Change and transformation seemed to be a huge theme in the season 3 finale, from Milton and Andrea, to the Governor, Carl and the dynamic of the prison itself. The acceptance that this isn’t the same world we used to live in and the ability to do what you have to in order to survive is a big turning point for more than one character this week. The finale delivered some real big visual moments to some moments that were just as big, but more subtle.
We begin with the Governor punishing Milton for burning the pit of walkers, this Governor has truly changed since the first time we met him, and though not as wild as his comic counterpart, his callousness finally peaked. When Milton asks him what Penny would think of him if she were alive the Governor responds coldly telling Milton that she would be scared of him, but if he had been this way from the start she might still be alive. Then he sums up the running theme of the comics, which looks to become the theme of the show as well, “In this life you kill or you die…or you die and then you kill.” Big props to Morrissey for delivering this line perfectly.
It gets even worse when the Governor kills Milton and leaves him in a room with a restrained Andrea, again delivering a more cerebral and brutal Governor, while not taking him over the top as the character was originally written. Though it’s been slow lately, I do enjoy this more reserved and reality based Governor. This was a perfect example of the way he exhibits that Governor brutality without being the wild mad man he was meant to be. Unfortunately the tension of this plot line between Milton and Andrea was played up a bit too much as Andrea tries to gain her freedom while Milton tries to buy her time by not dying yet. The way she kept looking up at him, dropping her tool and talking to him instead of just concentrating on getting free made the tension lose some of its grip as it started to feel falsely drawn out. It turned from “will she make it” to “just hurry up already”. I do have say thank you to the writers for finally giving me what I asked her in Andrea’s death, though it was strange, by the time it was said and done, I felt a little empty inside about it. I felt that maybe she could’ve had her redemption for being such an ass all season, but then again, I just can’t look past all her past foolery from this season and last. She needed to go.
The Governor meanwhile mounts up his men to go invade the prison, with Tyreese and his sister backing out and volunteering to watch over Woodbury. I was so afraid the Governor would just shoot one of them and force the other to come, and though we know he probably won’t let them live after, I was glad it didn’t play out that way. Rick and the prison group pack up and truly fool us into thinking that were fleeing, I know I fell for it, and I love the fact that I did. When the Governor gets there and they trigger the trap Rick had set up I thought it was pure genius and a great way to play out the whole scenario. That right there is a sign of some great writing and plotting. Of course this all leads to one of my favorite moments of the show, Carl taking out the kid who was fleeing the massacre the prison group puts on the Governor’s men.
I loved how this plays out with Herschel taking exception to Carl’s actions and telling Rick about it. I can appreciate Herschel’s concern, but it shows that he hasn’t truly grasped the world they are now occupying. My hands down favorite bit of acting this season was the speech Carl delivers to Rick when Rick confronts him on it. Not only is the moment that really makes him Carl, it again sums up perfectly that transformation one has to make to survive. The way Carl breaks it down, listing all the people he knows who died because they didn’t always do what was necessary was simply brilliant. It’s simple, you let them live and you give them a chance to come back again. This is the Carl from the comics. When he first shoots the guy, you don’t know what to think about Carl as it seems like murder, but once he explains it, you can’t help but agree with him 100%.
It was great to see the group actually be able to defend the prison, but this leads to the moment of the show, the Governor losing it and killing all his Woodbury army for refusing to fight back. We were promised a very high body count, but I was definitely not expecting that. I was also glad we got the one survivor whom Rick and company encounter on the way to finishing the Governor. When Rick gets back to Woodbury, this gives him the credibility with Tyreese so we can finally get over this them being at odds thing. I hated Tyreese being in Woodbury and I’m glad that whole thing is over.
It looks like the whole dynamic of the show will be changing next season as Rick takes in all the remaining Woodbury citizens, turning Rick into more a civilization builder rather than just a survivor. This move in a way sort of mirrors his current situation in the comics and should provide for some new and fresh stories to take place next season. This aspect alone has me pumped to see how this all plays out when the show returns.
Other things of note, Michonne finally opens up, and I’m so glad to see it, as she delivers two big moments, her thanking Rick for saving her from being on the road, I totally loved her “You could’ve just taken the baby formula” line, and her crying over Andrea’s impending death. Though the latter was maybe hammed up emotionally, her little talk with Rick was another perfectly delivered moment for the show. Speaking of Andrea’s death, how creepy was that little triple jaw motion Milton had when he turned, such a subtle thing, it really nerved me. Our man Edwin also posted that David Morrissey has been signed on to be the Governor again next season, so it will be interesting to see if he responds to Rick or just tries to move on and survive, coming back around to Rick in some coincidental manner.
Overall the finale, save for the Andrea stuff, delivered in all the right places and hit all the right notes for me. The shootout at the prison was great, the dramatic moments played out exactly as I would’ve wanted to have them, and the good guys win the day, but we still get that sense that things are barely getting started. Though the Andrea escaping plot bogged down the show a bit, I enjoyed every other minute of it. In the comics Rick eventually realizes that its not the walkers you need to fear but the living, the people who will do anything to take what you got. The people who don’t live by the old rules of society, they are the real enemy. It seems this is a lesson the show has delivered earlier than expected. Ultimately, If not for the Andrea story we would be looking at a perfect score.
4.5 out of 5 nerds
You can follow Christopher on Twitter @AUDone44 and The Nerd @nerdfollowing