Season three of AMC’s hit zombie drama The Walking Dead has been a bumpy ride. It started off strong, introducing new characters, new arenas, pushing together groups of survivors, and generally establishing other humans as the most dangerous enemy of all. The first half of the season pushed the pace, the show was more consistent week to week, and things actually happened, which addressed one of the biggest complaints about the series: that you could skip an entire episode and not miss anything important. Up to the midway point, season three wasn’t great, but it was moving in the right direction, and things were looking up.
After returning from a mid-season hiatus, ugly old problems arose once again. The quality of episodes fluctuated wildly. “Clear” was a high point, not only for season three, but for The Walking Dead as a whole, and may go down the best episode since the pilot. But for every “Clear,” there are weeks like “Suicide King” and “Arrow on the Doorpost,” which are almost physically painful to watch and that left me yelling at my television like a crazy person. They’re filler, plain and simple. This season clocks in at 16 episodes, the most in the franchise thus far, and there are weeks where the struggle to fill that space is obvious.
So now, after a tumultuous journey, we’ve come to the end of the third season of The Walking Dead. Last week’s episode, “This Sorrowful Life,” didn’t move the plot as far forward as you expected going in, leaving a ton for the finale, “Welcome to the Tombs,” to tie up. With lots of work to do, and after and up-and-down season, does the conclusion deliver? Read on to find out.