“In this life now, you kill or you die… Or you die and you kill.”
After last week’s unsurprising but still very heart-felt surprise, what’s left for The Walking Dead’s season 3 finale to accomplish?
Milton is receiving the beating of his life for burning the walkers in the pits. The Governor points out his ruthless methods kept Milton safe and fed, and Milton retaliates, “as long as I looked the other way.” Milton appeals to Phil’s daughter, but he points out if he’d been this person from the beginning his daughter would still be alive to fear him. But it’s time for Milton to graduate, and GOV insists he kill Andrea. “You’re gonna show me that you’ve learned something.” When he refuses and tries to kill Philip instead, GOV guts him.
“Now you’re gonna die, and you’re gonna turn, and you’re gonna tear the flesh from her bones.”
Meanwhile, Team Prison is packing their belongings and planning to get out. Carl puts away Rick’s deputy star, but puts the hat on. Rick sees Lori. Daryl has returned, and as he mulls over Merle’s actions Carol points out it gave them a chance. Michonne makes peace with Rick for thinking of selling her out, and thanks him for taking her in when he didn’t have to. He explains it away, “[Carl] said you belonged here. You’re one of us.”
The Governor rallies Woodbury for war, insisting the prison’s inhabitants are no better than biters. Tyreese takes a stand against the fight, saying he’ll stay with the women and children but won’t take part in killing people (Odd, because when he first arrived at the prison Tyreese said if they were having trouble with another group they’d help with that too). The Woodbury ‘soldiers’ attack the prison. They have heavy artillery on their trucks; Martinez bazookas a watchtower and the rounds fired pierce through the pallet reinforcements the prison group worked so hard on. The prison seems to be vacant, and the only sign of life is a bible open to a highlighted verse.
And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. John 5:29 (King James Bible)
GOV orders his people to split up, with him leading the charge.
In Woodbury, Milton is stirring. He tells Andrea he left some pliers when he dumped over the tray of tools, that she must get them to free herself before he turns. “When you get free, you are going to find something very sharp, and you are going to stab me in the head.” His foresight has given Andrea a fighting chance, showing that though Milton wasn’t a tough guy, he wasn’t lacking in cleverness. Tyreese and Sasha discuss what happens when GOV returns. They’re smart enough to know their reception won’t be a warm one. Andrea gets the pliers, exchanging small talk with her dying companion. He asks why she stayed when she found out her friends were out there, and she confesses she wanted to save everyone, thought she could do it without any more killing.
In the tombs, smoke bombs and the prison’s wailing alarm cause chaos among the intruders. The Governor scrambles to get his people back under control, but between the walkers in the tombs and Maggie and Glenn in riot gear shooting down from the high ground, he rapidly loses control of his militia. The group scrambles for their vehicles and flees. Outside the prison, Jody stumbles across where Carl and Hershel are hiding with Beth and the baby. Carl calls for the young man’s surrender, but when the boy moves like he’ll hand over his gun instead of just dropping it to the ground, Carl shoots him. Team Prison regroups, discussing whether to pursue the fight to Woodbury. Hershel challenges Carl’s story of killing a ‘soldier’ who was ‘attacking them,’ telling Rick that Carl shot someone who was surrendering. “He gunned that kid down.”
GOV cuts off the fleeing Woodbury caravan and just loses it. He begins shooting his own people, and even Martinez looks alarmed. The Governor inadvertently spares one woman who is using one of her fallen comrades as a meat shield. Martinez and GOV’s other soldier fall reluctantly in line and the GOV drives off.
Andrea struggles with the pliers, her wrists bloody from struggling to reach them with her feet. She has an amazing pedicure for the undead apocalypse, but it’s not really helping with her toe-dexterity. Milton sounds dead. Andrea hurries more. She gets the cuffs off just in time to try and fend him off, but there’s screaming from behind the door.
As Rick, Daryl, and Michonne are ready to roll on Woodbury, Rick confronts Carl about whether the kid was surrendering. “I couldn’t take the chance.” He rattles off so many scenarios where their collective failure to be ruthless has led to the death of one of their own, and the tone is heavily reprimanding of Rick’s actions through the first three seasons. “I did what I had to do. Now go, so he doesn’t kill any more of us.” Glenn and Maggie stay behind in case GOV returns, though from how Beth and Carol precisely dispatch walkers it’s clear everyone is pulling his/her weight in the team.
Rick, Daryl, and Michonne find the remains of the caravan on the road, and walkers feeding on bodies not yet turned. The surviving woman, Karen, jumps out of a truck, and as Rick pulls a gun on her he’s got to be thinking of Carl’s last words to him. At Woodbury, Karen shouts for Tyreese to open the gate. She tells him what The Governor did and that Rick saved her. Daryl looks pissed that Rick surrenders, but goes along with it. Rick admits, “We were coming to finish this, until we saw what the Governor did.” He says Andrea never made it, and tells Tyreese how GOV captures and tortures people. Inside, they find Milton dead and Andrea bit. She asks about “the rest of them,” and Rick corrects, “Us. The rest of us.”
Andrea is happy Michonne found the group. “No one can make it alone now.” She wants to finish herself while she still can, and her joking, “I know how the safety works,” goes all the way back to the first time she met Rick. She is in good spirits, for a dying woman. Michonne stays with Andrea for her final moments, but the men go outside to give them some privacy. They return to the prison with a school bus in tow, and have brought Andrea back to be buried with the group. Carl is annoyed about Woodbury’s residents joining them. Rick looks up and doesn’t see Lori on the ramparts. The sun is rising, birds are singing, and the walkers are at play in the field, and though the final shot is one of a grave the overall implication is one of a brand new day.
So where the everloving fuck is the Governor? Like, we can’t just pretend this is over with that crazy son of a bitch free somewhere. I want to see him holed up in some crack shack with poor Martinez afraid to leave. Is he just cruising around blasting “Life is a Highway” and letting the wind blow back his hair?
And Carl. First off, when two men are pointing guns at you and say to drop your weapon, you put it down, like, on the ground. You don’t try to hand it over physically unless you’ve got some shady shit planned. Therefore I don’t feel Carl was unjustified in killing that kid, though I do feel that his actions otherwise were a return to the snot-nosed little brat of season two (ironic considering he mentioned his own brattiness as cause of Dale’s death when reprimanding his father). For a character who has demonstrated so much growth and depth this season, his childish tantrums with his father came off as flat and forced.
And Andrea… Goodbye, sweet princess, and may flights of angels etc. etc. You did get a hero’s death, which I feel was fitting in spite of your fits of selfishness and hysteria, because overall you really did have people’s best interests at heart. I hope heaven is stuffed full of cabernet and hot oil treatments and maybe some hottie you can shoot guns with and bang.
SO what were your thoughts? Likes? Dislikes? Did the kill count meet expectations? Did enough title characters fall under the show’s axe? Did they, in fact, welcome enough people to tombs?