April 1, 2013

Episode Review: THE WALKING DEAD, "Welcome to the Tombs"

The Walking Dead decided to forgo another crazy bananas finale a la "Beside the Dying Fire," but "Welcome to the Tombs" was a mostly satisfying way to end the season.

After the Governor stabbed Milton so he would turn into a biter and kill Andrea, he led the Woodbury army on an assault mission against the prison, but no one was there. They continued to search deeper into the prison, and ended up in the tombs where they were ambushed with flash grenades. The inexperienced militia retreated, but the Governor stopped them while they fled back to Woodbury. Most of them refused to fight, so the Governor executed them all except for Martinez and his number three, and they got into a truck and drove off.

Back at the prison, Rick's group reconvened and it was revealed that Carl killed one of the Woodbury residents. He claimed that it was in self-defense but Hershel told Rick the truth... the boy was handing over his gun when Carl pulled the trigger. When confronted about it, Carl said that he did what he had to do because showing mercy hasn't worked and only caused more of their own people to die. After the initial skirmish, it was decided that they could not just let the Governor go, so Rick, Daryl and Michonne headed to Woodbury to finish it once and for all. Along the way, they came across the massacre and the only survivor, a woman named Karen, gave her self up. The four made it to the Woodbury gates when Tyreese and Sasha opened fire on them, but Karen convinced them to stop by telling them what the Governor had done.

Rick talked to Tyreese about how Andrea never made it back to the prison, so they all went to the holding area and found her. She had put down Biter Milton but not before he took a chunk out of her. She said some final words to her friends before asking Rick for his gun so she could end her life on her terms. He handed it over, and everyone left the room except for Michonne who wanted to be with her until the very end. When it was all over, Rick and the others returned to the prison with Tyreese, Sasha, and some other Woodbury residents in tow.

For a season finale, "Welcome to the Tombs" felt relatively low-key. Yes, there was the Battle of the Prison, but after the shooting stopped the episode slowed down up until the Governor went all crazy... again. I for one thought that the pacing worked, but I'm sure some viewers were annoyed because they wanted another massive action set piece like what happened at the barn. I suppose the reason why I was OK with this approach had to do with the fact that we got some interesting stuff from Rick and Carl. When Carl shot that guy, I immediately thought about how cold-blooded he was, but it was hard to argue with his logic after he explained why he did it. You could see him morphing into a mini version of the monster they were fighting, and I can't wait to see how Rick handles this one.

I know that I've been hard on Andrea for the show's entire run, but I didn't want to see her die at the end of the episode even though she kind of outlived her purpose. That said, I wasn't broken up when it happened, but I was annoyed with how it happened. Her final scene was supposed to be this emotionally devastating moment where she heroically passed on while her friend held her hand, but the writers dropped the ball in terms of making her an interesting character AND botched up her relationship with Michonne, so I ended up feeling nothing at the end of the day and that's a shame. Even though I hated her, Andrea deserved a better send-off than that.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • I was expecting the first scene between Rick and Mischonne to be awkward... not flirting and sexually charged.
  • The Bible was a nice touch.
  • Just when I thought Beth couldn't get any cuter, she put on knit cap.
  • I'm sorry, but this season wiffed on the Governor. By the end, he was such a comic book character (I know he's technically always been a comic book character) that he ceased being menacing and was just plain nuts.
  • Those poor pliers.
  • Finally, Rick and Tyreese are somewhat on the same page. I'm excited to see what the show does with the latter next season.
  • I got why Rick brought the rest of Woodbury with him, but how's that going to work logistically?
So there you have it, Season 3 of The Walking Dead is in the books. While it did have a few missteps, it was a vast improvement over Season 2, and it'll be interesting to see where the story takes us next fall now that Scott Gimple is in charge. Regardless, it was a mostly entertaining season and that's all I can really ask for.


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