Come Sunday night, viewers will again have the opportunity to join in with a party of millions to watch a deteriorating, spineless entity roam about, desperately scratching and biting in an attempt to gain sustenance. That’s right, it’s again that time of year when the music industry hosts the Grammy Awards.
But, in better news, Sunday night also marks the return of AMC’s lauded series “The Walking Dead,” back after a midseason break for eight more episodes that will cap off Season 3.
Though I’m a dedicated fan, unlike many of its legion of bloodthirsty supporters I’m often left wanting a little more of “The Walking Dead.” It’s a good series, no doubt. But it could be so much better.
Here’s a look at five things I want to see – or at least get a whiff of – in the second half of Season 3.
Keep up the breakneck pace
“The Walking Dead” took a big step forward in the first half of Season 3 thanks to a vastly increased pace. It’s hard not to think back to Season 2 and remember the hours spent with the survivors lounging around Herschel’s farm, bickering at each other about what supplies Glen needed to swipe from the drug store and organizing search parties for Sophia, a character we barely knew in the first place. Perhaps the injection of new showrunner Glen Mazzara – who already is no longer the new showrunner and is the now-former showrunner, as he’s been replaced by Scott Gimple come Season 4 – helped shift gears, so it’s safe to assume the second half of this season won’t slow down. “The Walking Dead” has never been a show with strong character development, and giving the survivors time to sit around and complain to each other reminds us of that. Stay on the move, folks, it’s what you do best. (Except for you, one-legged Herschel. You may rest.)
Michonne can still be saved
Michonne’s neck-chopping introduction at the end of Season 2 was unforgettable and left viewers excited to see what the cloaked katana-swinger had in store come the new year. What we got was a introverted warrior who, without a whole lot of dialogue, was pretty much reduced to suspicious stares and endless scowling. Ask any fan of “The Walking Dead” graphic novels and they’ll likely tell you Michonne is one of the books’ best characters, but the TV show has yet to give us an indication why. Perhaps she’s been the on casualty of Season 3’s hyperactive pacing – with so much time spent rippin’ and runnin’, we haven’t had a chance to really get a feel for Michonne. All we know is she wasn’t buying the Governor’s schtick from the get-go. Here’s hoping her integration into Rick’s group gives us some insight into what she’s fighting for.
Gore doesn’t always equal good
I get the sense that “The Walking Dead” has a large percentage of fans that tune in each week just to see someone get their melon lopped off and to get a peak at how much spaghetti will spill out of a walker’s belly when given just the right ax swipe. The over-the-top action is fine with me, but I’ve found at times the show keeps trying to up the ante. Gore for gore’s sake — just because you can’t doesn’t mean you should. An easy example is in the death of Lori. By all accounts, she needed to go. But did she need to be cut open to deliver her baby, then be shot, then be eaten? And then have the Lori-eater also be killed? I feel like the grieving process for the family would have been the same if she’d have died just one time instead of four. Maybe it’s just me. A little restraint can go a long way, and might keep my mind in the story instead of thinking, “Are they really going to—yup, yup, they’re going to go there.”
Andrea: Liberty or death
Aside from the one-dimensional cartoon character that is Merle, nobody in the “Walking Dead” universe has frustrated me more than Andrea. What started out as a promising character in Season 1 with the death of her sister, her ensuing lack of interest in continuing her life while also having NRA levels of interest in packing heat (no matter what Dale says!) has evolved into a silly girl who can do nothing but fall in love with the wrong man and make terrible decisions. We’ve seen her sleep with two men thus far, each happening to be that given season’s antagonist. We’ve also seen her decide to stick by the side of the Governor in his creeptastic cave of severed heads and a zombie daughter instead of siding with her friend Michonne, who merely saved her life and protected her in the wilderness for months. If there’s anybody in need of either a chomped face or a serious change of course, it’s Andrea.
Tyrese, not T-Dawg Part II
One of the most exciting moments for me in the Season 3’s half-season finale was the arrival of Tyrese. Not only because the introduction of new characters are always welcome – the show has to always reload with the rate at which its recognizable faces are gobbled up the undead – but because Tyrese is played by Chad Coleman (Dennis “Cutty” Wise on “The Wire”). An endless amount of mockery has been made of the fact that “The Walking Dead” seems to sub in and out its black characters, giving them minimal lines and/or purpose, so I have high hopes that Tyrese won’t go to waste. We were given more information on the late T-Dawg’s background in a 10-second rant by Glenn after he’d been killed off than we did in the two-plus seasons he was around. Tyrese deserves better.
“The Walking Dead” airs at 9 p.m. Sunday on AMC.
–Shane Nyman, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @shanenyman