As of the third season finale of The Walking Dead, I’m done. I have turned in my crossbow and I’m walking out the door to let the roamers have at me.
When season 1 of The Walking Dead ended, I wrote a post about what I felt the show had gotten wrong. It wasn’t just the fact it was diverging from the comic book source material at every conceivable turn, it was the fact the show was just dumb. Dumb in the sense that it felt every little thing had to spelled out for the viewers. I went ahead and rode out season 2 although it was a trial. Just how much time could we spend on the farm? Apparently a whole season. And it just dragged and dragged.
While I was about to throw in the towel, the season ended with a lone image of the prison. Anyone who has read the comic can tell you that the prison story arc was simply phenomenal. It lasted for 48 issues, but it never once felt like it dragged. Each moment was tense and only got more so as the story went on. The prospect of seeing this story realized was amazing, and one I was very ready for.
I will state that many things were changed in this season from the comic. Honestly, it might be shorter to list what wasn’t changed, but the changes weren’t my issue with season 3. My issues were far more basic than that, and it’s just simply good writing and pacing.
Nothing about season 3 felt properly paced. We spent the majority of the season building the tension between the prison and the survivors in the town of Woodbury only to come to a screeching halt in the three episodes leading up to the finale. This was some of the most obvious and painful padding I have ever seen in a television series.
Episode 13, “Arrow on the Doorpost,” was the first example of how the writers clearly had not paced the story correctly. We spend an entire episode on a meeting between the Governor (David Morrissey) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) trying to work out a compromise so the two settlements can live in peace. The result? Both sides knew that even though they had talked of peace, they would be going to war. Gee, thanks… we kind of all knew that going in.
And then we were treated to Episode 14, “Prey,” wherein we got to watch an entire episode of the Governor and Andrea (Laurie Holden) playing cat and mouse with one another. Why? Because Andrea was going to tell Rick and the crew that the Governor planned to double cross them. This episode hinged on both of these characters assuming that Rick had suddenly taken to being as dumb as a brick and not being able to figure this out for himself, so we get to spend the hour watching these two actually being the idiots. It was just a miserable time for all involved.
Sadly we weren’t done with padding yet, however. Episode 15, “This Sorrowful Life,” built off of the previous two episodes that were pointless, essentially making this one null and void from the moment it hit the air. The only thing to come out of this was we were finally rid of Merle (Michael Rooker) who, of course, had to go with a sterotype ending where he suddenly decides to try to redeem himself. Was there ever a moment in this series where this character was anything other than a sterotype? No, there wasn’t.
Finally, here we are, Episode 16, “Welcome to the Tombs,” where we will see the confrontation between the prison and Woodbury.
… that’s it?
The Woodbury folks blow out two towers and get scared off by some pyrotechnics? Then they face off against Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan), whom they clearly have outnumbered, and run off scared? Oh wait, they were going to use the .50 caliber machine gun, but it just happened to jam. That’s something I’ve never seen in a story ever before.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for character development, and there was some in this episode, but when it is overall lackluster and an event you have spent building the entire season for constitutes maybe five minutes of the finale? It just feels like you have been slighted.
Yes, some other things happened in the episode such as the continued descent into darkness of Carl (Chandler Riggs), but the big, emotional moment, the one that was supposed to make our jaws drop, the death of Andrea, just fell completely and totally flat.
Why did the death of a major character feel so empty? Well, lets see, you had spent the entire season making her dumber by the minute, and you topped that off with the worst escape attempt in history. “Oh, hey guy who is about to turn into a zombie, let me stop working on getting out of these handcuffs so that I can have an extended conversation with you.” Oh no, no need to rush, just completely stop working on your handcuffs so you can have a heart-to-heart with the guy who is obviously about to turn into a zombie and attempt to eat you.
Yes, you can argue that she was trying to give Milton (Dallas Roberts) comfort in his final moments, but even he told her to work faster.
When you add it all up you are left with a show that is just bluntly not that good. From sophomoric writing to falling back on worn out horror story tropes, this series fails at every turn. And now that it has been announced that Morrissey has been signed on as a regular for season 4, we’re supposed to be scared of a guy with only two henchmen left? And we’re going to spend a whole season on this?
No thank you.
No one can say I didn’t give this series a chance. Honestly, I gave it far more of a chance than I normally would have because I love the comic book series. But there comes a point where you just have to cut your losses and move on. With that, The Walking Dead and I will be parting ways.
I wish I could say it had been a fun ride…