Season Three of The Walking Dead Shocks Viewers with Heart-Stopping Action and Gritty Drama
By Andrea Cascone
AMC’s hit zombie-apocalypse show The Walking Dead has returned with a darker, more sinister twist than ever before. After surviving a zombie ambush which forces the group out of their fortified camp, protagonist Rick Grimes and his dwindling group of family and friends are faced with very grim odds of survival. Starving, low on ammunition, and faced with the task of caring for a newborn child, the constant threat of flesh eating “walkers” has now become the least of their worries. The roaming corpses of the dead are now as natural to them as elemental disasters such as a thunderstorm or heat wave.
Robert Kirkman, who is both writer of the graphic novels on which the show is based and executive producer of the television series, continues to draw viewers into his gritty and terrifying world by redefining the human condition in a post-apocalyptic state. Kirkman achieves this through the intimate portrayals of his beloved characters adapted to the small screen by an ensemble of character actors. Andrew Lincoln leads the cast as Sheriff Rick Grimes, and his turn from good cop to morally questionable leader is by far one of the most fascinating developments to watch this season. Dealing with the recent loss of his wife, and the birth of his daughter, Rick begins to lose his sense of self, dissolving completely into the role of a benevolent dictator.
New this season is the addition of graphic novel favourite Michonne, and love-to-loathe-him villain “The Governor”: both characters clash physically and emotionally with the group. Viewers will enjoy the juxtaposition of The Governor’s leadership style versus that of Rick, as well as the psychological rollercoaster ride that his power-hungry and violent actions will take the survivors on.
Issues of betrayal, loyalty, family, and revenge are explicitly dealt with this season, as characters rise to face and sometimes fail to meet the challenge of becoming post-apocalyptic warriors and pioneers. The violence and subject matter delves into the darkest of humanity’s depravities. The writers, alongside Kirkman, do not shy away from disturbing and violent display: family turning against family, murder, torture, and sexual assault. These depictions of human cruelty are what capture the attention of viewers much more readily than the impressive and frighteningly realistic decaying corpses and mass cannibalism.
These scenes become even more terrifying to watch when played beside Bear McCreary’s frightening soundtrack, who masterfully composes music just as chilling as the guts, gore and violence in each episode. Science fiction fans will recall his success as composer for all four seasons of Battlestar Galactica, the re-imagined series.
If television viewers are seeking a gritty, character-driven drama, look no further than AMC’s cable sensation. The Walking Dead is on Sunday nights at 9pm on AMC.