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The Walking Dead Season 3 Finale Review

The Governor rallies his troops and Rick's crew decides if they should fight or flee.

Full episode spoilers below!

After building up the war for so many episodes, I can't help but feel underwhelmed by this finale. Sure, "Welcome to the Tombs" has some good moments of tension and a few jaw droppers, but overall I found myself wanting so much more from this episode.

First and foremost, the war between Woodbury and the Prison has been brewing for quite a few weeks now and the end result was pretty lackluster. Seeing The Governor's men blast into the complex as good fun (those watch towers got Michael Bay'd), but from there it was drawn-out tension and a fairly abrupt conclusion -- I will confess the use of flash bangs was pretty cool. Yes, I understand a lot of these "soldiers" under the Governor are just regular people and, if I was in that situation, I'd absolutely bolt too (probably need a change of undies afterwards as well), but after so much build up, a little more of a firefight and intensity would have been hugely appreciated.

We all knew Milton was the dude who set the fire -- that's been obvious -- and his betrayal when handed the knife was equally obvious, but you gotta love the creativity put into this scene. From the opening shot to the Governor revealing his twisted plan to have Andrea die at Milton's hand (or in this case, mouth), it was definitely a solid way to open Season 3's last episode. From there, though, I couldn't help but grow a little frustrated with Andrea once again. I understand her concern over Milton's status, but those pauses from trying to escape as she gazed at him seemed a little too long for my taste. I obviously can't imagine how frightening it would be to be placed in her situation, but there reaches a point where as a viewer you can't help but yell at the TV because you feel like she's taking too long of a break from trying to save herself. As for her death, I thought it was handled well --the slow fade to black after we eventually heard the gunshot was appropriately somber. That said, it didn't evoke nearly the same amount of emotion from me as walker Merle's death last episode.

Wow, talk about being a product of your environment, Carl. From annoying and incompetent brat to coldblooded terminator, Carl and his relationship with his father has become quite interesting over this season. It's easy to label him as a jerk, but if we reflect on all he's been through over the year, it's more than understandable why he's become so cold. His abrupt slaying of Jody was absolutely shocking (love how we couldn't tell for sure if Jody would try anything) and, despite it being the "wrong" thing, I agree with his reaction in the end. He has a survival of the fittest mindset now, so adding all of those people (not to mention most are elderly) to the group technically won't benefit them... or at least we have yet to see how they can. I just wish Rick stepped up to the plate when Carl dropped a logic bomb on him. I know he has a lot going on, but to see the group's leader have no rebuttal to a 13 year-old's argument felt a little odd. Yes, Carl has a point, but Rick should have stated out how it's important to hold onto our humanity -- even if he lost sight of that a few times over the past few episodes (that poor hitchhiker..).

Overall, I'm pleased with how the Governor is being handled. The pressure mounted up and we finally saw him reveal who he truly is to everyone else. Having him mute out the arguments from his group as he let his overwhelming frustration take over was a nice way to address what's going on in his head and the rest... well, you saw the chaos and it once again solidified him as an awesome villain.

I can't help but wonder... why'd they go to the Prison instead of Woodbury? Yeah, the Prison is their base and they think it's easier to defend, but why not try to set up shop in the town which has much better conditions and seemingly has more resources? Either way they technically aren't safe from the Governor returning, especially since their vantage points in the Prison have been blown apart from the opening attack.

I have mixed feelings over the Governor escaping. He's an interesting villain and I'm curious to see where he'll go from here, but at the same rate, I think it's safe to saw we all really wanted to see him ended by Michonne, Rick or Daryl. I hope that day will come (it seriously has to, right?), but for now I felt cheated that we didn't get such a cheer-inducing moment in the finale... especially after all he's done. As for the conclusion, I honestly can't say it did anything to have me especially pumped for the upcoming season and truthfully, that's disappointing. The only real intriguing cliffhanger in my eyes is what'll happen with the Governor, and I think it's safe to say I'm not alone in hoping that would have been resolved in this episode. Overall, I thought this was just an okay episode, but what did you think? Were you pleased or did you feel letdown? Speak your mind below!

Gregg Katzman is a freelance writer for Comic Vine and IGN Entertainment. This is the part where he shamelessly plugs hisGoogle+ and Twitter page in hopes of getting a new follower or two.

82 Comments
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Posted by spideybigtime

The finale was epic and I can't wait for season four.The only thing that I felt they should have done better was the "war" between Woodbury and the prison.In the comics it was this huge battle inside the prison and that's where it felt like the show was heading with all of the build-up. The trap that was sprung was cool and all but only a few of Woodbury's soldiers got killed and then later on the Governor just killed the rest of them.Wasn't expecting that though! Andrea was annoying for a lot of the season but she had some good moments during the season and when you think about ball she was trying to do was make sure nobody died. R.I.P Milton and Andrea.

Edited by walkingdeadguy

@the_average_bear Glenn and Maggie wearing the riot gear was a fan-service nod to the comics

Personally, I think "This Sorrowful Life" and what happened with Merle would have made for a better season finale than this one, especially if they're just going to continue with the prison and the Governor

Posted by sentryman555

Man I'm surprised so many people agree with Carl shooting Jody. Hershel was right. Their was no self defense there Carl just shot that guy down in cold blood. I do like the scene though because it's really that We're surviving but at what costs to us as people type thing.

Did not care for this season finale. When everyone keeps saying this ends tonight it should actually end! As an episode this would've been up there but having it be the season finale killed it.

Posted by kuonphobos

Can you imagine trying to break into a pair of handcuffs with a pair of pliers while both of your hands are cuffed? Not even the better angled pliers but straight pliers?

Carl was right to take that kid down. The hesitation, inability to follow clear directions and "inching" forward demonstrated that his genes were not the ones humanity needs any longer in a Post Nanny State world.

Posted by Stevens61310

I felt let down. For the last half dozen or so episodes I have felt that Andrea was going to die. I just felt she had worked herself in a position where she would be on the wrong end of The Governor. No surprise to me. I was hoping Milton would survive and join Rick's group--what an intriguing addition that would have been.

I also don't get the return to the prison. Maybe there is a story behind that move. I don't read the comics so is Tyreese more interesting in the comic? Because he's about as interesting as a piece of unbuttered toast. The Governor shooting the "Woodbury Army"? How lazy. And the Governor surviving? For what possible reason? Some body had better answer that question satisfactorily next season.

Edited by thomblweed

I actually began to lose interest after the mid season break. Season 3 started off so well and then slowed down, very disappointing :(

Season 1 still my favourite so far.

Edited by BlackReaper

I've never been happier for a characters death. Well, not since Lori's...

And Carl was totally in the right shooting that guy. When you're told to drop your weapon, you DROP your weapon. Not slyly edge forward with it still in your hand. He saw a kid, a girl, and an old man, and he was going to make a move.

Two possibilities. He looked scared, so he probably didn't want to startle Carl and Hershel by moving too quickly with the gun. He also looks inexperienced, so it wouldn't be a surprise if he thought he could take them both out. I think Carl did the right thing. He didn't want to risk it.

Posted by LifePool

Huge disappointment.

Three good things in this episode:

1.) The Governor executing his 'soldiers' was amazing and really pulled his character full circle from trying to help these people and doing 'what needs to be done' to being flat out frustrated at the situation and destroying those who disagree with him, no matter who they are.

2.) Besides her constant day dreaming, I feel Andrea's death was played out well. I didn't dislike her as all, shes not the same character from the comics, even if they may share the same name. Also, wish it was only MIchonne who found her rather than Michonne, Rick and Tyreese.

3.) Carl was 100% in the right. He told him to DROP the gun, not think about it. If he had the mindset to actually surrender, he would've dropped his weapon instinctively. I think if I was Carl I wouldn't have even given him the benefit of an option to surrender.

Overall, I feel as an episode this was well done, above average and a good episode, but as the season finale it was extremely lackluster and has left me with no anticipation for the fourth season. Welcome back, Game of Thrones.

Posted by Blizaga101

i really wish this episode was an hour long, when was the last time that happened, i genuinly cant remember, also agree that one more episode would really benefit this season.

I curious to see how rick leads this expanded group, obviously some new characters should appear but i see a lot being emotional fodder or people who jus leave, i dont know but the end really didnt leave much to the imagination?

always felt merle shoulda taken ricks hand but alas

Posted by hectorsquall

Carl is starting to sound (and act) a lot like Shane, I'm so proud of him! ^_^

Edited by spidershamrock

What a disappointing end to a disappointing season. Bar the first half and the episode with Morgan in it this season sucked. For a 16 episode season you can be excused for 1 filler episode not 7 or whatever they had this season. Carl is easily becoming my favourite character and I would have shot that kid as well. I just hope Carl's humanity doesn't become the big thing of next season cause that would suck

Posted by mtrakos

no loved it. Not reading the comic because i dont want my watching of the show the be ruined. Lots of building this season. Carl is really coming into his own. Glen and Maggie are the "future kids" growing up. Rick is trying to remember why he needs to remain human. Dale...Dale is just the man. Great season.

Edited by nick_clark

LAME. Bye bye TWD. I will always have the comics, I think.

Posted by fps_dean

The biggest disappointment for me was the fact that the governor killed two or three times more people in this episode than everyone else combined.

As others have said, at lease Tyrese is back in the group and we dont have to watch Andrea sleep with some other dirtbag

Posted by TheLeagueofMutualAgreement

Disappointing ending but now we can see a Governor road trip comedy now that would be awesome.

Posted by Mr. Kamikaze

I'm probably one of the few who actually liked Andrea, so it was sad to see her go, and I really didn't like the way she went. I mean...this chick has been through hell, survived it all, and she couldn't off a single walker, stumbling towards her, both hands free? She couldn't kick it away? She couldn't move? Stab it quickly? It just felt like there was no reason for her to die there...it really just feels like they killed her off the show because she was such an unpopular character, and that is unfortunate.

But, it was a decent episode. Not the best, but a decent episode. Unlike the previous seasons, this one ill obviously continue the whole Governor arc. Unlike before...where they changed setting and threats and everything. At the end of Season 3, they're still at the prison, Governor is still out there, and now they have more mouths to feed (all of them old and useless, since Gov done shot the competent ones dead...).

Anyway, looking forward to Season 4, and I'm gonna predict that that Karen woman is gonna be a bigger presence and she is going to be some kind of love interest for Rick and Carl is gonna hate her. C'mon guys, it's a TV show...it was bound to happen. :P

On the bright side, i'm glad Beth survived. I liked her, and while she doesn't get a whole lot of face time, I enjoy how they still managed to show some good development with her character. From a quiet and suicidal girl to a nervous and frightened girl to pretty competent, brave, and able. Hope she get bumped up to regular.

Posted by JediXMan

Very disappointing finale. It wasn't nearly as good as previous finales.

Also, I agree. Rick needs to step up or step down. He can't have his son stomping on his mistakes when he's trying to be the leader. He barely has a hand on his son; he's supposed to lead these people? Rick obviously lost a lot in this season, I get that, but he should have temporarily handed the reins to somebody during his mental breakdown (my vote goes to Daryl or Glenn, both of whom stepped up this season).

And yeah, Meryl's death definitely overshadowed Andrea's, and I was a lot more sad at his death than Andrea's. Meryl was actually redeeming himself; I've hated Andrea for multiple seasons.

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Posted by KomicKev

I like The Walking Dead. I don't read the comic so it doesn't influence me at all. The Grimes gang lost a LOT of members this season (Laurie, Merle, uhm . . . what's-his-name . . . T-rex or something and a couple others too, like that inmate that seemed sort of pervy - - sorry that I can't remember every single character's name!), so I'm not disappointed that nobody else of theirs died at the prison (and Andrea WAS a part of their gang as well, so there's that).

There were plenty of zombie kills and lets not forget poor Milton as well as the 20 or so "soldiers" that got gunned down by the governor. Also, are we sure at this point that ALL the Woodbury citizens that were left behind came to the prison? Maybe there is a faction left behind that stayed because, although they now know what the governor is all about, they don't necessarily trust these guys from the prison.

I don't know what next season holds, but I'll be along for the ride 'cause I like the cast and I like a majority of the episodes that I've watched over the past 3 seasons.

Edited by Frobin

This final really sucked!

It wasn't even a finale ... the Governor story arc isn't closed, but Woodburry is gone. The whole season built suspense for a big action showdown that wasn't delivered!

Funny thing is that the writers of a show sacrificed their own story developement to (very slowly) lead into NOTHING. Why? Because in a show that shows death and brutality everywhere as well as leaving (almost) no character save, they didn't 't want to give the audience an "usual" (means: brutal & bloody) showdown (rather an "unusual" A-team shooting and an Andrea goodbye drama, but leaving the Bad Guy conclusion open) ... WTF? For what?

If they don't wanted an "usual" showdown, then they maybe should have written a totally different season without building expectations for a big showdown and let suspense going nowhere! They sacrificed the story to their selfish desire of being unusual writers not conforming to viewers expectations... in this case, I think, fulfilling (built) expectation would have done a better job!

The Walking Dead becoming the new LOST!?

The Walking Dead started as an amazing show with both fulminant action and (enough time for) great characterization ... not to forget the thrilling cliffhangers of season 1 (and even 2).

Then season 2 came. And the writers took very much time for characterization of the group and new characters. It was good, well written and ok to built something ... therefore season 2 was accepted for being much more slowly.

Then season 3 started really great. And again I totally accepted the time taken for character development (Michonne, The Governor, others) and I've seen the time taken for story development, to built suspense ... remember how often episodes were analysed as episodes setting the path for the final showdown.

But there wasn't any delivery! Just expectations and suspense leading into nothing. I don't care about the Governor anymore ... he already lost ... but I wanted to see him go down. If such an justice for the bad guy showdown is bad writing (especially when everything before hints to such an showdown), then almost every Tarantino movie is bad written.

Season 3 had great moments and very well written episodes, but overall and retrospective it's a incomplete season that wasted so much time ... and it owes the audience an action showdown delivery!

If the show goes on like this ... building expectations and suspense without delivering plausible conclusions ... then it will follow the path of shows like LOST: big disappointment because the writers couldn't live up to all the expectations they built before!

I really hope that the show runner has been fired for a reason and that the writers now will remember why the first season created an TV show hit!

Edited by danhimself

Solid episode but it felt more like a mid season episode rather than a season finale

Edited by TDK_1997

The episode wasn't that bad but it just didn't feel like a season finale.It started off good and it was good until the last few minutes where the episode felt like it was just a normal mid-season episode.I expected way more and I really want to see the Governor dead now.

Edited by ThomasElliot

@alkusanagi said:

I've never been happier for a characters death. Well, not since Lori's...

And Carl was totally in the right shooting that guy. When you're told to drop your weapon, you DROP your weapon. Not slyly edge forward with it still in your hand. He saw a kid, a girl, and an old man, and he was going to make a move.

I could have sworn they told that kid to HAND IT OVER, not 'drop it'. That's what he was trying to do when Carl blasted him in the face.

Edited by Lady_Shadow

Carl is such a prick. I understand that he does have that survival of the fittest mindset but he's just a kid. It seems like he'd just kill anybody he doesn't know. He's growing up without guidance. And you know what? It's all Rick's fault. The fact that he won't sit down with Carl and explain that there is still right and wrong is just confusing. Your kid's checking out! Do something! I just hope Rick really gets himself together in the next season.

Posted by sledgemeyers

@lady_shadow: It's kind of funny you should say that because another mainstay of the comic is Rick's constant guidance of Carl and him being protective since he's the last person of his family. The show is slipping.

Posted by dngn4774

If I had to sum up the finale in one word I'd probably say...Meh.

Andrea's died from wasting time talking to Milton instead of saving herself (sort a fitting end for her since that's specifically why I hated her character on the show). At least this season was better than season 2 but let's face it season 2 kinda sucked.

Is it weird that I'm actually starting to enjoy Talking Dead more than the actual series it discusses?

Edited by GonnaRain

I enjoyed it, but wasn't as good as I expected. Like it was said in the review, I too had hoped the Governor plot to be resolved in this same episode, and not let with that cliffhanger. The war was, not a big of a war like many hoped, but I guess it's okay, since Woodbury had the upper hand, the weapons and the numbers, so Rick had to play it smart to win, and they did.

And yeah, I too didn't understand why they returned to the prison, the Governor could return to either place anyway, there's no way to be a 100% safe, but I guess they still trust the prison walls to be safer than Woodbury.

Posted by Xanni15

@jameskm716 said:

That was anticlimatic. But at least Andrea is dead.

Agreed!

Edited by Dr_Master_Doom

The final was crap, all the other episodes were better!!!

Posted by K3vinkha0S

Wow that was a Big hunk of garbage. If people walk away from the show thinking that's what TWD story and narrative is, well its not even remotely close to the comic series. Jeez! I mean I could go on all day about why this show is weak and wwwaaaaayyyy less gripping and visceral then the comic, but I wont. So if you haven't read it and watch the show, do your self a favor.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

This season sadly was a let down to me...the last four episodes leading on in to this finale were basically just pointless filler..only to have this lackluster episode come to light. I don't know, maybe I'm spoiled from the story in the comics and maybe I had high expectations, but this episode just didn't do anything for me other than just give me mild entertainment value. I tell you...this series better kick up soon or I'm just not gonna bother anymore :/

Edited by lrtaylor02

I thought the season finale was good. There was too much going on in the episodes leading to the finale for this to be an episode that closed the book on the Prison/Woodbury drama. I think that if they tried to do that, then it still would have been a let down because everything would have been rushed. I think they set the stage for what will be the final showdown. Of course, the final showdown was expected in the season finale, but I think this episode was more of a set-up for what will happen next season. The survivors of Woodbury see the Governor for what he is, Martinez and the other guy truly saw how much he lost it, Darryl and Michonne lost the 2 people they cared about most to the hands of the Governor, Carl has become completely hardened by this world....I think the end of this season served its purpose. It may not have been what people were expecting, but from a story-telling perspective, I get it. Those are all cliffhangers...not overly dramatic, but they stick with the theme of focusing on the survivors and what this world has done to them, and how will they respond. I thought it was great, and I am super-pumped for the next season :)

Posted by Fallen_Crippled

That kid didn't drop the gun. He was doing it slowly and seemed like he was up to something. I don't know if killing him was the right thing, but Carl wasn't completely wrong in reacting. I still hope the little bastard dies next season.