The Walking Dead, “Welcome to the Tombs”: kill or die, die then kill

Quick Take: The Walking Dead, “Welcome to the Tombs”
“You kill, or you die.” – The Governor

Walking Dead finale 

Review: The Walking Dead, “Welcome to the Tombs”
(S0316) The previews that heralded last night’s finale weren’t just misleading; they were insulting to anyone who’s read a single frame from the graphic novels. Promises of total war, situations that would test the mettle and loyalty of the people we thought we knew, and of course, zombies. We barely even got zombies.

The Governor’s assault on the prison was like watching a ten-year-old play Call of Duty for the first time. Even though there’s nothing on the screen, they fire everything they’ve got at nothing in particular. At least five explosions later, the Governor decides it’s a good time to start being stealthy - you know, in case the baby was still asleep. They don’t make it far into the prison though, ultimately fleeing from booby-trapped corridors, and Glenn and Maggie outfitted in riot gear. (I guess we’re just ignoring their poorly-timed, poorly-executed engagement from last week?)

The timeframe for the Governor’s assault also coincides with the amount of time Andrea has to escape from her bindings and kill zombie-Milton. Milton refuses to kill Andrea, so the Governor stabs him and leaves him with her, knowing he will kill her anyways once he turns. After the passing of her sister and coming to terms with the world that demands that she “kill or die,” Andrea discards any and all character development she’s gone through, adopting the fool’s hope that she could save everyone without anyone else dying.

Andrea spends most of her screen-time staring at Milton, wondering whether or not he’s dead. Instead of establishing a suspenseful pause, the scene becomes painfully stupid from its overuse, and comically obvious in how it ends. Andrea has flirted with her own demise in every finale so far: first in the CDC, then again when she’s left behind at the farm. Instead of doing something important with these two reprieves, the writers turned Andrea into Lori, at least insofar as she drew out simple problems with obvious solutions until the audience rejoiced in her death.

Unfortunately, Andrea and Milton are the only important casualties in the finale. The Governor, rather predictably, guns down his entire army after they flee from the prison, and then just drives away without a word.

The rest of the episode redefines the word “anticlimax.” When Rick, Darryl, and Michonne find a survivor who tells them about the Governor’s mass-execution, they depart for Woodbury to patch things up with Tyrese and his sister, to say their goodbyes to Andrea, and to bring the refugees back to the prison. No cliffhanger, no set-up for next season, just an armored-busload of old people and children that a handful of capable people have to take care of now.

It’s a shame that the writers have decided to mostly abandon the source material. The graphic novels are a proven success, both commercial and critical – the show is literally already written for them. Instead, they’ve tried making the story unpredictable, undermining the merits afforded by their creative license precisely by taking such liberties, resulting in a show more deserving of the Talking Dead title than the talk-show which proceeds it.

By Mark D Curran

About the author

Mark is a freelance writer, student of English and Philosophy, and still has too much time on his hands. If you have any of your own, check out the blog and follow him on Twitter!

http://twitter.com/#!/MarkDCurran

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4 Comments
On: Monday, April 1, 2013
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:
First, Mark, always love having you in the TVGA house, great stuff. I think this is a case where I personally benefited greatly from 1) not being familiar with the graphic novels at all and 2) not having seen the promos from the episode. Reading your review, I realized I watched the episode with a "glass half full" viewpoint. The Call of Duty-style raid was kind of silly but also great fun to watch, and I actually bought it to some extent in knowing that Rick's group is actually far more military-savvy relative to the Woodbury Army (RIP), except for the the two loyal (to a fault) lieutenants that drive off with the good Gov. And I found Andrea's final scenes suspenseful and uncomfortable. She largely annoyed me in the first few seasons, but I enjoyed her role sitting astride Woodbuy and the prison this season and was sorry to see her go. Overall I thought this was by far the best season of The Walking Dead to date and I'm greatly looking forward to what comes next.
On: Monday, April 1, 2013
Mark D Curran said:
Many thanks Eric, glad to be up and running. I still very much enjoyed this season, the reunion with Morgan in "Clear" is my favourite episode by leaps and bounds. But I think that the show suffers from consistency issues. They don't have the writing team that can pull off episode-long conversations (in the same vein as Breaking Bad's "The Fly") but they keep trying. Last week felt especially rushed, with very choppy transitions between scenes. I was willing to look past that if the finale delivered, but it paled in comparison to the other seasons. Considering the last image of Season 2 was Michonne's intro, I had high hopes for a similar set-up for next season. There was nothing about the finale that left me wanting more - especially now that the prison is filled with Woodbury's Red Shirts.
On: Monday, April 1, 2013
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:
You are correct about the unevenness at times, though in my view Season Three as a whole was the least uneven, relatively speaking.

Good point too about Breaking Bad, though slightly unfair as you're comparing The Walking Dead to one of the very best shows of all time there!

TWD all told to me is a very good show (a place very very few shows ever get to) that is at times great and occasionally frustrating or boring or perplexing.
On: Monday, April 1, 2013
Brandt Hardin said:
The season started out great but the finale was sort of a popcorn fart in comparison. Just when we thought they had the pacing issues and kinks worked out you wonder what the heck is going on. I expected more and it left me shrugging my shoulders rather than biting my nails. Until next season, if you love or loathe zombies as much as I do, be sure to check out 20 of the Greatest Zombie Movies of All Time reviewed at
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