Looking Back on The Walking Dead Season 3: Somewhere Between Alive and Dead (Plus: The Best Zombie Kills, in GIFs!)


The Walking Dead's second season was a tale of two shows. The first half of the season turned its audience into zombies with boring, never-ending arguments ("Let me tell you sumpn'!"), Ranch House politics, and way too much stasis for a show about running away from the undead. But then Walker Sophia came stumbling out of the barn in the mid-season finale, and the series crawled out of its grave after her, settling into a full-on sprint for the remainder of season. The difference between the first six-and-a-half episodes and the last six-and-a-half episodes was stark, and the latter group was almost unrecognizable when compared to the drudgery of the first.

The Walking Dead's recently concluded third season can also be likened to two shows, but without that easy dividing line right down the middle. If you were to graph the quality of Season 3, you'd probably end up with something that looked like Bart Simpson's hair. Ay Caramba indeed; the series was all over the place except for in the ratings, where its audience swarmed to tune in and break network and cable ratings while the broadcast networks put shotguns in their mouths because they know their model is dead without some sort of zombie-themed celebrity singing competition.

Season 3 was essentially built around two storylines that would intersect from time to time: Rick and his flock moving into their new digs at the prison, and Andrea (and sometimes Michonne) living like a post-apocalyptic queen in the grips of The Governor at the Woodbury gated community. Splitting up an ensemble into two parts for most of a season isn't new (Lost famously did it in Season 3 to mixed reviews), but making sure both parts carry equal weight in holding the audience's attention is tricky. The producers figured Woodbury would be just as interesting as hanging out with our old friends at the prison, but despite David Morrissey's flashes of acting brilliance, Woodbury was more WoodBOREy, creating anticipated disappointed every time there was a Woodbury establishing shot. 

Making matters worse for the Woodbury plot was its reliance on Andrea and her circus of poor decisions and jerk blindness. We all knew The Governor was a terrible person, and the show went out of its way to drill that into our heads. But the show also went out of the way to make sure Andrea didn't know he was bad news. That left us watching a woman who we knew was wrong—without a doubt—for hours and hours while she denied it, not exactly my idea of a fun way to spend a Sunday evening. And The Walking Dead didn't try to make the tug-of-war anything more than that, rushing Andrea and The Governor's romance—the one thing that could explain her idiocy—at a speed so fast that we just had to accept it even though it made no sense. Had there been something more to the love story, we might have been more sympathetic to her reluctance to see The Governor for who he really was, and we might not have wished Andrea a slow, painful death for being absolutely intolerable. You can't make something plain as day to viewers (The Governor's bad side) and then make other characters (Andrea) oblivious to it for more than a few episodes without wasting the audience's time. And waste our time it did. 

Meanwhile, at the prison, killing zombies and leftover prisoners was a good time! In the first four episodes of the season, the prison was where the fun was at as Rick's newly trained crew executed zombie hordes with precision and tangled with a group of prisoners who wanted to claim the grounds for themselves. It pushed Rick to a new place of desperation that carried over from the end of Season 2. Rick's survival instinct made him put a cleaver through a guy's skull based on an educated hunch, for crying out loud. And the prison storyline hit a high in "Killer Within," the infamous episode that played out like a season finale and featured the slaughter of T-Dog. Oh, and Lori died, too. But seriously, folks, Lori's death rang out loud—even though she carried the title of Worst Character Ever for the previous two season—because the show put so much effort into salvaging her character. By the end, we no longer saw the hypocritical woman who couldn't drive, we saw a remorseful woman looking to patch things up with her hubby, and her death scene was as appropriately difficult to watch as anything on television at the time.


But after "Killer Within," the season slogged through an extended run of episodes that seemed to alternate between heading in the right direction and repeating the same mistakes over and over again, and the inconsistency of the final dozen episodes would be unfathomable if I hadn't witnessed it myself. Rick's frustrating post-Lori brain-fart trip to Looney Town felt like it happened because the show had nothing better to do with him, and ultimately, it only carried some importance when he was pulled out of his insanity after receiving a lesson in relative crazy from Morgan in the excellent episode "Clear." Heading the opposite direction, from good to bad, were Glenn and Maggie, whose visit to Woodbury was thrilling, and peaked when Glenn turned into a half-man, half-chair, all zombie-killing machine. But the fallout from The Governor's rape of Maggie (even though Maggie wasn't raped in the traditional sense of the word, you can argue that it was still rape), which turned Glenn into a war-mongering madman and temporarily ruined the two lovebirds' relationship, fell flat. In the end, it wrapped itself up with a sex romp in a storage shed (while they should have been on watch, I might add) and very little conflict. The two kids just made up.

There's a reasonable theory out there that the variances in quality are a result of Season 3 being extended by three episodes, to a near-broadcast total of 16 episodes. And indeed, a few of its installments appeared to be ideas for parts of episodes that were blown out to full hours. "Arrow on the Doorpost" was probably half an episode of treaty-cooking at best, and Andrea's mad dash away from The Governor in "Prey" could have been cut down to zero minutes. 

But once again, The Walking Dead's problems were all about character, or lack thereof. Smaller stories need to be told on this show, stories that bring us closer to the survivors we meet and give them some shred of realness. This is one show that could benefit from ripping off Lost by focusing episodes on smaller groups of characters. Heck, go ahead and use some flashbacks if that's what works. Going back to "Clear," which could be the series' best episode to date, The Walking Dead showed that there are other tales to tell, and that when the larger story isn't dragged out for another hour of spinning around in circles, great things happen. Michonne, Carl, Rick, and Morgan all became new people in that episode, and it was all thanks to character growth. Was that so hard, The Walking Dead

As troubled as the middle was, Season 3's legacy should be forever tarnished by how it ended. Sorry to be blunt, but the finale was a reeeeeal stinker. Andrea's death was a mercy killing for our benefit more than anything else. I felt nothing as the self-inflicted gunshot rang out, and I didn't even hate her nearly as much as everyone else did. Rick taking in Woodbury's tired, poor, huddled masses looking to be free like he was the frickin' Statue of Liberty seemed counterintuitive to his recently philosophy of leaving behind hitchhikers, but at least it gives the show plenty of redshirts to kill off in Season 4! And while I'm all for the unexpected in season finales, come on, we ALL wanted to see The Governor's army and Rick's rebels have at it. The promos practically promised it. Instead, we got a game of hide-n-seek and a roadside massacre that ended with The Governor's current whereabouts unknown. The finale was an embarrassment, and it left us with an unfortunate taste in our mouth that we can't wash out until Season 4. 

Yet the allure of zombies and being part of the conversation is simply too much to keep me from watching more of The Walking Dead. I'm a sucker for this stuff. While we once had hopes for the series to become television's next great drama, we now know that it probably won't be much more than meat-and-potatoes television, good enough to keep us around unless someone else starts serving something better.



THE BEST ZOMBIE KILLS FROM SEASON 3

Now that the pseudo-academia is out of the way, let's run down the best zombie kills from Season 3, because zombies getting re-killed is awesome. Here they are, in no particular order: 

Death by Hatchback 
Daryl sells some Subarus in product placement that is totally fine by me.


Martinez Goes Deep
Part of Martinez and Daryl's back-and-forth, but he's not going to get the correct backspin to give the ball extra carry by rolling over like that.


Glenn's Head Stomp 
OVERKILL.


Rick Goes Nuts on a Bunch of Zombies
After Lori died, Rick needed some therapy and cleared out a whole wing all by himself. (This was actually part of a Prolonged rampage, but this was one of the final kills.) 



The Face Peel
Whoever came up with this deserves a promotion. Too awesome.


The Curbstomp
This is the most painful-looking thing this show has ever done, and that's saying a lot. 



Special thanks to Nick Campbell for covering the show while I was away, and more thanks to all of you who watched the series with me all season. I'd love to hear what you thought of Season 3 overall, and I'll see you back here for Season 4!

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Load up som fresh blood for season 4, then draw lots about who to kill in season 4 (old and new caracters included)
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Still a great series but lacks the rawness and fear factor of the 1st because the viewers and characters have become too familiar with the zombies and their capabilities. Zombie deaths now are almost comedic and just make me chuckle.
Maybe there should introduce a new breed of zombie that can run - or at least have a head that doesn't squash so easily!!
Apart from Rick and Daryll, I'm also struggling to really care about anyone. They've killed too many big characters like Dale and Shane and left themselves nowhere to go. I didn't like Dale very much but he brought an interesting dynamic to the group which is really missed and instead replaced with nonentities sat feeding a baby...

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Hi everyone, have a read of my blog and let me know who your favourite (or least favourite!) characters of season 3! There's a comments section on the blog! Thanks

http://jackleecawley.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/after-season-3-of-amcs-walking-dead.html
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99.5% agree (0.5% off for the rape comment)--lol

Well done!
:-)
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The maneuvering with the leftover Woodburians is to set up a different conflict dynamic than the ones we've already seen (that involve different kinds of hero-antihero and villain-hero antagonism. Everyone will know for sure who the villain is, but that won't be the conflict, heroes versus Governor. The real conflict of the next season has been set up to be good guy vs good guy with this finale, and it will probably shed a small bit of light into how the Governor became the man he did through analogy, too, next season.
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Rick said it was no longer a dictatorship. If the majority of the crew wanted to take in the strays, he can't go against.
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martinez zombie kill:

his arm is twisted in such a way that it could of been done in reverse but then played backwards.. cos somehow that movement looks wrong
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If it wasn't for the young demographic and the cultural fascination with zombies this show would have been axed after season 2. The budget has been chopped while extending the season, the staff keeps turning over and the overall quality continues to decline.

It's almost impossible to feel for any of the characters when you hope the majority of them will die because of their stupidity. Show some actual survival plots, advance the characters a bit, make the zombies more of a threat, speed up the arcs and follow through on the promotions. The potential for greatness is withering quickly...
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S03 was inconsistent, that is the least we can say. Some great episodes ("Clear'', ''Sorrowful life''), some great ''bits of episodes'' (my favorite: the last scene with Milton and Andrea). Too much fillers....
And I still miss Shane...
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This show is changing showrunners every 5 minutes because the network wants THEM (the creative personnel and the acting and writing talent) to pander to ITS (the network's) audience. Every chance to pander to fans it jumps on - that Glenn and Maggie wedding was the apex of pandering. Made no sense in any context of the story I'd been watching.
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I want Glenn dead, period.
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I agree that most of the complaints are making mountains out of molehills. Season 3 had its ups and downs, but still was very, very good. Clear was fantastic, and every episode had good parts.

Count me among those who wanted the Gov to bite the dust. But you can't be surprised that they kept him around for more mayhem. And his going off the deep end and killing all the non-soldiers of Woodbury was wild. The way they did it with the woman's dialog drowning out, you could really feel his madness overwhelming him.

And I was also expecting more of a confrontation between the two sides. But when you think about it, the Woodburyites turning and fleeing at the first sign of chaos is a lot more logical than them digging in for a steely fight. It was actually kind of amusing.

As for those who skewer Andrea for her supposed inconsistency and not killing the Gov, think about it. If you went back in time and confronted Adolf Hitler as a baby, you would save countless millions by killing him. But you would still be killing a baby, and that's not easy to do even if you know it will become evil. So I could understand her reluctance to kill the Gov while he slept. I actually thought she would end up killing him, but at the cost of her own life. Didn't work out that way.

Is the show perfect? Heck no. But it still gets an "A" in my book. They do a lot more right than wrong.
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I loved every season of The Walking Dead and season 3 was no exception. I can't wait to watch the new season!
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seriously, why do you think rick took in those people at the end, because he saw that his son was losing his humanity and he needed to show a good example and restore his own soul for the actions he committed earlier.
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What I like about the show is that they don't always do what the audience expects. I LIKED the way Rick's group drove off the Governor's men. And I think the Gov will be less likely to try and re-populate a new "army" with civilians. I enjoyed the finale. I enjoyed the whole season
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Looking back, I'm still disappointed.
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Sorry Tim, but this time I don't agree with you. We have a tendancy to forget that this show is not only built on zombie attacks and killing zombies, etc... The central point of this show, in my opinion, is all the emotion present in these different groups and how they live with these emotions. When Lori died, Rick's reaction was accurate, and probably that a lot of guys would've reacted the same way! So season 3 was pretty great in all its aspects and I'm looking forward for season 4!! ;)
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For me, this season was full of promises that weren't delivered. I expected much more out of it, in terms of character and plot development. The story got stuck many times, with the sequence of facts being interrupted over and over - there weren't smooth transitions and logical progression. And the war??? If it hadn't dragged until the season finale, I'm pretty sure people wouldn't have thought it was such a disappointment. It wasn't a bad idea, but the waiting ruined it. Work harder next time, The Walking Dead!
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I love the idea of this show far more than I love the execution of it or the resulting final product. My biggest complaint (and I have a lot of them) is the writing - specifically the horrible devices they use to move the plot forward (or sideways or backwards, which is just as often the case).

Things like Rick going hallucinatory crazy out of left field and waving his gun around to scare off the new people (why would seeing Lori cause him to wave his gun around???); Andrea suddenly tripping and falling repeatedly so as to be caught easily, Andrea not able to pick up pliers with her toes in less than 30 minutes (it takes literally a few seconds, try it) while repeatedly stopping for chats and reflection with a dying man / Andrea-muncher-to-be, people repeatedly choosing not to kill the Governor, despite countless opportunities and all evidence to what a monster he was, Glen and Maggie's non-issue tension/worst proposal in the history of the world, Michonne never specifically telling Andrea all of the terrible things she learned about the Governor and Woodbury (so that Andrea can remain stupid and start sleeping with him out of left field), etc, etc.

Yeah, most of that revolved around Andrea. Turns out, firing Glenn Mazzara, who was apparently behind the devolution and death of Andrea, was probably the right call. However the new showrunner, Scott Gimple, wrote that stinker of a season finale - which doesn't give me great hope for next season.

Tim, you're absolutely right about "Clear". When they scale back and allow us to develop emotional attachments to our characters, the results are far more rewarding. Another example of this was Merle's journey from Michonne kidnapper to lone Woodbury assaulter in the penultimate episode. These are the moments that have kept me coming back so far, but it's getting harder and harder to look past the writing decisions. Character stupidity for the sake of moving the story along is one of the quickest ways to turn off an engaged, intelligent audience.
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Scott Gimple didn't write the season finale, Glenn Mazzara did.

Scott Gimple has written six episodes so far. Four of them are arguably in the top 5 of the entire series, 'Clear', 'This Sorrowful Life', '18 Miles Out' and 'Pretty Much Dead Already'. The other two 'Save The Last One' and 'Hounded' are pretty decent as well. The future seems a lot brighter with him in charge.
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You're mostly correct. However, Laurie Holden gave Scott credit in multiple interviews for writing the episode, which is probably because Gimple re-wrote and re-shot large chunks of the episode and has a co-writing credit for the episode as a result.
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I don't think there was much he could've done to change the finale at that point, the main story was already set in stone. From what i'm aware he only re-shot the Andrea scenes and changed them slightly. I wasn't really a fan of the scenes with Milton (although it sounds like they were worse before he changed them), but I did like her final scene with Rick, Daryl and Michonne.

I think with his track record of episodes, he deserves the benefit of the doubt for the time-being.
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All the characters I like on this show, keep dying! Andrea was one of my favourites even when she had her messed up fase in season 2, but in this season they really destroyed that character. I really wanted her to rejoin the group, redeem herself and grow stronger and have us viewers forget how the writers portrayed her as this weak mind-numbing person in season 3. It wasn't fair on Laurie Holden at all. I think she's a great actress. Andrea grieving over Amy back in season 1 still haunts me. What a shame...
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If the finale was great and cathartic then all the issues with the previous issues wouldn't have mattered that much but instead we saw corporate desires overruling story. This governor's a popular guy, they'll guarantee good ratings if they keep him around for another season or two and what's the point in having an actual confrontation with actual losses, the cast might go on strike if more than 2 main characters die each season.

It's hard to think how the season went wrong but by the end of the season Andrea had been ruined as a character and the story of life at the prison fizzled out so that I was dreading scenes in the prison for being catatonic. Bizarre that there was so much interesting stuff that happened in the prison in the comics pre-Governor invasion. Maybe they'll move in that direction next season since at this stage there're no interesting developments that will distinguish season 4 from 3.

Despite Merle being always interesting I'm thinking that his returning to the prison story might have been a bad idea because he monopolised precious time that could have been better used. Aside from that the show (still) needs to improve its characters and to tell stories that last a whole season without falling flat. There's no reason why it can't get there but I'm worried they won't have the courage to make substantial changes to how the show is currently run, plus the corporate pressures won't help.
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I guess I thought of this season as a bit different.

I agree that the season was much slower and more drug out than I had anticipated but it also felt more real. Take Maggie and Glen, Maggie becomes truly terrified from her 'rape' by the Governor and in turn Glen goes postal about the entire thing until they finally make up. What happens today, the same thing. Kids of their age go through some trouble 'fight and argue' about it and then make up like nothing happened. Rick going through a lackluster insanity check couldn't help but be avoided. Unless he was managing to take care of things and be insane at the same time then things were bound to be a bit boring yet believable. Andrea wishing to believe that the 'world' could return to normal was all but believable for her and any character. Her wanting the Governor after spending a Winter alone and near death with Michonne and her 'dummies' makes perfect sense. The shining knight came to her rescue, presented her with a castle, all the while wining and dining her. I would never call her relationship 'love'.

We have noticed that any and all characters who sharply adjusted and accepted the new world have turned into evil adversaries (Dr. Jenner/Shane/the Governor). That people can keep some hope that humanity can exist even when living in a world where the inhumane has happened is a natural thing to occur. Not having hope is what brought ruin to the Governor and now Morgan.

I don't find Rick's taking in of the Woodbury residents to be all that much of a shocker. Much of this season has been Rick on the wrong path and trying to find his way back. Nothing was more evident of Rick doing the wrong thing than the hiker passed, left, and found during the search for weapons (and finding Morgan). Finally, through the questionable actions of his son, Carl, Rick was forced to find his way back to the right path. None of his current friends and allies were part of his group, his family. His accepting the Woodbury residents was more symbolic of his return to a humane existence (as Andrea wished) if nothing else.

Finally the season finale. This season spent a great deal time showing how the Governor was a cold, calculating leader changing into a ruthless madman. From the wealth of information we have from the comics we the viewers should have expected that the Governor would survive his first REAL fight at the prison. Yes his 'walker bomb' was impressive but despite Axle's death no real damage was dealt other than the yard being overrun once again. Yes a battle was to be expected, but a decisive battle? I hadn't expected it, nor would cared to have watched it. The Governor now has his time to create real havoc, cause serious pain, and ample opportunity now exists for the next story to begin developing (ie. Post Prison/Governor).

I wouldn't call this a terrible season but perhaps more of a stumble. Much like the Bart Simpson reference the season had some major ups (T-Dog, Lori, Morgan, and Merle) with some rather sorry lows (any Beth scene, 'peace treaty', Woodbury citizens in general).

Lastly... Beth, I dislike the character but a very likable opportunity was missed: pointing the gun at Merle to stop the scuffle and warning against disturbing Judith (the baby) would have brought comedy to a very transparent character.
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Man, that finale was a wake-up call for me. Great premise, great genre, but just terrible execution. Despite the acting and the zombie kills, the is show giving me a major case of the mehs these days.

I like slow and character-driven just fine, but in order to do that successfully you need some actual characters, not cardboard cut-outs. And interesting interpersonal relationships and moral quandaries and character development- and no, by that I do not mean having 2/3 of the female cast devolve into idiots more annoying and brain-dead than the zombies. And you can't squander every excellent situation before it reaches it's full potential (I'm looking at you, Merle's and Andrea's unnecessary deaths. And Tyrese and Sasha's continued pointlessness).

Honestly, I'm not sure if I'll be back next season. I hear there's more to life than watching boring irritating people kill zombies, and I intend to find out what that is.

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IMO Season 1>1st half of Season 3>Season2>>>rest of Season 3
I never really had a problem with The Governor's character until I read the comics that when I found out the severely screwed his character up along with Andrea.
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well, if nothing else, this show is consistent at delivering..

- lame brain characters (lori, andrea, and for a little while glen among others who make go wonky every once in awhile),
- manufactured drama (lori going to save rick by getting in a car accident on an empty road while reading a car, glen getting pissy over maggie's non-rape.. etc),
- and also at pulling the rug out from under you (when you expect nothing to happen, something happens. but when you would expect something to happen - nothing).

These guys are geniuses. Just when I thought the show was getting interesting (first half of season 3), they did a complete 180 and started with the lame (not compelling) drama again. Never know what's going to happen with this show, it's so great. /s
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This is the worst of the 3 seasons so far. I hope they make up for it in season 4
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Indeed...
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You're right on this show being INCONSISTENT. I thought Season 1 was solid, but Season 2 was a nightmare, and this season had exactly the high and low points you mentioned. EXACTLY.
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I actually love Maggie's sheer joy at killing one of the SWAT zombies. The killing doesn't have to be so serious all the time.
I think the problem can be attributed to those extra three episodes. I too would have probably cut the things you've mentioned, particularly much of the latter half of the season with the exception of "Clear" and "This Sorrowful Life." They really shouldn't be packing in so much because one of the beauty of cable shows is the limited season runs that tend to cut a lot of the fluff out. And of course, there was the poor handling of Andrea and Michonne. Even the Governer had his questionable moments (like that weird cheery guy in "Arrow on the Doorpost"). I just hope that Scott M Gimple can overhaul things a little bit.
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What I'm still not sure about, and this story didn't answer, is whether the mess that was season three can be laid at the outgoing showrunner's door, or it belongs to AMC's and the producers' notes and the influence of the incoming showrunner. It sort of flavors my expectations for season four. Otherwise, all excellent points. I can stop worrying at this in my head now.
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Okay I know Andrea wasn't loved this season but I was still hoping she would get back to her old self - didn't like her in the beginning but she grew on me, with the sister's death and learning to shot and her turn from almost suicidal to a proud & valuable zombie killer, and she and Michonne had a weird but interesting friendship going on there - so yes, I cried when she died. Hated it.
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She deserved a much better death, I agree. But the writers had already betrayed her character over and over. She came into Woodbury a warrior. Granted, a warrior who wanted an easy end to the work of survival, but she still had skills. She allowed the Governor to marginalize her and basically disarm her in the name of security, if you believe her story arc, to the point of enjoying the gladiator arena. She may have deserved a shameful death, but she definitely deserved a better and onscreen death.
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Ehhh, the season as a whole was okay. I didn't find it as shitty as some, but part of that may be that my expectations for TWD was never all that high. It has always been about 12 to 15 in my favorite shows list, and I don't think anything changed there.

I will say though that with shows like TWD -- with the kind of premise it has -- their seasons can often be "saved" with great season finales. Unfortunately, the season finale was one of the worst episodes of the season for me.

I think their biggest problem is that the writers may not exactly fit AMC's mold. Despite the action-based premise of The Walking Dead, AMC, because of their budget, want most of the season to be relatively cheap, and therefore slow. Unfortunately, I don't think TWD has the kind of writers that Breaking Bad or Mad Men have, where they can put together great 'cheap and slow' episodes that lead to or set up the big ones. It's probably why the showrunner keeps changing -- AMC is trying to find the one guy that can find the balance between top quality (character) writing and fun action, all within its budget.
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What about Glen's Chair kill?
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The first half had really good flow, and was definitely the best stretch of episodes the show has had. There were still nitpicks, like Michonne's motivations, Andrea's...everything, and the majority of Woodbury. The second half, aside from "Clear" and the Merle-centric episode, kind of sucked. I did enjoy the Governor's shoot out on the second episode, which was way more exciting than his assaul on the last episode. I enjoyed the second half of season 2 much more than the second half of season 3. The second half dragged it down, so the season to me went from being really good to just okay. It's still a ratings juggernaut, but I don't know if it was a complete critical success.
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Overall, this season has been better than the previous imo. There were great moments like in Clear or the premiere but yeah... the bad moments kind of destroyed a lot of that reearned respect I had for the show. They repeated the same mistake they did with Lori on Andrea. I just don't get the thought process the writers are going through. I'm sure they wanted to make her hateable but why would you give a character so much screen time when the audience is supposed to get annoyed by him/her? I really don't know what went wrong in the writers room but whatever mistakes they made - we saw those in previous seasons already happen. So yeah, I'm not sure if the showrunner-changing thing is really the source of the problem.
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I understand where you're coming from Tim and I can understand your frustration with this season but I don't think it was as bad as some people made it out to be. I think the biggest problem with this show has been the fact that every year there is a new showrunner. Its impossible for the show to stay on track if you every year there is someone new running things. Since this show started three different people have run it, how can you expect characters to grow and the story to move forward if the person behind the scenes is constantly changing. Each showrunner put their own voice/spin on what they want for the show/characters, some changes have been good, others not so much. Time will tell if the new showrunner will be able to salvage what became of this season.

Overall I thought the season was good, not great, but good. I know a lot of people were frustrated with the Governor, Andrea, the season as a whole, and the finale but I didn't think it was terrible. In all honesty I never once believed the Governor would die in the finale, I had a feeling he would survive. And the idea that there was going to be a massive showdown sounded great, but didn't seem plausible. As much as Rick and the crew would have tried to hold them off, there is no way they would have been able to defeat the Governor and his crew.

I like David Morrissey. I think he played the character well, and I liked his descent into a cartoon-like villain. I know some people who read the comics wanted him to be more like that but I think it is better done this way. He needed to be charismatic and charming, and he was, which is why Andrea (even though ALL the evidence was in front of her face) had a hard time leaving Woodbury. She liked him and he provided her with a sense of normalcy (living in a town with other people, having food, shelter, hot shower). Yes we as a viewer thought she was incredibly stupid, first for not leaving with Michonne and then for not killing the Governor when she had the chance (and plenty of other opportunities in between), but we unlike her saw the unruly things the Governor was doing. Did the show drag out her stupidity too long? Definitely, and her death could have been avoided if she would have shut her trap and got herself free from the cuffs.

I won't call the show dead yet, and will continue to watch, hopefully the new showrunner will be able to turn things around for the better.
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It would be a great marketing campaign if Subaru added the text "Zombie heads under the rear door are closer than they appear" under the rear license plates.
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Whoever came up with The Curbstomp (last GIF) watched American History X
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My first association aswell..
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It's a television show, ups an downs are to be expected, especially when the world is over and there rarely is a ton of places to truly go with it. It's zombie, people, and more zombies. I read a lot of reviews on here that I feel, for the sake of writing a review, make mountains out of molehills. In some ways, it's like reading a review written by one of those "lovely" woodburry citizens :P .

I agree, Andrea was annoying (although I still found her death to be sad....but yes also stupid given that she had in fact broken free and I figured the cliffhanger would be that she was just fine and that the blood seeping wasn't hers, but whatever), Woodbury citizens sucked, and it was disappointing to see the a-team of Michone, Darryl and Rick head to town to kill everyone only to be stopped by this sort of established female character (the one who had the kid with Asthma?) that lived and then a bunch of skipping of scenes to wind up back at the prison with a bus full of old people.

Now, does that mean though that the season was not good? No. I am not sure if the review was trying to make it sound special that the season had it's ups and downs, but I think it was still darn good. The only time I really lost hope with the show was that much talked about early 2nd season stuff where it's "Sophia!? ....SophIAAAAAAAA?!" :P . Outside of that though, they always seem to be kept on their toes.

Also, fun times to see the remainder of Tyreese's old group die and get zombified and then get slaughtered with little more than a blip :P .
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I feel exactly the same way. It wasn't 16 episodes of perfect television, but I definitely feel like every minor inconsistency gets blown up into the worst thing that's ever happened to television in some reviews. Maybe it's just the curve from having a great drama and expecting the best all the time. But I think if anyone never saw the show and just read the reviews they'd think AMC had The Event airing.
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I love Walking Dead - heck I am one of the minority that DIDN'T mind them spending most of season 2 looking for Sophia - I think it really added to the payoff when she showed up in the barn. BUT I was pissed off with the season finale for Season 3. Rick taking in the Woodbury team to the prison seemed mad to me - after everything that happened in the rest of the season - espeically him leaving the hitchhiker to die. I get that he'd 'turned over a new leaf' and was all for everyone sticking together as in humans vs zomb ies -which is how it should be. But a) how is he going to feed etc all those people in the prison? and b0 wouldn't it have made more sense for him to move his crew into Woodbury and fortify it against the governor's return as Woodbury is self sustaining and has more supplies? He could#'ve held his own against the governor there with the townspeople on his side. Speaking of which - I REALLY hope there is a massive cull at the start of season 4 'cos thsoe guys are freakin' useless! At the very least I hope Rick runs the newbies through zombie survival camp 'cos at this stage lil' arsekicker/Judith would be more effective in case of a zombie attack.
I kinda respect that the writers didn't give us what we wanted in terms of a full on rick vs the governor showdown - I like it when things take an unexpected turn it makes it more interesting, but I wish they'd given us something more worthy in its place. At this rate I half expect Carl to kill his dad and take over the group. I know I'm in the minority here but I fully agree with his decision to gun down the kid who was surrendering. In my experience of tv viewing if the person you are warning DOES NOT put down his gun when you ask him to and 'edges' towards you instead it means that he is trying to get close enough take your weapon. so good on Carl. Plus which when he argued his case to Rick later on, I found his reasoning to be sound - better safe than sorry!
I had mixed feelings about Andrea - but the fact that she wasted her time 'checking on Milton' and chatting when she should've been frantically trying to escape says it all. she deserved to go. Heck I was more sad to see Milton go then her. which is a shame as my friends assure me that her character is awesome in the comic books, plus which I am a fan of Laurie Holden. She did the best she could with the writing and I hope she gets roles she can really sink her teeth into, in the future.
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To me, the Sophia in the barn reveal was a copout, not a payoff. But I see both point of views.
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yeah I know a lot of people feel that way and I understand, I really do. But to see them search for her for months, keeping and see all their hopes dashed so cruelly (for me) is far more interesting than to have a 'happy ending' with her turn up alive and well - to me that would've been the copout.
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The good outweighed the bad in my opinion. I'm glad the Governor is still alive, but I hope he is not the main focus of season 4, I hope they move on to something else and keep the Governor as a could show up at anytime character. The character who benefitted the most from season 3 was Carl, that kid will be full-blown psycho by the time season 5 shows up.
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I agree wholeheartedly about the shortcomings on character development. Throughout the season I found myself wondering what all the fuss was about and why I should care about Milton (even though I am a great fan of Dallas Roberts), Michonne, Tyreese and his group. I have not read the comics but I do watch Talking Dead and so many guests made a big deal of Tyreese especially and yet nothing this season that aired on the television series filled in any gaps for why any of these characters are or should be important. I made my opinion on transmedia storytelling known in one of the Arrow Episode Review comments; if it is necessary to refer to secondary or tertiary materials in order to make the show work then that needs to be made clear, but that should not apply to TWD because as I understand from numerous discussions in previous reviews, the show deviates substantially from the comics.

I agree "Clear" was one of the best episodes of the series, it gave us a bit of closure on the open question of Morgan and in a scene it won my investment in Michonne. I also appreciated the attention given to the redemption of Merle, especially with Michonne. Otherwise, I think too much time is spent having the same conversations over and over again while the show stalls and then shoots forward like and adolescent learning to drive manual transmission.

I am a great fan of the apocalyptic genre. I think it is important for us as a society to contemplate questions of what humanity becomes in the absence of society; it is all too easy to diagnose its ills and complain but too often gratitude is far more difficult to muster. It is fascinating (and at times tiresome) to watch these groups as they live out these questions. Plus TWD does a great jobs with utterly grossing me out and now I am invested in seeing if Rick can turn his environmentally developed sociopath of a son into a decent human being in S04, so I'm not giving up. I would however, like to actually be invested in characters in a natural manner in the future rather than the writers thinking I will care simply because they are on the screen.
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GO WRITE YOUR REVOLUTION REVIEW!!
GEEZ.
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I wonder if the show's erratic progress is a result of the revolving door status for the showrunner. AMC's decisions in that area can't help the show if the overseer's name keeps changing. Figure out where the show and the characters should go and plan it...right now, it seems like they want safe, sedate settings that are static in nature and character development that stays the same. That's the formula for declining ratings at some point.
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The showrunner instability can't be helping but it also seems like bad characters has been really consistent across all seasons so maybe they're just spending all their time on zombie deaths instead.
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Character development that stays the same? Who has stayed the same? I don't think a single character on the show is exactly the same as they were first introduced. That's one thing that the show has going for it. They aren't afraid to have their characters change, and change they do. But not always the way that we like.

But I also think that the showrunners could have a thing to do with it, but the showrunners thing isn't AMC's problem. From what I've read (and I could be wrong), the dispute has been with Robert Kirkman who is the creator of the comic. That's why Glenn stepped down or was edged out. AMC sided with Kirkman, so there ya go. Hopefully, our next guy will be able to please Kirkman better and we'll have a more solid storyline.
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It'd gone from Darabont to Mazzura to Gimple for showrunners so far and its been AMC calling the shots on it. Writers have been even more transitional which might work if plots were contained to single eps...but that's not what drives the story.

As for character dev, uneven is perhaps a better way of stating things. Michionne, who did/said very little for half the past season, for example.
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I actually disagree that the first 4 episodes were all brilliant. I think season 3's problems began with "Walk With Me" which was episode 3. Whoever said, "Let's just focus an entire episode on Woodbury" must have been the first person who said, "Woodbury is GREAT. Let's watch more of it!" So, I hated that episode, and found myself distracted most of the time, because we were watching two characters that I hated (Andrea, and I was quickly learning to late the Governor) and a character that I didn't know or care for - yet (not being a reader of the comic and all). Not a fun hour for me.

Meanwhile, we had so many stretched out scenes, but we were left still not knowing what happened with key moments. What happened to Merle's body? Why were we deprived of Daryl telling the group what happened? They could have had Daryl walk in during the season finale, carrying Merle's corpse (hello, he carried the man's hand around in season 1, I don't think he would hesitate to drag his body all the way back to be buried)... He goes straight over to the little "graveyard" the prison has going. Glenn is one of the people that go over to him, and Glenn tries to say, "Daryl, I'm so sorry." and Daryl is like, NO, YOU'RE NOT. And crap erupts amongst the group.

That's already a far more interesting scene than what we got of Andrea staring at Milton for over 15 minutes. Ridiculous.

Overall, I enjoyed season 3, though. I hated the second half of season 2 - one of the few who did - because I did not like hating every single character in the show, and as you all may remember, every single character in the show became annoying and unlikable in the latter half of season 2 up until Dale's death. I never got that frustrated with the characters in season 3, and I never felt like quitting on the show the way that I nearly did in season 2 around the episode "18 Miles Out." I just really wanted Andrea to eat it and be done with it.

Anyway, season 3 wasn't perfect, but I sure as hell am gonna be waiting for season 4. Unlike everybody else, I'm excited by Rick's decision to bring the citizens of Woodbury to the prison (though taking over Woodbury seems like a better decision, but whatever). Even though they might end up walker fodder, I do like the idea of more children being around. Carl went from annoying to badass and now he's badassly annoying. Sigh. I don't approve. Give me a child who I don't hate, please?
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"Meanwhile, we had so many stretched out scenes, but we were left still not knowing what happened with key moments. What happened to Merle's body? Why were we deprived of Daryl telling the group what happened? They could have had Daryl walk in during the season finale, carrying Merle's corpse (hello, he carried the man's hand around in season 1, I don't think he would hesitate to drag his body all the way back to be buried)... He goes straight over to the little "graveyard" the prison has going. Glenn is one of the people that go over to him, and Glenn tries to say, "Daryl, I'm so sorry." and Daryl is like, NO, YOU'RE NOT. And crap erupts amongst the group. "

I really, REALLY wish this actually happened. And then it would build and go straight into the credits. And then the Woodburians would have come and attacked the prison, forcing the group to set aside any differences they were having to defend themselves. A war under emotional stress.
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Exactly! I think they really missed a big moment there, not that I would necessarily want Daryl and Glenn to be at odds, but at least that's more interesting than what we got. And I'm one of the few who actually thought the season finale was satisfying enough to keep me happy, but I just feel like they could have done what they did better. And the promo department should be shot for giving everybody the wrong idea about this "war" that's going to happen.
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I probably wouldn't be as irritated about the finale if it weren't for the marketing people. That's the most misleading thing ever. They have enough viewers and good ratings. They had no reason to build things up like that.
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"Crushing a Walker's head. It's what makes a Subaru a Subaru."
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I gave up on this show. I really really wanted to like it but the real problem here is the lack of characterization. It's fine by me if we need to have 2 straight episodes with no zombie kills and just characters doing all the talking. The problem here is that I DON'T CARE FOR ANY OF THE CHARACTERS OF THE SHOW. Nonsence decisions, cheap conflicts that intended to create drama with bad results (maggie and glenn's fight), developing characters just to kill them right away (T-Dog was just stepping up in "killer within" and then BANG no more than 1 black man on the show) and so on and on. Hard to say it because I really wanted to like this show but after 3 bad seasons I'm done. Andrea, dale, lori, amy, t-dog, etc, etc to many characters had died and I didn't feel for any of them. Man what a waste of time. I really liked Shane though best character of the show by far.
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I'll keep it simple and in a few words because none of my time need to be spent in that show anymore. The season was a pile of pure sh*t, nothing more, nothing less.
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The ongoing problems with the show has given me pause for reflection on their source:

I had never read the comics, but was aware of the constant praise from both the comic and zombie loving communities. Following the well-executed first season, I blind purchased the first comic compendium (48 issues) and was left thinking the show was a vast improvement over what was largely a black-hole of poorly-edited narrative and character problems.

I was confused how it had garnered as much praise as it had. Were the comic/zombie communities that hard up for zombie stories they were over-praising what they could get? It certainly seemed so.

Then came the second season of the show, and what plagued the comics now plagued a good television series: the narrative went nowhere for long stretches, and the characters rarely developed beyond a single motivation or poor decisions called for to keep the story going. Honestly, I barely made it to the end of the season.

This season was the final undoing for me. I made it a couple of episodes in and had finally had enough. I followed the recaps here, and they confirmed I wasn't missing anything.

So what can be done to fix the show? Tim's suggestion of following Lost's narrative format of multiple time periods could help. Give back-stories to the characters to help us understand their decision-making, both good and bad. I would suggest looking at AMC's other hit, Breaking Bad to understand how much story and character development can be stuffed into a single episode, while also teaching what long-form story-arcs should look like.

Without some of these changes, I have to think the show will quickly move into the category of "hate-watching" for its fans, and the show can't survive if that happens.
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The dumbing down of Andrea was probably one of the most annoying things I have ever seen in my history of tv watching. Not because of her being dumb. That is viewable. But because it was so unbelievably forced, that is what was so annoying about it. Lori was stupid, and I mean stupid. I am not sure I have seen a dumber character, save for maybe Charlie on Revolution. But I digress, Andrea was forced into this, she at the end of season 2 was one of the competent ones. And they deliberately dumbed her down to the point where she was just a B horror movie character wandering around a vacant warehouse. Who got "killed" just as she saw salvation. It was horrible to watch.

The other painful thing of this season was Rick. Rick should have stopped being the leader probably as soon the situation with he and Shane. Rick was a wandering around hallucinating buffoon for half of the season. At so many points in the story thus far he has done the dumb thing, let someone that shouldn't have lived live and it has bite him and the group in the arse. Carl was right. Not wholly right. But right none the less. At this point Rick is a great danger to the group then any outside threat. Because he is a poor leader. And he has failed to adapt to the situation.

The rest of the group aside from Glenn and Daryl is just blah. There was a leadership vacuum when Rick was going crazy and nothing was done. They didn't fully secure the prison. And got complacent.

The Governor and his group of suckers were hilarious. I imagine that it is tough to try to write a character that is obvious to the viewers that he is a bad person. But is completely fooling the characters around him. But it has been done. Vic Mackey was a similar character that was a bad person. It was obvious, even to the characters. But you couldn't help but like the guy. And neither could some of the characters. That was a well written antagonist/protagonist. I feel that the Governor was too much a comic book villain with the characters thinking he was swell. I don't know, it was just kind of blah at the end. And the people he gunned down deserved it for their stupidity.

But at least Andrea is now dead. But that gives me concern for next season. Who are they going to dumb down in order to make silly stories for. Please say it isn't going to be Maggie.
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The whole Andrea being dumb thing kind of reminded of how Jax and the SoA crew were dumb about Clay on season 5. They were told all kinds of shit about how Clay was a scumbag and was behind the Nomad attacks among other things, but they always needed "further evidence." before they could make a move. Andrea was the same about the Governor.
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I am not sure if you are writing this as an actual comparison of the two. Which I whole heartedly agree. Or if you just want me to go on another SOA rant.
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A rant would be nice. But seriously, the SoA comparison is something that popped in my head when looking back on the season. Also, Glen Mazzara and Kurt Sutter were some of the main writers on The Shield, another show you brought up. I guess Glen and Kurt can't match Shawn Ryan.
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I would agree. Bringing in the CIA to wash everything away is kind of similar to intentionally dumbing down Andrea in order try to show the cynic vs the optimist in the apocalypse.

Both plots are unbelievably stupid and insulting to the viewer. The only difference is that there are many other plots in TWD that are entertaining. SOA, with the Clay thing is like a huge sink hole that gets bigger and bigger and sucks all that was once good and fun in the show down with it as it grows.

And Shawn Ryan just makes good TV. The Shield was phenomenal. And both The Chicago Code and Last Resort were great shows that weren't given time or position to succeed.
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I stopped watching after episode 10 or 11 of this season. It simply got too annoying to watch. It's a shame, 'cause the show has had some real moments of brilliance in the past.
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