The Walking Dead Mid-Season 3 Episode Leaves Me Yearning for More
Since we have to wait until February for more episodes, I didn’t feel a need to rush out any article on what’s happened so far this season.
The first half has season 3 has made up for how incredibly boring the whole season two was. Season two of The Walking dead could easily have been summed up in two episodes, Sophia was in the barn as a zombie the whole time, Shane losing it, attempting to kill Rick and being killed in turn. Yes, there was the big reveal that if you die with getting your brain shot/stabbed/clubbed, you’ll come back as a zombie. Hershel’s farm becoming overrun and the group finding the prison was such a painfully long drawn out season that I know enough people who stopped watching the show because every week was Carl ignoring his mom and wandering the woods alone, and T-Dogg working on his turnips (seriously what was he doing all season?) add the long laundry list of how Season two was boring aside from the two maybe three episodes that had me on the edge of my seat.
I’ve been on the edge of my seat every episode so far in the third season. There were times, sitting on my couch at close to 11pm with my wife and kids asleep that I found myself with feet firmly planted on the ground, elbows on my knees, leaning forward, blanket pulled tight over my body, and my hands covering my face as I grimaced through what I was watching. Hell, the first episode of season 3? Clearing out a portion of the prison to make it habitable? That damn episode was so tense, graphic and made me clench a fist, rooting for them to kick ass. I never felt that emotional attachment in the show until now.
The new that the show has introduced us to is Rick becoming more of a authoritative leader, creating a life in a prison, Michonne, and The Governor with his enclave he’s built. How these things have improved the show is extremely easy to point out, but also by doing it, they’ve added a layer that really needed to be there for serious reasons. Then, there is Glenn.
Rick didn’t get elected, he took the job
At the end of season two, Rick essentially declared himself the absolute leader of the group, his word was the law, and if you wanted to have something to say about it, don’t, or get out. This helps for one serious reason, it cements Rick as the guy who takes all the burdens of the group and takes the morality of what has to be done vs what should be done when it comes to the safety of the group. Take, the first episode when Rick and the group are clearing out the prison cell block, looking to expand and search for supplies. The come across a group of prisoners that have been hiding out in the cafeteria. Obviously the one guy is a murderous freak when the four prisoners are helping clear out a section and their “leader” tries to get Rick killed by “accident” (tossing a zombie onto Rick in a fight) So, naturally we’d just say “Hey man, that was a dick move, you do that again, and you have to leave.” Instead Rick put a machete in the dude’s head. See? No morality, no consequences for the rest of the group to make, safety ensured, for now. Of course, this has it’s own recourse, when you start to lose your morality, do you become so detached from humanity that you lose focus, get too deep and end up becoming a manacle tyrant? Rick will continue toeing this line, but in the end, he’s focus is on his family first, group second. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to protect them.
Michonne, oh, Michonne
Darrell has been the backbone of the “bad ass” of the show so far, seriously, who doesn’t love the guy that has all the abilities to survive and is such a key member of the group? Michonne is in was what I think Darrell would be if he hadn’t met up with everyone back in Atlanta. How do you explain Michonne? She’s extremely paranoid, very capable of taking care of herself, an apparent master at stealth and carries a sword that makes great use of her “Fencing” skills that she had from college. When Andrea got separated from the main group in the end of Season two when the farm was being overrun and sheer pandemonium broke out, Michonne, with her two chained zombies following behind, found Andrea in the woods. The two formed a bond over the months but eventually Andrea get’s sick and with a lack of modern medicine, yeah, things weren’t exactly cheery. When they stumble upon Woodbury, it’s inhabitants, and The Governor, Michonne goes with her gut feelings that something isn’t right. As the layers are peeled back during the season so far we see that Michonne was right from the outset. What makes her character great is that even though she has severe trust issues, she’s just a damn badass, with a sword. Why is it that having a sword makes things so much more awesome? Oh right, zombies.
The Governor is a better villain than a million zombies
One thing that the show has been missing is a central villainous figure that you can focus on and root for the good guys to take down. Yes, the zombies that inhabit the world could constitute as a villain, but really, they’re only affected as a mindless “herd” that simply takes you by sheer numbers and no account of intelligence. That makes for great scenes of action, but not focus on being bad guys. The Governor? Damn, he’s cold, calculating, and in a way like Rick. He’s dropped all sense of morality in his search for survival and holding onto power in Woodbury. Our first taste of this is when he finds out about the remnants of a National Guard group from one of the pilots of a crashed helicopter. You think he’s going to invite them to join him when he finds them, but as the scene unfolded, and the slow motion of him dropping the white flag, shooting the guardsmen, his sick twist appears. The fighters of Woodbury, with the help of Merle (!) have become a two sided monster. One, they provide safety for nearly one hundred people in a walled off section of Woodbury that is essentially as safe as you can get. Two, they’re ruthless and secretive in how they go about ensuring that safety. When The Governor gets back to town, driving the National Guard trucks, with all their glorious weaponry, he makes a speech about how they found the “brave soldiers” already dead. The town accepts it, because, well, they’ve all seen it before, the citizens of Woodbury don’t seem to really care, as long as they have their security. Who is The Governor? We’re starting to really find out, from him keeping his zombie daughter in a locked closet and pretending she’s normal in a way, to him sitting in his chair, looking at the wall of TV’s with the insides taken out. What’s he watching? A bunch of chopped off heads bathing in liquid. Yeah, that’s when we knew he was messed up. Then there is the whole zombie gladiator fighting, and keeping a bastard like Merle around. The extreme manipulation The Governor will go through to ensure that his crazy little enclave survives another day, it’s all given this show a much need boost in terms of making you watch because you want him to get taken down.
Yes, every character has their moment, everyone is special in their own way, so, why am I focusing in Glenn? I don’t know how to put a finger on it, but Glenn to me, since they introduced him in Atlanta has always been the guy that I want to be if the crap hit the fan. He’s incredibly resourceful, and really in my opinion has been one of the characters that has evolved the most since the beginning. He’s always been able to survive, but he wasn’t always confident in himself. In the last couple of episodes, Glenn has been a beast. Especially after his and Maggie’s capture and torture at the hands of Woodbury, well, mostly Merle. Glenn takes a beating by Merle, who wants to know where Rick and everyone is hiding, especially his brother. After getting kicked around, Merle in frustration tosses a damn zombie into the room with Glenn, who is tied still to a chair. Glenn ends up breaking the chair, and stabbing the zombie with some shards of the chair. My favorite part? Him standing over the zombie and the camera panning out as Glenn screamed in anger and frustration. After Maggie gets tossed into the room with him, her sans shirt because The Governor made her take it off, he breaks the arm off the zombie, peels back the rotting muscles, and they use the broken bone to stab a guy in the neck when their torturers came back. I’m glad he’s back with Rick, and damn, I can’t wait for the rest of this season to unfold.
So far, this season has made for some damn good TV, I know i’m skipping over a lot, but since I’m not reviewing every episode every week, it’s hard to touch on what’s been so great and not make the end result a small novella for you to read. The Walking Dead is one of the best and most talked about shows on TV for a reason, it’s something that a lot of shows aren’t and frankly this show seems to be willing to do a lot of things you won’t find on 90% of television drama. If you’ve been missing out, watch the first season, skip season two with the knowledge that they go to a farm, Lori gets pregnant, Carl has a lot of “Damnit Carl!” moments, Shane goes hillbilly crazy, and the farm gets overrun with some of the Hershel family moving on with our group. Then, watch every damn episode of season 3. I don’t care how you get it, obviously I’d say through legal means, but well, just do your best to refund AMC at some point if you go the other route.