AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 16: “Welcome to the Tombs”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Glen Mazzara
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “This Sorrowful Life” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 4 premiere, “30 Days Without An Accident” – click here
The Governor (David Morrissey) is having his twisted fun. He’s got Milton (Dallas Roberts) at his mercy, beating him for burning up the walkers. And he has more than that planned. Much more. While he’s got Milton there, he admits to his love of war, of conflict. Like a thirst.
Then he brings his captive in to see where Andrea (Laurie Holden) is tied. He tells them both how he’s essentially lied to the people of Woodbury, to prime them for war with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his people. Before they leave, the Governor wants Milton to kill Andrea. When Milton tries to kill him instead he’s the one who’s stabbed to death.
And then he’s left to do the deed, once he dies and comes back to life again. To feed on her.
The Governor: “In this life now, you kill or you die. Or you die and you kill.”
At the prison, everyone is busy. Carl (Chandler Riggs) isn’t overly impressed with his dad, and they all notice. Although Rick just hopes he’ll forget; not so easy. At the same time he’s still seeing Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) as a vision. Daryl (Norman Reedus) can at least rest well knowing that his brother Merle tried to do right for once in his life. Generally, there’s an air of unease but a glimmer of hope amongst the group.
Michonne (Danai Gurira) forgives Rick for thinking about taking the deal, she understands the complexities of life in this new world. She also knows he didn’t ultimately make the choice, Merle did before his change of heart. Now, she thanks Rick for taking her in that while back. He confesses it was Carl who made that call.
Meanwhile in Woodbury, the Governor amps everybody up to go to the prison. To end the war between their camps. Before heading out, Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) make clear they won’t go. They’ll protect the kids until everyone’s home, that’s it; if they’re not need afterwards, they’ll leave. He accepts with a grim thank you, handing over a weapon. That could’ve went either way. He’s on a fucking warpath.
Thus begins the assault. Caesar (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and the other men open fire with the Governor, blasting away the walkers on the perimeter of the prison before heading in further on foot. Except all is quiet, nobody moving anywhere visible. They open up the gate and get themselves inside. They find not a soul, just empty cell blocks. The Govern finds nothing but a Bible. John 5:29 is highlighted, by Hershel (Scott Wilson). Minds games, son. Psychological warfare!
Back at Woodbury, Milton is dying. He dropped a tool for Andrea, though she’s still tied. She tries to get a pair of pliers nearby, dragging it with her foot. Trying to keep his morale up. But he only wants her to stab him in the brain: “Keep trying,” he cheers her on weakly while losing more blood by the second. He fades away, as she tells him of her regrets, having not killed that piece of shit Governor when she had the chance.
In the prison, the Governor leads his men into the tombs below. Ohhhh, god damn. Are they headed for what I think they are? All hell breaks loose. An alarm goes off, gunfire erupts. When people escape, Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) – clad in riot gear – open fire on them, driving people out. Trucks take off, and soon the Governor runs, too. Tail between their legs. For the time being, anyways.
Out in the woods, Carl and Hershel come across a young man with a gun. He goes to put it down, and Carl puts a bullet in him. To the utter shock of the old man. Everyone regroups inside. Hershel expresses his worry that Carl “gunned that kid down” and it’s not something Rick wants to hear; but he needs to hear it.
On the road the Governor pulls his people over for fleeing. Then he does his own gunning, slaughtering all of those opposing him. This terrifies his own men, Caesar and the others. But when one dissents, he kills him, as well. Putting an end to any further rebellion. He’s gone full dictator, murdering anyone in his way. Only a single woman manages to escape his bullet, lying underneath another corpse.
Rick asks Carl about what actually happened in the woods. The boy thinks he had to do what he did, or else something else worse would happen. He’s disappointed, ultimately, in his father not doing what HE should have done, several times before. This time, Rick heads out with Daryl and Michonne. On the road they find the woman who escaped the Governor, alive and hiding in a truck. A-ha! I wondered how she’d come back into the action.
Time’s running out for Andrea, with Milton expired on the floor in front of her.
Fuck. She’s in a heap of trouble. He’s come back from the dead and is lurching towards her in that chair. She gets free as he opens his mouth to take a bite. But we don’t immediately see the result. EVEN CREEPIER!
Moving on Woodbury, Rick, Daryl, and Michonne encounter gunfire from Tyreese and Sasha. The woman, Karen, explains to them what the Governor’s done, so on. The two groups reunite, now with Rick in a better frame of mind than the last time. Rick likewise reveals Andrea never made it back to the prison, that she may still be held captive there somewhere.
And inside, they find her. Bitten, on the way to turning eventually. She asks to do it on her own, put herself out of the misery that’s coming. No matter if it’s tough for Rick, Michonne, and Rick to deal with the request. Michonne refuses to leave, wanting to be there while she goes. So Rick hands over a gun to mercifully let her commit suicide.
Andrea: “I tried”
Rick: “You did”
Another one of the more intense finishers of any episode in this series. I hated seeing Andrea go, and the way it was filmed, written, presented, it’s a quality chapter. Right up to that final gunshot. This season was a killer, in so many ways. As we head into Season 4, there’s hope. Yet it isn’t shining, glimmering hope as there’s been in the past. There’s a lot of darkness ahead for Rick and the group at the prison. One of those dark spots is which way Carl will head: will he become a force of good, or will he let this world taint him?
Their time at the prison is going to come to an end, one of these days soon. For now the group are back with more people, the good ones from Woodbury, adding to the population. And for the first time in so long, Rick isn’t seeing ghosts.