As I prepare for the season three finale of The Walking Dead, I decided to list off my favourite moments so far. Anyone who listens to our Walking Dead Podcast knows I am by far, the most positive, and while I acknowledge the many things the series does wrong (all in script form), I can’t deny how much I love the show. Here are the ten best moments of the first half of season three. I’ll be posting the second half of the list on the day of the season three finale.
10: “Sick” – A couple’s last moments together
Rick and Lori’s exchange on the bridge was one of the most heartfelt moments between the two so far in the series. How rare is it to see good writing, good dialogue and good performances come from the dysfunctional couple. The writers worked hard to rebuild Lori, before killing her off.
9: “When the Dead Come Knocking” – A van carrying zombies
When The Governor attacks the prison, one of his henchman drives a van carrying walkers onto the prison grounds. Unloading the zombies only causes further problems for Rick and his gang, particularly Hershel who is left to run off on one leg. This was the first of two “Walker Bombs,” the second appearing in the penultimate episode of season three.
8: “Seed” – The opening scene
In just a few minutes, the cold open to the season three premiere of The Walking Dead showed great improvement as the group pick through a house in order to seek food and perhaps temporary shelter. We were offered much information without a word of dialogue and Carl is now all grown up and fully capable of wielding a gun (with a silencer no less).
7: “Seed” – Baby walker
The highlight of the season opener sees Lori and Hershel discussing the ramifications if her child were stillborn, or worse, came out a baby-walker. It was the most horrific, chilling and certainly most compelling moment of “Seed”. This is the sort of dialogue we love.
6: “Seed” – Hershel looses a leg
Viewers who felt that the extended stay at Hershel’s farm was for the most part, lacking a sense of urgency, were truly satisfied by the action in “Seed” when Rick and co. cleared the grounds of the West Georgia Correctional Facility swarming with the undead. What followed was genuine ass-kicking and non-stop carnage. Everyone’s body language and teamwork indicated just how much they’ve improved, and the sequences within the prison’s labyrinthine corridors (lit only by their flashlights) was unbearably tense. “Seed” gets in plenty of grotesque kills, fantastic make-up and creature effects – including the multiple chops through Hershel’s leg. Although his bite was easily telegraphed, keeping him alive was unexpected.
5: “Sick” – Axe to the head
“Sick” had three memorable moments that can easily enter the pantheon of the show’s greatest hits. The pseudo-alliance between Rick’s group and the prisoners was a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode, but who would have guessed Rick would blow too? Killing off their de facto leader like he did – the swift machete to the skull – was completely unexpected – even for this show. And graphic! It was shocking enough to see Big Tiny viciously taken down, but Rick’s crime was a game changer. How many millions of viewers had to “rewind” just to see it again?
4: “Made To Suffer” The raid on the prison
“Made to Suffer” breathes new life into an already impressive third season, delivering scares, excitement and a long-awaited character introduction. “Suffer” is best episode of the first half of season three. Rick, Michonne, Daryl and Oscar head out on a deadly mission to save Glenn and Maggie, while newbie Tyreese (Chad Coleman) leads his group to the prison. The Woodbury raid brings the biggest action set-piece the show has ever attempted. It’s intense and exciting, and confirms, just how much Rick and his group have become true soldiers. The Woodbury scenes had a surprisingly measured pace and its set pieces were superbly choreographed against the frantic nature of Rick’s quest.
3: “Hounded” Finding Carol
What makes The Walking Dead a great series isn’t the lasagna-gut munching, syrup-based blood and spectacular onscreen effects. Although we greatly appreciate the men ripped in half, heads torn off, and people devoured alive – what truly elevates the show is the potent emotional beats. Darryl finding and rescuing poor Carol remains one of the highlights of the entire series run. Give credit for the sequence’s effectiveness to composer Bear McCreary and Norman Reedus, whose Daryl quickly became everyone’s favourite character on television.
2: “Killer Within” – Lori’s death and the birth of Judith
“Killer Within,” is easily the most emotionally devastating episode of the show yet. Left for dead, Andrew returns and sets off the alarm in the prison. Even worse, he releases a horde of walkers through the prison gates. Carl and Maggie try to take Lori to safety, only Lori is forced to stop as she goes into labour. And so Lori is cut open and eventually bleeds to death, leaving Carl to clean up the mess and finish off his mother. Kudos to the creators for keeping the gun shot offscreen, and credit to Chandler Riggs, who pulls off a great performance in those final minutes.
1: “Made to Suffer” Samurai minus an eye
The ensuing escape during the Woodbury raid was electrifying with guns blazing and a lone samurai determined to exact revenge. But the shootout wasn’t nearly as intense as the brutal confrontation between Michonne and the Governor – a scene reminiscent of the infamous, motel-room assault on Patricia Arquette’s Alabama in True Romance. From her mercilessly stabbing of Penny – to the Governor smashing her head through the aquarium – to the shard of glass lodged into his right eye – the sequence can easily be placed in the pantheon of the show’s best moments. You’d figure that would be an eye opener for Andrea, but instead the show’s “Wonder Woman” continued to turn a blind eye.