The Walking Dead: Season 3 Review

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So the little show that could, The Walking Dead, has now reached the end of its third season. Hard to believe really as it should have never found the audience it did given that it’s a cable TV show based on an indie comic and zombies were not yet back to being flavour of the month, but the figures don’t lie and with it breaking viewer records year on year and seeping into all popular media from memes to video games, t-shirts and it’s own panel discussion show. It is a series however that has infuriated fans at times as it drags at a horrific pace at times and takes extreme liberties with some favourite characters from the comics. So how was season 3? As usual, SPOILERS BELOW!
Hit and miss is the single most accurate description that can be given to the last 16 episodes of the show really. Where as it started off with a bang, moving swiftly into the fan favourite prison location, introducing the governor, pairing away at the cast list with zero sympathy, the series hit a lull in its second period. It is odd that it did as showrunner Glen Mazarra takes all the credit for speeding up the pace of season two. But it does seem as though they just didn’t have a clue what to do with the series once the shock and bravery of the first few episodes were done and dusted. From episode 9 to 14 the pace of the show slowed to painful levels, one would think that even if the episode order had been mixed around and some of these episodes were swapped into the first half, which they could have been given the lack of plot progression in them, then things would have moved along far better.

But it is always the role of the viewer to scream at the TV when a show trundles along, we urge it to pick it up and get going even though the writers usually are playing a long game that will pay off. Well, yes this is true, but as someone once bitten by Heroes I couldn’t help but be cynical and when it transpired come the finale that this was an Andrea-centric series that hinged on her death. The problem? Well quite frankly, nobody cared. For viewers new to the concept she was an infuriating and ill written character, for fans of the comic she had very much been irrevocably ruined versus her counterpart and we wanted her dead ASAP. The long game being played was that she cared so much for people that she would try for resolution without death even if it killed her. Well no Andrea see it nearly killed Maggie and Glenn, it killed Merle and Axle and Milton, and generally speaking you screwed up love.

The other massive deviation from the source material came in the form of the Governor surviving the finale and it caps off the poor treatment of this fan favourite also. The governor is never fleshed out to a major level in the comic, meaning he stays a mysterious and nasty piece of work. We get the small details such as his daughter and suggestions of a previous life, but never this nonsense of his real name, his affair with another human being as we saw in Andrea, his emphatic speeches and the suggestion that he believes he is right. No in the comic he is a cold psychopath and nothing more and that ironically serves to make him a better character whilst simultaneously taking away a lot of his substance. Now that he is surviving into the fourth season one can’t help but think he will just get too much time to develop and in turn will lose his mythos entirely.

But look, it’s still better quality TV than most of the rest that is on at the minute, and that episodes fell in the wrong order doesn’t mean they’re bad just that they were airing at the wrong moments in the series. Thanks to there yet again being drama behind the scenes there has once more been a change of showrunner and, like Mazarra, Scott Gimple has written some of the best episodes so far so as showrunner the direction of the show should be in safe hands. We hope anyway!

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