01 April, 2013

Review - Walking Dead 3.16: "Welcome to The Tombs"


The Walking Dead ends its Season 3 run with a whimper and an uneven episode. Plus we say goodbye to a few characters both loved and hated.

It seemed ominous when I realized a few weeks ago that the finale of this show would coincide with the much anticipated return of Game of Thrones on HBO. As good as The Walking Dead can be at times it seemed impossible for it to surmount the return of one last year's biggest TV hits, and notably this episode felt like it wasn't even trying. As is often the case with this show there were moments of great genius and then unfathomable mistakes.

The Good:
-Milton: While I'm truly sad to say goodbye to Dallas Roberts and his character; the final moments of his story were emotional and ironically tragic and virtually everything this show's character arcs should be when they work well.

 -Attempting to give Andrea a noble ending: Possibly this season's most hated character; the show tried to continue its effort from last week to provide some redemption for Andrea in the end. Her final moments with Rick, Michonne and Daryl felt truly emotional and provided some nice remiders of just how long she was part of this group before recently. It doesn't make up for the 9,000 other bad decisions or pure idiocy she displayed this season, but it was nice to send her off on the best note possible in this case.

- Carl: There aren't enough adjectives to describe the level this character reached last night. Watching Carl pull the trigger on that guy's son and defending his actions to his father were phenomenal. Carl's arc has always been that of a child growing up too soon in a vicious world, and these moments felt like the perfect cap to his continuing evolution in the second half of the season.

Now for the Bad:
-The sequences with Andrea trying to escape: During this scene I pondered whether this zombie apocalypse would end, the second ice age would come, and the White Walkers would show up before Andrea managed to get the pliers off the floor.

-The showdown with the Governor: The season's big bang should have been the much delayed confrontation between the Governor's Woodbury crew and Rick's prison gang, but sadly it amounted to nothing more than some flashbangs and Maggie and Glenn being the only people in the group who can hit the broad side of a barn. The luring in and trapping of the Woodbury crew in a specific part of the prison seemed pretty telegraphed to me, and tactically it seemed like the best (only?) option. In addition to this the Governor's force expended what seemed like an unusually large amount of ammo shooting walkers in front of the prison rather than its defenders, all of these things together made the whole bit seem uneblieveable and poorly thought out.

-Rick, just everything Rick: I understand that last week he tried to make a statement about the group being more of a democratic collective than a Ricktatorship, but nonetheless these people are following him like a leader. And they're doing so despite the fact that his emtoions tend to swing wildly between useful logic and bordering on the edge of breakdown territory. His seemingly absurd, and unsound, decision to bring all the Woodbury folk back to the prison seems beyond explanation, and when your 10-year old son is making more sense than you are you've got serious problems.

This one gets a 70 out of 100.

The confrontation was a disappointment and the improbability of some of the decisions the character's made seemed to outweigh the few profound moments in this episode. It didn't leave me very excited for next season, but hopefully that will change once I've had a chance to miss this show for a few months.

Other stuff:

- "In this life now, you kill or you die. Or you die and you kill." -The Governor
- Hershel leaving the bible quote out was a nice thematic touch, but honestly Hersh I don't think eternal damnation will scare off a one-eyed psychopath and a bunch of people with automatic weapons.
 - When the bus pulled up I was sincerely hoping it was empty and the prison gang was just going to go back on the road like the Scooby Gang in the Mystery Mobile.
- I liked Carol and Beth emphatically killing those walkers at the gate. Those two so often get left out of the fun killing sequences that it felt like a nice end of season treat for them, and like the actresses took it as such.


  1. The boy Carl shot was I think the Asthmatic son of the woman that survived the Governor, the son of the guy that was with Tyreese was shot by Merle last week and was being eaten by him when Daryl found him.

  2. I have to scratch my head at people who expected something "big" to happen for the final confrontation. Rick's side only had about 8 people, including a baby and a one-legged man. The other side didn't have that many either.

    These are not the ingredients for a great battle, particularly when one side is holed up in a prison that they know well and their opponents do not. It played out the way I expected.

    The unexpected events were on a more personal note--Carl's killing that defenseless kid and the governor's massacre of his own people.