By: Heather Seebach
**Warning: The following contains major spoilers**
Well, as I feared, the show continued its oscillating trend in episode quality with a lackluster finale. In fairness, it's not bad for a regular episode - just a disappointing finale. Last week gave us an onslaught of jaw-dropping zombie kills, great dialogue scenes, and a heart-wrenching goodbye. Yet somehow this season send-off is less emotional and less bloody. Still, it had some solid moments and I cannot complain because I got what I ultimately wanted: a dead Andrea and a still-breathing Governor.
"Welcome to the Tombs" opens with the Governor, who is full-on crazy-pants now, beating the shit out of Milton. Now, the commercials showed Gov punching someone and although Andrea made the most sense, I figured they wouldn't have the balls to show him punching a woman in the face. Even the torture was vaguely implied by her being a little bloody and the Governor saying, "Get the tools. I'm not gonna need them anymore." Still, I love the pre-credit sequence because of the Governor. His dialogue with Milton was great, especially the bit about how it's okay to enjoy killing because it means you're alive and you've won. Also, when asked what Penny would think of what he has become, Philip replies, "She'd be afraid of me...but if I'd been like this from the start, she'd be alive today." Not so different from Rick, eh?
When the Governor orders Milton to kill Andrea, and the scientist refuses, what Gov does is devilishly clever - he stabs Milton so he'll turn and HAVE to kill Andrea. "I said you were gonna kill her. And now you're gonna die, and you're gonna turn, and you're gonna tear the flesh from her bones. In this life now, you either kill or you die, or you die and you kill." So evil! Poor Smithers.
I loved the entire concept of Milton slowly turning and coaching Andrea to escape before he does. I thought for a moment that zombie Milton might even hesitate to attack her, since he was always so convinced the walkers had some of their former selves in them, but ultimately I'm glad that didn't happen. It would have been way too corny.
The other thing I liked about this episode was Carl. Watching him kill that Woodbury guy in cold(ish) blood was pretty surprising. Better yet was the later conversation with his father, where Rick totally gets served. He reminds his dad that letting Andrew live got Lori killed, and how he failed to kill the Governor when he had a chance. The little guy has a point - Rick did the same thing with Tomas because he was a potential threat. Like father, like son. Plus, I guarantee that Woodbury dude in the woods was gonna go for Carl's gun. When the boy says drop your weapon you DROP your weapon, not reach toward him, k?
So the Goveror's ragtag army gets chased off and we never get the big prison siege like in the comics. That was disappointing but the way he shoots the deserters was a good way of deepening his villainy and showing that, unlike Rick, winning is more important to him than his people. And fortunately, he killed Allen - that guy was a dick.
That is the last time we see the Governor so much to my delight, he lives still! I thought for sure he could not survive this finale. While I do not want the character to be drawn out excessively, I believe we have only just begun to see the tip of the Governor's evil. Now we have a proper villain doing truly nasty things, so this gives us something to look forward to next season. And that giant prison siege may yet happen. The big death of the episode was the one character I wanted to die. In fact, her death was far too gentle for my liking. Andrea is attacked by zombie Milton in an unseen scuffle and she is bitten. Of course Rick, Michonne and Daryl find her just in time to say their goodbyes. And of course Andrea decides to off herself before she turns - this woman is obsessed with suicide!
Maybe if she worked on getting those while talking to Milton, she might have escaped in time. Multi-task, woman, geez! Anyway, good riddance. I felt nothing during her goodbye scene. I was still hoping to see her made an example of in front of the prison. Yeah, yeah, I'm awful. This episode was relatively zombie-light. We got one or two nice kills, but ultimately the Governor was the biggest monster.
In the end, Tyreese is with the prison survivors (yay!) and they bring back the Woodbury elderly/children, too. And oh hey, Dale's back!
I feel like this show is lacking in balls lately. I'm not saying we need full-blown rape, torture, and baby-killing ala Robert Kirkman's comics, but for christ's sake, give a character a shocking death again! Show a little torture if your villain is that bad. For a show with abundant gore, it almost feels PG-13 sometimes. Despite the Governor and Carl stuff, this finale was pretty anticlimactic. It felt like just another episode and by that standard it's a decent one. But for a finale, it's pretty disappointing. To check out my recaps/reviews of earlier episodes from this season: