The Walking Dead: Season 3 (2012-2013)

The Greene family farm has been destroyed, with countless casualties along the way. Tired and defeated, Deputy Rick Grimes attempts to lead what's left of the struggling survivors to safety, which they find in the battered remains of an old prison. Or so they think... Meanwhile, Andrea has also managed to escape, though not unharmed. After being cared for by a mysterious new ally, the pair stumbles upon the barricaded town of Woodbury, led by a charming and charismatic man known only as The Governor. This idyllic community seems like paradise compared to the horrors of the outside world, but Woodbury is hiding its own sinister secrets that will tear the town apart. When it is discovered that Rick and his followers have unwittingly stumbled into The Governor's domain, they set off a series of events that can only end in more bloodshed.

AMC's hit series returns with a bang in The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season! Where the story elements in the series opener often felt rushed, the second season demonstrated a significant decrease in pace in exchange for more character development and depth. Here, in Season 3, we find an even balance of both, with an incredible amount of bloody violence used as leverage against the dramatic undercurrents. It would seem that Rick and company would have less to fear, having already dealt with Shane and the undead heard that destroyed the farm, but nothing could ever prepare them for the new horrors that are about to be unleashed upon them. The concept of the dead returning to life and eating the living seems trivial compared to the evil that exists in the hearts of man, especially after we are introduced to The Governor.

David Morrissey joins the cast this season as the self-proclaimed leader over the small town of Woodbury, and effectively asserts himself as one of the most powerful players that the series has ever known. Morrissey immediately captivates the audience with his smooth demeanor and authoritative command, which is why it comes as no surprise when Andrea quickly falls under his spell. We see the cracks in his otherwise flawless exterior very early on, however, which puts us on a constant alert as we desperately seek to understand his hidden agenda for the people of Woodbury. If his influence wasn't felt strongly enough in the preceding episodes, "Arrow on the Doorpost" solidifies Morrissey as the star of Season 3, creating more tension and suspense as Rick sits down with The Governor to negotiate the terms of their surrender than in any of the battles against the undead. What we see behind his calm exterior is a soul of pure evil, and that evil will be unleashed anyone who stands in his way as we approach the season finale.

Where his limited range of emotion only served to drive a wedge between him and the audience in Seasons 1 and 2, Andrew Lincoln truly comes in to his own in Season 3. As a character, Rick suffers through the most tragedy that any man could possibly endure, and it shows through Lincoln's troubled performance. Rick is not the man we have come to know in previous seasons; The weight of his responsibilities and the reality of the "Kill or be killed" world that they have found themselves in has finally sunk in. Rationality has given into rash and often dangerous decision making, leading many to question his role as group leader. With the help of Hershel and the others, Rick is pulled free from a panicked state of delusion, and brought back in full force to face off against The Governor and his misled band of followers. Like Morrissey, Lincoln is given ample opportunity to shine in Season 3, and he comes through with his strongest performance yet.

Without downplaying the importance of each of the remaining characters, Laurie Holden's role as Andrea stands out above all others. Andrea finds the strength and selflessness that she has been lacking since she was first saved from taking her own life. She not only tries to make peace between the two warring tribes, but puts the lives of others before herself after realizing that she has aligned herself with a monster. Holden exhibits an incredible range of emotion as she struggles to find the right path, which inevitably puts her at odds between her old allies and new safeguards. It is easy to see why she was chosen to have such an integral role in the development of Season 3.

Several other new faces join the cast, as well, including Chad L. Coleman as Tyreese and Danai Gurira as the deadly, sword-wielding Michonne who has immediately become a fan-favorite. You'll just have to wait and see who's still living and who has joined the ranks of the undead by the end of this season. We can only guarantee that it will be a complete shocker! Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger continue to impress with their outstanding special effects and grisly gore, but as with the previous seasons, it is the human element of The Walking Dead that truly sets it apart from all of the other television programs within the genre. The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season makes no missteps in driving the series forward and solidifying its rankings going in to the fourth season.

Rating: 8/10.

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2 comments:

  1. I really loved this season. The Governor was excellent, and I didn't predict the ending at all. Can't wait to see what they do next.

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  2. I enjoyed it very much myself, although the midseason finale of Season 2 was such an incredible shock that I have to go with that as being my favorite so far. The Governor may have outdone Shane as the heaviest character in the series. Crazy good performances all around.

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