Theme of the Walking Dead Season 3
(Some Overarching Plot Points Revealed)
At the end Season 2 of The Walking Dead, the main protagonist Rick proclaimed “this isn’t a democracy anymore” and set up the theme of the following season’s first half. Rick became the benevolent dictator of the group always looking out for his people’s interest and listening to their input. The balance of power had been questionable and shifting throughout Season 2 and it was a suitable climax to reach such a point in the finale.
Their new refuge in Season 3 is a prison, symbolizing the shift to their ruling and way of life. This literal prison is paralleled by the figurative prison in the town of Woodbury. The town’s gate is guarded by guns and puts on a false presentation as a strictly benevolent place. Woodbury seems to be fashioned after 1950s America – which is remembered as a vanilla, pleasant suburban time of prosperity. However, it gathers its resources by murdering other factions and people. Its dark side reflects Ancient Rome with its zombie-human fights in the arena mirroring the Coliseum. As protagonist Michonne attempts to leave this place, it is revealed that the ruling body will not let that happen. Once she reaches Rick’s group, however, she is at first treated similarly with her sword taken away and offered help while at the same time heavily questioned.
The mysterious leader of Woodbury known as “the Governor” is a dark reflection of Rick and echoes the behavior of historical dictators. His charisma and good looks help him seduce Andrea and manipulate those around him to his advantage. Furthermore, his sick relationship with his undead daughter and deceased heads in jars show his mental fragility. In Season 3, Rick also struggles with his sanity hearing voices and a ringing phone among other things after the death of his wife. The choice apart from Rick and the Governor’s communes are the living dead. As with history, the people often have to choose between a tyrant and a grave enemy.
The difference between Rick and the Governor is defined by the governed body. Rick leads a practical family while the Governor rules over a faceless ignorant populace with a military class. Viewers have seen Rick make hard decisions with a conscience and the Governor be nothing but ruthless. It raises fundamental political questions, including whether the ends justify the means. A strong theme in this post-apocalyptic environment deserves to keep viewers interested and the dead walking.
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