This Easter, AMC premiered its “The Walking Dead” Season 3 finale to over 15.2 million devoted fans. Many anticipating series-enthusiasts tuned in to witness the conclusion of the Rick/Governor side plot the season had been building on. The inevitable conclusion was upon us and things were supposed to go out with a bang, but did they?
As someone who has followed the series since its promising first two seasons, it is hard to admit that the conclusion was underwhelming. The given title to this week’s episode was “Welcome to the Tombs.” I am still not exactly sure to what this title is referring. A better title might have been, “Andrea Tries to Grab Something with Her Feet for an Hour.” This surely could be the season that will result in a loss of the show’s most substantial followers.
Before getting into the finale itself, here is a recap on Season 3 prior to the finale. After the promising and arguably greatest season, Season 2, we followed group leader, Rick, as he led the remaining survivors to an abandoned prison to take shelter. The season started off strong. There were still plenty of characters to care about, and the group seemed more desperate than ever. Consistent narratives, such as those about Rick’s pregnant wife, Laurie, were compelling, as was the tension between the surviving prisoners. These side plots led to one of the series’ finest and most emotionally devastating episodes, “Killer Within.” It was without a doubt the highpoint of the season, offering some of the most emotionally-charged character moments, as well as being one of the most thrilling episodes yet. In that episode, fans were subjected to seeing the demise of some of the most imperative group members. They were key characters, personal fan-favorites, and seeing them go was hard to watch. After this captivating episode, the series began its downward spiral. Still providing some absorbing episodes and moments, the show began to feel consumed by its tedious Woodbury segments. A great deal of focus was put onto the plot progression of that narrative, and the season’s more enthralling bits became few and far between.
Getting into the finale, I needed something significant to occur. The ongoing story of Rick vs. The Governor had been dragged out long enough. The prison set piece, which was once exciting, had outstayed its welcome and become old news. How much longer were they going to stay there? How much longer could they possibly draw this feud out? Nothing of particular importance happens in this episode. We are subjected to watching Andrea, as she tries to escape the confinement of the corrupt and treacherous Governor. This could have been wrapped up in five minutes, had she escaped. Instead, we are forced to witness a boring dialogue between her and Milton as she desperately reaches for tools to free herself, taking up a good portion of the episode.
Meanwhile at the prison, The Governor and his group commence a battle that is short-lived and uninspired. A more startling moment is when the young Carl, who is quickly becoming apathetic and cold-blooded, shoots a solider that had held up a white flag. This was a much-appreciated little character segment, but not enough to pull the episode through. Later, it is revealed that Andrea has been bitten by Milton, but this moment feels cheap and tacked on. The intention to stir emotion is there, but without a captivating story it feels like we’re going through the motions. And that’s where the main problem lies. The series has forgotten about telling a story and is primarily focused on which characters are going to get killed off next. There are some nice moments dedicated to character development here and there, but without narrative, it feels like the show is stalling. The end of the episode offered no closure on the biggest plot device of the season. The Governor is still at large, and the group is still taking refuge at the prison. Not only does this leave me unexcited for the prosperities of Season 4, but it also seems like AMC’s lame attempt to, yet again, keep their budget restrained. Why does Rick quit seeing hallucinations of Laurie? AMC no longer has to have her contracted. On the bright side, maybe the Woodbury folk that Rick has brought into the camp will lead to some interesting characters in the future. The series has certainly done a good job getting rid of all theirs. Newcomers like Tyreese, Sasha, and Michonne are not proving to be main focal points and the attempt to develop them feels like a drab and irksome process.
At the moment, it feels good to have a break from “The Walking Dead.” The creators need to get together and collect their thoughts before penning the script for next season. Until then, I will remain cautiously optimistic in hope for better narratives.
Rob Gabe is a second-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at RG770214@wcupa.edu.