Despite having a somewhat anti-climactic finale, Season 3 of The Walking Dead was probably the best yet. I guessed that it was going to be bloody, but I never expected it to have a body count higher than an '80s Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Over at the prison we bid a brutal farewell to show regulars T-Dogg, Lori, and Andrea, while Daryl was forced to re-kill his zombified brother Merle. The original inmates of the prison had managed to survive just fine before Rick and his crew arrived, but soon after their "liberation" they all died horrible deaths. This was nothing compared to the massacre that befell the people of Woodbury though, with the Governor annihilating his entire volunteer army at the first sign of dissent. The streets ran red with Woodbarian's blood. The season ended with Rick taking in the Woodbury refugees, while the Governor was left with his two trusted lieutenants and a lot of explaining to do.
With the dust now starting to settle, let's gaze into our crystal ball and take a look ahead to Season 4 and what could be in store for us when the show returns.
The Land of the Living
With the huge loss of life that occurred during the past season it's no surprise that the show has been quick to bolster the ranks of the living. (Tyreese), (Sasha) and Emily Kinney (Beth) have been promoted to series regulars, which led to the bizarre situation of a bunch of disgruntled Carol (Melissa McBride) supporters venting their rage that she deserved to get a promotion too. I think this stemmed from the fact that her name is listed in the secondary credits, i.e. "also starring," forcing McBride to take to Twitter to reassure her followers that she's been a series regular for ages. Phew, panic over. Semantics aside, what's clear is that there's going to be a hell of a lot more characters to care about when the show returns and this can only be a good thing. I expect Tyreese to become a major player and force himself into Rick's inner circle, while Michonne also came to the fore as Season 3 progressed so I think she's going to have Rick's ear (and back) in Season 4.
It's now time to talk about the big, mean, one-eyed monster prowling the Georgian countryside. I can't be the only person who was surprised the Governor survived the season finale. I fully expected him to end up dead and alone, lying in a pool of his own blood and eviscerated entrails. It wasn't to be though, and the man sometimes known as Philip lived to fight another day. What this means in terms of his on-going feud with Rick is anybody's guess. Season 3 took a sharp departure away from the narrative of the comics which means wannabe smart-asses like myself can no longer rely on the source material to make predictions. What we know for sure is that the Governor has lost his last shred of humanity and he's going to be an even bigger menace next time out.
That the Governor survived the season finale was a great decision on behalf of the showrunners. I loved seeing his decent to the dark side and David Morrissey gave a performance that bristled with barely disguised snarl and hideous contempt. For Season 4, Show creator Robert Kirkman has promised that we'll "see the Governor in a new light" and they'll be "doing some different stuff with him." Different stuff? I like the sound of that. How about the Governor is driven to the brink of insanity through near-starvation and ends up killing Shupert and eating his corpse for sustenance. Getting a taste for human flesh, he then stalks the group at the prison, picking them off, one-by-one. A bit of cannibalism spices up any show.
We could however see the narrative swing back in line with that of the comics with the Governor trying once again to retake the prison by force. This would obviously be more of a challenge for him now that he's got less friends than the smelly kid at school, but it could offer the opportunity for him to finally get his hands on Michonne. And he really wants to get his hands on Michonne.
The Land of the Dead
What became apparent during Season 3 was that other people are now the biggest threat to the survival of the human race rather that the walkers. This is something that doesn't seem to sit so well with the showrunners and producer Gale Ann Hurd has promised that the undead will become a lot more formidable in the future. Considering walkers tend to be more of a threat when they are in big groups, this suggests to me that Season 4 could see the introduction of the Herd. For the uninitiated, a Herd is a force of undead nature; a massive group of walkers numbering at least 1000, all moving as one flesh-hungry mass towards a target. It's a simple equation: Lots of zombies equals lots of scary, so if the show wants to ramp up the undead threat, they have to ramp up the undead numbers. Let's see if the prison population is able to survive an attack by a Herd.
The walkers could also become more of a threat if the group are forced to leave the safety of the prison, as being unfamiliar with your surroundings and not knowing your exits is a sure-fire way to run into trouble. From a viewers perspective I would like to see the group go on more side missions or even leave the prison entirely and look for pastures new. Being shacked up behind bars is claustrophobic for all concerned and if heading out into the big, wide world means an increased risk of zombie-related deaths at least it will make for great television.
So in short, Season 4 promises more of Tyreese, Sasha and Beth, a bats**t crazy Governor and an increased walker threat. Bring it on. It's just a shame we have to wait until October for the show to return. This summer is going to be long and free zombies.
It's now your time to shine guys. Use the comment section below to let me know what you want to see on The Walking Dead when the show returns for Season 4.