Walking Dead Season 3: The Cliffs Notes


SO ANOTHER SEASON of The Walking Dead has just ended and not only did you fail to catch a single episode, all your friends are busy arguing plot points at cocktail parties, mapping survival strategy at softball games, and debating whether they’d french Maggie even though she hasn’t brushed her teeth in a year—leaving you with zero material to add to any given conversation. It’s an excellent way to get left off the next office party eVite, let alone get canned for not being a team player. But who has time to Netflix all sixteen episodes and watch them in one long stuffed-crust weekend binge? Not you. Fortunately a solution is at hand. Because, like the inevitable biter lurking conveniently off-screen, what lies below is the entirety of Season 3 reduced down into a single, manageable, and very delicate demi-glace of a paragraph. I recommend it with a side of dry rice, fresh marrow, canned beans, strips of raw steak, and a fine Hungarian Chianti.


The Walking Dead, Season 3, in exactly 1000 words:

Rick grows more stubble. Some woods wandering. Hey, a prison! Seems sorta uncomfortable and sweaty. The big break in. Candles and blood on the wall. Rounds of unnecessary Walton’s-style singalongs. A series of not-white actors show up and then are killed off before you have a chance to deliver a rant about apocalypse diversity. Hello, prisoners. One dude knows where the power switch is. Wait, there’s power? A napping zombie wakes up when he smells prime grade-A Hershel. Calf gnawing. Ax handy. Leg chopping. Wait, you can get bit and then just hatchet that part off and everything’s okay again? Didn’t see that in the rulebook. Tomas the prisoner is, frankly, too much of a tool to live through another episode, let alone dystopia. The dude with the Rollie Fingers mustache acts sorta rapey but then proves he’s relatively harmless by being relatively harmless, even though his name is Axle. T-dog bites it saving the wan chick. Some soldiers bite it by being too trusting. Merle tells everyone to shush, holding wrist-knife to lips. Michonne kills her pet walkers, scowls through a shower curtain of dreads. You wonder how her samurai sword stays sharp enough to keep dividing skull bone like sticks of creamery butter. You pause the remote to inform your girlfriend that “it’s not actually a samurai sword, it’s called a Kitana.” Your girlfriend asks you to move out. Lori tires of having no real character development and decides to drop water in the generator room. Bad timing. They should have gone with the RU4-86 after all. Caesarian on cement. Carl lodges bullet to mom-head. That’s gonna cost a mint in future therapy. Rick loses his shite for a bit. It’s sorta surprising everyone isn’t rat-eating mad, actually. Glen and Maggie go for formula at The Formula Store. Lots of boring ghost-mom stuff, followed by talking-to-yourself stuff. Feels like a big stall. Doesn’t anyone want to wash their hands? Where do they take dumps? There’s one long yawny episode of Rick jabbering into the phone like Jimmy Stewart in old Hitchcock outtakes. Nobody’s buying it. Daryl looks like he took a bath in I Can’t Believe It’s Not Margarine. Hershel has thoroughly dropped the God routine in exchange for an unfortunate dose of Dr. Phil, delivering a series of reasonable speeches crutch-side. Tyreese shows up. Hey, isn’t that Wee-Bey? Nah, that’s Cutty. Vegas takes 3-2 odds against him lasting until dinner. Glenn is inexplicably disarmed by Merle, then takes a beat down in the Hogan’s Heroes Beatdown Shed. There’s a bunch of egregious Maggie-fondling and impractical nipple-hiding. Her shirtlessness reportedly drives half a million subscribers off the Cinemax fence and over to Dish Network. Meanwhile, Woodbury. Some heads float in jars or something. Experiments on Hugh Hefner go poorly. The Governor menaces the Nerd, then makes out with Andrea. Zombie daughter. Daddy love. Michonne is all Kitana-through-mouth. Broken glass enters Governor pupil. Now that’s an expensive-looking eye patch. UFC cage match with Daryl and Merle. The old “let’s pretend to fight and then run” gambit is employed. Automatic weapons fire vs. ammunition availability likelihood. Escape from Woodbury. Wait, where’s Snake Plissken? Nobody wants Merle back at the prison. Nobody wanted him in the garage in Days of Thunder, either. Merle and Daryl go off on their own to hunt muskrat for a while, but we know they’re coming back. Glen catches a bad case of PTSD and goes full steeltoe on biter head. The townspeople seem unaccountably restive, given what’s on the other side of the Impenetrable Tire Pile. Merle re-fits the knife on his wrist while being pretty much too rednecky to exist, even in Barney Frank’s Apocalypse. Lori in a wedding dress. Again. Woodbury strikes back. The fence goes down. Biters released like spawning salmon. Axel takes one in the temple mid-humanity. Andrea bonds with The Nerd, and then goes and plays Anwar Sadat. Doesn’t pay to hitchhike when Rick’s driving. Some guy from the Pilot episode is still alive. Lots of speechifying. Morgan’s gone cray-cray. Assorted booby traps. Yeah, those would work. Governor and Rick talk it out My Dinner With Andre style. Keep expecting some gunplay, but no. In very un-Chekov fashion, gun taped to table is never used. Nerd bonds with Hershel. Daryl bonds with Martinez. A pair of unlucky biters get the mob-informer teeth crunching routine, then led on chains like prize show dogs. For 45 minutes, no one you care about gets gored. Humping in front of zombie voyeurs. Then some arrow-to-eye. Some bat-to-head. But not nearly enough. Long shot of moaners in a field. Milton torches pet biters. Rick’s son rocks more Stetson. Where’s the ammo store again? The chick you can’t remember the name of looks even wan-er. Please, not another scene with the baby. Wedding ring stuff. Rick is told he’s cold as ice, willing to sacrifice our love. Even a Prius needs gas sometimes. Gonna turn in Michonne? Merle has a talk, decides to do what’s right. Then decides to eat some flesh. Daryl commits Z-fratracide. Wait, is Hershel’s daughter still alive? Oh, yeah, there she is. Ghost mom again. Andrea bound and gagged like Saw III. Maggie and Glen are getting hitched, which should mean Maggie’s done on this show. Rick smolders with his head at an uncomfortably chiropractic angle. The final episode finally rolls around: Milton punching. Milton hero. Milton munching. Big guns, big trucks. The watchtowers get RPG’d. Firecracker trap. Alarm draws walkers like chum in low tide. Everyone run! Governor goes nutburger, slaughters whiners at random. Martinez and Bearded Guy are like, “eh,” and get back in truck. Wonder where they’re going. Carl is a hard little bastard. In five years he’ll be leading the group, and killin’ will be easy. Also, he was right. Who knows what James Van Der Beek was going to do with that shotgun? He sure didn’t put it down right away, so he got a taste of silencer. We all knew Tyreese and his woman were gonna end up on the good side. And that Andrea was going to die. You can’t betray and stay. But boy was it dumb to sit there and chat with Milton without trying to pick up the pliers at the same time. Multitasking fail = neck chomp. Wait, can Rick hatchet away part of her neck and then she’s fine? A bus load of refugees are led back to the prison. Nothing more promising for a series than a bunch of new kid actors added to the mix. Not to mention the cast of Golden Girls. What if gramps dies in his sleep and wakes up hungry for fiber? Daryl adjusts his poncho, obviously still sad about Merle. Maybe he’ll start seeing visions of pregnant Merle in a Billy Idol wedding dress. Rick stares into the wide angle. Lori’s back in her Lori clothes, but still isn’t there. AMC’s gonna get their money outta that prison set, ‘cuz next season’s gonna be a lot more of the same, apparently. Why not hang out in Woodbury with the showers and grassy lawns instead? Rick’s neck cranks another six degrees to the left. Some violin-y music swells. It’s tough being tough. Maybe it’s time to clear the yard of walkers, fix the fence, and plant tomatoes. Oh, and the Governor will be back. In about eight months. In the meantime, enjoy Game of Thrones. Credits.


Desperately in need of a good rolfing.


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About Sean Beaudoin

Sean Beaudoin (@seanbeaudoin) is the author of five novels, including The Infects and Wise Young Fool. His new short story collection, Welcome Thieves, is just out with Algonquin Books.
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2 Responses to Walking Dead Season 3: The Cliffs Notes

  1. Pingback: The Walking Dead: Cliffs Notes Edition — The Good Men Project

  2. AMPillsworth says:

    Whew, thanks for the notes. I’m so far behind in matters WD, it’s not even funny, and don’t even ask me about Supernatural, plus Defiance starts Monday.

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