While season three of The Walking Dead doesn’t come out on home video for a few more weeks, details on the third season are slowly emerging to the surface. The season three finale also leaves a lot to the imagination after a very strong start with Rick’s group taking over the prison and the introduction to Woodbury and the Governor. The season ended with a whimper as Rick’s group took in more people into his group and the Governor is still on the run. The zombies seem subdued and less threatening as the season unfolded. Apparently, The Walking Dead had an opportunity to be bleaker in the season finale, but ex-showrunner Glen Mazzara opted to end on the (somewhat) positive side.
In the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, the cast of The Walking Dead talked about the gruesomeness and brutality of the original ending of the season three finale. It still involved the death of Lauren Holden’s Andrea (YES!), but it was bleaker than what ended up airing last February. Actor Dallas Roberts, who played the Governor’s smart henchmen, described his role in Andrea’s death on The Walking Dead. Apparently, the death/torture room involved a fight between Andrea and Milton. Roberts described:
“Originally, the beating scene that started the episode wasn’t there. Originally, I showed up and was led into the room where Andrea was…and then [The Governor] shot me in the stomach, completely unexpectedly.… There was a lot more of Milton trying to open the door and him trying to free her from the chains. And then there was a section where he was going to wrap the chain around the neck and try to choke her to death before he turned so she wouldn’t have to deal with Walker Milton, or Biter Milton, as it were.…They both desperately wanted for that to work but at that point he had bled out so much. So he pulls and pulls and pulls but he doesn’t get it done and he falls against the wall and is passed out. And he never comes back from that until he turns into a walker…And then at the end of that, it was just Tyreese and someone else who found her. Rick and Daryl and Michonne weren’t there. So it was essentially the same idea, except you saw me taking chunks out of Laurie Holden in that version.”
At the end of the melee, Milton died and turned into a zombie, and Andrea was left bitten and dying with Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Tyreese (Chad Coleman) coming to her aid. Keep in mind; Andrea didn’t know Sasha and Tyreese very well at the end of season three. They only met once, as Sasha and Tyreese were making their way to Woodbury from the prison.
Sonequa Martin-Green talked about what it was like finding Andrea in the torture room. Apparently, Andrea wanted to commit suicide after the brutal confrontation with Milton. Martin-Green described:
“Wow, that scene was something else. Sasha and Tyreese are on guard in Woodbury, everybody’s gone to the prison to do the raid where they got defeated, and we’re back behind taking care of the people that were left behind. And we hear screaming, we hear noises, and we go and we seek it out and we find her. She’s in this torture chamber. And so we walk in and we say, ‘Oh my gosh, who did this? How did this happen? Who did this to you?’ And of course, we deduce that it was the Governor. We unchain her, we see that she’s bitten. She wants a gun. She says, ‘Give me a gun. Give me one of your guns.’ Tyreese doesn’t want to do it. He’s like, ‘No, no,’ but she’s like, ‘No, I’ve made up my mind. Give me a gun. I’m going to end this.’ It was very endearing and it was quite heart-wrenching, this scene, because to find her at that point in her life, at the end, especially we were not that familiar with her—Sasha and Tyreese, I mean—so to come to someone and to find them in the most vulnerable moment of their life, it was hard. The scene, it had a serious depth to it.
“And it was respected, the magnitude of the moment. It was extremely heavy. And we knew this was the last moments of her life, and so we were extremely respectful. Once she talked us into giving her the gun, it was her funeral. It was a memorial service to her. We handed her the gun and we let her be. There was also a moment where Sasha’s cradling Andrea in her hands after we unchain her. And it’s a to-do to get all the chains off of her, and we’re literally cradling her and Sasha says, ‘We’re not going to leave you here,’ which is a serious arc for Sasha from the first episode where she’s ready to leave Donna who is a part of their camp. It spoke to her journey and where she ended up. And she says, ‘No, I want you to give me the gun and I want you to leave me.’ And so we do, and Sasha and Tyreese stand outside of the door and hear the gun shot and share a look with each other, and that was the end of the scene. It was extremely powerful.”
Glenn Mazzara wanted to change this ending to something that was more comforting for Andrea’s character. If you remember, Andrea was with Rick, Daryl, and Michonne at the very end. Andrea was allowed to have a last touching moment with Michonne, which was more than Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) got when she died in the middle of season three. But when Mazzara read that Andrea would die with two people she barely knew, it seemed like a good opportunity for The Walking Dead to have a small glimpse of heart in the season finale. Whether or not the moment completely worked is still up for debate.
With The Walking Dead season four returning in a few months this October, it will be interesting to see if the zombie TV series will have more character moments like Andrea’s death scene from season three. One of the reasons why The Walking Dead seems so sullen to watch is that it doesn’t have enough heartwarming or good character moments. Although the world is bleak, it’s very rare that someone even cracks a joke or smiles on the show.
The Walking Dead will return with 16 new episodes this October on AMC.