‘The Walking Dead’ Season Finale Review: “Welcome to the Tombs”
‘The Walking Dead’ season 3 brings to life its sixteenth and final episode of the season “Welcome to the Tombs,” as Rick defends the prison from an attack by the Governor, while Andrea struggles to free herself before one of the Governor's traps can chow down on her.
Last week’s ‘The Walking Dead’ episode “This Sorrowful Life” saw Rick deciding against handing Michonne over to the Governor, before Merle took matters into his own hands and absconded with the woman, while Glenn made a life-changing decision about Maggie, so what does the final episode of the season bring?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘The Walking Dead’ season 3 episode 16, season finale “Welcome to the Tombs!”
The Governor brutally tortures someone, shortly thereafter revealed to be Woodbury’s resident dissenter Milton! The Governor declares their current world dictates "you kill or you die," and throws Milton in the room where Andrea has been bound. After laying out the plan to kill all the people at the prison, the Governor orders Milton to pick up a tray of nearby tools, not noticing when Milton leaves behind a pair of pliers for Andrea to retrieve. Before they exit, the Governor demands Milton kill Andrea, but Milton instead tries to kill the Governor. The Governor coldly stabs him in the gut, and leaves his body behind to kill Andrea when he re-animates.
Back at the prison, the group packs to leave as Carl completely brushes off his father. Rick continues seeing his vision of Lori, while the others load up the car. When Rick goes in for a last sweep of the prison, Michonne thanks him for not turning her over and letting her stay at the prison in the first place, but Rick coyly reminds her it was Carl that convinced him she was one of them.
Over in Woodbury, the Governor rallies his army to lead the way to Woodbury, but Tyreese and Sasha speak up and refuse to take part. The pair insist they’re still loyal and will watch over the town, to which the Governor ominously hands over a sniper rifle, and continues on.
The Governor and his army reach the prison, opening fire on the exterior and cutting down all the walkers with a 50 caliber machine gun. The group make their way through the prison gates, and enter the facility, but find it completely emptied, save for a bible with a highlighted passage about resurrection. Irritated and confused, the Governor divides the group and prepares to go deeper into the darkened prison corridors.
Still clinging to life, Milton tells Andrea of the pliers he left behind, but warns her she’ll likely have to kill him on her way out. As she retrieves the pliers, Milton asks why she decided to stay in Woodbury initially, to which Andrea responds that she wanted to save everyone, including the Governor. Outside, Tyreese and Sasha wonder if the Governor will cast them out upon his return.
As the Governor and his men search the bowels of the prison, the alarm system and several smoke bombs go off, drawing the presence of a number of walkers. Several fall as they flee the prison, while an armored Glenn and Maggie fire upon the enemy soldiers. The Governor and the surviving soldiers speed off, while out in the woods, a young boy stumbles into the path of Hershel, Carl and Beth. Carl holds the boy at gunpoint as he slowly lowers his weapon, but Carl shoots and kills him anyway.
In the aftermath of the battle, the group agrees that they should go after the Governor and finish the conflict, while Hershel explains to Rick what he saw Carl do. Rick wants to take Carl’s word that he killed the boy in self-defense, but Hershel assures him the death was unnecessary. As Daryl, Michonne and Rick prepare to head out on the mission, Rick asks Carl about the boy’s death, but Carl explains he killed the boy as a pre-emptive measure, as Rick had failed to do with Andrew and the Governor.
Out on the road, the Governor pulls the convoy over and insists they return to continue the fight, but the crew of men and women insist they have no interest in a prolonged battle for a prison. Growing increasingly unhinged, the Governor opens fire on the civilians, gunning down a scared Allen as well. Martinez and Shupert watch in horror as the Governor delivers head-shots to some of the bodies, not noticing that Karen remains alive beneath the body of her son. Somewhat calmer, the Governor gets back in his truck and drives off with the two remaining men.
Shortly after, Rick and his group find the re-animated bodies feasting on one another, while Karen hides in the cab of one of the trucks. Meanwhile, Andrea struggles to free herself using the pliers, while Milton begins to re-animate. Andrea finally manages to get one of the cuffs off, but as the zombie Milton lumbers toward her, we hear screams without seeing the outcome of the struggle.
At night, Tyreese spies Rick moving toward the outside gates and opens fire. The short skirmish is interrupted when Karen explains that she purposefully brought the group to Woodbury after the Governor slaughtered them all. Tyreese and Sasha open the gate, as Rick explains that Andrea never made it to the prison, and might still be in Woodbury.
Rick leads the group to the Governor’s torture chambers, shocking Tyreese, as we see a pool of blood under the door. Rick enters the room and sees Milton’s corpse, while Andrea shivers in the corner, having sustained a bite to the neck. Rick and Daryl comfort their former friend, and give over a gun for Andrea to end her life on her own terms. The others leave the room, while Michonne remains behind to comfort her friend, and we hear the shot that ends Andrea’s life for good.
Rick, Daryl and Michonne return to the prison with a convoy, having agreed to take in all the Woodbury residents. The civilians pile into the prison, as Rick looks up to the prison catwalk and no longer sees his vision of Lori. Thus endeth season 3.
Well, that was...anticlimactic. We appreciate the value of a good script zagging when we expect it to zig, but we can't help feeling a bit cheated that 'The Walking Dead' season 3 ends with so little punch. The episode also makes its wildest divergences from the comic yet, killing off Andrea, while allowing the Governor to live and the prison remain standing. We understand that in all likelihood AMC sought to keep both the prison set and one of its most compelling villains, but "Welcome to the Tombs" largely robbed us of any real payoff to the season. Andrea had never been effectively utilized as a character, even as she found a place in Woodbury, making her death of little real consequence to viewers. All in all an adequately exciting and tense episode, with a few plot points lain for next season, but none that have us excited in the way the previous season closer introduced both Michonne and the prison.
Did you get your fill of thrilling zombie killing? What did you think about tonight’s finale episode “Welcome to the Tombs?” Check out all our other ‘Walking Dead’ season 3 coverage, and join us next season for all-new episode recaps of ‘The Walking Dead’ season 4 on AMC!