“The Walking Dead” closed things out in style last night with the first half featuring an epic “Night of the Living Dead” struggle by the main cast to fend off the herd that descended on Herschel’s farm. Though I couldn’t help but think that maybe a more focused attack from all of the living could’ve turned the tide, that would’ve required teamwork and a willingness to work together. I think we can all agree that those things have been in very short supply this season. So we wound up with a desperate struggle that cleared some of the deadwood from the supporting cast and split up the group in the wake of the slaughter. In the most welcome surprise of the episode, that split didn’t wind up encroaching on the third season as everyone displayed a surprising amount of common sense and regrouped where they left the supplies for Sophia. As for everything else that followed... (Spoilers for the season finale after the break, natch.)
Though I had heard that Michonne would be showing up in last night’s episode, I didn’t actually believe it. I mean, they had already announced David Morrisey being cast as The Governor and we hadn’t heard any such decisions regarding everyone’s favorite melee-weapons enthusiast. Fortunately we found out that everyone involved in the TV series can keep a secret (at least as far as casting goes) as Danai Gurira was revealed today as the actress who would be bringing Michonne to life on TV. The crew has made great choices in casting so far in the show’s history, so hopefully she’ll work out as well as everyone else has.
However, I’m less sure about a couple key moments that came after everyone regrouped in the wake of the zombie attack. The group’s anger at Rick for keeping the fact that everyone was infected felt manufactured more than anything else. I have to admit to siding with Rick for his decision as telling everyone this at the time would’ve been to no one’s benefit, but he came clean with the info when it became necessary. If nothing else, I imagine the group’s little outburst will likely make their de facto leader less willing to share information as the show goes on.
Actually, I think that’s more of a certainty after how Lori reacted to his confession about killing Shane. On some level her reaction makes sense, but then you realize that she’s also to blame for that outcome as well. Telling your husband that his best friend regards your wife, your kid, and your unborn child as his is not the right way to broker a peaceful outcome to this situation. I’d have loved to know what she thought or wanted him to do after having that little heart-to-heart, but Lori’s reaction to Rick in the finale makes her come off as incredibly selfish and unsympathetic.
The same goes for most of the cast in the episode’s final moments. Rick’s outburst was likely intended to establish him firmly as the leader (read: dictator) of the group as someone who could not only keep everyone safe, but also had a plan for going forward from here. Yes, he was also quite “emotional” at the time, which also had the added effect of making him look more than a bit crazed and unstable. The problem for me is that EVERYTHING he said made perfect sense, and the rest of the cast came off like a bunch of little whiners for doubting him. This was clearly not his best moment, but if I were there I’d still follow him because he’d be the best chance I had of surviving in this world.
Of course, they’ll be getting a first-hand look at what it looks like when a leader lets the power get to his head when The Governor shows up next season. That alone will be worth waiting for, but we’ve also got Michonne, and the group’s upcoming re-settlement at the prison as well. I can’t remember which of the crew said that the first two seasons have just been a warm-up and their best moments are ahead of them, but hopefully these problems are just speed bumps on its road to greatness.