All season, we’ve been building to this — the end of season 3. This is where all roads come to a cross; the Governor (David Morrissey) and his Woodbury people versus Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his band of survivors and their decision to stay or fight. Somewhere in the background is Andrea — a beloved/reviled character who we last saw trapped in the Governor’s torture chamber.
We all knew this season was going to lead up to the events of “Welcome to the Tombs”, but did it all turn out as we hoped it would?
Be warned there will be spoilers, turn back now unless you’ve already seen the finale.
First off, let’s begin with the Governor and his good eye. That initial scene where we see the Governor pummeling an unseen victim through the victims POV (quickly revealed to be Milton aka Dallas Roberts) was fantastic. Their relationship has been building to a standoff, and the collateral damage (Andrea) that came from their battle was one of the more surprising moments of this season.
I would have liked it if their was more dialogue between Milton and Andrea while she was waiting for that human time bomb to go off and Milton to turn into a flesh hungry zombie thanks to the Governor’s stab-and-leave, but it was still a nice way to fully establish both Milton and Andrea’s transformation from willing Woodbury lackeys to people whose eyes were wide open.
More on these two kids later on in the review.
Speaking of Woodbury, this entire season, fans of the Walking Dead were promised some kind of awesome big battle between the two groups of survivors, but instead we got something that felt more like an appetizer and less like an encore.
Yes, the explosions and the zed massacre were cool, as was the plot to lull the Governor and his men into thinking that the prison had been abandoned, but what came next mattered more in the long run.
Young Carl finally completed a circle that had begun last season when he put one between zombie Shane’s eyes, pulling the trigger in cold blood on a young and scared Woodbury foot soldier who had run away from the fight and right into Carl’s path. Naturally, Carl claimed that the young man had drawn first, an account that Hershel called bullshit on to Rick.
How will Rick handle the potentially rotting soul of his son next season? No idea, but Rick took a clear first step later in the episode when he brought a busload of Woodbury residents to the prison.
Why were they so willing to go? Well, that other thing that came about after the Prison: The Governor went nucking futs on his people, chasing them down as they high tailed it off the prison grounds, and then opening fire on the ill-prepared group of well-fed suburbanites that he had been forced to draft into a militia after Milton’s actions inevitably lead to modifying the Governor’s plans and Merle’s relatively successful kamikaze attack last week.
Unfortunately for the Governor, though, he didn’t kill everyone, and when Rick, Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) made their way to Woodbury in an effort to finish the job, they came across a young woman who had survived the Governor’s mental break and who was willing to vouch for them at the gates as Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) and his sister Sasha guarded the wall at Woodbury.
For Tyrese and Sasha, news that the Governor snapped seemed to come as a surprise, but perhaps not a major one, as they have clearly kept some distance from him since they got to Woodbury. With that said, though, nothing could have prepared them for what they saw when they discovered Andrea.
Now, when we heard the sounds of Andrea being attacked by zombie Milton and I’m sure some of you had your hands up in the air in celebration and others were just worried about her safety, but the big reveal — that she had been bitten in the shoulder — had to register as a surprise. This was the death of another one of the original survivors of Atlanta. An important character and it was a touching scene, don’t get me wrong. Glen Mazzarra wrote the episode wonderfully (though new showrunner Scott Gimple wrote the scene where Andrea and Milton talked about why she stayed behind) and gave a nice call back to the first time Andrea fired a gun, all the way back on Hershel’s farm. In the end, she worked out her last issues with her friends and said her goodbyes. It could have been worse and we could have gotten another Michael Rooker moment, but allowing Andrea to end it herself seemed to fit.
Where do they go from here?
As I said, the episode ended with Rick shepherding a new flock to the prison and away from Woodbury with Tyreese by his side. Will Tyreese be a leader in this group as he was in the comics? How about Carl? How does Rick manage that situation now that it seems like he has gotten his own piece of “clear” and no longer seems to be seeing Lori? Forget all that and all the questions about how this new group will adapt to their new, harder lives outside the sedate Woodbury — what we all really want to know is, what will the Governor do now without his people and without his sanity? He is a dangerous man, but how much damage can he do without an army of easily manipulated sheep?
We’ll find out some of this in October, but man, this show really needs to step up it’s game next season.