Tonight, March 31, was the season finale of The Walking Dead. It’s been a great season for the AMC mega hit as we followed Rick and his group as they tried to make a prison their secure home. Finding somewhere that’s safe and secure isn’t an easy task during the zombie apocalypse, and although the prison was probably worth fighting for early on, it became less secure after The Governor’s first attack took out the front gates and walkers roamed the grounds as they pleased. Food was limited and most of the prisoners left behind that weren’t walkers were criminals that deserved their bloody fate. It brought up questions about the ethics of the zombie apocalypse and who deserves to survive and who deserves security when society falls. We were promised 27 deaths at the very least in the weeks building up to tonight’s season 3 finale and, spoiler alert, the bloodshed was delivered. If you haven’t seen the episode yet then stop reading now and come back when you have.
Last week Merle did his best to redeem himself when he set Michonne free on the way to deliver her to the Governor, an agreement that Merle didn’t think Rick had the guts to follow through with. Merle found himself a bottle of booze and caused a ruckus that led hundreds of zombies to follow his car to the Governor’s farm compound. Merle then proceeded to shoot numerous Woodbury residents protecting The Governor as the zombies tore into their remains. Merle got sloppy, however, and the Governor took the opportunity to take down Merle with a bullet to his chest that ultimately turned him into a walker. Daryl Dixon would shortly thereafter find his brother and be left with the duty of stabbing him in the head and putting zombie Merle out of his misery.
The finale started out with The Governor relentlessly beating Milton. After being instructed to Kill Andrea, the Governor shoves a knife into Milton and tells him that he has no choice but to kill Andrea now, he’ll turn into a walker and rip her to shreds. Rick still sees the ghost of Lori early on in the episode, right after giving us a reminder that no matter how battle hardened Carl seems, he’s still a little kid. Michonne then thanks Rick for saving her, and after a discussion about if the baby formula helped, Rick tells Michonne that it was Carl’s decision to let her into the group.
The Governor and his crew make a bold and explosive attack on the prison about fifteen minutes into the episode. Parts of zombies fly everywhere as a righteous hail of bullets announce that the war has started. When the men and women from Woodbury enter the prison they find it empty. The Governor finds an open bible with a passage highlighted. It reads, “And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” The angry Governor slams down the bible and splits up the group to further investigate the prison. Meanwhile Andrea tries to set herself free with a pair of pliers that Milton had dropped on the ground, and she tells him that she’ll try to set them both free, but Milton requests Andrea find something sharp to shove into his head. He knows his time is about to expire and he doesn’t want to become a walker.
After a commercial break we see the Governor walking the dark halls of the prison and then we jump back to Andrea and Milton. It’s evident that time is running out for everyone. As soon as we see Andrea pick up the pliers with her toes as Milton fades away the screen takes us back to the prison where all Hell breaks loose. The Governor and the Woodbury crew fight off gunfire and walkers as they retreat back to their vehicles. A teenage straggler trying to surrender is gunned down by Carl, and the look on Carl’s face is of quiet disbelief. This attack breaks the Governor and he snaps. He stops his vehicle convoy and he slaughters everyone except two of his soldiers. One resident of Woodbury is left alive as she plays dead and the Governor runs out of bullets. The story cuts to Andrea who is still struggling to set herself free as Milton is obviously taking his last breaths.
After a commercial break Rick and Carl have a brief but powerful conversation about the kid that Carl shot down. Carl lists the consequences that have happened because someone was allowed to live. Carl mentions the walker that he didn’t kill that ended up killing Dale and Andrew, who Rick didn’t kill, that killed zombie Lori. Carl then reminds Rick that he was alone with the Governor and didn’t kill him, and because of that Merle died. Carl explains that he just did what he had to do. Rick has no response or answer and Carl drops his badge on the ground as he walks away. Rick picks up the badge and rides off with Michonne and Daryl on a mission to kill the Governor.
Rick discovers the zombie remains of the Woodbury crew on the road, as well as the lone survivor. They take care of the zombies and head towards Woodbury. The scene cuts to Andrea and Milton, who has just turned full zombie as Andrea fights to get her second hand free. We hear awful sounds from inside the torture room as the camera pans out from the exterior and we are left to guess what just happened.
After the final commercial break Karen, Rick, Daryl and Michonne find themselves in a gun battle at the gates of Woodbury between Tyreese and Sasha, who stayed behind to protect the children of Woodbury. After Karen explains that the Governor gunned down the entire Woodbury crew they gain entrance to the fortified city. Rick and the others find Andrea only to discover she’s been bitten. Andrea requests a gun to finish the job herself. Rick and Daryl walk outside the room but Michonne stays behind. A single bullet marks the end of Andrea.
Rick brings a bus full of survivors to the prison. It’s unclear how everyone is going to eat with dwindling supplies. But somber music plays in the background, and everyone realizes that everything has changed. Hershel welcomes everyone inside, but Carl is unsure about his father’s decision. Rick looks up to see Lori’s ghost, but he sees nothing. Outside the prison walkers roam free, and the end scene is single wooden cross in the ground marking a grave. For now, the Governor survives.