The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 5, 2013

Joe Hadsall: Single, lingering cloud adds dread to fluffy 'Walking Dead' finale

By Joe Hadsall
Globe Features Editor

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:

About that last one, I liked how Rick finally gave Carl the credit for considering Michonne one of them. Near the end of "Clear," Carl made it clear that Michonne belonged, and Rick never should have doubted that.

But that's the last smart thing Carl did, apparently. The only storm brewing now is between Rick and his son.

During Sunday's episode, Carl popped a cap in one of the Governor's men. Granted, the guy should have dropped the shotgun instantly. But he didn't -- and even though he was not aiming and holding it away, Carl took action and took him out.

After Hershel tells Rick what happened, Carl defends his act, and points out that he did what Rick couldn't do -- kill the monsters before they kill you.

In the midst of all the optimism of the finale, that lingering storm cloud is unsettling. The Governor appears to be a non-issue, war is over, Rick isn't seeing his dead wife anymore and appears to be opening up and getting back to normal, the new folks in the jail seem awfully nice and Glen and Maggie didn't die.

Yet Carl's brooding disapproval of his dad ruins all of it.

My biggest issue with the finale was how it didn't have a satisfying ultimate fight and aftermath that showed the direction of the show. The first season ended with a big explosion at the CDC and the highway out of town. The second saw the paradise of Hershel's farm go up in flames and showed the jail in the distance.

But the more I thought about this ending, it occurred to me that a broken relationship between father and son is more disastrous than the first two seasons put together. The destruction of that kind of safety net fills me with the type of dread I've come to expect from this show.