After a tense five months, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his makeshift apocalyptic family have reached the climax of Season 3 of The Walking Dead. For those unfamiliar with the plot of The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes is a police officer who wakes up from a coma to discover that the world has become overrun by zombies. After searching for his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), and ten year old son, Carl (Chandler Riggs), the family along with some new found friends try and find the perfect spot to settle in their attempt to survive the zombie apocalypse. After failed attempts to settle at a CDC centre and a farmhouse in the previous seasons, in the latest series the group chance upon an abandoned prison. However, Rick and company aren’t the only ones in the area…
The season starts with promise. It’s the first time the audience really sees the characters struggling through the apocalypse. After season one, there is a sense that the characters have grown accustomed to killing zombies and stealing cars or food, however, the season’s premiere episode tackles the issues of starvation, lack of shelter and a lack of weaponry.
This season seems to have concentrated more on the psychological effects of the apocalypse rather than the violence. Of course there are some ferociously gruesome Zombie kills and more than a handful of skulls broken open or eyes stabbed through (some of which aren’t the Zombies’) but as the group becomes settled in their protective fortress the psyche of the group, Rick’s in particular is affected by the events of the previous year, a deterioration that is excellently portrayed by all of the cast.
The highlight of the season lies within the outwardly charismatic and charming Governor, who’s intentions are more than slightly sinister. Despite the Governor becoming easily the most despicable character in the series, he’s also the most entertaining. Throughout the seventeen episodes of season three, he progresses from mildly sociopathic to full blown, shoot you in the head if you look at me the wrong way, murderous psychopath and honestly, it’s wonderful. The Governor is arguably more terrifying than the zombies and is portrayed superbly by Britain’s own David Morrissey.
Despite the many events that take place during season three, the season does seem to move along a lot slower than its predecessors and there are many episodes that leave you questioning what actually happened. However, there are sparsely placed episodes with truly heart and gut-wrenching plotlines, episode four in particular is a tear jerker and definitely draws the season back in to the feel of seasons one and two, as does the introduction of Michonne, who is easily the most badass character in the entire show and is definitely someone to put on to your Zombie Apocalypse squad.
Season three isn’t necessarily poor or lacklustre, however, neither is it particularly electrifying, the script, cinematography and mis-en-scène are all perfectly fine but that’s just it. It’s a fine season, no more no less. Season three hasn’t felt like it’s held on to the suspense or shock factor of the previous seasons and it feels quite frankly disappointing. The climax had been built up to an explosive finish with true resolutions and it does hold on to that for the first twenty minutes and then it plateaus as well loved characters are lost and the Governor’s plans take turns we never expected. For fans of The Walking Dead it’s an okay watch, but not altogether fulfilling and for those looking to start watching, the season doesn’t really do anything to hook new viewers in.