By Jamie Ruby
The Walking Dead
is a story of survival. Whereas one of the main components are obviously zombies, one of the things that make the series so great, is it is about the people and how they struggle to survive.
The main group of survivors at the beginning of season three consist of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), his son Carl (Chandler Riggs), Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Andrea (Laurie Holden), Glenn (Steven Yeun), Carol (Melissa McBride), T-Dog (IronE Singleton), Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson), and his daughters Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Beth (Emily Kinney).
Season three of The Walking Dead
was the best yet, and it really feels as though the show has gotten into its groove. The story seemed to flow better, in my opinion, and left the viewer wanting more, and didn't feel stagnent like it did at times last season during the search for Sophia (Madison Lintz).
Quite a lot happens in season three. At the beginning of the season we meet Michonne (Danai Gurira), the katana-wielding badass that briefly showed up at the end of last season. Though she doesn't meet up with the main group of survivors right away, she has an important part to play in the season.
This year the survivors have found a new home - the prison. Having fortified walls of course offers them protection, but they soon find out they are not alone.
Season three also brings some other new faces, one being Tyreese (Chad Coleman), who many fans were waiting to see.
This season is also the start of the Governor (David Morrissey) story arc, who is the main antagonist of the season. He has been running Woodbury and keeping people safe in the idyllic little town, but he is not who he seems.
There are also two returning characters this season: Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) and Morgan Jones (Lennie James).
Season three was my favorite of the series so far. So much was going on it really kept me on the edge of my seat. It was nice to see a change of location on the show and with it a change of pace. I thoroughly enjoyed the new characters this season, especially Michonne, and of course the Governor was deliciously evil. I'm curious to see how the story will continue in season four.
I was also quite pleased to see the return of Merle, the play between him and his brother Daryl is always done well. Morgan returning was also a bonus, as I had been wondering what happened to him in season one, so it was nice to get some closure at least.
The acting as always on the series was topnotch. The scenes are always gripping - especially the deaths, which there are quite a few of this season, and major ones at that. Of course the directing adds to that and helps you feel like you are right in the middle of it all.
The sets were fantastic this season - you can tell they paid attention to detail with the prison, and also Woodbury as well. They did a really good job of showing that "perfect" community and then breaking down the facade.
As alway the special effects were superb, especially the practical ones. The production team continues to get even better and raise the bar for zombie deaths when it comes to grossness. This show is definitely not for the faint of heart - or stomache.Bonus Features:Audio Commentaries:
There are commentaries on episodes 4 (director Guy Ferland & actor IronE Singleton), 5 (director Greg Nicotero and actress Danai Gurira), 8(executive producer/writer Robert Kirkman, executive producers David Alpert and Gale Anne Hurd, and actress Danai Gurira), 9 (executive producer Gale Anne Hurd and actress Danai Gurira), and 15 (director Greg Nicotero and actor Michael Rooker).Deleted Scenes:"Walk with Me"
- Andrea wakes up to find she and Michonne are in Woodbury, and not being treated like guests."Say the Word"
- This is a scene between Carl and Beth with a debate about Heaven and Carl's possible loss of faith."Hounded"
- The others try to help Rick get out of his angry funk."Home"
- This is a scene with Rick having a delusion of seeing Lori again. He kisses her then she turns into a zombie, all while Michone sees him standing with no one."I Ain't No Judas"
- This was my favorite of the deleted scenes. Carol brings Merle food then tells him not to underestimate her and threatens him."Clear"
- this deleted scene is with Morgan Jones (Lennie James) and seems to be an extended version of what is in the series about him needing to stay behind and "clear."Featurettes:"Rising Son"
- This featurette is about Carl and him having to grow up pretty quickly. The crew and actors talk about his journey through the season going from nuisance to badass."Evil Eye"
- This feature is about the governor and his descent into madness - from the viewpoints of the cast and crew as well as Kirkman."Gone, But Not Forgotten"
- This featurette is all about Lori and her death. The feature touches upon her relationships with Rick and Carl, but also show behind the scenes footage of how they created the practical effects of Maggie helping her give birth. The effects are of course bloody and gross, but this was a cool look at creating the scene."Heart of a Warrior"
- This featurette is all about Michonne. Danai Gurira talks about playing the character and the other crew weigh in. They also touch on her relationship with Andrea and about her understanding Rick's decision to take her to Woodbury."Michonne vs. the Governor"
- This feature is the cast and crew talking about the hatred between the two characters as well as a behind the scenes look at Michonne & the Governor's fight scene, including killing Penny, destroying the fish tanks, and eye gouging. Some of the scene was done with stunt doubles. Another great feature showing a behind the scenes look at special effects."Safety Behind Bars"
- This was one of my favorites. The feature goes behind the scenes to show details of the jail and how it was built on the back of the studio - from aging steel to making fake concrete and brick facades. The production team, actors, and crew, including Kirkman himself, talk about bringing his vision to life."Making the Dead"
- This feature is exactly what you would expect - it's about the special effects team creating zombies, including not just practical effects but also visual effects. Nicotera talks about animatronics and wanting to keep each zombie different. This was one of my favorite features of the bunch."Guts and Glory"
- The feature is send off for the characters that were lost during the season (minus Lori, which is part of the other feature). The cast and crew talk about their reactions to the actors leaving, but we also get to see behind the scenes of many of some of what went into their gruesome deaths. There is also a good bit about Merle and his final scene with Daryl.Packaging:
I was given the blu-ray to review. It comes in a standard blue clamshell case, inside a cardboard slipcase (the regular DVDs also have a slipcase). The case itself is the size of most single blu-ray discs which is nice, and the dvds are on flipping holders in the center. So far they have all stayed in and I haven't had any cracked disc holders which sometimes happens with this kind of case. The five discs all have nice character photos/artwork (desaturated season three character promos) on them: the Governor and Rick, Carl and Lori, Michonne and Andrea, Merle and Daryl, and Maggie and Glenn.
The first four discs are episodes and the fifth is a bonus disc; however, there is no way to know this as the discs are only numbered and there is no listing. This is something which really irritates me in TV series sets - if they don't want to put writing over the photos, they could at least include a listing somewhere (for those who want to know, disc one includes episodes 1-4, disc two, 5-8, and disc three 9-12, and disc four, 13-16). The back of the set does however list what special features the set contains.
The set also includes a small "Dead Stuff" advertisement. It includes advertisements for various things for the show, such as the webisodes, the "Dead Yourself" app, the maze at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios, action figures, video games, and even an arcade machine. There are also of course other various merchandise in the book. There are also a few other AMC ads.
All in all, it's a great set to own. Even if you have seen and recorded all the episodes, the bonus features in and of itself are worth the price. There is also a limited edition that includes a "zombie head tank," but I didn't get to see that in person to review.