AMC's The Walking Dead Season 3: Half the Season, Twice the Anticipation
The first part of Season 3 ends with a contingent of Rick's group rescuing Glenn and Maggie from certain death. Aside from their tragic leader, Oscar, Michonne and fan favorite Daryl make up this team of rescuers in what looks like a suicide mission. They are, mostly successful, save for yet another death to chalk up, due to Oscar being gunned down.
Deeper into the Fray
After she has lead Rick and company in Woodbury, Michonne is shown having an agenda of her own. She discovers the Governor's secret, in the form of his hideous zombified daughter whom she ends up de-animating once and for all. Enraged, the Governor very nearly kills her until she manages to stab him blind. Andrea then walks in on Michonne about to kill the show's enigmatic villain and suspends his demise.
While the outcome to the Michonne-Governor face off is to be expected, it still managed to induce some face palms from us. Andrea, seriously, are those decapitated zombie heads not ringing any warning bells? How about keeping his zombie daughter chained up in a secret chamber? Well, how about listening to Michonne, probably the only person who cares if you're alive?
During the escape sequence, Daryl offers to stay behind to leave cover fire for the group. While this does allow the worse for wear Glenn and Maggie to make it beyond the town walls, it also gives Daryl and opportunity to find his brother in all the chaos. Michonne reunites with the three and convinces Rick to keep her around despite her unannounced disappearance.
Cut to the end of the episode and the brothers are shown together. In an unfortunate twist of events, Daryl and Merle end up in Woodbury's walker arena, being taunted by the 70 or so residents. Well, save for Andrea, who is helplessly pleading with the Governor to let Darryl go.
The Inevitable Buildup
With this half season cliffhanger, you would think that the brothers have the short end of the stick, but there are a few things that indicate they may get out of this one just yet. On a promotional trailer for "The Suicide King", Darryl gets shown outside the zombie pit seemingly running away from hostiles. Merle, while lacking the few seconds of screen time his brother had, is indicated to be alive by Glenn and Michonne raising arms against whoever Rick was returning with. Given their utter hatred against the quick-tempered bruiser, it is fair to assume he is the newest addition to the prison community.
Meanwhile, Carl is turning out to be quite the unflinching soldier. He single-handedly assisted a group of survivors against walkers when they stumbled their way inside the prison. Rick Jr. then leads the new guys into the secure common room which houses supplies but has opted to lock them out of the living quarters.
Lead by Tyreese, this new set of survivors is shown to have their own moral dilemmas while handling their infected member, Donna. In the teaser, it seems that not everyone agrees with a diplomatic approach as Ben and Allen plot to take over Carl's side of the prison for weapons. Tyreese then dismisses the suggestion, saying that the other group is made up of good people. While it would be interesting to see this plot explored, it is probably just included to demonstrate the motives of Tyreese's group.
More than Meets the Eye
If this arc were to be explored otherwise, the confrontation would be more of a one-sided match. For one thing, the new group of survivors have barely licked their wounds, coming from outside the prison. They do not have the benefit of knowing the prison's layout and have a lack of access to the block's offensive supplies. Of course, aside from outward appearances, Carl and the remaining survivors are also more than capable of handling themselves. Add an element of surprise when Rick's group reunites with those that stayed behind and that is that.
On a more plot strategic look, the introduction of new people can only indicate yet another set of walker fodder. This was first demonstrated during the course of season 2 when Hershel's family was picked off, leaving behind a select few useful survivors. Tyreese is the most promising addition so far, though if the teaser is any indication, his hold on his lot of survivors is still in question. In a snippet, Carl mentions to Rick how he thinks his father should "stop being the leader" which may indicate Rick sharing some of the responsibility with someone like Tyreese.
If the teaser gave any clue, Carl's response may be related to his father storming out of the cell block. In this scene, Hershel unusually yells at Rick, saying "get back here". This may be due to the Sherriff's tragic, survivalist state. A confrontation provoked by the newest survivors may have left Rick with no choice but to view the new group as a threat to be eliminated.
Prison Under Siege
Lastly, and undoubtedly the most obvious component of the latter half of Season 3, is the Governor's inevitable assault on the prison group. In which case, Andrea will most likely play a key role, trying, but futilely suggesting some sort of a compromise. Eventually she may just hold the key to how a small group like Rick can overcome the most terrifying hoard of all. People with no humanity left.
Overall, this season is the most thrilling and politically-inclined one yet, exploring the dark recesses of a twisted town of sheltered survivors and showing a different side to each survivor. Packed with plenty of guns, decapitations and close calls, Season 3 manages to give fans a tense yet satirical look upon the walker invasion. AMC's The Walking Dead resumes airing on February 10th.