Andrea manages to screw yet another psycho… Rick plays telephone with a head full of crazy… Herschel saves an assload on new shoes.. Carl is definitely NOT in the house and suddenly has a penchant for Alpo. What do these things have in common? They all happened in the first half of season 3 of AMC’s beloved zombie drama The Walking Dead. Season 2, which was largely characterized by the core group’s ambitions to turn Herschel’s farm into a safe haven allowing them to find some semblance of normal life, saw our survivors on the run with nowhere to turn and nowhere to go. We got out first glimpse of fan-favorite Michone and the rumblings from the rumor mill hinted at the introduction of The Governor, a character that followers of the comic we’re salivating to see brought to the screen. So with expectations high, how has the first half of the uber popular comic adaptation held up to our expectations?
Luckily, and seemingly against all odds with the departure of show frontrunner and creative force Frank Darabont, TWD has managed not only to continue to raise the bar for cable drama, but has managed to mainstream zombie horror to such an extent that set top “zombie survival” games bearing the TWD logo can be seen gracing the end caps of Walmarts everywhere. So good has the series been in fact that fans (both living and undead) are frothing at the mouth for the series’ return in February. For those just now jumping on the bandwagon, here’s the gist of what you’ve missed so far.
Herschel’s farm, now overrun with the living dead is no longer a safe haven and the group sets their sites on a prison, once secure not now playing host to a gaggle of walkers. Rick and his new brand of kickassery go in machetes and fire pokers a-blazin and round up the last biters there only to find that some of the prison’s former inmates are still alive. Rick ignores their pleas to join the group and soon the small group ex-cons learn of Rick’s protective side when it comes to the safety of his group. Meanwhile, in an undisclosed location, Andrea and Michone hole up in what looks to be a bar/live bait shop as Andrea battles a horrible fever. We are soon introduced to Michone’s resourcefulness when it comes to the Walkers and the two’s friendship is tested as Merle, long absent brother of Daryl is reintroduced, snagging the duo in the woods and bringing them before his new employer: The Governor.
Back in the prison things turn from bad to worse as Herschel loses his leg AND seeking vengeance on RIck for hastily kicking him out, one of the former inmates lets a mess of walkers back into the compound, ultimately resulting in the death of Ricks wife Lori as she gives birth to her daughter. Rick, upon hearing the news of his wife’s passing distances himself from the group, eventually retreating into his own psychosis, talking to the deceased on a phone from within the prison’s walls.
With a newborn added to our ragtag group, formula is the newest grocery list item and Glenn and Maggie are the next to fall prey to Merle’s quest to find his brother while out scouting for the new baby’s food. The two are taken back to the Governor’s mecca in deadland, Woodbury, and tortured as to the whereabouts of their group. Michone stumbles upon the Governor’s secret, catching him interacting with the reanimated corpse of his daughter and decides a quick exit from Woodbury is on the agenda. Andrea, who has found solace in the arms of their would be captor disagrees with Michone’s decision and the two part. Michone is pursued through the woods by Merle and a group of the governor’s men, outwitting them and eventually making her way to the very prison her pursuers are looking for. Formula in hand, she is taken in under the pretense that the core group is not accepting new members, only to aid them in rescuing Glenn and Maggie from Woodbury. Our climax sees a daring rescue, Michone’s showdown with the governor (he loses an eye and the corpse of his daughter in the mele), Merle’s reunion with Daryl (and the governor’s eagerness to betray him in an attempt to spin their family reunion into a terrorist conspiracy resulting in an attack on the town), Rick’s road back from temporary insanity and the introduction of yet another comic book character, Tyrese.
The show, which continues to wow us and prove that the genre, even in the midst of our current zombie over saturation, is rife with great minds that elevate the source material to new heights. The comic, The Walking Dead is available monthly from Robert Kirkman and Image Comics. The AMC original series returns from its mid-season hiatus this February 10th, 2013.