Welcome to the Tombs, by Travis Fishburn

5 Apr


Sunday night’s finale of The Walking Dead, entitled Welcome to the Tombs,  concluded the opposition between the prison group and the citizens of Woodbury. The episode managed to successfully dish out a little slice of everything: suspense, horror, action, emotional conflict, and philosophical dialogue. All the while, the episode maintained the attention-grabbing quality that the show has earned this season.

At this point it’s probably best to stop referring to the prison as Rick’s group, given that in the previous episode Rick openly addresses the fact that everyone has equal say in how they should decide to live. Rick has finally let go of the position of decision maker. He still seems to hold the most authority in the prison, but I think his days of making choices on the groups behalf are behind him.

While Rick learns to let go and cooperate, in the latter half of this season we see The Governor struggle to maintain his authority and control over the citizens of Woodbury. The episode Prey shows him hunting down Andrea. Her intention on informing her previous group of the Governor’s deception poses a threat to him, and he does everything in his power to keep her from ruining the plans he has. His closest confidant, Milton, ruins another trap he had in motion. In this episode, both Milton and Andrea pay for their insubordination (and desire to diffuse hostilities) with their lives. The Governor’s grip over his authority over others slips again in this episode when their initial raid on the prison fails. When the team refuses to turn around and go back in, The Governor loses control over himself and executes everyone opposing him.

Aside from Rick and The Governor, Carl was the other showcase character in terms of development in this episode. After the failed raid, one of The Governor’s men stumbles across Carl and Herschel in the woods. He is asked to put his weapon down. He seems to be complying, but Carl shoots him anyway. After Herschel tells Rick about the incident, Rick confronts Carl about it. Carl shows no remorse for the actions he took.  He says that killing the man was the only sure way to guarantee the safety of everyone. “I did what I had to do” he says. This is eerily similar to what The Governor tells Milton at the beginning of the episode: “You kill or you die”.

When questioned about what his daughter would think of the man he is, The Governor acknowledges that he would be seen as a monster. But if he had been that way to begin with, at least she would still be alive today. Carl seems to also be under the impression that he must take measures to make himself into a hard killer when the time calls for it. If asked, I’m sure that he would also be under the impression that taking similar steps would have kept his mother alive.

After the episode Clear, I was hoping that Carl would be more willing to open up his mind and heart to strangers, but that door in his heart still seems to be locked up. Michonne just happened to be given the opportunity to find the key to it and win him over. His attitude toward others and his way of life is becoming ever more selfish; killing others who pose an ounce of uncertainty in the safety to his way of life, and only warming up to people when they have something to offer him personally. I find it very interesting and heartbreaking to find the darkest aspect of this show to be the youngest character in it. Unlike Joffrey from Game of Thrones, who is a child that has always been monstrous, depicting everything the audience loathes without an ounce of humanity, Carl was once the innocent boy with a big heart, which makes his story all the more tragic.

The episode ends with the inhabitants of Woodbury (abandoned by The Governor) arriving at the camp to join the group. Rick has finally let his own door open up to invite these kindred spirits into his life so that they may all survive and live together. The world is only as alienating as you make it out to be. There are very few people who are out there to hurt you and threaten your way of life. The ones that are, however, are so horrific that they tend to blind us to the possibilities of reaching out to others. As an introvert and not very socially outgoing person, this is something I need to keep in mind more often. My interests and goals aren’t as different from everyone else as I tend to make them, and my own door needs to remain open so that opportunities for myself and others aren’t missed.

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