Perhaps the most divisive series on television gave us one of the most divisive season finales in recent memory with The Walking Dead: Welcome to the Tombs. Mentally, I prepared myself for anything the series was willing to throw at me: unexpected deaths, non-stop action, over-long conversations about morals in an immoral world, Andrea being Andrea. And for the most part, I got what I expected and then some.
The episode began with The Governor mercilessly beating good buddy Milton and forcing him to kill Andrea. When Milton takes a swing at our one-eyed bad guy (totally not meant to be dirty), The Governor stabs him, leaving him to die, turn and kill Andrea. "In this world, you kill or you die. Or you die, then you kill." Coming from anyone else, it would sound as clunky as it reads, but David Morrissey is so good at being bad, you ignore it.
Perhaps buying into Morrissey's The Governor has helped me look past a lot of inconsistencies this season, most notably Andrea's painfully slow attempt to grab a pair of pliers Milton left behind the chair she's strapped to before Milton turns and eats her brains out (totally not meant to be dirty). It was as though her last act alive was to be a pity party when Rick, Daryl and Michonne arrived. We get it, Andrea: no one cares about you. And no one really cared about you as you were dying either.
I was never a huge fan of the Andrea character, but she had some purpose this season as The Governor's love interest, discovering more and more every week that he was not as he seemed. Although it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. I suppose her judgment was clouded after playing a few rounds of Hide the Eye Patch (totally meant to be dirty). Still, Andrea was one of the final surviving members of the original cast, leaving behind Andrew Lincoln's Rick, Steven Yeun's Glenn and Chandler Riggs' Carl. Hopefully Laurie Holden can do something now that doesn't require her to look old and weathered.
The attack on the prison by Woodbury started and ended with a bang, but never really amounted to more than scare tactics. The action itself was impressive, but unfortunately, no one bit the dust and it diminished The Governor's army as little more than a ragtag group of nobodies. This was further proven to be right when The Governor decided he had had enough of dissenting minds and proceeded to lay waste to much of Woodbury's non-speaking residents. It was the second most shocking moment of the finale, though any common sense behind the entire thing is non-existent, sadly.
You might think the most shocking moment came when Andrea was killed off, officially, but no. Rick's son, Carl, has seen a slow transformation as the series has pressed on, after being shot, attacked and subject to this crazy-ol' world of walkers and blood-thirsty tyrants. His stability continued to waver in the finale when he shot and killed a young Woodbury soldier. Unfortunately the show failed to make anyone besides Hershel believe that the young soldier wasn't going to just shoot them anyway, despite attempting to surrender. Hershel laid on the guilt pretty good on Rick, resembling a scene from an after-school special more than anything else: "You know young Billy here was caught smoking a cigarette behind the school!" "He says he was forced!" "He seemed to enjoy it." We get it, Hershel: you're picking the moral compass up where Dale left it off. But Christ, lay off already. And cut your old man hair. At least hold out your hand for some spare change after dispensing these pearls of wisdom.
So as we closed out Season 3, our Prison-ers were holed up in their favorite spot, with a few new additions to become zombie-feasts next season (hopefully). Rick's visions of Lori seem to magically be coming to an end, just as Sarah Wayne Callies' season-long contract expires. Michonne and Daryl continue to be the two-person wrecking crew of the group. And after a season turned up all the way to 11, the finale did leave many questions unanswered, many stones unturned and many ends loosed. Still in all, I wholeheartedly enjoyed it. It doesn't top Season 1's CDC ender, but it's a bit above Rick's "This is no longer a democracy" ending last year.
Since I fleshed out two separate lists of seven things I love to hate and love to love about the series, I felt it fitting to give the seven things I am wishing for in Season 4 of The Walking Dead.
1. A bigger role for Emily Kinney's Beth
Seeing her in the finale killing walkers and taking names made me realize that she may be one of the best and most interesting side characters on the series. With so many alpha males (and females) running around, they could use a character that's young but firey, a big force in a little package. Honestly her minimal screen time interested me more than much of anything produced for Glenn, Maggie, Hershel or Michonne this season.
2. A full-time role for Melissa McBride
The original Beth. She's never been a lead character, though her presence is always felt and she doesn't really get the props she deserves. It might be time to give her a full-time bump for Season 4.
3. Keep the cast small
I don't need the life story of every former Woodbury inhabitant. Don't develop characters we all know will serve only as zombie food.
4. Do The Governor right
I might be the only person satisfied with The Governor's unknown status in the finale, but I hope the writers find a way to keep him involved without devoting too much time to him until it's time he bites it.
5. Develop Tyreese and Michonne
Michonne was the single-biggest letdown of the season for the show. She provided a couple of awesome moments, but spent most of her time moping about. Tyreese, meanwhile, was a good addition to the show but felt like a work in progress since his intro. Give him more in Season 4.
6. Don't be afraid to let go
I know breaking up Glenn and Maggie by way of killing one of them off sounds impossible, but I can't go any more of their love-capades. There is more chemistry between a jar of peanut butter and a doorknob.
7. Remember what the show is
Sometimes it seems the writers forget exactly what The Walking Dead is and what it can accomplish and what it already has accomplished. This coming season, more than any of the first three seasons or any of the seasons to follow will indicate where this show goes.
We can hope it's headed in the right direction.
Until next time, stay tuned.