Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Case of the.... The Walking Dead - Season 3

And then there's arguably the show's best season yet -- the third (and most recent) season of The Walking Dead!  Be sure to read my thoughts on season 1 and season 2.  And remember, this column will contain spoilers anything that happened during the third season.

Continue reading "A Case of the....  The Walking Dead - Season 3"....

So here's the story:
Much like season two, this season saw the survivors hunkered down in one location instead of being on the run.  While it was a farm last year, this year saw them take over an abandoned prison approximately nine months after the events of the finale.  And while the characters were literally the same, their characters were figuratively different.  They were wiser, but hardened.  They were more grizzled, and had longer hair.  Their methods were expertly executed.  They rarely used guns -- instead, they hunted in a circular formation using spears, arrows, and knives.  They exchanged yelling instructions with visual signals.  They knew how to handle themselves in this new world.

That's only half of the story, though.  Andrea had united with a mysterious woman with a bad ass samurai sword named Michonne, and the two of them were discovered in the woods by Merle (from season one), who in turn took them to the town of Woodbury where they met the Governor.  At first this seems like an Eden of sorts.  There are homes and hot water and no walkers.  Kids go to school and adults have jobs.  There's medicine and doctors and everything.  They soon come to the conclusion, though, that the Governor is a maniac who exterminates other humans in order to obtain their resources.  And it doesn't take long for them to set their sights on the survivors in the prison.

While the first two seasons were the survivors against the walkers, this season saw humans pitted against each other.

Overall thoughts:
While season one was only six episodes and season two increased to 13, season three was their biggest one yet with 16 episodes.  And like I said in the introduction, I think it was my favorite one yet.  Like I said above, I loved the growth exhibited by the characters.  Right off the bat you see this, with once guarded and protected characters like Maggie and Carl entering the abandoned house and hunting walkers.  And throughout the entire season, whenever there was an attack, Maggie and Carl were right in the middle of the action.  No longer were people yelling, "Carl, get to someplace safe!"  Instead, he was grabbing a gun and getting in the middle of the action.  And you didn't have Hershel making any comments about Maggie being in any danger.  He wouldn't stop her when she had to go on a run.  He understood that she was fully capable of protecting herself.

And then there was the way death was treated.  When Hershel was bitten and Rick had to cut his leg off, Maggie told him it was okay to let go and that he could be at peace.  He ultimately survived (hooray!), but she was willing to let him go.  And in perhaps the most challenging part of the season, Carl was forced to put a bullet through his own mother's head in order to prevent her from becoming reanimated.  And when Rick had to go on a mission episodes later, he didn't sugarcoat things like, "I WILL BE BACK" as he did in prior seasons.  Instead, he frankly said, "I might not come back."

And visually, I loved the way the characters had changed.  Rick, Carl, Daryl, and Carol all had slightly longer hair.  Hershel had a bad ass beard.

I also loved the fact that while seasons one and two ended in a sense of despair, season three ended with a feeling of hope.  While I enjoyed the fact that these characters had hardened, it was still tough to watch them repeatedly tell people they couldn't stay with them in the prison just one season after treating Hershel like a monster for telling them that they couldn't live on his farm forever.  And seeing Rick just drive past a guy on the road screaming for help, knowing full well that he'd be dead right now if Glenn (or Morgan) hadn't had compassion for him when he was all alone.  Therefore, it was nice seeing Rick return to his helpful roots by allowing the people of Woodbury to live with them in the prison.

Breakout character:
Another really tough decision.  I really enjoyed Rick and Hershel, and Glenn really stood up to the plate (he kinda became pretty tough, huh?), but I think I have to go with Daryl.  While he showed to be an honorable, caring guy last season, he became a leader this season.  When Rick was unavailable (either physically or mentally), Daryl was one of the recognized leaders.  When Glenn briefly took command, he said so much by stating that Daryl was gone.  And when Carl urged Rick to take a break, he offered up Hershel and Daryl as the capable leaders.  And despite feeling a loyalty to his brother, he wouldn't let Merle bring him down.  He still came to the rescue of that family in need, and he still returned to the prison to rejoin the group.  And he made sure baby Judith (Lil Asskicker) became a survivor.

Not to mention, his understated relationship with Carol was just plain cute.  I love how they didn't beat you over the head with it, but it was something that was acknowledged.  Like when Daryl decided he was going to run off with Merle, everybody's response was, "What about Carol?"

Significant deaths:
Um...LORI!  In my prior review, I noted that having Rick murder Shane was basically the equivalent of having Jack kill Sawyer on Lost.  Well, knocking off Lori would essentially be like Lost killing off Kate.  Typically speaking, shows just don't kill their lead females.  Especially in an episode that is neither the premiere or the finale.  She just sorta died, and that was that.  I did enjoy the way Lori continued to haunt Rick, seemingly appearing every time that he did something that was morally questionable (like when he was going to turn away Tyreese and his friends, or when he was going to sacrifice Michonne to the Governor).  She finally stopped appearing (seemingly) when he returned to the "old" Rick, but opening the gates of the prison for the people of Woodbury.

Lori wasn't the only major death, however.  Yes, we were introduced to some inmates and some townspeople who perished, but we'll overlook them.  T-Dog, Merle, and Andrea -- all of whom have appeared (in some fashion) in every single season -- were all killed as well.  T-Dog died the same episode as Lori, when the walkers attacked the prison.  Merle tried to make up for the less than honorable things he'd done in the past by attempting to assassinate the Governor.  He failed, transformed into a walker, and was mercy killed by his brother Daryl.  Having finally had enough of the Governor, Andrea attempted to reunite with her friends in the prison.  The Governor took her captive just before she was seen by Rick and was held in a cell in Woodbury.  Milton was murdered in the room while she was handcuffed to a chair, and it was a race against the clock as she had to try to escape before he transformed into a walker.  She was ultimately JUST too late, as she was bitten on the shoulder as she went for the kill.  She ultimately took her own life in a sweet moment that called back to her first discussion with Rick (about the gun safety).  I REALLY disliked Andrea during season two, but I came back to liking her in the third season.

So when the hell does this show return?!?!?!

No comments: