Despite killing off showrunners almost as quickly as it does castmembers, AMC’s The Walking Dead continues lurching to record ratings. Sunday’s Season 3 finale drew 12.4 million viewers, edging History Channel’s Easter Sunday conclusion of The Bible. The miniseries ended with Jesus’ resurrection, pulling in 11.7 million viewers. History has learned the lesson. Documentaries about history equal low ratings. Scripted dramas that take viewers inside the history books can garner record ratings. Fresh off the success of Hatfield & McCoys, the network appears to have a new ratings blueprint.
Speaking of history, the Big Four networks were looking pretty outdated on Sunday. The Walking Dead and The Bible finale clobbered them. Not only that, AMC’s recap show Talking Dead got more than five million viewers. That’s right, a panel discussion about a hit cable show did a better rating than any show on network TV.
SPOILER WARNING! WE’RE NOT KIDDING AROUND HERE!
The Walking Dead’s TV adaptation has to be different from the comic, since millions have already read the book. The season finale was its biggest departure yet from the source material, as Andrea dies from wounds she sustained battling an undead Milton. Her character is one of the book’s longest living survivors. In one interview, Dallas Roberts, who played Milton Mamet, joked that actress Laurie Holden was one of the few not worried about being killed off. He has revealed that they shot Andrea’s death scene months ago. He knew while he was giving interviews about his character’s fate. Don’t feel too bad for Roberts. He has landed a gig on CBS drama Unforgettable. Not to mention, he doesn’t have to play coy with his interviews anymore.
Andrea’s TV incarnation was never as popular as her comic book counterpart. She developed a penchant for being attracted to the eventual villain the last two seasons. First she and Shane got together. That made her oblivious not only to how evil he was, but that he was still in love with Lori.
As bad as Shane was, The Governor made him look stable and well adjusted. Most women would have explained that it’s not you, it’s me after finding out he kept a room full of zombie heads. Andrea passed on multiple opportunities to kill him. Before she had to kill herself, she explained that she “just didn’t want anyone to die.” Andrea’s death reinforces that on the TV version of The Walking Dead, no one is safe. Although I still like Rick Grimes’ chances to survive all the way until the end.
Speaking of Rick, he’s really got a problem child on his hands. It looked like we were going to see a simple redemption storyline for Carl. Last season, he was less popular than Andrea. But he stepped it up in a big way. In embracing Michonne as part of the group, Carl appeared to be maturing. Then he gunned down a boy not much older than him, who was obviously going to surrender. When Rick called him on it, Carl responded with some pretty good reasoning.
Almost every stranger the group has shown any mercy to has tried to kill them. While watching the scene, I wasn’t sure the guy was going to surrender. The actor played it perfectly, you could see the fear in his eyes. But in the world of The Walking Dead, it’s almost impossible to trust a stranger.