The Walking Dead - Season 3, Episode 16: "Welcome to the Tombs" TV Episode Review
Written by Steve Pattee and TGM
Directed by Ernest Dickerson
Written by Glen Mazzara
2013, Rated TV-14
Episode premiered on March 31st, 2013
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Laurie Holden as Andrea
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon
Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes
Danai Gurira as Michonne
David Morrissey as The Governor
Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier
Jose Pablo Cantillo as Caesar Martinez
Chad L. Coleman as Tyreese
Emily Kinney as Beth Greene
Travis Love as Bowman
Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha
Daniel Thomas May as Allen
Melissa Ponzio as Karen
Dallas Roberts as Milton Mamet
Scott Wilson as Hershel Greene
Warning! This recap contains spoilers.
Steve Pattee: Well here we are, the final episode for season three’s The Walking Dead. In this long-awaited finale, we learned that The Governor has some serious anger issues, Milton will do The Governor’s bidding whether he likes it or not, even with her life on the line Andrea finds a way to dick around, and Carl is the man his father wishes he could be.
Okay, before we go into the awesome that is Carl, the insanity that is The Governor, the stupid that is Andrea, or the typical that is Rick, let’s just talk about this episode as a whole. I found the entire thing just kind of...blah. If this were a regular episode, it would have been a solid one, but as a season finale it was incredibly lackluster.
TGM: Yeah, count me in as one of those who were not terribly impressed with the finale. I thought the same way as you, a strong regular season episode, but not jaw-droppingly awesome and worthy of wrapping up what, to date, had been a very solid season. I’m not gonna lie...I was dreading watching the finale. Dreading it. I was mentally preparing myself for the death of some of my favorites, be it Glenn, Maggie, Herschel, hell, even Carol (quite frankly, I never felt that Carl, Rick, or Daryl were at risk of being killed off). I had the echoes of those internet rumors about three major character deaths (Milton? Really? Milton is a major character now?) rattling around in my head. Then I heard the speculation that twenty-seven characters were going to bite it, which all lead me to approach the finale with a sense of anticipated melancholy. Twenty-seven people might have ultimately died, but I don’t really give a wet rat fart about the life and death of “Blonde Woodbury soldier #4” or “Lady shot in the back by The Governor #2”.
I think the problem I had with this episode began with the attack on the prison. After a pretty amazing opening salvo, to have The Governor’s entire army shit their pants and scatter to the wind because some firecrackers went off was ridiculously disappointing. Who knew you could defeat The Gov and his henchmen with some sparklers and snap-caps?
Steve: I should take this moment to say I called Andrea the entire time as one of my final three. But, you’re right. In every sense. There was nothing shocking about this episode. Milton was certainly a (sad) surprise. Yet, let’s face it, I think the majority of viewers expected Andrea to bite it, so that didn’t blow anyone’s mind. Other than that, who really cares about the people The Governor shot? Oh, yeah, nobody. There was not one thing in this episode made my mouth drop...oh wait. There was one thing: Carl.
So Carl shoots a guy. A kid. A kid in the process of lowering his weapon. But that didn’t matter to Rick’s son (in blood only). That there made me take pause. Even though it’s being established that season three Carl is a far cry more ruthless than season two Carl. But the speech he gave his father, where he effectively said everything I’ve saying all year about Rick? I think someone was cutting onions in the room as I watched that. It was so beautiful and moving.
TGM: See, I didn’t think that Woodbury kid was really lowering his weapon. Just drop the damned thing and you could have lived. Yet he choses to stare down Carl, while lollygagging and holding onto his gun for an inordinate amount of time...so, what do you expect? Carl gave him more than enough time to comply, and ultimately did the right thing there. The way the scene was shot, I was so convinced that Woodbury teen was going to shoot Herschel last minute.
Steve: Yep. In that time and place, Carl made the right call. That Woodbury kid could have been a spy. Herschel, who I agree with 99% of the time, was wrong on this one. The world has changed and second guessing will get you killed, eaten, or both.
TGM: And I agree that Carl’s speech was perfect. Chandler Riggs has that twenty yard stare down perfectly, and I feel that he gives one of the best performances on the show week in and week out. Quite a difference from season one and two’s “dammit, Carl stay in the house!”. I literally laughed out loud when Carl dismissed Rick after his spot-on soliloquy. It was like Carl took a dump on Rick’s dinner plate, then forced him to eat it with a smile while chanting “who’s your daddy?”. So can Carl be the leader now, please? He’s completely right in equating hesitancy to death. He rattled off about five instances of friends and family getting killed because someone couldn’t pull the trigger (figuratively and literally). I think I’d follow that kid into the mouth of Hell right about now. As I tweeted last night, I’m so much in love with Carl now, I’m considering becoming a priest.
TGM: So let’s talk, for one last time, about Andrea. Glad to see that she was consistently stupid right up until the end. Hi! I’m Andrea! I’m a Sagittarius and like long walks on the beach! I’m trapped with a zombified ticking time bomb and I’m going to spend half my remaining life staring at Milton to see if he’s still breathing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad she’s maggot food, but her idiocy really soured what should have been a poignant, somber, and meaningful death of one of The Walking Dead’s original characters.
Steve: I laughed out loud at her dilemma. Seriously, you are about to be trapped in the room with a zombie, you have zero time to waste, and you want to spend it bonding? So, so glad she’s gone. I also absolutely loved how The Governor set that up. It was perfect. Milton was going to kill Andrea whether he liked it or not, and he did. And we liked it.
I also liked how The Governor handled his deserting followers. It was obviously demented, but it was perfect for his character. He finally, fully stepped over that edge. But the lack of closure with this storyline is frustrating. As much as I love that character, I don’t want or need another season with him. I can only hope they left his departure open ended so they can meet up with him again in a few seasons. I’m ready for them to move on.
TGM: Hate to break it to you, but David Morrissey has been made a season regular for season four. News that I’m not too thrilled with. Too much screen time will absolutely ruin this character. I’m fine with him surviving this season, it was very Darth Vadery, flying off in his lone tie fighter after the Death Star exploded. I just hope they use him sparingly, and effectively. I’m just not sure how much of a threat he remains with only two untrusting lackeys by his side.
It’s interesting to note that Glen Mazzara (the ousted showrunner) wrote this blaise season finale, while Scott Gimple (the newly tapped showrunner) penned the previous amazing episode featuring Merle’s swansong. That give me hope that this show is heading in the right direction creatively.
Steve: I just don’t know. With the exception of the scenes we discussed, I’m out of things to say. I’m frustrated and a bit angry and a bit sad that we had this entire season building up to this finale and...nothing. This episode should have happened before the final one, because this in no way felt like a season ender. Oh, and lest I forget, so now the prison is the local senior citizen’s home? Really? Another shining Carl moment right there, because the look he had on his face when he saw that Atlantic City tour bus roll up was no doubt the same one I had on mine. Rick can barely feed the nine (ten if you count ghost Lori) he’s got, and now he takes in a group in which half of them can barely fend for themselves? Someone’s not planning ahead.
TGM: Well, I see them as more meat for the grinder in season four to be honest. They may not be fighters, but it’s more people to tend to the crops, fix things, and in a pinch pick up a weapon and defend the place. Hell, if Maggie can become a SWAT leader, Carol can deflect bullets with poor Axel’s corpse, and Beth can kill a walker with a tire iron, anything is possible. This influx of people does get me thinking, and I believe I now see how they will eventually rid themselves of “the baby problem”. The majority of main characters will head out for some reason, safely leaving behind Beth, maybe Carol, with the cast of Cocoon back at the prison.
Steve: I can see that. It makes perfect sense. Little Asskicker will end up with some parents who could never have kids or lost their baby, someone with a sob story either way. On the bright side, Tyrese is officially part of the club, so I have that to look forward to next season.
Steve: So, as a send off, what did you think of season three as a whole? I’ve been thinking about this all day and I’ve come to the conclusion that aside from a few missteps, overall it was a enjoyable, solid season. Some of my most hated characters were killed off in pretty brutal ways, which was a good thing. Morgan’s return was welcome but tragic. I’ve come to love both Carl and Herschel leagues more than I did last year. Michonne has fully come around to another favorite of mine. And Daryl still kicks ass. The weakest link is Rick, and he’s been the weakest link since season one. I will say this, though, I may end up liking where the writers seem to be trying to take him. If they can turn him from a selfish, ghost-seeing, mess emotions into the hardcore leader that just might be in him, I’m willing to jump on board. No more Lori though. It’s done. Let it go.
TGM: Overall season three was excellent, despite fumbling at the one yard line during the finale. Having Rick and Tyrese finally on the same side is an exciting prospect to think about. Michonne opening up more, Carl continuing to evolve into a man, Herschel doling out his sage advice (although lay off Carl old man!), and Daryl being Daryl. The future of The Walking Dead, despite this onset of fan backlash to the recent finale, is bright.
Steve: As has been the theme for these recaps since we started, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve had a good time with these breakdowns each week, and now it will be nothing but The Carrie Diaries discussions until October. It’s going to be a long seven months.
TGM: Truth. I’ve had a blast doing these recaps, and I appreciate the opportunity to discuss and vent about a show that I truly enjoy. Needless to say, season four cannot come soon enough. For your sake, lets hope Rick starts hallucinating about Shane.
Steve: One can hope.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a TV episode.
Click on a cover to read more episode reviews of The Walking Dead: Season 3.