I’m an avid follower of AMC’s The Walking Dead and Season 3 does not disappoint. Our merry band of survivors have come a long way since Rick discharged himself from Zombie ER. They tried camping (it didn’t work out), then they tried living in a laboratory (ditto). After life on Hershel’s farm didn’t turn out to be the Arcadian utopia they had hoped it would be, the Grimes gang ended up in a prison. I really liked the introduction of the Woodbury colony; a lot of interesting scenes take place there and I’m curious to see how this post-apocalyptic society develops under the iron rule of Governor Philip. Darryl’s reprobate brother Merle has made a welcome comeback, while other more established characters (Glen, Carl, Beth) are starting to come into their own.
However, I have a few gripes about certain aspects of this otherwise thoroughly entertaining show.
- Do the scriptwriters enjoy killing off black male characters? Oscar’s death in the Woodbury raid, so soon after T-Dog’s demise, seems to confirm this. I hope newcomer Tyreese has more staying power. Where’s Ving Rhames when you need him?
- How is it that their food and water supplies have remained so plentiful after so long without civilisation? The main characters have barely had time to settle in to their new prison home, so they can’t grow crops or husband livestock. How is it that the prison supplies have not spoiled in that Georgia heat?
- Why haven’t the zombies rotted away yet? Did they have a lot of preservatives in their diet prior to infection, or are the ones in Season 3 new recruits?
- Why is Michonne so damned popular among the fanboys? I admit, I haven’t read the comics, so perhaps I’m missing something here, but it seems to me that her only appeal is her ownership of, and ability to use, a katana. When she’s not hacking up ghouls with gay abandon, she spends all of her waking hours scowling at everyone, as if she’s just walked out of an argument with her mother. Michonne is one of the least interesting characters in the story and no effort has been made to flesh her out. Why does she hate the Governor so much? He hasn’t done anything to her, which brings me to the next point.
- There’s been a lot of fuss around the water coolers over the infamous ‘rape’ scene. In the comic book, it is Michonne who is raped by Philip, which explains her hostility towards him. In the episode When The Dead Come Knocking, it is Maggie who is the victim, but she is not actually raped. Instead, the Governor makes her remove her top and threatens her. Did AMC tone it down for fear of arousing the ire of the censors? Perhaps it’s because I’m European, but someone’s going to have to explain that one to me. Let’s think about this: TWD is a show for adults, where every episode shows horrific scenes of violence. Lots of people, living and dead, are hacked, chewed, stabbed and shot. Why is it acceptable for a post-watershed programme to portray copious amounts of blood and viscera, when a scene in which a man violates a woman provokes howls of outrage? Before you get on your moral high horse, I’m not for one moment suggesting sexual assault isn’t upsetting. But think about where they are. In Post-Apocalyptia, there is no law and bad people are given free rein to commit evil acts. A rape scene, even an implied one, would make sense, given the context, and add a bit of gritty realism to the story. Why do American censors come down so hard on sex acts in fiction, whilst at the same time permitting extreme violence and death? I don’t understand Puritan logic.
- The scene with the crazy hermit in the shed defied explanation. How could he have avoided being attacked on his own in a flimsy shack for the best part of a year? Why had the zombies not torn down the walls? Why did he keep threatening to call the police? That scene really annoyed me.
Despite my perplexity and vexation over these minor issues, I’m thankful that there are quality shows like TWD on the tube and I’m dying to see the next thrilling instalment.