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02 April, 2013

REVIEW: The Walking Dead: Season 3 Finale - Episode 16 "Welcome to the Tombs"

A number of plot points will inevitably be revealed in the course of these writings.  My intent is to review this program from the perspective of the Doomer / Prepper / Survivalist community, but, to do that effectively, some things have to be explained in greater detail than I might normally prefer in a review.  As a result, spoilers will follow.  You have been warned.  In truth, you might more accurately describe these posts as in-depth discussions of certain aspects of each episode with an emphasis on how the character's actions might be applicable in a real-life societal collapse.  I hope you enjoy.

My apologies for not getting this written and ready in time to publish yesterday. I had a Midterm due for one of my online Graduate school classes, and it thoroughly kicked my butt. This, of course, is the Season 3 Finale: a sad day for fans of the show. Season 4 will premier in October, so we all have a long road ahead.

A big part of the theme of this episode was the idea of what happens to people's humanity once the niceties of modern civilization fade away. I will have to report that my earlier prediction of the Governor being killed at another character's hands failed to pan-out, and I cannot say I'm sad about being wrong.

The Governor is an intriguing character. We have slowly watched him devolve into a monster before our very eyes. Technically, he was already a villain by the time we met him, but we were shown glimpses of things he tried to do in the beginning when he was still just Philip.

He really was trying to build a new civilization around Woodbury, then Penny was bitten and it all changed, eventually ending with him as a tyrant ruling over a dictatorship (with his own henchman to do his dirty work) like some Robber Baron in days of old. Then, when Michonne took his eye and put Penny (now a Walker) down once and for all, the last remaining vestiges of his humanity were finally shed. He is now a survivor who survives by killing others.

In this episode, he made the point that, if Penny was still alive she'd be afraid of what he's become, but that, if he'd been that man back then, she'd still be alive. That's a harsh way to look at things, but it could also be true. You gotta love a show that's written in such a way as to make you be able to relate to and understand the motivations of even the bad guys.

Interestingly, somewhat of a parallel can be drawn between The Governor and the man that young Carl is growing into, though I still have faith in the boy. His humanity was called into question during this episode as well as the result of killing a combatant who was, ostensibly, trying to surrender.

Honestly, though, I didn't take it like it was anywhere near as bad as Hershel thought.  Actually, as I was watching the scene, I thought the was going to grab Carl's gun -- his eyes were all shifty and flicked toward the gun just before Carl fired. I probably would've shot him too. I'll even go so far as to say that I bet they wrote the scene specifically so that it wouldn't be clear-cut and would result in a debate among viewers.

Plus, after he explained his reasoning, it made perfect sense. Hesitating has consequences. He himself hesitated to put down a Walker in Season 2, only to have that same Walker kill Dale soon after; his father failed to kill the convict at the prison, who later caused the situation that resulted in Carl's mother's death; and, his father didn't kill The Governor when he had the chance, and then The Governor went on to kill Merle. Pretty hard to argue with the kid's logic, even if what he did does leave a bitter taste in your mouth.

Likewise, one could make the same argument regarding Andrea's decision not to kill The Governor when she had her chance a few weeks ago. How many lives (including her own) might have been saved if she had plunged that knife into his chest as he lay sleeping?

In the end, Carl did what he learned from his father and from what the realities of the world have taught him. Take no chances. He told the guy he shot to put the gun down, not to approach him and hand it to him. He gave him that order, and, yet, the guy kept approaching him and trying to hand it over. As soon as his eyes flicked toward the weapon, Carl pulled the trigger. Not a bad decision. Safety first. The lesson to be learned here is don't act all shifty when someone has a gun on you, and do exactly what they say if you don't want your head blown-off.

The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

My previous reviews for this series can be accessed by clicking the links below:

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