By Jacey Gibb, Assistant Editor
If you have any sense in quality television, then you’ve probably been following The Walking Dead this season. I know zombies have been done to death over the past decade, but this show is (usually) one of those rare cases where the undead works; a meticulously crafted balance between gradual character development and blood-squirting goodness—which is probably why the recent season three finale was such a letdown. For those of you who haven’t seen season three in its entirety, obvious *SPOILERS AHEAD*.
First off, how anticlimactic was the actual showdown between the two camps? For the last 15 episodes, we’ve been patiently awaiting the final battle between the prison and Woodbury. Tensions have been high for the majority of the season and to have the Governor’s (David Morrissey) group retreat after a walker run-in and a little gunfire seemed very unbelievable. The man was out for blood, which I assume is a great motivational tool.
Speaking of the failed attack on the prison, I think the writer’s made a big mistake in having Morrissey’s character gun down the majority of his army. The reason why the finale seemed so daunting is because of how greatly the prison was outnumbered. It’ll be nearly impossible for the Governor to amass a similar amount of followers—when the world is overrun with zombies, I’m sure people aren’t clambering to be under the command of a mad man.
One last knock against Morrissey’s character: the Governor shouldn’t have lived beyond the finale. I understand the importance of having constant danger, and it adds a degree of uncertainty to the group’s safety, but I fear the character lingering beyond his prime. Will a Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner dynamic emerge, with the Governor developing new schemes to kill someone and being continuously thwarted? I doubt the show would plummet to that level of quality, but I’m still concerned.
Probably the biggest problem I had with the season finale was the “shocking death” that came at the end. Now, I’m 100 per cent in favour of show’s killing off their characters. I think a revolving cast helps to keep things interesting, while also affirming how high the stakes are, especially in an apocalyptic world like the one portrayed in Walking Dead. Thus far, I’ve agreed with most of the fatalities the show has thrown at us: Shane’s (Jon Bernthal) demise in season two was necessary for plot reasons, killing off Laurie (Sarah Wayne Callies) at the beginning of season three was as shocking as it was celebrated, and Merle’s (Michael Rooker) sacrifice in the penultimate episode was the only chance the character had at being remotely-likeable. But handcuffing Andrea to a chair for 35 minutes and having her break free at the last moment, only to still get bitten not only lacked payoff, but it was the easy way out for the writers. There was no sense of completeness for the character’s story arc and seemed like nothing more than a convenient way to off a character that’s become grossly unpopular.
Andrea’s death was apparently filmed months before this last batch of episodes turned 90 per cent of the audience against the character, but Holden has stated that it was still a surprise because her character’s death “was never part of the original story docs for Season 3.” I’m not the biggest fan of Andrea, but I also think her death was a major waste of a character that’s been around since season one.
The final reason why the finale left me feeling disappointed had nothing to do with the episode’s quality, but more with its content. Season finales have a dual role to play: they act as a closer for the season and try to wrap up enough storylines to give a sense of conclusion, but they also have to tease the audience into coming back for next season, using things like cliff hangers or asking the audience questions that will be answered in the next season. Season one ended with viewers wondering what Dr. Jenner’s told Rick moments before his death, season two introduced us to Michonne (Danai Gurira) and gave us a glimpse of the prison to come, but “Welcome to the Tombs” did none of that. All we got was The Governor wandering off, the prison turning into an old folk’s home/daycare center, and an introduction to the possibility of Carl (Chandler Riggs) being a psychopath. Not the handful of nail biters that’ll have viewers jonesing for October’s arrival.