That was NOT what I was anticipating. The first few minutes after tonight's season finale of The Walking Dead I was feeling... well, a bit let down.
But then I remembered that Season 3 didn't end any better or worse than the previous two have. In fact, with each passing moment I'm finding myself thinking that this season finale was as well as it could have been. Perhaps, even with the stakes raised for Rick and his group. Maybe higher than they have ever been before.
The all-out war with Woodbury? It didn't happen. But I'm unable to escape the feeling that it hasn't happened yet. Woodbury has been liberated... but The Governor is still alive. We don't know where the hell he has gone to. But I'll posit a guess:
The Governor will not, can not, give up his obsession with destroying Rick, with destroying Michonne, with destroying everyone at the prison. With being seen in any way at all as being a weak and helpless man. The Governor is soulless survival-at-all-costs personified. He is relentless. He is utterly incapable of bargaining or being reasoned with. He is also unfortunately bestowed with uncommon charisma.
So where has The Governor gone?
The Governor is the uber hardcase. And he is now set loose to gather all the other hardcases to him.
Somewhere in the post-apocalyptic Georgia wilderness and beyond, a one-eyed megalomaniac has gone out to seek the lonely, the lunatic, the desperate leaderless...
We haven't seen the war with Woodbury, because we haven't seen the REAL Army of Woodbury yet.
But it's coming. Chekov (the Russian playwright not the Star Trek character) had a rule of drama: if the gun is to be fired in Act III, it must be shown on the wall in Act I. If the gun is shown on the wall in Act I, it must be fired by Act III.
That is what The Governor is. Season 3 was us getting to look at him. Getting to watch his veneer peeled back and the madman within leering out of that one hateful eye. But for all that we saw in Season 3, we still haven't seen him fully unleashed. We haven't...
But in Season 4, we will.
Rick has saved more people than he has ever been able to do before now. He has also perhaps found redemption for his mistakes. Carl is on the verge of losing his own sense of humanity. A major character has died.
And The Governor is still out there somewhere...
No, this was not a letdown of a season finale. It ended as well as "Beside the Dying Fire" did last season. "Welcome to the Tombs" gave Rick and his ad hoc family a sense of accomplishment and a glimmer of hope that they haven't enjoyed in a long, long time.
But the powderkeg has been loaded. The charge has been set. They just don't know it yet.
And in Season 4, The Governor is going to light the fuse.
Congrats on another season of The Walking Dead well done, AMC! Looking forward to Season 4 this coming fall!