I know I'm late with this, but it's really not my fault. Right now we live in Africa and we had a massive storm this weekend that knocked out the power AND the internet. On Monday when the internet was still not up I thought I was going to light myself on fire. But I finally got to see it so here goes...
I did not see it going down like this for season 3's final chapter. It was way less epic and intense and way more touchy-feely than I expected it to be..... but I LIKED it. At the end I felt like I was breathing a sigh of relief as we had all my favorite characters still alive and kicking, the Governor somewhat vanquished, and Rick clearly back as a morally centered leader who is now accepting refugees from Woodbury. He's come a long way from just a few episodes ago when he refused to accept Tyreese and Sasha, and even from last week when he was still considering handing Michonne over to the Gov. I still have questions but for the most part this is the most satisfied I have ever been at the end of a season.
The episode starts in a rather brutal fashion with the Governor laying into Milton. For some reason he blames the death of 8 of his men on the fact that Milton burned the pit walkers. 2 observations:
1.) Merle took out 8 guys?!? I had no idea. Damn boy died a hero!
2.) Scapegoating in it's most obvious form. Milton had nothing to do with Merle's shoot-out but the Gov needs someone to blame that is still alive.
He ends up stabbing Milton in the guts and leaving him in the room with Andrea to die, turn, and eat her. Yikes. What a predicament. I couldn't tell if Andrea had been tortured by Dr. Evil or if she was just all bloody from her flight to the prison and then trying to escape out of the chair, but either way she looked pretty banged up.
Back at the prison everyone packs up and I actually thought that they were leaving. I was glad to see that Daryl took his awesome Pancho Villa poncho with him. Nothing beats the poncho/chopper/crossbow combination. Rick and Michonne have a really nice conversation where they clear the air about the last few days and (we assume) off they go.
The Governor gets his people all riled up to attack the prison when Tyreese and Sasha bow out and say they will act as guards but won't attack the living. Awesome performance. They both looked scared out of their wits having to tell him that and I would be too. The Gov takes off and storms the gates of the prison and it's quite the attack. We've got grenade launchers, machine guns, you name it - and I was glad our little group of heroes had already split. They descend into the bowels of the prison and that's when Rick and co. re-appear in what has to be the absolutely lamest ambush on the planet. One tear-gas canister thrown down at the bad guys and they they give them all time to run out of the dungeon and re-group?!? What??? How about get a huge gang of them down there like leading buffalo into a blind-canyon, close a door behind them, locking them in, pick off the few still tumbling around upstairs and then deal with the main group that you have ALL LOCKED UP IN YOUR PRISON. At that point you have all the time in the world to deal with them. You could chuck in another tear-gas canister and make them all cry if they don't lay down their weapons. You could starve them out. You could show them Zombies behind one door and tell them that either they lay down their weapons or you let the Zombies have at it. There are so many options you would have in this scenario. And the Governor, the big baddie himself was even down in the basements with this big group. They could have captured the head honcho! Pretty stupid of him for going down there, but apparently he has nothing to fear since the good guys aren't smart enough to take advantage of it. Bah!
Back at Woodbury Andrea and Milton's scenes were absolutely gripping, and in stark contrast to the mayhem going on back at the prison. What made these scenes so memorable was the classic horror movie time-bomb dilemma interspersed with 2 characters having really compassionate moments as a life counted down. It was really well-done. Andrea is trying to get a pair of pliers with her toes and get out of the chair before Milton dies and re-animates. In the end she manages to get free just as he comes back alive and we don't get to see exactly what happens but we hear the sounds of a life-or-death struggle.
Back at the prison Rick's group has rousted the Woodbury gang and let them all escape to fight another day and they celebrate this awesomeness with hugs and applause (!). Carl guns a survivor down in cold blood and Hershel has to tell Rick about it. What's up with that Big C? I was just singing your praises a few weeks ago and then you go and do a stupid thing like this. Growing up in the Z.A. is so darn awkward. I mean everyone is a knucklehead when they're young - shoot my 6 year old flooded the upstairs bathroom on Monday so badly that it was RAINING in the Garage one floor below, but when you screw up in the Z.A. it's all life and death and everyone is watching. Was this just a blip do you think or are we growing a new little psychopath to replace the Governor?
Speaking of psychopaths the Gov, drives away, has a hissy fit and shoots almost all of his people. I did NOT see that one coming. Kind of bummed for all of them but on the other head that kind of eliminates the Woodbury threat eh? Choose a better leader next time people. His last two remaining henchmen look so freaked out that I don't see them letting the Gov live much longer. They have to put their heads together and take him out. Right? RIGHT?!?
The prison group decides that they will send 5 guys after 30 some Woodbury soldiers to hunt them down and finish the job but I can't even focus on the insanity of this plan because...what? Did that just happen? BETH kills a walker! I had to re-wind and watch it again. Wow, gun shooting and now walker killing. She may not be wearing red anymore people. Luckily AGAIN for our little group and their tragic decision making, all their enemies are dead when they next come across them. That's right Rick old buddy, you didn't win the game, the Governor LOST. You dodged so many bullets in this whole fiasco (literally). So maybe watch the tape and learn so you have a better battle plan for next time.
They find a lone survivor who can bear witness to the slaughter and take her back to Woodbury. She tells Tyreese and Sasha what happens and they let them all in. They hurry to find Andrea and find out that she did kill Milton but not before he bit her. Andrea's last moments were so sweet and very hard to watch. She is so happy when she hears that the group is alive and safe and that Michonne is a part of them. She just didn't want anyone to die and because of that SO MANY people are dead. Should have shagged him and stabbed him baby, that's the bottom line. But the recurring theme in this episode is that there are really not a lot of second chances in the Z.A.
The episode ends with a bus-load of refugees from Woodbury arriving at the prison and shuffling into the cell block. THAT will infuriate the Gov when he finds out. But he seems to have fled. What do you think - will he be back? And is the Prison still a good choice? What's their plan for the future? I mean it's not like they took in a strapping load of productive workers. Did you SEE the sorry bunch that shuffled off of that bus? Talk about dead weight. They now have a lot more mouths to feed and a lot less people able to do it, and it's not like they can take their show on the road with a gang that size. What do you think will happen? After all, we have a looooong time to discuss before we get any answers...