Season 3 of ‘The Walking Dead’ in Review

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By CHRISTOFER NICOLETTI

AMC’s “The Walking Dead” has returned with even more surprises and zombie gore. Last season revealed that truly nowhere is safe from the threat of the zombies that now inhabit the world. With the destruction of their safe haven, the survivors were thrust back into the zombie-infested world to fight for survival.

In the first episode of Season 3, viewers are introduced to a more militaristic and autocratic style of living for the group of survivors. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln, Love Actually) and the group are found scrounging for food and materials in an abandoned house. They ultimately decide to organize and fight to take control of a prison. The group hopes to use the prison as a shelter after the destruction of the farm they lived in the prior season. The stakes are raised further by the impending birth of Rick and his wife Lori’s (Sarah Wayne Callies, “Prison Break”) baby.

Last season’s revelations over Lori’s affair with Rick’s best friend Shane (Jon Bernthal, Eastwick), and Shane’s death and subsequent resurrection as a zombie, has affected the mindset of the survivors. The aftermath has especially affected Rick and Lori as their relationship has been filtered down to distant and cold interactions.

Also, the knowledge that everyone is infected with the zombie disease (which can turn them into an undead specimen without being bitten) has changed their mindsets about survival. They are not safe from the zombies in the world, but they are also not safe from themselves. Lori is so worried about the baby and her childbirth that she tells their only medic, Hershel (Scott Wilson, Pearl Harbor), that if she or the baby turns into a zombie, he must put them down immediately before they can hurt anyone.

This season is already moving at a faster pace than last season, where the storylines surrounding the endless search for Sophia and the debate whether to leave the safety of the farm or stay felt drawn out. This season has found the survivors faced with a prison full of a seemingly endless supply of zombies, which only gives hope that there will be a lot of zombie gore. The first episode already has seen one of the main characters wounded by a zombie attack, requiring the amputation of his leg before he could be turned into a zombie.

The end of the first episode also raises questions about the prison and the group’s chance for survival. Following the attack, Rick and a small exploratory group, in their escape from a pack of zombies, stumble upon a group of prison survivors. Though the prisoners may not be zombies, it does not mean that the prisoners are any less threatening or bad. The group has learned in the past not to trust other humans in a time of crisis, so it will be interesting to see if the group of survivors can co-exist with the prisoners.

This season has also introduced the characters of the Governor (David Morrissey, “The Deal”), the katana wielding and zombie-pet owner Michonne (Danai Gurira, My Soul to Take) and the reintroduction of Daryl’s brother Merle (Michael Rooker, “JFK”) who Rick left for dead in the middle of Season 1.

These character’s collective storyline remains separate from Rick’s group, but with Michonne having saved Andrea (Laurie Holden, The Mist) at the end of last season following her separation from her group, there is an expectation that both Andrea’s and Rick’s groups will cross paths later on. If this happens, there is sure to be conflict over the group leaving Andrea behind in their escape from the zombie horde’s invasion of the farm last season, as well as resentment over Rick leaving Merle to die.

Viewers can expect an even better season of “The Walking Dead” than the previous one, as this season has already had no qualms about killing important characters and testing each character’s humanity and conscience. Knowing what has happened in the past, and what unexpected plot twists can occur, viewers can await many more of their favorite characters to face death head on, and possibly become “walkers” themselves.