Sorry that title is so long-winded, but I wanted to be precise with the readers. Why? Because season three of The Walking Dead, as I have said before, has been one of the greatest seasons of television I have ever seen. If you look at the pacing of season two (to which the pacing was pretty much slow to stop), season three has propelled the show from good television to GREAT television, which, based on the source material, is exactly what it should be.
It has stripped away a good deal of dead weight, it added crucial characters and portrayed them perfectly, and it has had some genuinely shocking moments. Moments that have, for all intents and purposes, changed the pacing and feeling of the show forever. And with the second half of season three checking it cleats as it approaches the plate (I can do sportz metaphorz!), what better time for us to look back on some of the most unforgettable moments from the first half of season three. Be cautious if you have not seen the first half of this season yet, because there will me MAJOR SPOILERS in this article.
The Leg Amputation
Man, The Santa Clause Part 4 looks BRUTAL!
I know that Paul wrote about how shocking he found the violence in season three, and he wasn’t alone in that. Zombies were getting stabbed through the chin, in close ups, within twenty minutes of the first episode of the season. And on top of that, the way they ended the first episode was a true shock to us all. It wasn’t so much the actual idea of removing Hershel’s leg. It was the fact that they pulled in close, and actually showed, in great detail, the whole moment. I am from a land called the 80’s and 90’s, when something like this would have been unheard of on television. We are talking, full, “R-rated movie” levels of gore here, and being shown on television, no less.
Do not mistake this tone here as me being upset. I am screwed up, obviously, and love fictitious violence. I was just genuinely shocked they were showing it, and I really believe it set the shocking tone for the entire season that followed, which was some genius pace-setting.
Cool side note, Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes (who needs to be in a gang with zombie Ned Stark) says that the leg removal scene was one of the hardest things he has ever had to shoot. He said there were moments when the act of cutting (it was a real machete) and hacking away at the leg felt so real to him, that he was visibly shaken up, and had to keep himself from vomiting. Now THAT is good TV!
Rick Machetes a Convict
Rick is really not a big fan of Gerardo, of Rico Suave fame.
I will openly admit I had a cliche fanboy moment when this scene happened, and I yelled out loud: F*CK YEAH! Why? Because it was that exact moment that showed Rick Grimes was no longer going to be anyone’s bitch. Granted, the season began with him giving the “This is no longer a democracy” speech, which was stellar, but he had yet to SHOW that real alpha, will-do-anything-to-survive mentality, and the moment where the convict caused him to almost get bitten, and then he lodged his machete in said convict’s skull, was a defining moment for the character.
Rick’s descent is a huge aspect of the comic book, and I was wondering when they were going to begin touching on it, and how. That turn to a darker soul happened for Rick in the prison story line in the comic, too, so this is the crucial moment when the pacing of the show FINALLY caught up to the pacing of the book, which is to say, you rarely can take a breath. If you noticed, this show now has two distinct Rick timelines. Rick before this kill, where he was a pretty nice guy, and was doing all he could for the group. And now, Dark Rick (think Dark Link), who will do anything he can to ensure he and his children survive. And this new Rick is a lot like Wu Tang, in the sense that he is nothing to fuck with.
Lori’s Death (and the) Evolution of Carl
” Carl, listen, I know I sucked and shit, but I love you a lot. Look after your Dad. Oh, and kill me.”
There was a hushed, quieted tone that set over the room when I watched this scene with a group of friends. Even though, for all of seasons one and two, we bitched about Lori and how we wanted her to die, the moment she did, we all realized how selfish we were. That was one of the most powerful moments of television I have ever seen. And the thing is, I have read every issue of the comic. I actually know that Lori’s REAL fate was a lot worse than this, but still, it was acted so friggin’ marvelously by all parties involved, that her death on the show resonated that much more with me. Truth be told, it wasn’t just the death. It was what went along with that. Like, for example, Rick’s reaction, which caused me to tear up.
Andrew Lincoln’s acting was so spot on here, I forgot his grief wasn’t real.
Even though she had been a royal twat to him, and even though she fucked his best friend when he was “dead”, you could still FEEL his heart break in this scene. All of us, every single one, felt it with him in that moment. And this only furthered cemented Rick’s dark spiral, which, as you will by the next entry, isn’t something you can shake. It should also be noted that this was the moment where Carl went from being an annoying boy, to being a little man. An awesome, emotionally-frozen, little man. Could you kill your Mother after she had just given birth and died in front of you? Yeah, me either. I would let my Mom bite me. Figure it is the least I could do for all she put up with. But Carl is like: Ya’ll need to bounce so I can shoot my Momz, yo! Then he shoots his Mom. In that moment, Carl was more gangster than anyone in that prison, and that includes actual gangsters.
The Return of Merle
I am sorry, Entertainment Weekly.com, this picture was too amazing NOT to steal.
So Merle is back, and he has a f*cking robo-android-death-arm-attachment. I don’t even need to write anything else here. And we begin next season with him and his awesome brother, forced to fight to the death for the Governor’s (who I will address shortly) amusement. I have never been more excited for a show to return.
Confession time: Between you and I, I thought the introduction, and then disappearance of Merle, was simply setting us up for him to be the Governor, which I STILL think would have been a really cool direction to go with the show. Think about it, people would follow him because he escaped a bunch of zombies by sawing off his own hand. Pretty sure that is a badass enough move to warrant some followers during the apocalypse. Just saying.
Either way, real nice to have him back where he belongs.
Rick’s Spiral (the Phone Calls)
“I smell a “Rick Grimes is watching you masturbate” meme.
Lori so SO ANNOYING, that even in death, she has to call Rick and bust his balls. Poor guy never gets a minute. But really, think about that subplot. I had hoped it was coming, because it was an essential moment in the comic to show his true descent into batshit insanity, but Rick has just cleared out ALL the walkers in the cell block where Lori was killed (and no, no matter what stupid theories you read online, she IS dead!) and then, when he is sitting there, an old phone rings. He goes over and picks it up in a moment of desperation, and there is a woman on the line. She hangs up, leaving us in suspense, but we find out later it is his dead wife, and the phone is actually broken. So, in essence, Rick’s guilt manifested itself immediately.
The sole reason this was so important is because, as you will learn more and more, the idea here is that, over time, when exposed to monsters, you become the monsters. Rick is heading down a very dark road, and it is not the kind of path you can detour from once you are on it. Like a train. A CRAZY TRAIN!!!!
Ozzy was wearing spandex before it was…wait. Spandex has never been cool.
The Governor and Michonne
If you actually imagine them slamdancing here, it is kinda funny.
While not an exact moment (yet), more of an interaction, I would be a fool not to mention just how perfectly this show has been portraying these two. Up to now, it seems the television show has been deviating quite a bit from the comic, and it truly could not afford to do that with these two characters, and it knew that. Michonne needed to be the emotionally frozen, killing machine. And the Governor needed to be an imposing force of evil, and both have been spot on. While some people were initially turned off on just how different actor David Morrissey looks from the comic Governor (who was based around the visual aesthetic of Danny Trejo) that was actually brilliant casting. He needed to cast a false sense of “good”, and that is just what he did. When he looked like a badass biker, you knew he was bad news. This Governor has more of an heir of Hannibal Lechter to him, which was a great idea. Also, his seduction of Andrea, and his almost-rape of Maggie really gave us a great scope for just how evil thus guy is.
And Michonne, portrayed perfectly by Danai Gurira, needed to be that “one expression” woman, always quiet and intense, but shrouded in mystery, and that is exactly what she has been. And fans of the comic know that these two have a massively messed-up interaction, further along in the story, and AMC has made it quite clear they will most likely be going there. Where is there? Tune in and see. Just trust me, it gets really nasty.
The death of T-Dog. Sadly, he was a poorly written character, without a great deal of depth, so T-Dog dying really did not have the impact the show wanted. This is not racism. I WANTED to love T-Dog, but T-Dog is a lot like a bologna sandwich. It is okay, and it will keep you alive, but you sure as shit won’t remember it.
And One For The Ladies:
This got me wet, and I am not even sure how to get wet, other than peeing myself, a lot like this baby.