The zombie apocalypse returns to television with season three of “The Walking Dead” in just a few short weeks. Are you prepared? Do you know what the survivors are facing, who is new to the group, and what conflicts from season two will affect their survival in the future?
Here’s a short primer on what you need to know before watching season three of “The Walking Dead,” including new characters and an update on our survivors’ desperate situation.
Michonne: Perhaps the most highly-anticipated new character is Michonne, who made her grand entrance at the end of season two as the hooded, sword-wielding bad-ass who saved Andrea during her desperate escape from the farm. In the comic books, Michonne is taciturn, self-reliant, and a strong fighter. But perhaps the most interesting thing about the Michonne of the comics is her vulnerability: she copes with her situation by maintaining a one-sided conversation with her dead boyfriend (yeah) and attempts to remain emotionally distant from the other survivors. From the preview, we are guessing that Michonne developes a close, trusting friendship with fellow bad-ass survivor Andrea. Just what the show was missing: a relationship of mutual respect and dependency between two strong women.
The Governor: Second only to Michonne when it comes to highly-anticipated new characters from the comic books, the Governor will be this season’s villain. He is the dictatorial leader of Woodbury, a fortified town not far from Rick and company. While at first he seems to represent a safe haven for Andrea and Michonne, the Governor soon reveals himself to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. His goal? Taking by force what he and his people need for the best chance at survival. In short, he’s an evil f*ck.
The prison: That mysterious building we saw as the last shot of season two? It’s a high-security prison, complete with walls, weapons, guard towers, food, medicine, clothing, and all the safety and comfort our intrepid survivors can expect at the end of the world. It also happens to be full of undead inmates. But Rick and his group have come too far to let a horde of zombies stand in their way. They are desperate for safety, and the prison (once they clear it of zombies) looks like the perfect place to make their stand. Most of the action of season threewill take place in and around the prison.
Woodbury: The Governor’s domain. The town is fortified, and relatively safe, though still at risk from attack. It’s filled with people, most of whom have no idea what the Governor and his cronies are up to. Or if they do know, they don’t care. Between these two opposing camps–the prison and Woodbury–lies our major conflict for season three.
Lori is pregnant: No convenient miscarriage is going to get rid of this little bundle of joy in the midst of the apocalypse. Lori’s pregnancy is not going to be easy, and the imminent presence of a helpless, crying baby is going to put the entire group at risk. With a young son who has had to grow up too fast and a pregnant wife, Rick Grimes will feel a lot of pressure to find safety and resources in a dangerous world.
Shane and Dale are dead: Two of the main characters from both the first seasons and the comic books, Shane and Dale were not only loved by the fans, they served a very important purpose. They were the proverbial devil and angel on Rick’s shoulders, with Dale the last bastion of humanity in the group, and Shane the embodiment of ruthless survival. Without them playing out that moral conflict on screen, Rick will have to internalize the conflict between civilization and the end of the world, and play both sides of the coin. Also, the fans are short two awesome, beloved characters.
Merle is back: As we’ve seen from the production photos, Daryl’s erstwhile, racist, one-handed, vengeful brother Merle Dixon is back and badder than ever. While we don’t know that he’s allied with the Governor (neither of the brothers Dixon appear in the comic books), it’s a safe bet. Even if he’s not, he definitely didn’t take kindly to having to saw his own hand off, and he’ll be out for vengeance against T-Dog. The real question is, will Daryl take T-Dog’s side in the coming conflict, or side with his brother?