The Walking Dead S3E16: Welcome to the Tombs
Original Airdate: March 31, 2013
Recap by Sarabeth Pollock
Well, it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The battle for the prison. Let’s get right into it!
The episode begins with the Governor talking to the camera. He punches the person he’s talking to. The Biters were burned up and eight of his men died. He’s pissed all right…he’s pissed at Milton. There are no more free passes. Milton can barely keep his head upright. “You kill or you die.” Milton wonders what his daughter would think if she saw him today. The Governor points out that she’d still be alive. Milton asks if he killed Andrea, so he brings him to see her as she sits bound in the chair. She pleads with the Governor to stop this, but he’s past stopping. He tells Milton to collect the instruments of torture, as they don’t need them anymore. He staggers forward to collect them and drops several onto the floor. After a moment’s hesitation, he leaves something on the floor to help her escape. However, the Governor has other plans. Milton is going to kill Andrea…and when Milton resists, the Governor stabs him. He will die, and he’ll turn, and he’ll rip her flesh from her body. That’s his master plan. He drops Milton’s dying body to the floor and mover to the door. “In this life now, you kill or you die. Or you die and you kill.” The door closes, leaving Andrea to an uncertain fate.
At the prison, Walkers stumble through the fields and there is a wooden cross marking the spot commemorating a lost life. Merle? Carl packs his bags and takes a moment to study the photo of his family that he fought so hard to get. He finds his father’s badge and packs it. Outside, Rick and Glen prep the cars. Carl walks past his father and dumps his bag into the back of the car while Beth looks on in concern. Glen tells Rick that he’s never seen Carl so angry before, not even after they lost Lori. Rick hopes that he’s resilient enough to get past his anger. Daryl is having trouble believing that Merle lost his life the way he did, but Carol points out that his actions gave them a chance at survival. She’s dressed in black and she offers her hand to Daryl before walking away.
Michonne finds Rick doing a final check of the cellblock. She tells him that he needs to think hard about the Governor’s offer. She gets it. He says he came close, but it wasn’t right. If she hadn’t had the baby formula that day they found her, they would have lost baby Judith. They could have simply taken the formula, but Rick maintains that something else made them decide to take her in and, ultimately, it was Carl who decided that she was officially part of their group. So no, they couldn’t just hand her over.
The Governor rallies his troops back at Woodbury. The Prison Gang killed eight men during the ambush and five during their siege upon Woodbury. He says they’re no different than the Biters. It’s time to end this once and for all. Tyreese and Sasha take that time to tell the Governor that this isn’t their fight. They will kill Biters and they’ll stay to protect the children, but they won’t kill other people. In an eerie change of pace, the Governor takes a rifle from one of the soldiers and hands it to Tyreese. “Thank you,” he says, and then they drive away. I wonder what possessed him to take it easy on the brother-sister duo.
The gates are open back at the prison. Walkers meander near the road as the Governor’s caravan approaches. Martinez blasts the guard tower apart. They storm the prison and start taking out Walkers, but they’re not getting any resistance. The place seems too empty. The Governor and his small army pour inside the locked fences, but they find nothing. As they make their way inside the cell block, it becomes clear that no one is inside. Like a good general, the Governor leads the way deeper inside the prison. Martinez shakes his head. Empty. Inside one of the cells is a copy of the Bible with a verse highlighted: “And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” There’s your scripture on this Easter Sunday. The Governor slams the Good Book to the ground and tries his best not to lose his cool in front of his people. They decide to split up, thinking that there’s no way the Grimes Gang simply abandoned the prison.
Back at Woodbury, Milton tells Andrea that he left some pliers behind the chair, and from his vantage point she just needs to use her foot to get them. And once she’s free, he orders her to find something sharp and stab him in the head. That’s what she’s going to do. She doesn’t argue. Not yet, anyway. (After all, it is Andrea)
The soldiers continue their search, trying to be badass commandos when really they’re just frightened citizens. There’s a noise coming from deep inside the prison.
Tyreese checks on Sasha, who is keeping watch with the women and children of Woodbury in the stock room. He took out a few Biters, but it’s quiet outside. They need to find a way out. Andrea made it out, after all. Sasha points out that she was going back to the prison, which isn’t entirely accurate….
….given that she’s still tied to the chair in the Governor’s torture room. Just as she reaches the pliers, she sees that Milton is either really quiet or very dead. He regains consciousness and asks why she stayed when she knew her friends were out there. She was hoping to be the hero to save everyone. She tells him that she had a chance to kill him before, back before this all started and she was sleeping with him. She didn’t want anyone to die. “I’m still here. I’m still alive,” Milton breathes. Andrea nods. “You need to hurry,” he tells her.
Just as one of the teams gets deep into a corridor, there is a series of explosions and the alarm klaxons go off. The Soldier-Citizens panic and flee, and they run right into the waiting crosshairs of the Grimes Gang, who is outside in prime positions to take them out. The Governor gets in one of the cars and takes off. Maggie pulls off her riot gear helmet and asks Glen if they did it. Looks like it for now, doesn’t it?
Out in the bushes, one of the younger members of the Woodbury Militia (in fact, it’s the kid with asthma that Andrea was trying to protect) encounters Hershel, Beth and Carl. Carl and Hershel level their guns at him and tell him to lower his weapon. He’s dangerously close to Carl, and as he gets closer to him, Carl makes a decision and pulls the trigger. Hershel and Beth stare at him in horror. I don’t know about you guys, but Carl looks like he’s seventeen these days. He has aged really quickly.
The Grimes Gang comes out of their hiding space. They think they have won the battle, but Michonne and Daryl think they need to go back and finish them off. They know that the Governor will find a way to regroup and come after them.
Back inside the prison, the group comes together. Carl tells his father that he’s going with them to finish the job at Woodbury. When Rick protests, he tells him that he shot one of the soldiers, saying that the enemy drew first. Rick is apologetic that Carl had to do it, but Carl is more concerned that his father knows that he is part of the frontlines these days. After he leaves, Hershel tells Rick that the kid was scared and he hadn’t drawn his weapon but Carl killed him anyway. Rick doesn’t believe him, but Hershel manages to get through to him. Oh lord. Carl is on the edge.
The Governor’s car catches up to the van that had fled before theirs did. He forces them to pull over and tells them they have to go back. The Woodbury Militia has had enough. Killing Biters is one thing, but they don’t see any point to go into a slaughter with the crazy people back at the prison. Allen tries to speak up for the Governor—they killed his son, so he wants to go back and kill him. As they citizens argue, the Governor’s sanity meter gets very low…and suddenly he starts shooting the reluctant militia. He aims for their heads, mainly, in an attempt to prevent them from becoming Biters. Several people try to run away, but he manages to shoot them all. Allen stands there, openmouthed with shock, and the Governor shoots him, too. Martinez and one other soldier watch in horror as he goes to the field and makes sure that everyone is completely dead. (He misses the one woman who is hiding underneath a dead body…she’s still alive, but for how long, really?) He walks back to the truck and gets into the driver’s seat. He beckons for Martinez and the other man to get in, and they do, but Martinez opts for the bed of the truck. I wouldn’t want to ride with that nut, either.
Andrea is trying to use the pliers with her toes. It isn’t working well. (Her toes look very-well manicured, by the way) She drops the pliers again. Milton isn’t responding…but his fingers are moving a little bit. Is he dead?
Daryl is on his motorcycle ready to leave. Rick seems to make a decision and goes back to talk to Carl. Carl points out that the kid had a gun and that he had just attacked them. Rick wants to know if he was handing it over. Carl points out all of the missed opportunities they had to take people out who ultimately hurt the ones they loved. Dale. Lori. Merle. He tells his dad to do what he needs to do, and he drops the badge at his father’s feet for good measure.
Glen and Maggie decide to stay to protect the prison. Michonne, Daryl and Rick leave to fight the Governor. They come across the van with the dead citizens of Woodbury. The Walkers have already descended upon the fresh bodies. And then the lady who survived the attack pops out of the cab of the truck. Boy does she have a story to tell.
Andrea finally manages to get the pliers into her hand when Milton finally passes on. The rattle in his chest reveals that he has turned. She frees one of her hands when he gets up off the floor. Of course, the next shot is outside the room as she screams and there is lots of growling, and then finally the sound of the pliers clattering to the floor. But what happened?
Rick and Daryl and Michonne arrive with Karen and she tells Sasha and Tyreese what happened. Sasha has the “Oh shit” look on her face. She knew something wasn’t right with him. Tyreese wants to know why Rick is there. He explains that they were coming to finish the Governor off when they saw the carnage on the road and knew that they had to stop this. He tells Tyreese that Karen said Andrea made a run for the prison but she never made it. Together, they search the town and find the chamber where Maggie and Glen were tortured. They come to the door, guns drawn, and they see Milton’s dead body on the floor. She’s collapsed on the floor, burning up. She reveals that she’s been bitten, and she takes the time to make sure the baby and the others are alive. Andrea wants to kill herself while she still can, and she makes a joke about knowing how the safety works. Michonne stands by with tears in her eyes, pledging to stay. “I tried,” Andrea whispers. “Yeah, you did,” Rick agrees. He and Daryl leave Michonne and Andrea alone. They wait outside and then they hear the shot that takes her life.
The next day, a caravan approaches the prison. In it is a school bus loaded with the frightened women and children of Woodbury. It won’t be as cozy as Woodbury, but it’s a hell of a lot safer. Carl wants to know what this is, and Rick explains that they’re joining them. Hershel pats Tyreese on the back in greeting. Rick looks up at the walkway and doesn’t see Lori, for a change. The cross is still in the field with the Walkers. But the Grimes Gang is safe. For now.
Well, I don’t know about you guys, but this episode didn’t disappoint. This was adrenaline at its best. It looks like a new age is about to dawn at the prison. What will happen now that the Grimes Gang has taken on so many Woodbury refugees?
I’m eager to hear your thoughts about tonight’s episode. Did it live up to expectations? Is it a positive deviation from the comics? Please leave comments below…and I’ll see you all in the fall!