Tuesday, December 4, 2012

TV Review: "The Walking Dead:" Season 3; Pt 1

"The Walking Dead" Season 3
Any number of things kept me from my Monday night re-caps of "The Walking Dead" but it started with Sandy and continued through the election and onto any number of other things and there you have a it. So having finally seen the mid-season finale (hole-lee cow!), I thought I'd just review the entire first half of Season 3. As with most of my TWD posts, here there be spoilers. If you are not caught up yet, wait to read this post until you are. 

First (and I honestly hate to say it, because I do admire his work), I think Frank Darabont's departure ignited something in the rest of the team, who were determined to do much less slower-moving character work and much more action and now intrigue. The theme for Season 3 is "Fight the dead; Fear the living" and the cast and writers are hitting them out of the ballpark, so far. The additions of Michonne and the Governor and the dark secrets of Woodbury have been handled beautifully (though I do hope we get to see some of how Michonne and Andrea spent their time on the run) and were just what the show needed to keep the story moving forward while providing for plenty of action and weirdness (wall-o-aquariums-filled-with-Walker-heads; a chained-up Walker child). The prison may have some relatively safe areas, we know it is far from impenetrable. And while many cried out in protest when T-Dog became a Walker T-bone, there weren't too many complaints when Lori sacrificed her own life for "L'il Kick Ass" (aka Judith). We may have hated her, but we cried when Rick lost it. Meanwhile, Hershel is proving to be the toughest post-apocalyptic son-of-a-bitch on one leg, bopping around on those crutches like he wasn't even wearing a blue stocking on the lower half of one leg.

Over in Stepford... er, ah... Woodbury, Andrea is so horny for the hot daddy in charge, that she can no longer make a single good decision. Michonne kept you alive for nine months, idiot! Through the winter, moron! Are all the batteries dead, too? I get it. I'd do that man in a heartbeat, unless the sword-wielding badass who has kept me alive for nine months didn't trust him! Speaking of bad-assery, Glenn may well be giving Michonne a run for her own bad-assery. Not only did he take out a Walker while duct-taped to a chair after he'd been severely beaten,  he then used the Walker's ulnae to fashion bone shivs for Maggie and himself. Damn! Then there's Merle, who has become the Governor's top man, reveling in his authority and the sadism he gets to practice, under it. Merle isn't half as badass as his younger brother, fan favorite Daryl, who has developed a sense of family and belonging with Rick and company. Here's hoping Daryl now lives by this code: Families are Chosen; Relatives are Not. On the other hand, Michonne and her hard-on for the Governor led to her discovery (and eventual destruction) of what was hiding in his closet. The ensuing hand-to-hand fight between the two was great, ending in a very painful-to-watch cyclopian outcome.

Back at the prison, a new group led by Tyreese (a character introduced in the comics much earlier than in the series' timeline) is under attack and make their way into the prison through the crumbling back wall. Their screams draw out the badass in annoying Carl, who helps, but doesn't trust the strangers and who seemed just a little too eager to pop the young woman who'd been bitten for my liking. Yeah, we know, Carl - you popped your own mom. That doesn't mean you get to pop every Walker-in-Waiting.

Finally, Glen and Maggie are rescued, but not safe; a vengeful cyclops blames a conspiracy and riles up his followers in a scene reminiscent of a certain 1930's German painter; insane experiments; sex and violence; guilt-inspired hallucinations; heart-hardening pain... what more could one want from a Horror series? How about some amazing performances and terrific writing, too? Well, you got 'em!

I know a lot of fans complained that Season 2 seemed to get bogged down at the farm, but I think we all needed that sense of complacency to prepare us for the roller-coaster Season 3 has proven to be. I am loving every episode this season and am so glad they listened to the fans and got back to some exciting story-telling. December and January are going to be difficult for the die-hards. This is one drama that just continues to get better. **** (Four out of Four Stars).

And to just follow-up on yesterday's weirdness, BoingBoing posted the below video in response to the "Buffalo Bill" dance video. It's even weirder and creepier, though the guy has a much better body. Again, you don't need to see the whole thing to get how truly weird it is but hey - whatever floats your boat (though I truly hope it's not this):

When my beloved "Fringe" leaves the air, "The Walking Dead" will move into my #2 Best Show on TV slot.

More, anon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great recap!

That midseason finale was excellent and what you say is true - the series has really found it pacing.

Have you been watching The Talking Dead? It goes to an hour next season. They always do a In Memoriam all the characters and walker killed but this week they missed a few which I thought might be plot clues.

Did you know the Science Channel has picked up Fringe and airs them on Tuesday nights from 8-10 or 11? They also have Fire Fly.