‘The Walking Dead’: Killing fields

The Walking Dead
“Welcome to the Tombs”
March 31, 2013

We begin with a tight close-up on The Governor’s one eyeball — which, why, hello, Lost, it’s been a while — as he beats Poindexter in his poindextery face for turning The Governor’s walker pit into a barbecue pit. Knowing that he’s got nothing but a few more teeth left to lose, Poindexter wonders out loud what The Governor’s daughter would think of what he’s become, and The Governor correctly assumes that she would be afraid of him, but that she’d be alive.

The Governor then opens the door to his torture/dental surgery room, revealing Andrea tied to the chair, and orders Poindexter to fetch his tools, speculum. Poindexter stumbles and drops the tray of tools, deliberately leaving one on the ground while The Governor prattles on to Andrea that he’s going to kill all her friends at the prison. The Governor then gives Poindexter a knife and orders him to kill Andrea, which is awfully trusting of him — a thought that Poindexter also shares, as he turns and attempts to use the knife on The Governor. Unfortunately, Poindexter doesn’t have exactly cat-like reflexes, and The Governor turns the knife on Poindexter, stabbing him repeatedly in the gut, before locking him in the room with Andrea so he will change into a walker and eat her face. Like the man says, “in this life, you kill or you die… Or you die and you kill.”

The Governor then goes out to rile up the crowd for their impending raid on the prison, reminding them that Team Prison killed 8 of their own, leaving out the whole “when we were on a mission to kill them all” part. Tyrese and Tyrese’s Sister beg off the raid to stay behind and not get shot at protect the old people and babies. “Cool,” says The Governor for no particularly good reason. “NOW LET’S GO KILL A BABY!”

At the prison, Carl packs his bags, pouts. As everyone loads up their things into the cars, Glenn notices that Carl is in a sour mood, and comments on it to Rick, who reminds them both that Carl is still just a kid, before turning his attention to stuff, things, and Lori’s ghost. Meanwhile, while Daryl has a sad about Merle, Carol gives the dead redneck props for giving them a head start against The Governor. And then Rick and Michonne have chat about how he didn’t turn her over to The Governor: “We good?” “We good.” “Good.”

The Governor and his group arrive at the prison, guns literally ablazin’. They shoot RPGs into the watch towers because it’s cool, shoot a bunch of walkers to bits because it’s cool, and then drive through the gates and make their way into the building. Running through the prison, running through the prison, running through the prison, but, alas, their funtimes are ruined by not finding any babies and preteens to shoot. The Governor does find a highlighted Bible verse mocking his villainy (John 5:29) which only irritates him more.

The Governor and his group then hear something coming from the tombs and decide to investigate, which of course is just a very good plan. Instead of babies and preteens, The Governor and his people find booby traps of smoke grenades, prison alarms and basement walkers. FLEEING THE PRISON, FLEEING THE PRISON, FLEEING THE PRISON. As they run back to their trucks, Glenn and Maggie ambush them from the catwalks. ACK! say the worst soldiers ever as they get back into their well-armed trucks and high-tail it out of the prison. Wait, that’s it? say Glenn and Maggie who, like the viewing audience can’t quite believe that this is the extent of the promised epic showdown between Team Prison and Team Woodbury.

Meanwhile, out in the woods, Hershel, Carl, Baby and Sister watch the prison raid from a safe distance, while Carl pouts about not being able to participate. A Team Woodbury teenager who had been part of the prison raid stumbles onto the group, and Hershel order him to drop his weapon. Instead, Dummy attempts to hand his rifle to Carl, who responds by shooting him in the face. Hershel has a disappointed.

Team Prison is still like, “No, seriously, that’s all? That was the big fight? Huh. I kinda feel cheated. Do you feel cheated? I just thought they’d try a little harder and not be so scared by smoke bombs, I guess. Their hearts really didn’t seem in it.” So they decide to take the fight to Woodbury, because why not.

Hershel, Carl, Baby and Sister return to the prison and Carl brags about killing one of The Governor’s soldiers who had drawn on them. “And by ‘soldier,’ he means ‘high school freshman,” clarifies Hershel, “and by ‘draw on us’ he means ‘was handing over his weapon.'” Rick doesn’t want to hear it, and Hershel is like, girl, please. So before Rick leaves for Woodbury, he takes Carl aside to discuss shooting an unarmed child in the face, and Carl explains that he did what he had to do. He didn’t kill the walker that ate Dale, and look how that turned out. And then Rick didn’t kill that one prisoner who filled the prison with walkers, and look how that turned out. And then Rick had a chance to kill The Governor, AND HE DIDN’T, so he lived to turn Merle into a walker and look how that turned out. So why doesn’t Rick run along and go do what needs to be done so that The Governor doesn’t kill any more of them. MIC SHERIFF BADGE DROP.


Well done, Rick! A+++ parenting right there!

As for The Governor and his “soldiers,” The Governor stops the fleeing caravan on the road, and is like, “I’M SORRY, WHAT IS THIS WUSSERY?” One woman, Karen, explains that the prison isn’t worth risking their lives for — something that MAYBE THEY SHOULD HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT BEFORE LOADING UP A BUNCH OF WEAPONS AND ATTACKING WOMEN AND BABIES BUT WHATEVER. The Governor, however, only hears red, and he begins shooting his people in their faces. Shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting



shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting shooting



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shooting. And then they are all dead but for State Senator Martinez and Congressman Other Guy. And Karen, who hides herself under a body. Yikes! Yikes, The Governor! So many yikes! All of the yikes!

Meanwhile, back in Woodbury, Tyrese and Sister of Tyrese decide that the second they can, they are OUT OF HERE. Hey, why wait? You might should just get while the getting is good, guys!

And in Woodbury’s torture/dental examination room, Poindexter isn’t quite dead yet. He tells her that he left a pair of pliers on the floor behind her. Phase 1: Push the pliers closer towards her with her foot, Phase 2: ????, Phase 3: Freedoms! And, ohbytheway, could she do him a little favor once she’s free and stab him in the face with something very sharp, ok thanks. So then we spend an interminable amount of time watching Andrea trying to drag a pair of pliers towards her with her foot, stopping to occasionally chatter at Poindexter about WHO CARES, PICK UP THE PLIERS.



And then she gets the pliers and then SHE DROPS THE PLIERS, PICK UP THE PLIERS, DUMMY. PICK THEM UP. And she does! And she frees one hand, just as newly dead Poindexter begins to stir. QUICK, FREE THE OTHER HAND WITH THE PLIERS SOMEHOW, DO IT. And she does! But not before Poindexter is able to get to her, and not before the camera squeamishly retreats to the hallway so we can’t see what is happening — all we hear are some screams, and then … nothing. WHAT JUST HAPPENED? I shake my fist at you, camera! I am shaking it!

Meanwhile, Rick, Daryl and Michonne head out to attack Woodbury, leaving Glenn and Maggie behind to protect the rest. On the road, they find The Governor’s soldiers-now-walkers, and kill a few, before discovering Karen still alive and safely locked away in the cab of one of the trucks. Karen in tow, Team Prison approaches Woodbury where they are shot at by Tyrese and Sister of Tyrese for a while until Karen is like, HEY, STOP SHOOTING AT US, and explains the whole “The Governor just slaughtered everyone because his blood sugar was low or something” situation. Once everyone stops with the shooting at each other, Rick explains that Karen told them that Andrea left for the prison — the problem is she never arrived, and he’s pretty sure she is still in Woodbury, being tortured.

With Tyrese’s permission, Rick and the rest head directly to Woodbury’s dental office, where the blood is seeping out from under the door, oh noes! Inside Poindexter is very very for reals dead, and Andrea is wounded and propped up against the wall, oh noes! She shows Michonne, Rick and Daryl the bite wound next to her neck, before being like, “Sorry I was so lame and didn’t kill The Governor when I had the sexytimes with him which could have saved not only Merle’s life, but all those people The Governor just mowed down on the side of the road, my bad.” Andrea basically asks for a gun to kill herself, assuring Rick that she knows how the safety works — a call back to when she threatened to shoot Rick after Amy’s death. After Rick acknowledges that Andrea “tried,” (WHAT. EVER.) he and Daryl excuse themselves to the hallway to give Andrea and Michonne some privacy. And then there is a single gunshot, and now Andrea is dead.

And so Team Prison returns to the prison with a bus full of the surviving Woodburians and Carl is NOT AMUSED. But who cares, because when Rick looks up to the catwalk, it is 100% dead wife-free, so he’s going to just assume that bringing a bunch of old women and toddlers into a prison with a basement full of walkers is Lori-approved, and move on, the end.

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R.I.P. Poindexter

And thus ends season three and Glenn Mazzara’s successful stint as showrunner. (Why? Why, AMC? He did such a good job! You guys are the very worst. I will never understand.) While the showdown between Team Prison and Team Woodbury felt somewhat insubstantial after a season worth of build-up, I thought it was a fairly strong episode, one that really explored the fundamental themes of the series, and helped further develop some characters. And it made me care about Andrea! After spending a season wishing for her face to be eaten, I was actually sad when it happened! Not as sad as I was to see Poindexter die, but still considerably sadder than I thought I would be! (Also, be careful out there, Carol — you’re the last original lady left.)

However, the most heartbreaking thing about this episode for me was not Andrea’s death, but the hardening of Carl’s soul. Carl’s explanation for why he killed the Woodbury teenager — that one can’t hesitate in their new violent world  — is not necessarily incorrect. But the fact that he, a child, is coming to these horrible ethical conclusions, that he is growing up in a kill or be killed universe and dealing with the implications personally is devastating. And where does it end? The Governor is obviously an extension of this sort of thinking, a metastasized vision of it, what happens when all humanity is lost in the pursuit of taking care of one’s own.

Speaking of The Governor, 1. the massacre scene is one of the most shocking things I’ve seen in any episode of television and 2. how glad am I that he’ll be back next season? A good villain is crucial, and there are few villains as good/horrifying as The Governor (outside of Game of Thrones, that is). I’m thrilled he’ll be back to menace Team Prison another day.

So what did you think? Were you upset that the “war” you were never promised didn’t go off the way you expected it? Or did the slaughter scene/Andrea’s death make up the difference for you?

The Walking Dead will return to AMC later this year for a fourth season. (Probably in October.)

This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Chron.com.

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