By Jay Krieger
AMC once again infuriates audiences with its mid-season finale nonsense that has begun common practice for several of their series. But, audience infuriation and internet grumblings of the shows hiatus really speaks to the massive success and popularity The Walking Dead has culminated. The show has had its ups and downs. While the first season was surprisingly abrupt, only six episodes long, and the mind-numbingly slow paced second season, the show has finally found its groove with the third season. The third season started with a bang, as audiences knew little about what our group of survivors had endured during the gap between season two and three, rather, we the audience, were shown. Our group went from a scared and rather unorganized group, to an efficient zombie killing force that was able to hold their own in a moment’s notice. Season two ended with our survivors encountering a group of other survivors that turned out to be dangerous. This was but a taste of the overall theme shift that the show is undergoing.
The first two seasons were all about fearing the dead. This third season is all about attempting to coexist with the living, and it’s easier said than done. This season’s antagonist, and self-appointed Governor of the survivor’s settlement Woodbury, certainly reinforces the notion that there are horrors still in the world other than the walking dead. The Governor and his militia aren’t going to make life any easier for Rick and the others, as they have their sights set on the prison, which is sure to be addressed in the rest of this season.
So, here is a list of things that I felt stood out in this season overall, what I didn’t like, and what fans should be looking forward to for the second half of Season 3. Spoilers ahead!
What I Like
“Hey, no more farm chores!”
This season has been able to introduce a conflict the group faces and they’ve come to a solution for that problem within an episode or two. There haven’t been minor plot points dragged out over a ludicrous amount of time, much like searching for Sophia in Season 2.
An example would be when Rick and the others discover a group of prisoners living in the prison. It becomes obvious that one prisoner in particular is very hostile and even combative towards the group, and is deemed an instant threat by the group and the audience. Instead of having to wait three or four episodes for a resolution to this threat, Rick takes a machete to the threat’s head. This not only helped the pacing of the episode and season move along, as there is a massive amount of content for this season, it was a defining moment for Rick Grimes’ character development. Rick is coming to the realization that he will do anything to protect his
group, and that if he has to kill someone to achieve that, then that’s what he’ll do.
Instead of talking about things to come and telling the audience what could happen, the writers have decided to show the audience. Oh, let’s skate around whether or not (for those that don’t know) The Governor is a bad guy or not. It didn’t take them five episodes to disclose this, and the scene where the aquarium full of zombie heads certainly set the recorded straight.
David Morrissey is simply killing it (no-pun intended) as his role of the Governor. He’s essentially a serial killer living in a post-apocalyptic world. His ability to use his charm and good looks to draw those in that he can control, and then cast them aside at a second’s notice is truly frightening. Not to mention his “special room” that consists of a wall of fish tanks containing “live” zombie heads, as well as, keeping his zombified daughter in a cage, adds a couple notches on the insanity meter. The characters ability to go from one scene as the almighty protector of the people of Woodbury from one moment to threatening to rape Maggie the next, shows his ability to manipulate peoples impression of him.
I could watch her cut zombies in half with her katanna all day. In a way she’s filled Daryl’s old role as the member of the group that reluctantly decided to join them. While, she certainly hasn’t warmed up to Rick and the others, she realizes that she needs to find her safe haven. If she continues to aimlessly wonder the road, what is the point of even surviving? I’m looking forward to her character opening up a bit, as her current mean streak is getting somewhat annoying, but once she does she’ll be in the line light for most of the show.
What I didn’t like
This may be a bit of rant but bear with me. In the comics Rick and Michonne are the ones that are captured and taken to Woodbury. Not Glenn and Maggie. Now the Governor is even more sick and twisted in the comics than he is in the show and thus, unlike in the show –where he has Meryl hunt and try and kill Michonne – in the comics he beats and rapes Michonne multiple times. Granted, I’m not an advocate for sexual assault of character, or people for that matter, but I feel that had they included this it would reinforce the drive to kill the Governor. I felt that her intense yearning to want to kill the Governor seemed out of place. Yes, she was almost killed , on orders from the Governor, but the she makes her wanting to kill the Governor so personal and this seems slightly unwarranted. The writers have done a quality job of introducing new material, not found in the comics, and being able to surprise even fans of the comics with what they throw at our heroes. I feel that this is a rather PG version of the Governor. The audience would be able to truly understand just how terrible and horrifying a person he is had the writers include some of his other atrocities.
Looking Forward to
Everyone has been waiting with baited breath for the brother reunion of Merle and Daryl. The two haven’t seen each other since Atlanta, and Merle wasn’t exactly thrilled with being left behind. Being chained to a roof and resorting to amputating his hand to escape a group of pursuing walkers, isn’t exactly the best goodbye. But how has the time apart from each other affected them? Daryl has clearly turned over a new leaf as he went from being the reluctant group member to Rick’s right hand man and resident badass zombie slayer. Plus he rocks a sweet poncho. While Merle doesn’t seem to have changed at all, as he is a willing pawn to the Governors every beck and call, as well as referring to the deceased T-Dog as a “spear chucker”. But now The Governor has declared Merle an accomplice to Rick and Daryl’s escape attempt, essentially casting him out and labeling him as an enemy of Woodbury. How will this
affect his character, as he is essentially on his own, as he’s most certainly burned his bridges with Rick’s group? The brother dynamic along with Merle’s character development is definitely something to keep an eye on for the second half of the third season.
How it has taken three seasons to introduce Tyreese is beyond me. Tyreese is a major character that is introduced early on in the comics and has a big impact on the group. But, more importantly, he has a major impact on Rick. Ricks only real friend was Shane, and we know how that friendship ended. It’ll be interesting to see the impact that Tyreese has on Rick, if it’ll be similar to the comics, or if the writers take his character in a different direction. As Rick has Daryl to turn to when a situation gets messy, but he doesn’t confide in others. He periodically turns to Hershel but not regularly. It’ll be interesting to see if the writers employ Tyreese as the “muscle man” that also has a heart and a conscious, both of which Rick will turn to.