Last night’s season 3 ender was a tension-filled hour with plot advancement, good character moments, and a death that was supposed to make us cry but didn’t. If we were the types to give letter grades to TV shows, we’d probably settle on a strong “B” for this one. Good, but not great. But several times in the middle of all the mayhem of this episode last night, we couldn’t stop from muttering, “This is so stupid.”
Why would any of the Prison group decide to follow the Governor back to Woodbury and continue the fight? How does THAT work? The prison defense worked because they had the higher ground, so to speak and knew the location well enough that they could effectively fight a larger, more organized army with more weaponry. But … what? Rick, Darryl and Michonne were going to take out a whole town by themselves?
Why would what looked to be the remainders of Woodbury go back to the prison with Rick at the end? Why wouldn’t they stay in their relatively secure town with running water and electricity?
Why doesn’t Rick slap Carl silly and take his gun away?
When did The Governor gain superpowers, by the way? Because suddenly, the man can do anything he wants and everyone around him becomes paralyzed to do anything about it. And don’t you try and pull a knife on Super-Gov, because he’s an unkillable machine now. Also, he’s completely erratic and murderous, which means all that stuff earlier in the season about how close he is to Rick is pretty much evaporated now. He spent all season being devious and then, for no real reason, turns into a raving psycho at just the point the story needs that to happen. Also, the dramatic gun click, saving the one person who can attest to his deeds from execution. That could not have been more convenient or more groan-inducing.
And finally, why did Andrea, who is faced with an almost literal ticking bomb, decide to take several minutes out of her attempt to escape said bomb and instead have a nice heart-to-heart with it. “I’ll stop frantically trying to get those pliers for now. Let’s you and I talk about our feelings.” Ugh. She deserved to die for that alone.
But no, we come to find out, in an obvious bit of wallpapering over a character’s past inconsistencies, that Andrea just wanted to “save everyone.” Oh, please. Self-preservation ruled this character’s actions all season. It’s a shame that the writers screwed up yet another female character so badly that they were pretty much forced to kill her off, but don’t feed us this heroic bullshit after a season of watching her act like a total idiot.
Tension is great in a story, and so are repercussions for the characters, but in the end, if the actions of the characters simply don’t make much sense, then our level of involvement with the story drops dramatically, especially if, after 3 seasons of the show, we’re barely any closer to knowing who these people are than we were on Day 1. In other words, last night’s episode was a pretty good one, but we’re almost completely disengaged from the characters and actions; it’s just consequence-less activities playing out on a screen in front of us, failing to suck us in (which is probably why this review is so disjointed). We mostly enjoyed the hour, but this show has structural problems to it that can’t be cured that easily. We need to see these characters act in ways that make some sort of human sense in order for us to remain engaged. Season four better be a lot different from what came before, or we may just wind up walking away from this show.
But hey, black people got to speak and not get killed, so there’s that.
[Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC]