This Season was pretty much flawless in my honest opinion and is still the best Season of the show. What drives this fact is the re-mixing of comic events in the right way.
I agree Season 1 was the most compelling out of all them. The season was short and concise, and got straight to the point as far as the plotline went. The characters you came to know from the beginning of the TV series were represented ideally from their comic book counterparts, yet they were still different in their own regard. Scenes like Morgan and Duane Jones involvement with Rick’s initial survival, or the scene with him trapped inside the tank and Glenn calling out to him was a great re-mixing of comic events.
The new original content like the CDC was a great replacement for the Wiltshire estates event and helped provide Rick with a great moral dilemma for the next Season.
I thought the trip to the CDC center was favorable. It fully exposed the reality of the group’s situation. As Dr. Jenner put it, were they witnessing their own extinction event as a human race? I never thought of it that way. Rick’s personal vendetta against Jenner’s abandonment of hope and survival introduced, like you said, a moral dilemma for the next season. His response to Rick, in which the latter thanked him, after allowing them the chance to escape the facility was cold, “The day will come when you wish you weren’t.”
On a personal note, I also like how the writers gave time for the characters of the show to discuss what caused the undead apocalypse. How this infectious disease brought back the living from the dead by explaining, through small logical and scientific facts, how it did so and that the victim was NOT the human individual it was before. I thought that reverberated back nicely after Andrea witnessed her younger sister’s death firsthand.
Lastly, in my opinion, the six-episode story arc was simply too short for a Season. They should have added the “Wiltshire estates” (or something akin that in the TV series) just after the events of the CDC, or maybe even before as the destruction of the CDC building was the perfect conclusion to end the season off. However, this doesn’t bother me that much.
Tyreese's introduction in episode 1 or 2 of Season 2 would have helped boost the amount of character interactions available (He would arrive with Sasha and Allen's family)… being there would give more characters material (An example I thought of being a T-Dog and Sasha romance, allowing T-Dog to have a story).
I agree on that, especially for the character of T-Dog. Romantic involvement with another character would have revealed more about him. Although we already got some of that from Maggie and Glenn, except I thought it was a bit watered down, I still thought it was played out nicely. If this were to happen to T-Dog however, his person would have been more of a fan favorite and would have fleshed out his personality greatly, even just a bit. Instead, his potential as a formidable character was reduced to nothing more than a supporting character… which didn’t do much of anything really. His rant with Dale after coming down with an infection from the cut on his arm was somewhat disappointing. His cowardice in wanting to leave was further reinforced by the fact that he wanted to keep driving after the attack on the farm, even with Beth and Lori with him, away from danger. C’mon now.
As far as Tyreese and his group are concerned, they definitely should have been introduced early on in Season 2. If anything, his character would have been essentially the same as it was in the comic book since it was overall the same setting – which would have been great. Tyreese’s interaction with Rick would have been much more different; their relationship would have started as mutual, then perhaps moved towards a better friendship as seen in the comic books.
Having Tyreese and his group suddenly pop up in the midst of Season 3 was executed poorly, in my opinion. I actually don’t mind them being introduced later on in the show, but their presentation was a bit lacking. Also, Rick’s sudden mental breakdown while meeting Tyreese kind of ruined it for me, but then again… the unpredictability of human nature, especially when it has been emotionally compromised (such as Lori’s passing) in a world where death lingers around every corner can have its setbacks.
Seriously what were the writers thinking placing the whole Season on the farm!? I get that there are budget complaints and all… Coupled with the characters repeating themselves every episode, the setting of the farm every episodes really killed any tension and excitement for the rest of the Season…
With the drama, I’m not going to say it was senseless; this is the end of the world we are talking about, but survival will, at some point, take precedence. I thought it was pretty obvious that Rick and Hershel had to go back-and-forth between each other. The farm was an isolated, secured place with a full field of view, fences, and a single road going in and out. Not to mention they can grow food, have animals to raise and slaughter for meat and eggs, and multiple wells filled with water. Rick’s attempt to persuade, even argue, Hershel into letting his group stay within the farm was very plausible, and it was what started the relationship between them, albeit a bit rocky. I agree though, being that this is a show, we as an audience should be captivated and that the locations should be varied. I, however, thought that this was solved after the premier of the mid-season finale.
Now a lot of people say Sophia's story was dragged out. Now it was, however it's length was necessary to establish character conflicts and moral dilemmas.
By the time Sophia was discovered in the barn as a walker, we had a whole list of shit going on. However, I believe the writers and directors tied a nice little bow to wrap things up mid-season. To start, Hershel, as well as his family, were finally forced to accept the reality of the situation. Shane decided to take matters into his own hands and clear the barn full of walkers, and through his explanation of the undead being just husks of former people, proved to Hershel that his ignorance had gotten the better of him. Rick came to terms with his wife sleeping with his best friend and forgives her. Glenn stood up against Maggie and proved that he is, once and for all, instrumental to the group’s survival, and that he would rather live everyday as if it were his last, with or without her. Good for you Glenn. Sophia’s death brought something of a closure to the group, specifically to Carol, of course, and to Daryl, who went off to personally search for her a few episodes ago.
All this were to set up events for the latter half of Season 2, which I thought was better than the first half. To me, it was a sigh of relief. Certain problems were solved, new ones raised, but in the end they were all solved one way or another. Not much complaint here.
The real garbage was the Randall story arc. Now I would have been fine if this was 2-3 episodes long, however this was dragged out for five episodes, ending with a pretty unsatisfying conclusion. Shane snaps Randall's neck...wow how riveting. The better ending would be Rick or Shane shooting him in "18 Miles Out."
Randall’s story arc was not that bad, in my opinion. The length of it was no problem to me, as it served its purpose well. The whole situation acted as a barrier of sorts between Shane and Rick, who both tried to settle their differences with each other on whether to kill Randall or set him free. This, and coupled with the fact that Rick’s leadership was also being questioned by Shane as well as his suitability as a father and husband to his family. This also led to further disagreements between them, which led Shane to go off the deep-end. He needed an alibi to hide his ulterior motives from the rest of the group; killing Randall was just to get him out of the equation while also setting his devious plan in motion. Quite frankly, I knew it was going to happen by Shane sooner or later. Leading Rick towards the edge of the woods in the middle of the night in some goose chase was the perfect set up to dispose of him. Except we all knew what happened to Shane shortly thereafter…
This story arc also lead to Dale's poor death and the stupidity of having Daryl shoot him, instead of Shane or Rick was bad writing. Speaking of bad writing...what lead to his death...you guessed it, Randall! Dale stood up for this kid and nobody in the group listened…
I wouldn’t call it bad writing per say, although having Dale being torn open by a lone walker was greatly unexpected. His death was not needed, at least not yet. I could see him going as far as Season 3, perhaps further. In other words, if they were going to kill him off, it should have been more realistic and the situation should be more plausibly dramatic. Not just storming off and being killed outright.
…but hey shit happens.
I like to point out though, that Dale served to provide the group’s conscious and humanity. His moral ambiguity is what kept that group on the straight and narrow, always going the extra mile to help someone (Glenn, Rick with Hershel, and even consoling Lori with her pregnancy). Dale was clinging to the old ideals of the world from before, maybe even unto denial. His confrontation with Shane out in the swamps drew the line between what was, and what is now. Shane was the new man in this world, having done things he has decided to be justified, when in hindsight was immoral and wrong. His quote to Shane was captivating, “I may not have what it takes to last for long, but that's okay. Cause at least I can say that when the world goes to shit, I didn't let it take me down with it.”
Season 3 was an uphill battle from Episode 3 and onwards. Sure there were a few standout episodes like "Clear" and "This Sorrowful Life" but the rest of the Season made no sense. I gave the Season a 7/10 as I was being very nice. However if I was to give it an honest rating it would be a 6.
I really loved Season 3, and thought it was great in many ways, but the season finale is where my problem starts.
This whole battle at the prison was underrated. So much hype was put into it, which could be the reason why I disliked it. There was no battle to speak of, except the demise of several walkers by the combined firepower of the Woodbury militia and Martinez’s dead-eye accuracy with his grenade launcher on that watch tower. Maggie and Glenn were the only two visible inhabitants defending the prison, forcing The Governor and his forces back to the trucks. If that 50 cal. on that Humvee hadn’t jammed, that would have been a different story. It was over as fast it started with no valiant stand or climatic deaths. It came as a disappointment to me. However, I felt that the final episode overall was all right.
The Governor massacring his entire militia was unexpected. I only expected him to make an example out of one of them, perhaps Paul, who was the most vocal about their retreat and maybe a few others who retaliated. Instead, he kills everyone with a few pulls of the trigger. Unless he had an extended clip on that gun of his, I don’t see how that would have work.