, isn’t it?

So the rest of our Andrea time is spent with her trying to get the pliers, stopping only to have discussions with the very rapidly dying Milton, or to look at him with sadness, or to… I don’t know… admire her shiny pedicure.

31 Mar
You can’t tell me that Andrea can’t get her legs behind her head.

It is going to be awful. Less talk, more pliers. Seriously.

At one point, Milton asks Andrea why she decided to stay in Woodbury, and she says that she really thought she could solve everything so that no one had to die.

For the love of God, multitask. You can, in fact, talk and try and get the pliers at the same time. Really. In fact, you know what? Milton is probably caring not one damn bit about your line of reasoning, seeing that he’s bleeding out all over the floor. Less talk… more pliers.

She tells him that she had a chance to kill The Governor, but she didn’t do it because she really thought she could make it work.

LESS TALK. MORE PLIERS.

Tim says less talk, more pliers.

She basically wastes time until Milton has died, turned, and is on his feet shambling towards her. He attacks her… and her fate is left to our imaginations until the end of the episode.

Considering that this has been a completely contrived sequence that involved way too many moments of Andrea stopping what she was doing to monologue in a blatant effort to stretch this all out and “increase” the threat of Milton becoming a walker… I almost hope she’s zombie chow.

So now that is all taken care of, let’s move on to Team Zombie and their adventures.

So after driving the Woodburians off, Team Zombie meets at the gates of the prison to celebrate. Daryl says this is the time to Finish This by going after The Governor. Rick agrees and Carl says that he wants to be part of the Murder Party.

Because the Hat needs more blood.

He tells Rick a version of the truth, that a soldier from Woodbury found them and he had no choice but to kill him. Unfortunately, Hershel is there and hears the whole thing. He wastes no time pulling Rick aside and letting him in on the REAL truth. That Carl murdered someone in cold blood.

At first, Rick does not want to believe it, but Hershel doesn’t let up, and finally Rick has to face the truth of the situation.

31 Mar
In the new world. There is only one god. And it’s Carl’s hat.

And good to see Hershel not back down here, the way he did when the Terrible Plan was discussed last episode.

Rick pulls Carl aside and tells him that he knows that Carl did not kill the boy in self-defense. Carl looks at him with the coldest little eyes and asks him what the difference is. He then lists off a series of people that Rick showed mercy to that ended up coming back to bite Team Zombie in the ass. It’s pretty amazing, but at the same time it’s damn scary.

31 Mar
So sayeth Carl’s Hat, So sayeth we all.

Shall I tell you why? Okay, here goes. In the comic, of course we all know that it’s Carl that kills Shane when he is threatening Rick in the forest. In that moment Carl looks at his father and says “It’s not like killing the dead ones” and Rick takes him in his arms and tells him “It never should be.” This exchange color’s Carl’s whole worldview in the comics. Carl does go on to be a bad ass, even taking lives of other humans to protect the safety of the group, but he does it with a gravity. Hell, he even takes it upon himself to execute his friend Ben after the kid goes insane and murders his twin brother. I have been waiting for Carl to become the bad ass he is in the comic, and a the beginning of this season I saw glimmers of that. Unfortunately, I don’t see TV Carl heading in the same direction as Comics Carl. If anything TV Carl is heading down the same road Shane did, and more frightening, Ben from the comics. TV Carl is suggesting that human life, or the lives of people who are not part of Team Zombie, are not important. Rick’s main struggle is maintaining the balance between the value of human life and the realities of the dangers. It’s a slippery slope.

Agreed, especially because from the beginning, Carl has been very little like his comic counterpart. He’s become quite the little killing machine, and he’s definitely taken Shane’s worldview to heart. And just like Shane, there is a terrible logic to his argument, because in a way he’s right. If Rick had killed more often, Theodore would still be alive, and Lori might still be alive. If protection is all you’re trying to accomplish, then killing the kid makes perfect sense. But Rick has figured out that if you sacrifice what makes protecting others worth it, your humanity, you lose the important things, like friends. And wives. And now, sadly, his son.

Anyway, Rick tells Carl that under no circumstances is he coming to finish off The Governor but instead leaves him with Glen and Maggie as he, Daryl and Michonne go on the mission.

They arrive at the place where The Governor turned in his resignation, and inspect the bodies. Apparently they save Uppity, but EVERYONE IN THE ROOM IS TALKING AND DISTRACTING ME!! ALL THE STOPPING NEEDS TO TALK RIGHT NOW!!

So I miss them actually saving her.

She’s in the truck, they kill the Woodbury walkers, she gets out of the truck. You’re caught up now.

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So helpful. So the Away Team with Uppity in tow arrives at the gates of Woodbury, only to be immediately fired upon by  Tyreese. Luckily he’s a crap shot. Uppity jumps out and calms Tyreese and Shovel, who let the Away Team into Woodbury.

The Away Team immediately goes in search of Andrea, since The Governor… or I guess he’s just Phillip now, huh… never returned to Woodbury. The Away team takes Tyreese and Shovel to the place where Maggie and Glen were held all those weeks ago (Tyreese’s shock that there is a secret interrogation bunker in Woodbury is a little priceless. HE’S SO DUMB, YOU GUYS!!)

As they arrive at the door to the Magical Murder Room, I am shocked to find that I am really REALLY hoping Andrea has survived. To the point that I actually say out into the universe that I will not watch the show next season if she is dead when they open the door.

You will. You know you will.

31 Mar
I really don’t think Milton’s gonna make it.

Well Milton is dead, and Andrea is propped up against the door. She has been bitten. It’s super sad and everyone cries. Again, Andrea reiterates that she was just really trying to stop the bloodshed. She wanted to save everyone, and she thought she could. Finally, Andrea asks to be allowed to off herself, and Rick gives her his gun. Smiling, Andrea says she knows how to turn the safety off. It’s a really sad, sweet callback to season one when she had to kill her sister after she became a walker.

31 Mar
Admittedly, I don’t like that Andrea is bitten.

Michonne stays with Andrea while she does it.

31 Mar
But I wanted to see her ass one more time.

I think we both have a lot to say about Andrea here, but I think we’ll wait until the end, yes?

Yes. Back at the prison, the Away Team returns … with a bus. A BUS.

It’s all the people of Woodbury. Well, all the women, children and old people of Woodbury.

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Carl asks what this is all about, then runs away. Because he just killed a kid and it’s pretty likely that his mom is there now.

Now there’s an awkward conversation.

31 Mar
“Kill the rest, Carl. Do it” – Carl’s Hat.

We close on a lone cross in a field.

That was intense, ya’ll.

It was. I don’t think it really lived up to the build we were getting this half of the season, and it was anticlimactic in a way, since we still have the Governor running about, but in the context of the show’s world, it takes us too a pretty interesting new place.

So… thoughts?

I really liked season 3 as a whole. Even the parts that I hated, I kind of liked. I feel like this was a real house cleaning season. In a way it is leading to a complete reboot of what The Walking Dead is about for next season. One and Two were about trying to find a place to belong in a world gone mad. Season three found that place, fortified it, and fought for it, and finally claimed it.

Season three got rid of three troublesome characters, too. T-Dawg (or Theodore) was a fine background character, but was ultimately useless. No one knew what to do with Lori once she was not the linchpin member of the Shane/Rick/Lori love triangle. And Andrea, well… Andrea was always too good for this world.

I still see Theodore as a wasted opportunity, especially since we had some really nice moments with him, even if they were only moments. It’s the problem with the ensemble cast isn’t it? And Lori was written so poorly for so long, that yes, without Shane in the dynamic, she was just… unpleasant. Oddly though, the couple of episodes before she dies, she was being written well, which made her death actually a loss. As for Andrea…

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I write that with absolute sincerity. Andrea, who was really the central character this season, was problematic because she refused to let go of the morality of the world before. It caused her to be blind to the dangers right in front of her. She did not see Shane for who he was, she did not see The Governor for who he was. Because she wanted to believe that the world was on its way to being saved. She really thought that rational discussion and cool heads could win the day. In a way, I feel like Andrea was the most real of all the characters in the series. I have a feeling that I would be an Andrea in the world of The Walking Dead. Because after her initial hopelessness, she found her way back to hope and that is what gave her strength. Hope led her to allow Daughter Fodder to attempt and fail at suicide. Hope led her to take up a gun and learn to shoot. Hope let her fall in love with Woodbury, and The Governor, and Shane. Hope was her strength, but it was also her downfall. Because hope can blind us. It blinded Andrea and because she was blinded, she made decisions that lead her to a dangerous place.

Oh, I so really want to agree with you here, but I just can’t. Look, I like Laurie Holden, I think she’s an excellent actress, and I’m sorry to see her go, because when Andrea was written right, she was really allowed to shine. But she was handled so poorly this season, and not at all given the opportunity to show us half of what you’ve just talked about. We never got anywhere near enough time with her in Woodbury to show us any reason at all why she would love the town, the people, or the Governor, let alone why she would side with them/him over Michonne early on. We heard a lot about how the people respected her, and they reacted positively to her terrible speech, but where was the character development, or the story development, to show that there were reasons for her actions? Instead we got no sense of who the people of Woodbury are, at all really, c’mon… name someone other than Milton or Martinez? I think you’re right about what she says she trying to do, but we only know that because she tells us. For the majority of this season we’ve joked about her clean clothes and her Prell obsession, precisely for those reasons. For this drive to save everyone’s lives to work, we have to care about the people she’s trying to save, and what we got instead was a season of wondering what the hell she was thinking, and why she was making these terrible choices.

It’s the same thing with her romance with the Governor. We never had a reason to believe that she should care about him so much, because we never saw them fall in love, so we never had a reason to believe that she would be so blind to the increasingly obvious lies he was feeding her. We had flirting, we jumped to sex, we moved on to lies.  To me it made her hope something that was so unrealistic, I couldn’t root for her, because what we got was someone who, in the face of all the evidence to the contrary, someone who knows she’s being lied to, chose to make choice after choice that was almost guaranteed to lead to more death, not less. Is what you see what the writers intended? I believe it is.
I just don’t think they pulled it off.

So now we have a home. We have a strong unit who is willing to fight. We have people who need to be protected. We have a damaged boy who needs to be reminded what it is to be a human being. And we have a father with a new commitment to show him what that means.

Those are all really great places to start the new season, and complaints aside, this was a much stronger season than the second. With what they’ve set up for the next, well, there are all kinds of places they could take this. So we’ll be back in the fall folks… thank you for reading, and we hope you’ve enjoyed these as much as we’ve enjoyed writing them!

31 Mar
Thanks for playing. See you next season!

Wait!

What?

This episodes’ lesson?

Oh that’s easy. Less Talk, More Pliers.

Yeah, figured you say that. See you next season everyone!

Timothy Harvey

Timothy Harvey is a Kansas City based writer, director, actor and editor, with something of a passion for film noir movies. He was the art director for the horror films American Maniacs, Blood of Me, and the pilot for the science fiction series Paradox City. His own short films include the Noir Trilogy, 9 1/2 Years, The Statement of Randolph Carter - adapted for the screen by Jason Hunt - and the music video for IAMEVE’s Temptress. He’s a former President and board member for the Independent Filmmakers Coalition of Kansas City, and has served on the board of Film Society KC.

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