Apr 10, 2014

[TV] The Walking Dead: Season 3

Of course it's just when I finished up watching the fourth season of The Walking Dead and start considering my review that I realize that I never got around to posting a formal review for the third season. And thus I need to get this review finished before I get to the more recent season since I'm a tad obsessive compulsive that way. I mean seriously, that's the only way things will make sense, right?

As I look back at this particular season and kind of puzzle over what happened, I think I have a pretty good idea why I let this one simmer on the back burner for so long. The second season had left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth, and so there was a lot riding on the shoulders of this third season. And that sort of just upped the stakes even further as set our expectations on getting something good.

This was rater confounded by the fact that this third season went back to the comic books for greater inspiration, hence the introduction of the prison as a sanctuary for our little band of survivors and the introduction of the infamous character that is the Governor. Although how things came together wasn't quite as ideal as could be hoped. But it wasn't all that bad either.

Synopsis: The Walking Dead is a US horror drama series set in a post zombie apocalypse world. It had been initially developed for television by Frank Darabont as based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. This third season was still the result of executive producer Glen Mazzara serving as showrunner.

The season begins with our group of survivors encountering a prison overrun with zombies. Despite the dangers, the group agrees that with enough work they could secure the facility and use it as a decent enough shelter. As they go about clearing the prison of its current undead inhabitants, they also encounter inmate survivors who have been barely holding their own against the threat. There's a bit of a tense stand off between the groups until they agree to find a way to live together in the prison, albeit in separate wings.

Elsewhere, we find Andrea (Laurie Holden) in the company of the mysterious katana-wielding Michonne (Danai Gurira). The two eventually find themselves in the town of Woodbury (David Morrissey), which appears to be a well-fortified refuge from the zombie threat. There they meet The Governor, who leads the community. They discover that Merle (Michael Rooker), Daryl's (Norman Reedus) older brother who had been left for dead in the first season, is alive and well as one of the Governor's men. But there's more to the community that the safety it seems to promise as they are set to find out for themselves in time.

After spending most of Season 2 with the narrative stuck around Hershel's farm, I have to admit that I had mixed feelings about the introduction of the prison at this point. And while it only makes sense for the survivors to try and find a place to settle down and try to rebuild their lives, the overall pacing of the show seems to suffer when the survivors find themselves safely behind walls.

But at the same time, the show made sure to strengthen its ties to the comic books by introducing these locations along with bringing in a number of notable characters from the comic books. Apart from the badass Michonne, we also have Axel (Lew Temple) and Tyreese (Chad Coleman). And these additions certainly helped round out the show more and give us more people to work with.

The Governor is a strong and very unique character on his own and his story, as tied to Woodbury, is a rather fascinating one. I'm told repeatedly by my partner that he was a heck of a lot crazier in the comic books and I think I would have appreciated seeing more of that in the TV show to some extent. And while Morrissey does a pretty stellar job of bring a certain degree of intensity to the character's portrayal in the show, on the whole it feels like he was written in such a way that he's terribly prone to a lot of brooding and sulking. When in front of other townsfolk, he's the perfect charismatic leader who is able to convince the people of just about anything.

I really wasn't too happy with Rick (Andrew Lincoln), as he has become more and more of a somewhat pathetic character. Settling down sort of makes him soft as he's eager to live a normal life with his wife and son. And as tragedy after tragedy comes his way, this only seems to make things worse and thus he sinks into a bit of a depression. And while these are all logical outcomes given all that he has been through, I still think that our reluctant leader could have handled things a little better.

The character who really disappointed me the most was Andrea, considering her choices while at Woodbury. Given how they had managed to build her up across the first two seasons, I don't fully understand how she became the person that she was while in Woodbury. And I really loved her - this season sort of changed that.

To be fair, this season was still better than our life on the farm in the second season. There was a lot more going on this time around and the end result was interesting enough. I just can't help but feel that the writers at times don't quite fully appreciate what the comic book was trying to accomplish and have thus repeatedly gone off in different directions.

The third season of The Walking Dead certainly tried to address both comic book fans and fans of the TV show in a rather ambitious escalation of events. And while the season was still pretty good overall, there were a number of times that I was still left scratching my head in terms of why characters were doing the stupid things that they had chosen to do.

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