pop-break’s staff looks back at the first half of the third season…
The Walking Dead’s mid-season finale is nearly 24 hours old and we’re still trying to pick up our jaw off the floor. (Don’t believe us? Read Luke Kalamar’s review from last night.) But what did the staff of Pop-Break think of the entirety of season three’s first half? Four of our most diehard TWD fans check in with their thoughts.
Luke Kalamar (Reviewing The Dead Columnist): If you’ve read my previous reviews of the show, you probably already know that I absolutely loved the first half of the season. The action has been incredible, acting has definitely improved, and the story is moving at a perfect pace. A lot of complaints with Season 2 were that the show was moving too slow, but Season 3 completely throws that notion away. There are only a few things that I didn’t like with this half, but those were generally how Andrea (Laurie Holden) acted and the occasional frustrating moment with any given character. Obviously the quality has not been significantly reduced.
Now, if I had to speculate, I’d say this season will lead The Walking Dead to receive some Emmy nominations, especially if the second half is as good as or even better than the first. Outstanding Drama is a possibility, but I feel that David Morrissey is highly likely to get a Supporting Actor nomination for his portrayal of The Governor. He does an incredible job in this role and truly brings this very menacing and manipulative character to life. Hair and Makeup is almost a definite as well.
Needless to say, if you tuned out before for any reason, you totally missed out on one of best shows on the Fall broadcast schedule. I would really recommend taking the two month break until the show continues on February 10th to catch up anything missed. I have no doubt the second half will be spectacular. Rating: A.
John Elliott (Promotions Manager): TWD had some serious ground to recover, and it’s really done that in the first half of this season. Setting up Woodbury and the Governor as a major source of conflict has added a tremendous sense of focus and community to the show. I want to draw major comparisons to the third season of LOST in how this show is gelling, but I might save that for February. Anyway, Michonne has been a great addition and a wild card, and the Governor is somehow a deeper, better realized character than he ever was in the comics.
I think another thing the show’s been doing this season is taking on a “single and best version” of each archetypal character–Lori became unnecessary and was killed because her death made the rest of the characters more interesting, and Carol has many of the traits that Lori possessed in the first place. The uncomfortable thing this leads to, though, is sort of a revolving door of “big black guy” characters; twice this season, a strapping black man has been introduced in the same episode that the last version of that character gets axed. It’s not entirely kosher, but at least now we’ve got Tyreese, one of the best-realized characters from the comic.
Also, color me surprised, but Carl has actually become badass and likeable, and doesn’t even need to stay in the house anymore.
So, I’m pumped for February. Good job, TWD.
Logan J. Fowler (Senior Writer/Trailer Tuesday Columnist): The metaphorical dung has been hitting the fan this season of the The Walking Dead. A few major characters have been killed off (but let’s be honest, they kind of needed to go anyway), humans are more at war with each other than the flesh eating zombies, family has been reunited under really bad circumstances, and some dude called the Governor is planning to screw up everything for everyone because he’s all territorial.
Damn, the season up till now has been near perfect. And when I say near, minor gripes are just what I mean. Dialogue is still wonky at points, players are still just not what they should be (seriously Andrea in the comics was a hardcore shooter, if they wanted to change her that’s fine but she’s more annoying than anything else), and there’s still an air of idiotic choices that characters make that carried over from season 2 (Lori, Lori, Lori but she’s gone so that’s one less problem). However,many things are for the show are just perfect. Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes is lovable hardcore bad ass, the relationship between Maggie and Glenn is not only heartwarming but feels real. Zombie kills are insanely awesome. Carl is now a gun toting crack shot who doesn’t get lost. Daryl is still A+. Michonne is everything I could ever dream of in a restricted type of violent material program. And while the Governor may not look like his comic book counterpart or totally act like him yet, I do enjoy what I’m seeing of him and I think in the next half he’s really going to cut loose after the so called “hell” Michonne has thrown his way.
While the ending of the first half of Season 3 felt light for a mid season cliff hanger, there were some definite great moments, like the aforementioned Michonne and the Gov throwing down (and her taking something very important away from him), the “Shane” illusion (what was that all about? More tapping into Rick’s psyche like the phone call?), the introduction of a major fan favorite comic book character who has been talked about since season 1 (you know him as Tyredse, can’t wait to see more of this dude). and that ending of the possibly soon to be executed Dixon boys in the zombie fight club arena brought a certified simultaneous grin and gasp to my face. Dare they kill off Daryl? I predict rioting in the streets if so.
All in all, I can’t wait till February. This program has reached a solid peak here that sends it into the best season of the show for sure. Let’s hope for more of that come two months from now.
Ann Hale (Horror Editor): This has been my favorite season so far. I have literally hugged a pillow through each and every episode, not out of fear but out of sheer anxiety. The edge of my seat is now worn down into the shape of my butt as I have been permanently fixed there for an hour each week.
Carol has stepped up and proven to be more than the emotional wreck left by the death of her daughter. Glenn is still the swift errand boy but he is obviously someone for enemies to fear, whether the rest of the group knows it or not. Maggie has gotten tougher but still has a few weaknesses to overcome. Carl is now someone I can actually stand. Instead of putting himself and everyone else in danger constantly, he has saved them more than once. Lori made me angry until her last breath, leaving her husband and child to raise a baby without food or know how. I wouldn’t expect any less from her. Poor T-Dog, may he rest in peace. He went out exactly the way he should, saving the life of another. I wish it would’ve been Beth instead, as she is useless so far.
Its truly a testament to the brains behind Walking Dead that they have been able to keep this show consistent. This is a show that has gone beyond genre television and while it may never win any big awards it keeps all aspects of the audience guessing and waiting. While I can see the flaws that befell the first half of Season 2 and the reception that followed I still stand by some of the downtime that occurred during that period. However, this season thus far has been nothing but juggernaut episode after juggernaut episode and I never found a dull moment in how the show has moved from episode to episode. Beyond some really rich character development the idea that anyone is expendable in this zombie filled world was reinforced in droves providing some powerful moments. Top that off with the introduction of Woodbury and the Governor and we have an even bigger context to place our heroes in from here on out. If this first half was any indication I cant wait to see what is in store for the second half come February. Bravo!
Jason Stives (Senior Editor): Merle and the Governor have been great villains this season. I can’t wait to see who actually takes each one out. I’m hoping for Carl to take out the Governor, proving the little prince can become king should something happen to Rick, which is possible as Rick is slowly losing it. I desperately want someone to beat the ever living hell out of Andrea already (fingers crossed that it’s Maggie) and I’m very interested in seeing where they are going to take us with these new character editions to the prison. I just hope these additions don’t mean the loss of any more characters that I have grown to love.
All Photos Credit: Gene Page/AMC