The Walking Dead Season Finale Review: The Last Stand

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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?


Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (528 Votes)

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


I was disappointed in the way the season placed an emphasis on the power play between the governor and Rick and the Walking Dead appeared as 'set dressing' just there when needed. The finale was also disappointing. Andrea's reluctance to kill the man who was obviously unstable and would cause grief down the road eventually led to her death, Milton's and the gov's own soldiers. Carl may have been right in his decision based on what he has seen. The boy was instructed to put his weapon down...on the ground...he kept trying to 'give' it to Carl. Who knows, maybe he was going to try to attack Carl after all. The most unbelievable part was when the gov started to shoot his own people and no one turned to stop him! The one guy who did - hesitated and so the gov shot him in the head! Why the two guys even went into the vehicle with him is beyond me. Why didn't they shoot him? They were certainly behind him and out of range of his shooting. And now where did they drive off too? Since they obviously didn't go back to the town. Rick has now acquired 'refugees' from the town...older people, more kids...they left a place where they had security and comfort and now they are in a cold, uncomfortable prison...more mouths to fee and care for. The show seems to be going away from the fight of humans against WD and more into humans fighting each other. I too would like to know where they are going, since staying at the prison forever doesn't move the show along. The first season was great with coming to terms with what has happened and meeting people on the way. Rick has lost his focus and so has the show I think. At least he didn't see Laurie again!


Lol yeah update the banner everyone on the banner is dead except 3 people.....loll loll


Yeah Andrea and Milton dying were cop outs. More so Andrea than Milton. I was hoping at the conclusion of this whole governor scenario Andrea would turn into a more michonne like badass, not easily trusting and maybe end up with Rick in the end. Her altruistic efforts only killed her. It was pretty intense though watching her try to get away from zombie Milton. I was hoping she got him with her pliers, but not soon enough. However, the writers need more women on this show. Glen is the only one whose getting some, Rick and Darryl need to expend some aggression.


The episode was ok, but somewhat anti-climactic. I think the worst part was the incessant commercials and AMC's self promoting every few minutes, bombarding us with reminders of their other shows. If we got 30 minutes of TWD we were lucky. Still a loyal fan, but pretty disappointed in the season finale.


Fear the dead, beware of the living!.. the show isn't just about zombies, but about the breakdown of society. Cautiously meeting a stanger who may just steal you blind and kill you just for supplies. I thought it was a good story Arc. Andrea wanted to die in season 1, and wrestled with it in season 2, and finally got what she wanted. Carl is growing up and learning to face things and adjusting to the world he lives in. While Rick has to become more of a sheriff again, the people he saved are now with him. And who is left for the Gov.? It will be interesting what becomes of him in season 4, and what will become of them when they go back to Woodbury. Meanwhile, the lack of trust between Martinez and the other man.. betrayal?


In response to: >>>Rhianna
April 1st, 2013 7:50 AM
I remember when this show was about Zombies...


And @TVFanatic: Please update the TWD banner. :)


TWD is a drama and this finale proved that well. There was a lot of focus on the characters, I liked it. The Governor is basically dead already after the massacre. His only purpose would be to develop his character psyche as a 'symbol' for Carl. Overall, this was a great finale and it is a shame that so many people have given it a 3 / 5 because it lacked the physical action scenes.


I didn't think it was a strong ending to the season. I kept waiting for the BIG moment that never came. And I kept watching the hour go by and nothing. And those two guys didn't "have to" get into the car with the Governor. Martinez had the perfect opportunity, and shot, to kill the Governor but he didn't and they both chose instead to leave with him. It came to no surprise that they killed Andrea off. I've been predicting it for the past two weeks. I felt sorry for Milton hoping somehow he would survive. I'll miss him more than Andrea.


I remember when this show was about Zombies...

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