Wednesday, November 28, 2012

'Walking Dead' Season 3 lives up to its promise

David Morrissey as The Governor on AMC's "The Walking Dead." (AP photo)

    A few months ago I wrote that I was looking forward to season three of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” after a very disappointing season two stuck on Hershel’s farm (seriously, there was more drama and action in an average episode of Ozzie and Harriet) until some interesting things finally happened in the season finale.
     One of those things was the introduction of Michonne, who appeared wearing a mask (to conceal that they hadn’t picked an actress yet, or for protection? Never explained, though the mask disappeared), leading two armless, jawless walkers and wielding a katana (a type of samurai sword; no explanation on whether it was just a convenient weapon or if she has some Japanese heritage).
     Another was the discovery of The Prison, the soon-to-be new home of our band of survivors.
     In addition to following up on those events, the third season introduced The Governor, a dictatorial baddie who runs Woodbury, a community of survivors, and isn’t above killing other survivors for their supplies and/or if they don’t choose to join his community (though not everyone gets the option), and the return of Merle, a racist a-hole who was left handcuffed in a walker-overrun area, and then cut off his hand to escape (he now sports a large blade on that arm).
     Those are the big things, but I also like some smaller details, like the fact that they now acknowledge that ammunition is in short supply and is not an infinitely renewable resource; previously they fired weapons with mad abandon for the most part.
     I also appreciate that things are actually happening. Not to harp on it, but Hershel’s farm was one long, boring, repetitive slog, where the cast mostly sat around thinking they were secure from the fall of civilization brought about by the walker plague, and worried about their feelings. Really? Flesh-eating creatures, some people you used to know, are wandering about, the governments have collapsed, there's no manufacturing or agriculture and all you're worried about are your feelings? That’s a luxury they didn’t have.
     It’s also a luxury that the producers shouldn’t have had, but for some reason ratings actually went up for that season. Maybe they were benefiting from people discovering the first season on DVD and reruns. Maybe there were people like me hoping that things would get better, based on reports of the graphic novels upon which the series is based (though reportedly significant deviations in plot have occurred). Maybe I’m out of step and the second season was wonderfully magnificent in every way, the apex of entertainment, action and drama, a classic for the ages for which future generations will weep and praise like the works of Shakespeare. If so, I’ll still think season two was garbage, and that future generations are idiots on par with the cast of The Jersey Shore or Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
     Sunday, Dec. 2 is the “mid-season finale,” and a confrontation is coming. The forces of Woodbury are planning to attack the Prison, and the Prison dwellers are attempting to infiltrate Woodbury. Nothing will be resolved in this episode, of course, but the stage will be set for the second half of the season.
     I can’t wait.


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