Watching Dead: Thoughts on Season 3

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Well, Season 3 of The Walking Dead is over, and I’m actually pretty disappointed in the show again.  This season came out roaring like a lion back in October, and stayed strong until the mid-season finale.  When it came back in February, though, it limped in like a lame lamb and, other than a few notable exceptions, what was supposed to be tension building up to an epic final confrontation, ended up being story stalling of a calibre I haven’t seen since watching Dragonball Z every day after supper in the basement of Joy Kidd House, back in University.

Seriously, Kakarot, How many days does it take to attack a Prison?

Seriously, Kakarot, How many days does it take to attack a Prison?

So, it’s been a while since my Re-Watching Dead series floundered and died… though I do hope to bring it back one day, I’ll give a quick summary of where it was going:  From Season 1, Episode 5, to Season 2 Episode 11, The Walking Dead was an incredibly boring waste of time that took corn-filled dump on top of not only the source material, but also good storytelling, characters, and the Zombie genre in general.  I’ll explain my problems more thoroughly, if I ever get back around to Re-Watching Dead.

Then, finally, they killed Shane.  Spoiler alert, I guess… but seriously, why are you reading about Season 3, if you haven’t watched Season 2.  Go home, Newly Spoiled Reader.  You’re drunk.

So, in the last two episodes of Season 2, they finally kill Shane, Rick explains how fucked they are, the farm gets attacked by a herd, and the barn burns to the ground.  If that weren’t enough, Andrea gets separated from the group, and rescued by Michonne.  She’s showing up early, but it doesn’t matter, because she’s one of the best damn characters the series has to offer.  The shittiest season of what could have been the greatest TV show of all time finally comes to a close, and it looks like the show runners have finally found a way to balance action and drama, or comic fans desires against their need to be surprised.

TWD Showrunners:  "Fine.  We'll do it.  But not how you want us to do it."

TWD Showrunners: “Fine. We’ll do it. But not how you want us to do it.”

Queue Season 3.  The show comes back, and we find the prison.  Things are shaping up nicely.  There’s some great emotional drama, lots of zombies to kill, and Lori’s not ruining every scene she’s in… and then she’s dead!  New characters come… and go…  Andrea and Michonne end up at Woodbury.  Merle’s back.  It’s fantastic stuff.  The mid-season finale comes along, and while it’s not everything it could have been, it’s still one of the best episodes of the series.

Now we wait for a few months, excited to watch the rise of The Governor.  He’s always been The Governor… but now he’s in bold.  Evil bold.  This first few episodes back are largely build up, setting the scene of The Governor‘s evil plans.  He’s evil, but still oddly relatable.  It’s an interesting direction to go with, but surely he’ll move from Lawful Evil to Chaotic Evil in short order.

Or not.  The rest of the season has The Governor put together a few attacks on the prison, but largely, he leaves them alone.  Andrea finds out what kind of stuff has been going on, but she’s still torn between the two camps.  Tyreese shows up, and is criminally underused.

The only episode of the second half of the season that’s truly any good is “Clear”, Michonne proves she’s not just a stone cold badass, she’s a badass with a heart.  And Lennie James comes back as Morgan,  and proceeds to remind us all what crazy really looks like.

Remember me?  I'm here to save this half of the season form being completely worthless.

Remember me? I’m here to save this half of the season form being completely worthless.

Seeing Morgan like that snaps the slightly less crazy Rick out of his stupor, and he’s ready to lead again.

Unfortunately, after “Clear” the showrunners try to increase the tension.  They fail miserably.  This is when it felt the most like tuning into an episode of Dragonball Z.  There are several episodes of people thinking about their plans, and taking basically no action.  It’s just sad.  It all comes to a head when Andrea is chased by The Governor through an abandoned warehouse, and T-Govs conjures up his inner Jason Vorhees.  It was supposed to be tense, and suspenseful, I’d imagine.  It was flat out boring.  At over 15 minutes long, it was also about a third of the entire episode.  Maybe if anyone out there thought there had been any danger of either character dying, it might have been different.

There’s some more garbage build up after that, until Merle takes action in his own hands, which gets him killed.  I guess it would have been too hard to figure out a way to make him able to stay in the group.

What if I do double duty on the dishes and the laundry, and I pay for the Internet?

What if I do double duty on the dishes and the laundry, and I pay for the Internet?

Finally the season finale comes around.  It was, without a doubt, the single most disappointing episode since Rick decided to go to the CDC.  The Governor and his army of Woodburians storm the prison, blowing shit up in a very co-ordinated attack.  It looks like Rick and company have bailed.  They work their way through “The Tombs”, a series of tunnels connecting the cell blocks, until their drawn out.  Suddenly, Rick’s group fires on them as they emerge from the prison.  They’re hiding behind cover that wasn’t there earlier, and came out of absolutely nowhere.  It was one of the worst, most unrealistic fire-fights I’ve ever seen in film.

Mixed into that mess, there’s an interesting scene involving Andrea and The Governor‘s main 4-eyed henchman, Milton.  T-Govs stabs Milton repeatedly, and locks him in a room to die.  Andrea’s in the room, so when Milton turns, he’ll have some fresh meat to eat.  It’s an interesting and evil concept, and I would have loved to see The Governor do it against almost any person in Woodbury, other than Andrea.

Spoiler Alert!

In order for me to explain why I was disappointed, and what I would have rather seen happen, we’ve got to enter Spoiler Country. Don’t proceed any further, unless you’ve read, or don’t mind, spoilers from the Comics, which could in theory also be spoilers from the show’s future.






The reason for my disappointment in that scene, is because from the moment Andrea and Michonne showed up at Woodbury, I was certain that Andrea would fulfil Tyreese’s role from the comics in T-Govs attack on the prison.  If you don’t know, or don’t remember, in the comics, The Governor tries to use Tyreese as a hostage, and Rick doesn’t give in.


So imagine it, Rick, and everyone else in the prison are hiding behind their walls, looking out the window.   The Governor is standing on the back of a pickup truck, with Andrea on her knees at his feet.  He orders them to open their gates and let them in, or he’ll kill her on the spot, with Michonne’s sword.  (I don’t know why he’d have it in the show… it wouldn’t be that hard to set up… leave me alone.)  Rick looks painfully at the window, at Carl, and at all the others staring at him.  He’s forced to ignore the demands.  T-Govs gets more and more irate as the deafening silence coming from the prison shows he’s not going to get what he wants.  Andrea’s crying, sobbing… she tries to yell out “Don’t let them in…” but it’s just blubbery.  T-Govs smacks her.

“Do you see what you’re making me do?” he shouts, as he starts to hack into Andrea’s neck…  It actually takes a few strikes… because Andrea’s not a rotten corpse.  The head rolls off in one direction as her body falls in another off the back of the truck.

That’s what I was envisioning from almost the beginning of Season 3.  That’s always my problem with this show.  After giving me what I want for a half dozen episodes, they veer off into this world where they seem like they’re trying to do better than the comics.  After the end of season 2, and the beginning of this season, it really seemed like the show runners realized that a mix of subtly altered comic material, peppered with some funky new shit, was the way to go.  In the second half, it was stalling tactics and missed opportunities.

I’ll still be there in October, though, because if there’s one thing this show has taught me, they know how to make one hell of a show… for half the season.  You can pretty much guarantee that things will either pick up in October, or next January/February.

Half the Season sucked... But not as bad as 7/8ths of Season 2.  And you didn't lose me there.

Half the Season sucked… But not as bad as 7/8ths of Season 2. And you didn’t lose me there.

One comment on “Watching Dead: Thoughts on Season 3

  1. Pingback: Watching Dead: Season 4 First Half | Fat Guy With Glasses

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