Last night’s mid-season finale of the third season of The Walking Dead was strong, if not somewhat anticlimactic, given the number of shocking events this season so far. There were no huge bombshells in the finale, and the cliffhanger was not terribly cliff-hangey, but we were introduced to a great new character, the Big Bad got some justice, and the episode did a terrific job of setting up the second half of the season.
Let’s get right into the recap, though please remember: Book spoilers go in the thread at the bottom of the page created by Maske.
1. OMG CUTTY — Even when you know it’s coming, you can never quite prepare for the excitement of seeing a former The Wire cast member on another show you love, and when he’s carrying a hatchet and dispensing with walking corpses, all your religious cynicism fades away. God does have a plan, and that plan is for Chad Coleman to carve zombies.
He has a crew, too: They are 5. They are the “Tyreesocracy”? (No, that doesn’t quite work.) Anyway, after one of their own, Donna, gets bitten, they stumble into the prison, where Carl eventually finds them, saves them from the zombies, then locks them in a cell. Tyreese has the same tough softness as Cutty did, too. Tyreese understands, and he’s even a little grateful that, in the prison cell, they can finally rest for a while. However, they hadn’t brained Donna before the episode ended, so expect that to be the first sequence after the winter break: Donna hopping too, zombie-style, and taking out at least one of the Tyreese 5.
2. Carol Is Not a Lesbian, Axel — Besides the Tyreese Experience™, which was more to set up the next half of the season than anything else, there wasn’t a lot going on in this prison this week, except for some reason a scene in which Carol warned Axel away from Beth, which did prompt the one moment of intentional comic relief last night. Is it too early to ship Axel and Carol? I get the feeling that it’s actually setting up Axel’s demise: Will he get too handsy with Michonne, or does he think she’s a lesbian, too?
3. MARRY ME, GLENN — Meanwhile, back in Woodbury, I have to say that, of all the cool things that happened in last night’s episode, my very favorite was Glenn removing a zombie’s arm and yanking out an elbow bone and giving it to Maggie as a weapon. THAT IS TRUE LOVE. Need I remind you that we’re only two seasons removed from this guy:
That bone shank came in awfully damn handy, too, when Merle came to execute Maggie and Glenn, and Maggie used it to pierce Warren’s carotid. Bone Shank: 1. Warren: O.
It wasn’t quite enough to save them, which prompted the sweetest moment of the night.
THE HEART. IT MELTS.
4. The Prison Gang Saves the Day — Maggie and Glenn, of course, avoid execution, as Rick and Daryl arrive with smoke bombs, rescue them, then start opening fire in Woodbury. There’s a lot of chaos in these sequences, though there’s not a lot of plot development. It looked a lot like this:
The Governor is trying to keep Andrea away from the fighting, so she doesn’t figure out who is behind the shooting, and Daryl gets left behind laying cover fire. But MOST everyone else manages to make it to the other side of the wall by the end of the episode, except for ….
5. THE IRON LAW OF THE WALKING DEAD — There may be only ONE token black male character at a time. Poor Oscar didn’t even get a stock black character line in last night’s episode before he got shot by one of the Woodbury gang. His final words were, “GARREHEAHHRRRR.” As soon as we saw Tyreese in the opening sequence, we had to know that Oscar’s days were numbered. When God introduces a T. Dog, he must take a T. Dog away. Oscar will be missed, but not that much because T. Dog 3.0 is the sh*t.
6. Rick Is Having a Psychotic Break — It should be noted that Rick is still falling apart, y’all. His telephone call to himself may have been only the beginning. Now, Rick is seeing Shane hallucinations (it was good to see Jon Bernthal, even briefly), and it was his delay in shooting hallucination Shane that cost Oscar his life.
7. SCOWL, Michonne. Show Us Your Scowl — It’s a good thing that the most one-dimensional character on television has a really good dimension, as Michonne’s scowl never wavers, even when faced with a dismembered head that chomps. Grrrrr.
Michonne had the super fun task last night of hanging out in The Governor’s room with intentions of killing him. However, she didn’t plan on the Governor being as messed up as he is, what with his lovesick obsession with his zombie daughter. While waiting on The Governor, she stumbled upon his wall of heads, discovered his daughter, Penny, and did the dumbest thing a character named Michonne could ever do: She removed the chain BEFORE the sack over her head. Damnit, Michonne. THINK. Anyway, The Governor walked in, and the two got into a tussle, where Michonne got an up close and personal look at The Governor’s Fishtank Pleasure Palace.
That scowl, however, is INDOMITABLE, and during the ensuing fracas, Michonne poked an eye out.
The Scowl: 1. The Governor’s Eye: O.
8. The Zombie Kill Of The Season — Michonne. Boom. RIP PENNY.
Best Reaction GIF:
Best Reaction Tweet:
9. Wise Up, Andrea — Andrea, of course, walked in on Michonne before she could dispatch with The Governor, which led to a epic showdown between THE SCOWL and CAPTAIN OBLIVIOUS.
Naturally, it came to nothing, and afterwards, Andrea was entirely too amenable to The Governor’s explanation for The Governor’s Fish Tank Pleasure Town. “It prepares me for the horrors outside.” Uh huh. I don’t get it, Andrea. What’s the allure of The Governor? Maybe she just has a thing for men who love their children. Awwwwwwwww.
10. Merle vs. Daryl — I’m not entirely sure about the success of big midseason finale cliffhanger. The Governor scapegoats Merle, brings out the capture Daryl, and works the crowd into a “KILL THEM” frenzy.
The best part about the sequence, really, was Andrea’s “OH SH*T” face.
The biggest problem I had with the cliffhanger was AMC’s decision to air “Next on” scenes for the second half of the season, which diffused any of the tension we might have felt with Merle and Daryl facing death and Andrea looking on in horror. The “next on” scenes basically spoiled the outcome of that match.
Overall, however, it was a strong mid-season finale. The Governor lost an eye, which gave us some satisfaction. The Prison Gang added some new members, rescued Glenn and Maggie, solidified their alliance with Michonne, and most likely, set it up so that Merle will rejoin them in the second half of the season. There were no major character deaths (poor Oscar; he never lived long enough to rise to the level of major character) and there were no hugely shocking events. However, it was a very solid cap to the end of a ridiculously amazing first half of season three. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to wait until February for any resolution.