WASHINGTON, April 1, 2013―First off, the epic buildup of the season three finale that had fans expecting a war between Woodbury and the prison never materialized. What we got instead was an episode that revealed humanity in a character who had lost his ethical way, and a dark side revealed in a character that would be playing video games and whining for a Blackberry in a pre-apocalyptic world.
After a season of watching Rick kill or betray outsiders without hesitation, he does completely the opposite by rescuing and offering refuge to the women and children of Woodbury. Meanwhile young Carl, who has evolved from a character who refused to even tote a gun to one who doesn’t hesitate to use one, is angered by his father’s apparent 180 degree turn in tactics.
A lot of fans don’t like Carl’s enthusiastic embrace of his darker side, but what can be expected of a kid who has endured so much? Besides, His father spent the entire season teaching young Carl that no one was to be trusted outside their core group. Just as Carl comes to terms with this hard lesson, Rick changed the rules without explanation. If I were Carl, I’d be angry and confused too.
And that brings us to the death of Andrea, the character that fans most love to hate. Angered with Milton for torching his stock of walkers, the governor insists Milton kill a captive Andrea to redeem himself. Given Milton’s devotion to the governor and his generally wimpy character, it was quite a departure when Milton chose to turn on the governor rather than kill Andrea to save himself.
The governor predictably overcame Milton and wounded him enough to die, but not immediately. Left in a locked room with death inevitable, the governor’s intent was to have Milton die, then turn into a zombie and dine on the helpless Andrea.
When this happened, we just knew that Andrea would find a way free from her binds in time to save herself. After all, she had slain three zombies with one hand tied behind her back in a recent episode. But, true to her character, she did the least intelligent thing possible by having an extended conversation with Milton as he was dying.
During this discussion she not only didn’t escape quickly enough, but revealed a lovely pedicure, complete with flashy polish. I guess among Woodbury’s many amenities there was a weekly manicure and pedicure for the women. She did manage to kill Milton the zombie, but not without being bitten in the process.
I will admit Andrea’s dying speech and Michonne’s insistence she stay with Andrea while she shot herself to keep from turning was a deeply moving moment. Andrea’s character showed just a glimmer of how much more likable a character she could have been had the writers chosen to do so. Too late for that now!
And that brings us to the governor. First off, he didn’t die in an episode that was tailor made for his much anticipated demise. After a failed raid on the prison that left his minions unwilling to follow his lead in the continued wanton killing, the governor turned his gun on the entire group. Watching the governor slaughter his people when any one of the well armed group could have stopped him made even less sense than the governor killing his own people to begin with.
The last episode of season three was obviously meant to clearly define the characters for season four. The writers have maintained the governor’s character as the acme of evil. However, the writers have set the stage for a kindler and gentler Rick to return next season.
Whether young Carl will abandon his trigger happy ways and follow his father’s more humane lead will be one of the many story lines that will keep fans coming back for more. Also, with an entirely new set of nameless characters added to the population of the prison, the emergence of new key characters will give the writers plenty of zombie bait for season four.
Despite the very vocal demand of fans, the biggest disappointment of last night’s season finale was not having the governor die. The anticipated death of the governor will make the season four premiere coming in October the most popular yet. We can hardly blame the writers for giving fans a great reason to tune in for the next season.
However, if the writers dally with the governor’s death beyond season four, they may incur the wrath of a fan base that has had enough. I certainly hope not, because despite last night’s disappointing ending, it is still one of my favorite shows.
With season three over, I’ll be scanning the internet for any clues to what the next season holds. If I find anything worth sharing, I’ll do so.
Until then, see you in October.
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