The Walking Dead Watch: Humanity Prevails?

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Gene Page / AMC

It wasn’t all that long ago, a little over a year actually, when we cheered TWD’s season 2 finale for getting us the hell off the farm. We praised that episode for, among other things, wrapping up several important story lines but still leaving us wanting more. The final shot of the prison, just over the horizon, sent the blogosphere abuzz.

Last night’s season 3 finale didn’t pack a similar punch. In fact, the ending was a bit slow, if decently dramatic. Forgoing the (literal) fiery finish of last year’s season, the producers chose to tie up some loose ends, focus on character development, and cruise into blackout. What the episode didn’t do is end the Woodbury saga. That chapter is by no means closed, but we find ourselves in a very different place today than we did one week ago.

For most of season three we have been in a standoff between the Woodbury camp and the prison. After taking a few episodes to set up the situation, the plot moved back and forth as the leaders tap-danced around each other, leaving us to wonder when one side might attack the other. It was easy to expect a massive, pitched battle to take us into the off-season, and we did get a fight, but not a decisive one. Instead, we saw the Governor reach his breaking point, finally revealing him to be the psychopath we all suspected him to be.

The hints began almost immediately, when the Governor takes a short break from abusing Milton to channel his inner Lt. Colonel Kilgore (“You smell the smoke, and you smell the blood…”) Given what we’ve seen the Governor do behind closed doors, it wasn’t exactly a shock that he would kill several people from the town. But the brazen way he gunned down those who didn’t agree with him, proved he is something much worse than a benevolent dictator. But first, we would have to deal with some of the consequences of his earlier deeds.

During TWD’s first season, when we were learning the rules of this particular zombie universe, it was almost too easy to create action—all that was needed were a few walkers. As the band of survivors honed their walker-killing skills, the zombies became much less frightening, to the point that the characters barely cared when zombies were around. So the challenge for the show producers became creating set-pieces that put the characters into scrapes from which they would have to escape. Andrea and Milton’s last few hours was one of the best we’ve seen all year. Milton, knowing he’ll turn when he dies, calmly explains to Andrea, “You’re going to find something sharp and put in through my head.”

In the end, she just wasn’t fast enough. When Rick and company found Andrea lying on the floor, it reminded me of when Andrea had to shoot her sister Amy way back in the first season. Even for a total stranger it would be a tough way to go out. But Andrea’s a character we’ve known for a long time, and having her come so close to surviving one last scrape compounds the tragedy.

Perhaps Andrea’s death was the final straw that brought Rick around. Midway through this season he was adamant that they wouldn’t take on new people. He didn’t trust anyone, turning away Tyrese and his crew even though he could tell they were tough, resourceful people. Now Rick has done a 180, not only bringing in Tyrese and his sister, but a whole busload of refugees from Woodbury. It’s a dramatic shift in thinking, a sense that a collective based on respect for humanity has the best chance of survival. He’ll have a hard time convincing Carl, who now believes in a kill-first approach, but the rest of the group appears to be on board.

Even without a blazing battle to take us into the off-season, the stage is set for a whole new chapter. Here’s looking forward to October.

Zombie Kill Report: Multiple dozens, by every possible means and mechanism: guns, knives, Michonne’s katana. We were only privy to the aftermath of Andrea taking out zombie Milton, but we have to assume she followed through with his request to stick “something sharp” and stick it through his head. (Even if she wasn’t fast enough.) During the invasion scene, when the Governor and his small army invade the prison, his henchmen come with some firepower, including an M2 .50 caliber machine gun (which, true to real-life, jammed). But when the high-powered weapon does fire (see the 4:10 mark here), it cuts several zombies in half. We know that won’t necessarily kill them, so I suspect Rick and his new guests had some cleaning to do.

March Madness: It was fitting that last night’s episode aired on the final day of March, a month consumed by bets and predictions. Last week, I made several forecasts for what would go down in the season finale—and like my NCAA bracket, my Walking Dead predictions were pretty off the mark. Let’s start with what I got right. I said we’d probably lose Milton (we did, though it was a much more interesting death than I imagined). That’s about it for the correct calls. I also said that Daryl would kill the Governor, thinking that his story had run its course. It appears (and I’m glad) that we have more dueling with the Governor in the future. But my prediction that was widest from the mark was Hershel dying. My reasoning: now that Rick was back in some productive frame of mind, he no longer needed Hershel’s wise counsel. It turns out the character whose plot expired was Andrea. She tried he best to broker peace between the two camps, which wasn’t to be. Laurie Holden did well with the character. Andrea will be missed.

Yet the speculation continues. It’s been less than 24 hours, but we absolutely need to start thinking about where next season will take us. Rick now has another few dozen mouths to feed, the prison’s defenses are damaged and the Governor is loose in the countryside with his two best soldiers. Oh, and his kid may be on a fast track to becoming a sociopath. We can probably expect things to get a little cramped and testy in the prison, forcing them to seek more space. Will there be a reinvasion of Woodbury? Will the Governor attack and seek revenge? Let us know what you think in the comments.

19 comments
indijenk
indijenk

Why didn’t the group move into Woodbury? There were a lot of elderly men and women, and it would make sense to keep them in an environment that is better suited to care for them. Maybe the group will pack up and decide to take over Woodbury later on, but we’ll have to wait and see. I started working new hours at DISH, so I was not home when the finale of The Walking Dead aired. Good thing, my DISH Hopper recorded this show for me. This is the only DVR with the ability to record up to 2,000 hours of my favorite shows. It has given me the freedom to record the full season of The Walking Dead, and the full seasons of my other favorite shows that air the same night.

BruceFan
BruceFan

Dudes, watch out for CARL! Like some have been posting, he's turning into a MiniMe of The Guv'nor. Do NOT let those two hook up next season! (Also, TWD did leave big story lines open that many assumed were gonna be closed (the fate of Woodbury/The Prison or the demise of the Gov.& his henchmen) Seems like lotsa critics reamed another recent AMC show for doing the same thing when they expected them to! Wonder if any of them will go after TWD for not tying up those loose ends?

DREGstudios
DREGstudios

The season started out great but the finale was sort of a popcorn fart in comparison.  Just when we thought they had the pacing issues and kinks worked out you wonder what the heck is going on.  I expected more and it left me shrugging my shoulders rather than biting my nails.  Until next season, if you love or loathe zombies as much as I do, be sure to check out 20 of the Greatest Zombie Movies of All Time reviewed at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/05/top-10-zombie-movies-of-all-time-with.html with some really cool zombie artwork!

hivemaster
hivemaster

Woodbury is a dead end.  Canned goods will eventually go the way of the dodo bird, and when that happens, humans will need to grow their food again.  Try to think of a place with lots of protected, fenced off land where humans can live and grow their food.  Hmmm.  ; )

LukeD420
LukeD420

I am beyond mad at the way they chose to end season 3... THE ONLY REASON I WATCHED THE FINALE IN THE FIRST PLACE was to see WHO from Ricks group would die and WHO would kill The Governor.... I am upset, disappointed, frustrated, angry, etc

mcreadyblue
mcreadyblue

Anyone else convinced that Carl is really Shane's son?

He is talking and acting just like him now.

I think Shane's relationship with Lori had been going on for years....

citizen.lutz
citizen.lutz

I haven't really up on this show yet. Have there been any hybrid zombies?

KaganPittman
KaganPittman

It'll pretty much become a role-reversal if the Governor is sticking around, Governors goon squad of 2 (3 including himself) attacking Ricks now significantly larger camp, instead of Ricks relatively small crew taking jabs at the Gov's town. The looting or settling in of Woodbury is destined without considering potential plot devices to remove the town from the picture, and I feel like the next season might focus on the aspect of rebuilding whats left of humanity. Im sure Carl will freak out and kill some innocent people and cause some internal conflict in the group, given he clearly doesn't support Ricks decision to take in the refugees. So essentially I'm predicting the themes of "Father vs. Son" and "the healing process."

PeterCohen
PeterCohen

I stopped watching Walking Dead in the middle of this season. When the story was about human beings versus supernature, I much enjoyed it, but now that it has devolved into what it is, I am disgusted by it.

The philosophy being expounded by this program, oozing from every pour at every instant, is that human beings will automatically descend into absolute savagery if there is no big brother around to 'force' them at gunpoint to behave civilly. Only by virtue of the big guy with a club, or the king with his nobles, or the state, are human beings more than animals. Our rulers are our saviours, freedom is the enemy.

Whereas once I lauded this program, now I am absolutely disgusted by the moral nihilism it propounds.

hivemaster
hivemaster

@LukeD420 Obviously, you don't like surprises.  How awful for you that you would have life limited by your pre-conceptions.

dsmith6068
dsmith6068

@mcreadyblue I wouldn't say Shane is the father because I don't believe being a monster is inheritable. But Carl has to go because he has become a bigger and more dangerous monster than the zombies.

samfitz68
samfitz68

@citizen.lutz No, but I think, had Milton been given the chance, he could have maybe created one. Although, for as far as zombies go, these zombies are pretty dumb....so I'm not sure a hybrid could do much better! Lol..

hivemaster
hivemaster

@PeterCohen If you had watched to the end of the season, you would have seen the demise of the "Ricktatorship", and the running of the prison as a democracy.

People who are afraid (or who can be made afraid) tend to cede their power to any tinpot dictator who will step up and "protect" them.  There's always one waiting in the wings.  Civilization doesn't even have to fall for it to happen.

KaganPittman
KaganPittman

@PeterCohen 

You sir, clearly have no understanding of human nature. We are animals, the only difference between us and them is brain power. It's only natural that we will compete for resources, land, and fight over social issues like rape, looking at the case of Glenn and Maggie and I know she wasn't actually raped but that was still sexual abuse in some form. Rules and structure certainly aren't the foundation of morality in every sense, but they are extremely significant in maintaining and developing them. The philosophy "expounded by this program, oozing from every pour at every instant," as you call it, is simple survivalism. We all appreciate your opinion, but do everyone a favour and get off your high horse. 

P.S. For someone who dropped the show midseason, you sure seem to still be following it to have posted anything here.

TitoStGermaine
TitoStGermaine

@PeterCohenYou stopped watching halfway through the season because you were disgusted, yet you are the first to comment on this article?  Doesn't quite add up and I think you maybe missed the point.  Moral confusion makes the story more engaging as we navigate this new world with the group.   Man v Supernatural stories get boring very quick, the struggle within, and between, each character is always more interesting.

JoePeters
JoePeters

@PeterCohen 

I couldnt disagree with you more. You should have toughed it out and finished the seasoon and you would have made your post pointless and moot. Go watch Dexter I guess or DWTS.