The Walking Dead Season 3: Five Reasons Why it Fell Flat with Fans

Angry fans of the hit television series, The Walking Dead, are sounding off in social media circles, upset that the show ended its season in such mediocre fashion and essentially violated its contract with fans by getting rid of popular characters, keeping hated characters around too long and by starting and ending the third season in the awful prison. Words like, ‘ambiguous,’ ‘anti-climatic,’ and ‘disappointed’ have dominated the trending #Walking Dead conversation on Twitter, while on Facebook The Walking Dead page is taking a beating from its unhappy fans.

One fan in particular, Joseph Tomaselli, whose post had attracted over 115 likes as of Monday afternoon, is quoted stating bluntly, “I have to applaud AMC for pulling off the biggest con job in the history of television. Two weeks ago, the creators of The Walking Dead said that when the screen faded to black at the end of the season finale, ‘millions of jaws would be dropped.’ And just a few days ago, [character] Andrew Lincoln (Rick) said that ‘it all goes off’ during the season finale. So what did we get? A season finale that was short on action and drama and big on commercials. That’s all it was. One commercial after another.”

I’ve been picking on The Walking Dead since season three started by stating that I think the show has officially ‘jumped the shark,’ simply because its audience had reached a certain critical mass. Now, however, the evidence of the show losing its creative juices and adopting complacency (what typically constitutes jumping the shark) is available at our fingertips. Tomaselli continued on Facebook by supporting this notion.

“For those Walking Dead fans who love to point out that the show is about human emotion and not action, I’m sorry, but I saw MUCH more human emotion from the Louisville and Duke teams when Kevin Ware suffered a compound fracture of his leg on LIVE TV Sunday afternoon. Walking Dead fans, we’ve all been whored out for the mighty dollar.”

Honestly, I can’t agree with Tomaselli more. That being said, the evidence of eroding character development and complacency can’t be captured in an emotional appeal. Let’s look at the facts:

1) The show started season three at the prison, and in a disappointment to many fans ended this season at the same, stale prison: so much for brainstorming and creativity! After two seasons of scenery change, season 3 should have set us up for something new to look forward to and failing to do so hindered the plot line.

2) They killed off Andrea in a compassionate manner. What, we were supposed to care about her? Based on her backstabbing and weak, no backbone style, and the fact that she continually slept with the enemy, Andrea deserved to die a horrible death. The Walking Dead fans deserved to see this hated character go down in flames, rather than with sympathy. This character kill-off shows a lack of understanding by the writers with the show’s audience. Did they really think there was sympathy in the fan base for Andrea?

3) Merle’s death received only five seconds of mention in the season finale, something that was only communicated between two people, as if nobody else on the show was even notified of his emotional departure just one-episode prior. Its as if this character never existed, never had an impact on the other characters and was just a ‘bit player,’ in the grand scheme of the show, which is the farthest thing from the truth. Merle’s character deserved more respect.

4) Clearly, The Walking Dead has been suffering all season long with internal struggles, evidenced by the hasty firing of its show runners and veteran writers. This season’s character development pretty much ceased to exist at the mid-point of the season and never recovered. Merle’s parting, as mentioned above is but just one character fail of The Walking Dead, season three.

The fact that the show’s most popular character, Daryl, didn’t dominate the finale is proof that the show’s writers are now missing the boat, where in season’s one and two they were on the money with character development. Daryl’s brother was killed in the finale and Daryl doesn’t even get a shot at revenge? Not even an opportunity? Cookie-cutter characters do not a show make.

5) Reminding viewers during every commercial break that ‘The Talking Dead’ with Chris Hardwick is ‘coming on next’ is a constant reminder how uncool the show has become in season three. What is this, the Bachelor? The Walking Dead fans don’t need a reminder that AMC’s paid actors and guests are ready going to dissect what we just saw and try to explain why we should care about those scenes.

As a fan of The Walking Dead‘s first two seasons it pains me to write these words, to slam the very show I fell in love with. That being said, am I wrong? Am I misreading these queues? I hope so. I’d love nothing more than to see The Walking Dead make a strong comeback next fall for season four. Unfortunately, I fear the show lost a good portion of its audience in season three.

By: David Aronchick


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  1. I agree on some issues and not on others. I actually prefer season 3 over season 2. Season 2 was very slow and boring to me. There was no clearly defined threat as there was with The Governor (although Shane was pretty close). I thought the season 3 premise of how in this world of zombies the most dangerous threat is other people(although it caused a huge lack of actual zombies IMO). I feel like rick lost a lot of credibility in season 3. His bad decision came back to haunt him and his hallucinations made me think that maybe a new leader should be appointed. You are right on character development – it seems the only character the writers were focused on was The Governor (who really was a great character). I’m not sure it was development as much as revealing his true nature but watching him change from friendly charmer to shooting his own people was interesting. It seems like they tried to develop Merle into a redemptive type character except they did it just before he died and crammed it into 10 minutes of the season. Same with Andrea, by the time they got to her picking a side and doing something it was far too late. We didn’t care (personally, I wanted her gone back when she fought with Dale about guns). And then they just try to explain it at the last minute as she wanted everybody to live (great job, Andrea). I was really let down by the ending. I went back and watched again because I was sure I missed something, but no, The Governor just disappears. Run off somewhere surely to pop up again. Just because he’s a great character doesn’t mean he has to be the bad guy for more seasons. And somehow Carl’s comments about Rick’s decisions leads me to think that bringing the Woodbury people to the prison is just going to be another bad choice that ends in deaths.