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It’s hard to tell what the writers and producers of The Walking Dead hate more: the audience, the characters, the comics or the show itself. In this week’s season three finale, they made it clear that we, the audience, are at least pretty high on the hate list. After another season of languishing plot and pacing so slow that it often moved in reverse (seriously, this season was all about story archs moving forward in one episode just to be totally set back in the next), we were presented with a season finale that contained 2, maybe 3 satisfying moments amidst an hour of vamping and build up for climaxes that would never come.

I know the show’s internal workings are troubled. You can’t have a totally stellar first season, then continually fire showrunner after showrunner while the network tightens the budget yet demands more episodes and not expect the quality to decline. The latter of those problems was ESPECIALLY evident in seasons 2 and 3 when nearly every other episode seemed to just be the prelude to the next episode. Either they really aren’t being given the funding and network support to write, and produce 10 or 13 episodes a season or they simply do not understand the purpose of a short season at all.

In a show like LOST (in the early seasons) or BSG (in the latter seasons) where you have 26 episodes a season, it’s fair to expect a few place holder episodes. Yet with barely a baker’s dozen hours to fill a year, The Walking Dead spent all of season two standing around and arguing about secrets and feelings on a farm and all of season three with our heroes considering leaving the prison, considering attacking Woodbury and considering getting rid of or keeping various newcomers. Both seasons were big on debate and internal (often unspoken) conflict and light on… doing… much of anything. With a short season show, the ENTIRE story and all major plot points need to be mapped out ahead of time so that the action, drama, humor, gore, etc can be evenly split among the episodes. I can’t wrap my  head around the creative or financial impetus of “give ’em one good one, 2 bad ones, a kind ok one, an infuriatingly bad one, then repeat.”

Now, with the finale of season 3, The Walking Dead has robbed its fans of any type of resolution regarding The Governor, or the prison and given us no indication of what to look forward two next season other than possibly the REST of season 3’s plot and some fond time’s in Uncle Rick’s Lockdown Nursery and Retirement Village. And despite that fact that THE ONLY THING I was looking forward to in the finale was seeing Michonne take The Governor’s other eye just before Andrea put that pocket knife elbow deep in his heart, the producers elected to elevate The Governor to the role of Jason Vorhees-esque, unkillable boogie man and make him a series regular next season.

I don’t know, guys. I might be out. The only plot element I liked about the finale was Carl… which I will address in the next comic.

COMMENTERS: That season finale was fucking bullshit, right? Spoilers away. Tell me how you feel. 

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  1. Everyone loves it when the entire season has built up to the moment where Woodbury attacks the prison, for it to last about 45 seconds before they run away from a smoke bomb and two people.

    Having the Governor run away seemed to be setting up this fear that he could return at any time. That fear could have driven Season 4, just to find him dead on the side of the road in the finale. However making him a regular puts him a Dr Claw role, it would seem like each episode will be him trying to harass The Grimes, just to get run off as he screams “I’ll get you next time! NEXT TIME!”

    Yes, Carl. I can’t wait for him to just start leading the group, he’s the only sane one left. Even after he totally shot a kid who was handing him his gun.

    • " for it to last about 45 seconds before they run away from a smoke bomb and two people."

      That. Shit. Was. Inexplicable.

      • I loved when they broke down the gates and released the walkers in the courtyard. That was well done, and sent a message. I expected more from when the ENTIRE TOWN entered the prison.


        • But we have no idea how BIG the town actually was. There were a lot of seniors and children that couldn't fight.

          Sure it seemed a bit lame, but it was still believable that these regular people could not handle being spooked, being in a combat situation…after the explosions and the zombies inside the prison, they thought there were more people shooting at them. They already believed the Gov', that the prison group were killers, so were afraid of them.

          Most of the people in Woodbury were sheltered, they hadn't done much more than pick off some zombies with long range rifles. This is why several families panicked after the Prison group attacked the town….they actually thought they would be better off if they drove away from the town…they had no idea how bad it really was out there.

  2. Yeah, they really should have killed off the gov this season. What the hell kind of villain can he be next time around when it's just him and a couple guys left?

    At least Andrea's gone – lord she was annoying.

  3. Yup, gotta say it was a letdown, after a whole season of build up, for it to be as doubleofive said, 45 seconds and running away from a smoke bomb. Maybe they blew all of the budget blowing up the guard towers 🙂

    All we can hope is that it doesn't take half of season 4 to resolve things with the Governor. Maybe they can also make the prison look like somewhere they might actually want to stay. It didn't really look like that this season.

  4. First off you do have to give them props on closing andrea's arc quite nicely

    Second, the battle at the prison was BS, oh two people shot at us, we should run, wait don't we have a grenade launcher and .50 cal machine guns?

    3rd i actually liked the boogeyman-esque take on the governor, and i feel kinda bad for the two henchman riding shotgun with him, i mean they mustbe shitting themselves

    Michonne and rick are gonna get all freaky up in this place

    Finally carl is becoming a sociopath

    Ps: did you get the ron swanson idea from me? Also ron swanson zombie would be our doom

  5. Where was all of the killing of the annoying characters on the "good" guys' side?
    That's what I want to know.

    Will we be forced to listen to blondie sing another spiritual in a sequence that mirrors every student-written high school ensemble play ever performed?

    Will Herschel direct some crop planting so that they can recreate the magic that wasn't Argument Farm?

    Will Rick's imaginary Lori ever have that damned baby?

    Is Kirkman too happy swimming in his McDuck pool to come off with an entire season, nay, half a season of exciting shows?

  6. I agree, my wife and I kind of decided we were done with this show about halfway through this season, but I insisted we follow it through to the end just in case. It's just… not doing it. I love the comics, but the show just makes Rick non-sympathetic and Andrea's been made extra whiny. About the only character that the show seems to be handling properly is Carl.

    • Yeah, that reminds me of the third season of Warehouse 13, where Myka came back all whiny and annoying, and Pete all of a sudden was acting even more childish and annoying than he ever did at the beginning of season one. It was like the writers just completely ignored all the growing up he had done the last couple of seasons, and they just completely ruined Myka's character to the point that I found myself gradually losing interest in the series. I don't remember if my husband and I even finished the season, because we just sort of lost interest. It makes me sad when showrunners allow a good show to be ruined by bad writing, and keep re-setting characters every season. Damn them! Damn them all to hell!

    • Yes. This. Yes.

      It seemed to me like every time I thought I had things figured out, the writers had already created (and shot) a script to prove my theory EXACTLY WRONG.

      What is comes down to is – why does anyone really like this show?
      If you like it for the zombies – you obviously came to the wrong place. See ya.
      If you like it for the comics – you obviously came to the wrong place. See ya.
      If you like it for the building psychology of characters and the moral questions of what happens when society crumbles – we're glad to have you.

      BTW. "Yes, Carl, I know we can trust you to shoot people. The question is, can we trust you NOT to shoot people?"

      • The Governor's turning on his own people was a genuine shock. It wasn't enough to save the episode or the season for me, and I really just want him dead.

  7. They were given very basic training. Learning how to shoot and operate a gun has nothing to do with learning how to deal with being shot at. It was a brilliant strategy by Rick's group. Let them come in with their adrenaline pumping, calm down because it looks like everyone is gone, then they go into the scary catacombs as that adrenaline rush continues to drastically drop because now it's all spooky and BAM…suddenly walkers all over them fighting for their lives and then when they get away from that they have gunfire from an unknown number of people in an obvious ambush. They did what any non-combat experienced person would do – they ran. As an Army vet I can guarantee you that is exactly how those people would've reacted.

    And they did try to shoot the 50, but old dude couldn't work it – again reinforcing they were trained only enough to be fodder and further clarified when that same guy had a gun on the governor later. The governor just calmly raised his gun and shot him in the head. He should have had the whole clip through Phillip's face before he even raised that gun beyond waist level.

    I was let down that the gov got away yea (and Andrea :sadface), but overall this season wasn't bad. If the whole show was nothing but zombie killing mayhem as it seems all the complaining lately suggests, it would be a boring POS very quickly and a betrayal to the idea of trying to be more grounded in how things could unfold for people in this situation.

    • nice , I like this summary.
      that said plot continuity and flow was all over the show as some of the complainers above stated plot arcs move forward, then backward in next episode and way too much faffin about over every little thing. seemed like it was only one stap away form episodes about "what should i wear" "does this shirt go with the zombie guts i have smeared on my face, i want to make a good impression on those woodbury loons".

      • YES! I hadn't read your comment when I posted similar thoughts above. It's great to hear from someone who has combat experience.

        It's easy when watching a movie or tv show to think the characters are being stupid, "Why don't they….", but panicked or scared people often do not make the best decisions.

  8. These guys need to go talk to the Game of Thrones writers. With only 10 episodes, they move the plot of a very complex book along swimmingly.

    Kirkman you lazy cabbage patch doll! Get it together!

  9. At the end of it, I was just thinking "Gov's gonna be pissed when he gets back to Woodbury."

    But maybe he and Carl can go live in a tent and kill people together.

  10. I have a hard time believing that Ron's a zombie in post-apocalyptic Parks & Rec. Tom, almost certainly. April, it pains me to say so, but probably. Chris? Bit of a coin flip, but I lean towards yes. Ann, probably. Jerry? Absolutely. Li'l Sebastian? LIke they'd miss out on giving us the zombie *no one* would be willing to kill, even on pain of turning into a shambling mass of undead flesh.

    The way I see it, Zombie Parks & Rec comes down to Ron, Leslie, and Donna as last non-zombies standing. Okay, actually, Donna probably wins that fight, so I guess we do get Ron as a zombie, but probably not until the series finale just for one or two good one-liners.

  11. I can't fathom why someone with taste (like Joel) would watch that terrible show. I suffered through the first season because I generally really like zombie stuff, but it has terrible writing and terrible acting and not a single character with any sense. Total crap.

    Now, a Parks and Rec zombie show – that would be amaze-balls.

    • Season 1 was fantastic. A completely original experiment for TV that paid off for everyone. I still watch it because of the two-ish good episodes a season. I also watch it because it's my job.

        • Ha ha! Fair point. :). And this way I don't have to watch the show but I get enough hints from you that I'm not out of the loop.

          I guess it's just one of those shows that I was really looking forward to, and now resent because it let me down. I remember watching that scene where the guy (whose name I can't remember, sorry) drives the car with the screaming alarm right into their camp, after it had been established earlier in the episode that zombies are attracted to noise, and no one seems to be concerned, and I thought, "These people are so stupid, I really kind of hope they all get eaten."

          Also, I really love seeing cartoon Joel get upset about the finale. Even people who love The Walking Dead seem to constantly complain about how disappointing it is. Why would you put yourself through that willingly? 😀

          • "Why would you put yourself through that willingly? :D"

            It's like dating someone you really hate, but enjoy having sex with ever 3rd or 4th time you go at it. Im hate-fucking The Walking Dead.

  12. And suddenly I am glad I never got into Walking Dead. I really tried, but lost interest about three episodes into season 1 (pretty much the same happened with Lost). I guess I'm not the target audience – I like to play zombies myself, not watch people hide from them and play out their little soap dramas. The only zombie franchises I really enjoyed were Shawn of the Dead and Warm Bodies.

    Season 3 was a big improvement on Season 2….though I did tire of Andrea, and thought the Woodbury storyline was extended too long. But I thought there was great character development, and some of my favourite moments.
    -When Darryl touched Merle's shoulder and said, "I just want my brother back", the look Merle gives him as he recoils uncomfortably from this affection "Get out of here"…
    -Michonne grabbing the cat from the cafe. Love Michonne in every scene.
    -Rick on the phone.
    – Seeing Morgan's zombie traps.

    Sure I did want the Gov' dead (if only he had died when Andrea opened that door in the abandoned building) , but the audience shouldn't always get what they want.

  14. I think I must be the only person who liked this season best. Mostly because I loved the crazy Rick story line and Michonne. I didn't mind the ending (A little unhappy that the Gov did'nt die) because I hated the first season ending so much more, ugh that point less trip to a place that blowed up in awful cgi fire.

  15. Sounds like you've got a case of True Blood Syndrome there. "Hey, here's a new character." "Wow, I really don't like that new character. Can we get back to the vampires?" "Oh, shit, the whole season is going to be centered on that new character. God dammit."

  16. I liked this season overall though it did drag at times and Andrea was annoying as hell. My thought on her was – she kinda glommed onto anyone who looked like they could protect her and often took on some of their traits, but at the end of the day she was weak – had On Golden Pond dude and others not talked her out of suicide repeatedly (WHY GOD WHY) she would have been done long ago. She was weak, under a facade of strength – mind you that's what I saw, not really what the writers did.

    Re: Carl – I am totes down with him blasting the 'kid' or 'tween' or 'dumbass who won't drop a shotgun'.

    If someone tells you to drop your weapon after you've attacked their home and you instead 'try to hand it to them' I'm assuming you are either 1) going to try and pull a fast one or 2) too stupid to live and shooting you in the face is less painful than allowing a walker to get you later because, it's going to happen.

    So while Carl is a little d-bag at this point, I have to say I would have done the same damned thing and shot the other guy in the face.

  17. I don't get it, I loved the show this season and thought season 2 was too slow. I don't get why more people seem to be bitching about this season than last. There was a lot more to do this season than season 2, they covered 36 issues of the comics in one season (compared to the 6 issues of season 1 and the… like 2 or 3 of season 2).

    How much faster do you want them to burn through the storyline? If it had stuck with the comics it would have been at least a full season before we even saw the helecopter crash that led to finding Woodbury.

  18. I found Rick's mental deterioration boring. Andrea was great when she was being tough, but just a douche in every other aspect. 'I just didn't want anyone to die.' I get that, but you're clearly dealing with a psychopath. People were always going to die.

    Please let season 4 kill off the gov fairly quickly and let Michonne and Carl take over as leaders of the group. Sociopath Carl is WAY better than 'I'll wander off and get myself nearly killed' Carl.

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