Season 3 Episode 16 “Welcome to the Tombs”
Here we are, our third season finale. I started this season by saying it was one of the best and most important seasons of the series. It cements who they will be for the rest of the series. More so than the first two seasons, our friends have been tested both physically and mentally the entire time. Deep traumas are experienced with the loss of Lori, T-Dog, Merle and now Andrea. This episode they are tested one more time.
I’ll start with The Governor. He does a lot of crazy stuff this episode. His track this season has gone from one of great leader to insane psycho was perfectly timed. Although he’s presented as the bad guy from the first time we meet him, the actual presentation of his mental state is revealed so subtly you barely notice until you find yourself going, “oh my god he’s lost it.” He begins by beating Milton, trying to get him to kill Andrea and then killing him himself and leaving him for dead to kill Andrea. He gives us a good quote in this scene. “You kill or you die. Or you die and you kill.” Dark. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he then heads to the prison full force to kill everyone. And when he can’t accomplish that, he kills his own fighters for retreating. We are left not knowing where the heck he is because he doesn’t go back to Woodbury. It’s not a great feeling we are left with that we don’t know where he is. The Governor’s story will continue in the fourth season, and it will remain interesting.
The death of Andrea is a sad moment. We watch her struggle the entire episode to free
herself before Milton turns into a walker and bites her. She loses. Before we find out that she loses, we think Rick, Michonne and Daryl are going to find her and come to her rescue. But that fails to be the case. This time our friends are given a chance to say goodbye. I think that was an important choice the show made, particularly for Michonne. Andrea and Michonne ended on a sour note at the prison; Michonne saying things that were very harsh. All is forgiven as Michonne sits with her before Andrea pulls the trigger on herself. Rick also getting to say goodbye to her because he needed to understand and hear from her that she was always on their side even when she couldn’t do what was needed to end this sooner.
One sort of obscure but noteworthy point here is this is the first time Rick and Michonne share a loss. Michonne is now firmly planted in the group and Andrea giving Michonne her blessing and stating she’s happy that she found them is important. In the comics, this doesn’t happen to Andrea and she ends up being Rick’s wife. A role we see given to Michonne down the road.
Carl makes some striking moves this episode. He begins the episode in a tiff. We think it’s because they are leaving the prison but it’s really because Rick makes him hide in the woods with Hershel, Beth and the baby which he feels is beneath him. As Rick mentions, it’s easy to forget Carl is still a child and Carl in particular has taken on more than any one child should have to. He stuns Hershel and us when he shoots a young Woodbury retreater that comes across them as he tries to surrender. Carl’s argument for this is one I find difficult to argue with. He doesn’t want to make the weak choice that will end up getting someone he loves killed. He cites many examples where this has happened before, Dale, Andrew (the man who set off the alarms in the prison and brought the walkers) and The Governor to name a few. If there’s one thing that everyone struggles with on this show is the consequences of their actions. As I’ve mentioned before, the consequences are high stakes unlike the world we live in. Every choice can mean death to you or people you love. Imagine having that on your mind all the time, especially as a child.
The end of the episode is pivotal to how we look at our group from now on. This fight
between the prison and Woodbury was in the simplest of terms, a mistake. A bunch of people randomly thrown together and pitted against each other over some petty bullshit. It wasn’t a good look for either side. So, the moment we realize that Rick has brought the survivors of Woodbury to the prison and taken them in, it is a relief. Rick looks for Lori one last time and she is gone; a signal that Rick’s insanity has diminished (I struggle to say gone because how could it). We can breathe easier that our friends have kept their humanity and know what is truly important…people. As we go into the fourth season, we have hope for our friends. But don’t get comfortable, it’s not that kind of show.
Best of the Episode
The Woodbury attack. They saved the big explosions for now. As Woodbury attacks the prison guns blazing, our friends are nowhere in sight. We think they have left until The Governor takes his people deep inside the maze of prison corridors. Then our group releases flash bombs and starts shooting. It surprises everyone and they scatter and wind up retreating. It’s an amazing moment to see our friends stop getting their asses whooped and beat The Governor at his own game.
The Governor goes full tilt. As Woodbury retreats in their vehicles, The Governor is relentless in wanting to defeat Rick. He stops his people on the road and yells at them to turn back. But they are all fed up and refuse, prompting The Governor to start spraying them with bullets and kills them all except Martinez and the big guy who never says anything…but even they are taken aback at what The Governor is doing. I don’t know how they get in the truck with him when it’s over.