Spoiler alert: it was bad
Nevin Jones | writer
The season finale of “The Walking Dead” was about as pleasing as the day after Thanksgiving: After sitting down and eating a bunch of garbage, things just don’t exactly sit well.
The past three episodes leading up to “Welcome to the Tombs” built palpable tension. Rick’s group was scared, Woodbury and the Governor were ready for blood, and someone had to die, as is the norm with any episode of TWD.
The battle looked to be huge, but the way things played out was wholly unsatisfying.
The prison assault started out with a literal bang, as The Governor’s group tore into the prison. They reached the zombie death quota for the episode just in that two minutes. As the assault played out, though, the writers pulled one over on the audience by making it seem like Rick’s group had evacuated, only to then ambush their attackers and scare them off.
This anticlimactic version of what was shaping up to be a huge battle laid a foundation that threw off the rest of the episode. By making the assault more of a deception, something else needed to step up and deliver the powerful punch fans expect from a season finale.
Picking Andrea’s death for that punch was a poor choice.
Andrea has been the most consistently disappointing and annoying character of the whole show, and in her final moments, she was no different. Trapped in a room with a dying Milton, she pauses to talk about every single scene.
It seemed like even Milton wanted to say, “Shut up and multitask,” but being slow is something you learn to expect from a girl who took 14 episodes to figure out her lover was a murdering psychopath.
To make the climax all about an emotional goodbye for a character everyone wanted dead 10 episodes ago does not work.
The death of the Governor was the expected outcome of the finale, and not killing him feels like the safe way out. I understand that killing your best villain (and actor) might seem like a poor choice, but it makes the episode fall flat.
Nothing resolves, and the chance for a poignant and important moment in the show’s narrative disappears.
David Morrissey continues to give solid performances. As the twisted Governor, he gets to deliver one of the best lines this season during his debate with Milton over his current behavior:
“In this life, you kill, or you die; or you die, then kill.”
With just these words, he sums up the whole zombie apocalypse mantra.
The Governor’s massacre of his Woodbury followers was an effective “oh my God” moment, which the show is known for, but it was a moment among many others that required the suspension of belief.
It’s hard to believe that not a single person there would try to stop him from killing everyone. That is almost as ridiculous as Andrea not being able to kill a single zombie trapped in the room with her.
These are important moments that cause more head scratching than satisfaction.
“Welcome to the Tombs” highlights so many of the reasons “The Walking Dead” can be horribly frustrating. Great actors, cinematography, and gruesome zombie effects are all present, but the writing rarely hits a consistent greatness.
Maybe I’m in the minority of the cable TV record-breaking 12.4 million viewers who tuned into watch, but when compared to an incredible episode like “Clear,” this finale feels as satisfying as trying to nail jello to a wall.
Oh well, at least Andrea died.