The Walking Dead season three, the season that finally finds a balance between action and character drama. Season three of the Walking Dead delivers everything that I wanted from the series since I started watching it and many things I did not even know I wanted. Almost everything about season three is just better than what has come before. The action is grander, the characters are better portrayed, and the effects are improved, everything except the finale and anything with Andrea is fantastic. Not every episode throughout the season is the best, but it is a lot more consistent than season two and featured some of the best episodes of the series to date. One of the best aspects of The Walking Dead as a whole is its ability to just kill off characters without warning. As soon as you think everyone is safe, BOOM someone dies. Once someone is dead, there is no coming back or copouts; that character is dead and often without a dramatic sendoff, which is actually realistic (if you consider the whole zombie apocalypse thing realistic to start with). Because the series creates such deep and likable characters that seem like real people, when a main character dies, you really feel that character's death much more than just about any other show. Also, the characters are much better developed than most any other show out there.
The town of Woodbury is where much of the season takes and that is actually a real place in Georgia that I have been through several times. However, the Woodbury scenes are not actually filmed there, but in Senoia, Georgia.
While this is not necessarily a problem with the show, it seems like a running joke that the token black guy must die. First the big black guy in the prison dies, then T-Dog dies soon as he shows actual character development, which is fine since he was kind of a useless character anyway. Next, both of the black prisoners die. Since Michonne probably cannot die because she is such an important character in the comics, Tyreese has to be the next one to go. This whole section is just a joke because I am not saying the show is racist; it is just a funny coincidence that the black guy always seems to die.
The Good: Shocking deaths, Hershel is now a great character, Daryl is even more awesome, Impressive action scenes, Intriguing new setting, The Governor is a fantastic villain, Many "holy crap I can't believe that just happened!" moments, Improved special effects, Entertaining shootouts, Well chosen licensed music, Same eerie main theme, Everything about the previous seasons but better, Great new characters, Michonne, Carol isn't annoying, Consistently strong episodes (mostly), Rick's inner conflict and struggle,
The Bad: Andrea, Andrea, Andrea, and did I mention Andrea?, Disappointing finale,
Plot: 9.8/10- The Walking Dead's plot was mostly consistent and well paced compared to the previous season. The season introduces several new characters, new locations, and shocking twists throughout. Season three is more about fighting other people than previous seasons since the group has discovered how to more easily kill the Walkers. The way society dissolves after the apocalypse is fascinating and the show gives us an in depth look into how that happens. With the Walkers everywhere, seeing how people cope with the Walkers and see them as everyday occurrences is interesting. The pacing of the season is much improved over what has previously been in the series with more action and "stuff" and "things" actually happening, rather than just sitting around waiting for the characters to do something like much of season two.
After the bombshell ending of season two that revealed that everyone is infected and if you die, you come back as a Walker, unless your brain is taken out, the whole game has changed as well as how they deal with death. It brings a whole new dynamic to the series.
Now for the major deaths of season three. First off Lori's death: She probably had one of the better sendoffs of the series thus far, making her death one of the more saddening ones. However, after her death, the series turned out significantly better than it had previously been and her lack of presence was actually a positive rather than a negative in the end, even if her death was tragically shocking. Her ghostly presence was a little annoying at times, but Rick's descent into madness was one of the best character journeys I have seen. While Axel's death was not saddening, it was shocking! He was just talking and then BOOM! He's dead. That was one of the most "holy crap" moments of the series. Probably the saddest death of the season goes to Merle, who started to become one of my favorite characters in his last few episodes, and seeing Daryl's reaction made it one of the best deaths of the series. As for Andrea's death, it was one of the happiest parts of the season for me. Andrea is, hands down, my most hated character of the series and even though she had some good moments in season three, she was majorly annoying most of the time. Even though rooting for anyone to be killed by a Walker is difficult in the series, I was almost rooting for her to die, which actually happened! I was thinking "Ding-dong the witch is dead" after she finally died.
Now for some non death related spoilers: Glenn and Maggie are a great couple; one of the best on television, and their relationship never overshadows the plot. Hershel losing his leg was shocking and Rick having to cut it off was one of the more gruesome scenes of the series. The Governor is one of the best parts of the season since David Morrissey sounds just like Liam Neeson from Taken; plus his character is one of the best psychopaths since the Joker. There are so many things to talk, but that will be for another time.
Action: 9.7/10- Best action scenes on a live-action television series, hands down. Season three ramped up the zombie action and violence along with some great shootouts and tactical battles between humans. Now that the group is running low on ammo, they are forced to use close quarters combat to battle the Walkers, which makes for some of the most intense and suspenseful actions scenes anywhere.
Acting: 9.9/10- With the exception of Laurie Holden, the acting is all around fantastic. Danai Gurira as Michonne takes a few episodes to really grow into her role, but does well by the later half of the season. In my discussion of each character, I will go more in depth about the actors and the characters.
Production Value/Special effects: 10/10- Best production value on television, at least on basic cable. All of the makeup for the Walkers are fantastic and creepy. All of the prosthetics and effects used to show the kills are very impressive. Occasionally, you can notice that CGI is used, but most of the effects are practical and look realistic.
Soundtrack: 8.3/10- The main theme remains the same eerie tune of the previous seasons, just with new visuals. Most of the background is not particularly noticeable but it serves its purpose in building suspense. One of the biggest problems with TV shows is when an episode ends with a licensed, usually sad, song that is suppose to add "emotion" or something to the ending and I hate that almost every time it is used. However, the Walking Dead manages to actually use licensed songs effectively, which is a major compliment coming from me.
Humor: 6.2/10- The Walking Dead is not a particularly humorous series, however Merle does provide some great humorous moments, even if many of them are kind of dark.
Overall: 9.6/10- Season three of The Walking Dead improves upon the flaws of seasons past as well as adding some great new characters. Everything about season three is just better, and it is one of the best seasons of any live-action television series I have ever seen; it is just that amazing.
Closing comments: As before, if you do not mind the violence, watch the Walking Dead! It is one of the best televisions shows on today.
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