Television Series DVD
The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
So now that I have learned the error of my ways and have gotten into watching The Walking Dead and watched Seasons 1 and 2, there was no doubt in my mind that I would be buying Season 3 very soon. Lo and behold, I came home to find that it had already been purchased. Apparently, I have turned someone - a non-zombie genre fan - into a fan of The Walking Dead, and she NEEDED to know what happens next. (Tread lightly, folks, there are SPOILERS ahead.)
The Walking Dead: Season 3 picks up a few months after Season 2 ends. Rick (Andrew Lincoln), his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), his son Carl (Chandler Riggs) and the extended members of his family T-Dog (IronE Singleton), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Glenn (Steven Yeun), Carol (Melissa McBride) and Hershel (Scott Wilson), Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) have been on the road all winter, searching for a long-term shelter. With Lori's pregnancy coming to term, they know they have to find something safe and fast, but with the zombies basically over-running everything in hordes, there isn't much to find.
Tired, hungry and a bit defeated and feeling the loss of Andrea (Laurie Holden) and others lost at the Greene farm, the group is on its last threads when they come across an incredible find - a prison. Banding together to clear out as many zombies as they can, Rick's group enters the prison and begins the clean up that will make it their home. While searching for food and medical supplies, Rick and company come across some inmate survivors. Rick isn't keen on bringing these unsavory characters into his group. He doesn't trust them, and with good reason, as some decide to turn on them.
Meanwhile, Andrea, believed dead, has been surviving the winter with Michonne (Danai Gurira), a katana-wielding survivor with two disabled zombies on a chain as protection. Andrea is sick and in dire need of medical attention when they are found by Merle (Michael Rooker), Daryl's long lost brother. He brings him back to the town of Woodbury, a safe haven run by Philip Blake (David Morissey), otherwise known as The Governor. Right away, Michonne is on edge, not believing in the safety of the town and even less in The Governor, whom she believes is hiding something.
At the prison, things are not going well for Rick and his people. A zombie attack has come at the worst time and taken a toll on the group. Lori gives birth to a girl, but at a high price. The death toll keeps rising and Rick finds himself consumed with guilt over his decisions. The guilt turns into despair as he realizes all he has lost since taking charge and the group begins to question Rick's sanity. Of course, Rick slipping at this juncture could be fatal to all - their prison has come under the notice of The Governor and, despite Andrea's belief in the man, it appears that Michonne has good reason to distrust him.
The end of The Walking Dead: Season 2 gave us a not so gentle reminder that the living can be infinitely more dangerous than the dead. Season 3 smacks us over the head with that statement. While the dead are mindlessly searching for sustenance, it's the living that are looking for more and are willing to do anything they can to get it. Whether that more is power, supplies or survival, humans can be pretty damn ruthless in their pursuit of more and no one knows it better than Rick's group who come across quite a few unscrupulous and undesirables during Season 3.
While some humans appear monstrous, others prove their resiliency. The character of Carol is definitely one of those resilient individuals. Beginning her journey under the thumb of an abusive husband in Season 1 and losing her daughter in Season 2, Carol could very easily have given herself over to the hordes of undead in the prison. But when she gets separated from the group, she proves that she is tough enough to be a survivor and grows into someone who can not only take care of herself, but someone capable of providing safety and security for the group around her as well.
Another character that grows even further in this episode is Carl. With his father losing it and his newborn sister needing care, Carl definitely steps up to the plate in this season. However, in his effort to prove his worth to the group and keep his sister protected, Carl proves a tad overzealous at times, prompting Hershel and Rick to rein him in a bit.
The addition of new characters, such as Michonne and The Governor adds some spice to the series. Not only are we changing the locale, placing the survivors in a facility that once would be something anyone would want to stay away from and turning it into a safe haven is genius. Adding badass characters with an air of mystery and characters with a definite villainous streak is the icing on the cake.
I loved the return of some of the older characters from Season 1. We finally learn what happened to Morgan Jones (Lennie James), the civilian who save Rick from the walkers just after he left the hospital. That particular episode, Clear, in which Rick and Carl return to their hometown with Michonne, is a rather poignant and heartbreaking episode. That adage about never going home again definitely rings true hear. Merle's return is a tad bit contentious at the beginning, but we begin to learn something about Merle as the season moves forward - he truly loves his brother and is willing to do anything to keep him safe. Merle's return shows us something about Daryl's strength of character as well and offers up some great Norman Reedus acting opportunities as well.
The extras on The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray edition include commentaries on various episodes, deleted scenes and featurettes. My favorite parts are the featurettes where we learn how various scenes are created, how various sound and visual effects are achieved and more. I love the fact that each exiting main cast member is celebrated in the featurettes. I find it interesting to see how the individual cast members deal with the loss of one of their own and how the actor who plays that doomed character feels about leaving. My friend, who I have so successfully converted into a Walking Dead fan, hates watching extras, but demanded we watch the Season 3 extras together, finding them fascinating.
There are two things I felt were missing from these extras, though. I would love to have known why they strayed from simple musical score to adding in songs. I'm sure it had something to do with making certain scenes more poignant, but I would have liked to learn how they selected the songs in the first place. I also would have loved to see some bloopers. You know that there has to be some. The scenes can be so serious at times and the make-up of the zombies so outrageous...you just know that the actors can't always keep a straight face. And, seeing how close the cast has become, you just know that they are probably playing pranks on one another all of the time. It would have been nice to see some of that.
The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season definitely did not disappoint for those of us just hoping to catch up on the series, now ending its fifth season. For comic book fans, this season represented something more - a new look at one of the most beloved story arcs in the comic book series. Fan of the show or the comic book, one thing is for certain - this show keeps getting better as the seasons pass. I can't wait to see what Season 4 and Season 5 have in store for our favorite survivors...and just how many of those survivors actually make it as far as Season 6.