JOPLIN, Mo. —
Let's start this column by stating the obvious: I'm going to dissect Sunday's season finale of "The Walking Dead" in detail, so if you haven't seen the final episode of season three, then, for the love of Daryl (or hate of Andrea), stop reading now. Spoilers follow.
The thing that puzzled me the most about "Welcome to the Tombs" was how everything worked out so well for Rick and the gang. So many confrontations were resolved Sunday:
- The epic showdown between the Ricktator and the Governor dissipated like the finale of "Twilight." There was no battle. Just a gambit, a moment of craziness while the Governor gunned down his insubordinate soldiers, then an escape.
- The conquering of Woodbury never happens -- after seeing the Governor's handiwork, Rick and the group go instead as concerned neighbors.
- The end of Andrea and Milton. Andrea succeeds at killing herself after suffering damage (those bite marks didn't look too bad, so why did she kill herself, again?) in the way that she failed at killing herself at the end of season one. Milton ended up being the surprise victim of the Governor's torture -- after chaining Andrea to that chair, I figured she was in for a rough ordeal. (Random thought: Is Andrea really that bad with her toes? Sure, she was chained to a chair, racing against time to free herself, but grabbing pliers with toes seems pretty easy.)
- The impact of Merle's decision. In one of the most heartbreaking scenes since Sophia shambled out of the barn in season two, Daryl finds that his brother, Merle, has become zombified, which (according to the show's rules of transformation) means he was killed. Apparently, he would make a good cop, because Daryl was able to figure out what happened, pass the news on to the rest of the group and process that it was the most selfless, honorable thing Merle had ever done.
- Tyrese, Sasha and the other exiles were welcomed back into the fold and helped move a bunch of Woodburyians into the jail.
- Rick and Michonne made up fairly quickly, after Rick had considered delivering Michonne to the Governor in exchange for his group's safety. Michonne forgave Rick, saying that he had to consider such an option.