The Walking Dead

Sundays 10:00 PM on AMC
The walking dead
TV Fanatic Works Better with Prime Instant Video
40,000 other titles are available to watch now.

The Walking Dead Season Finale Review: The Last Stand

by at . Comments

The Walking Dead Season 3 exploded out of the gate a few months ago, offering up fast-paced, tense and shocking moments that really defined the direction this season was headed.

And yet, after the hiatus, it felt as if the episodes stumbled a bit, providing some great moments like the shocking first attack on the prison, but also ones where Andrea was still making up her mind on what to do. Really, a lot of it felt like the waiting around for the big confrontation between the prison and Woodbury.

"Welcome to the Tombs" delivered a solid ending to the season, wrapping up character arcs, providing the battle between good and evil, shifting the story and those involved in a new direction, and of course, showering us in a variety of exploding guts, head shots and gruesome deaths the show seems to relish.

The Walking Dead Season Finale Pic

A lot of the episode, as was much of the season, focused on the two opposite paths taken for the almost mirror image characters of the Governor and Rick.

The Governor - who may have been a good person in the past, according to Milton - had descended into a twisted and sadistic evil with no real hope of returning from. He may have been a little unstable with his heads in fishtanks or keeping his zombified girl alive, but it's become so obvious now what type of man The Governor has become.

He beat the crap out of Milton before stabbing him violently, and then locked him in the room so he might turn into a walker to rip Andrea apart. He even led an all out assault to finish off every survivor at the prison.

But it was slaughtering his own innocent army of Woodbury citizens without so much as a blink that really tipped him over to full dark side. I felt bad for Martinez and the other guy for having to get back in the truck with him.

I think his words, "You kill or you die. Or you die and you kill" do hold a certain truth, but not the ultimate truth. And certainly not the way in which the Governor chose to make his decisions.

But it's that same thought process that had slowly seeped into Carl's mind. This is a boy who has grown up in this apocalyptic time, experiencing the harshness of the world including the deaths around him, so it does make sense for him to come to a similar conclusion.

It was a shocking moment when he shot the Woodbury guy who was handing over the gun. You want Carl to turn into that good hero, but taking such an action has him headed down a path that could turn him into the next Governor.

He is still a kid, after all, so his mind is impressionable. Which I think is something Rick realized after Carl explained what he had done, and really, without remorse.

Rick himself has been conflicted on the course of actions to take, but ultimately, he chose the right one in not giving Michonne up and trying to take out the bad guy Governor instead.

More so, he's really turned a corner in illuminating that chance for hope and the reality that there is still a sense of good and humanity among people. Now, why he chose to bring them to the prison instead of all going to Woodbury is beyond me, but I understood what the resolution meant.

It was a great moment watching him proudly stand in the sun, as the Woodbury survivors joined the prison group. At the same time, where Rick had seen his ghost wife at the start of the hour, she was no where to be found, as if he had turned a positive corner.

You hope the move is the right influence on Carl, but the little Grimes wasn't at all happy about Rick's decision. Could it mean negative consequences down the line? Sure, but keeping hope alive and showing that it's not all about killing was the right move to make.

In a lot of ways, that idealistic notion of good was what Andrea had been preaching the whole time. She was so stuck on the concept of not killing and saving everyone that it cost her dearly.

I was bummed that she had to die, even if watching her make poor decisions has frustrated me to no end this season. Certainly, down to the last moment, she stuck to her terms and was essentially that extra catalyst for pushing Rick towards bringing the two groups together.

Similarly, I wished Milton didn't have to die. He was such a quiet good guy, but his last moments were standing up to the Governor and trying to save Andrea. I was really hoping we might have gotten to see what he would have been like with the prison.

That said, his moments with Andrea were riddled with tension. I never knew if he was dead or if he had finally turned, at the same time I was cringing in anticipation as Andrea took forever in trying to free herself.

Even the attack on the prison, the walk-through in the dark recesses of the jail, Rick and the group making moves, were laced with pulse pounding moments that really drove the characters and story to the next level.

It felt like things were happening, the characters all getting their moments to shine (I mean, Beth was even killing walkers!), and the story wasn't dragging it's feet anymore.

I even appreciated the quiet, hopeful end of the hour, rather than some wild cliffhanger. Sure, the Governor's still out there, but for the time being, amongst all the carnage, conflict and consternation, rose a sense of peace. The sun rising was like a new beginning.

Overall, an engrossing finale to a rather entertaining season, although it really does make me wonder where The Walking Dead will be headed next.

What did you all think? Did you love it or hate it? Shocked at the deaths? Surprised by Rick's final decision or Carl's thoughts?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
  • 4.7 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (528 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

Tags: ,
Avatar

I love the show but found the finale less then compelling. The fight in the tombs was muddled. I am assuming Rick, Daryl, Michonne, etc. down there, but they never showed them. All they did was set off the flash grenades and sound the alarm, but I did not see any of the Woodbury people get killed. The same thing happened when Maggie and Glen opened up on them, I did not see anyone die. Why didn't they walkers in the tombs attack Rick's group who must have been hiding there? Like I said, too muddled. When the Governor arrived at the prison he had about 20 people, when he stopped the truck on the road there were about 10. What happened to the rest? Carl is turning into an unlikable little sociopath. My dad would have beat the crap out of me if I talked to him like that, zombie apocalypse or not. My god, Andrea needed to shutup and get herself free. You know you can talk and do other stuff at the same time. Tyrese was wasted all season. I hope that changes. Why take the folks to the prison rather than stay in Woodbury? There might be good reasons but it would be nice if they told us about them. Like I said, I love the series but I would give the finale a B-.

Avatar

MDFaraone you are right. From the beginning of the show, the one constant problem has ALWAYS been the script.

Avatar

It started off going strong. The governor came strong. First I thought Rick and his team had left the prison.they did good with the amount of people they had.
Loved the show. Someone mention that there is not enough women on the show now it is woman kids. I think Rick will hooked up with the girl that did not get shot. The one that took them back to Woodbury. Carl will be pissed and hate the woman for a while but he will get over it. GOD I had so much to say early this morning I was was typing quickly cause I had so much to say and now after work I am tired. WILL WRITE MORE LATER

Avatar

Handing over the gun? Carl did the right thing. The other guy not only hesitated and did not drop the gun, but as "handing" it over barrel facing Carl. He had plenty of time to drop it. You hesitate, you die. period

Watchestoomuch

"We also want to point out that most police would have done the same thing Carl did." Carl is not a cop. He is a kid without any experience confronting potentially dangerous (living) people. A cop would have given the kid clearer instructions and a clearer warning: "Stop moving and drop the gun or I will be forced to shoot you." The situation was intentionally ambiguous. What Carl did was forgivable under the circumstances, but remember that his explanation for the shooting was not "He was still coming at me; I had to shoot him before he reached me." It was "He was fighting against us."

Avatar

I am glad they didn’t go to live in Woodbury because the Governor knows that place inside and out. They have a better advantage and chance in the prison then they would have in Woodbury. The new guest will have to adjust but I feel they will except it or leave. Rick won’t keep them there like the Governor did. The only thing that bothers me are the number of elderly people and children which means they will have to keep tabs on everyone and they will need a plan B for when or if anyone comes to attack them. So far every place they have stayed in they never secure it. It was Michonne and Meryl’s idea to put traps down against the Governor. Since they see it works maybe they will do the rest of the place or find another place. I love this show and will miss it! Until Oct!!!

Avatar

As for Carl, he is right to a certain degree and it’s up to Rick to be a father and point him in the right direction. Carl misses his life before that’s why he keeps looking at that photo of his parents and him. Going back for that photo wasn’t just for his sister to see what her mother looks like but it was a piece of his life he wants back. Rick has been so scramble with everything that he forgot to be a father to his children. When was the last time he just held the baby and just sat and talked to Carl like he use too in the first two seasons. Carl needs Rick to realize that just because Lori is gone he still have two kids that need him more than ever….more than the others. Rick should learn a lesson from Meryl which is family is more important and everything else can wait.

Avatar

For me it was a good close to a very good season. I feel that Andrea should have been trying to get the pliers out while she was talking. That was so frustrating and unbelievable to watch her stop every time Melton spoke or stop breathing. Melton’s transformation was GREAT! Now, as for the Governor shooting everyone except for Martinez, the unnamed black guy and the girl that hid under the dead guy was very powerful and said a lot of how far off the block he has become. For Martinez and the Blackguy, well I think they were in shock and so that’s why they didn’t shoot him in the back or run off. But the looks they gave him after tells another story for me and that is its better to be with someone even if he is crazy then to be alone. I feel if given a chance they will leave him.

Avatar

We loved this episode.
We also want to point out that most police would have done the same thing Carl did. That boy was NOT scared, he was closing the distance on Carl to his flank in order to obtain position. If he were flanked he could get inside Carl's reach and shoot Hershel. Carl seemed (to anyone who doesn't know him!) like the easy mark.
If he were really scared, he would have put the gun down the first, second, or THIRD time he was asked. And he would have stood still.
When faced with an armed assailant that you know means you harm (or at least did), and they are not complying with stopping and putting down their weapon, you shoot. Whether you shoot to kill or wound depends on the circumstances, but I think Carl did the right thing (and I'm a big softy liberal too, btw, all hearts and flowers).

Avatar

COMMENT GOT CUT OFF : , if they really wanted to be clever they would have had the governor die at the hands of the unassuming Milton.
Overall a disappointing, infuriating, and anti-climactic end to a season that already dragged on too long. 2/5 stars