The first season of The Walking Dead took place in the midst of the apocalypse. It was well underway when Sheriff Rick Grimes woke up from his gunshot-induced coma, but he got up to speed pretty quickly. Survival was key. During the chaos, there were infighting and power struggles among survivors, but the immediate threat of flesh-eating corpses put aside most other concerns.
The second season allowed enough of a respite in the serenity of the farm to deal with the emotional aftermath of the apocalypse. Each survivor had to find their own moral center, make difficult choices and live (or die) with their consequences.
Season Three is fully post-apocalyptic.
The threat hasn’t subsided, but the lucky ones have survived, found their strength and adapted. Civilization has been reduced to tribes. And two of those tribes are about to go to war.
Both groups have done the once-unthinkable in securing their respective safe-havens. The citizens of Woodbury have food, security, even the semblances of normalcy. They’ve given power to their Governor, though, not understanding what a sadistic psychopath he really is. Most duped is Andrea, who’s sleeping with him while he strips and tortures members of her former tribe after sending Merle to hunt down her best friend.
Fortunately that best friend is Michonne, and she dies only as easily as she gets fooled by some “pretty-boy, charming Jim Jones type.” She makes it to the prison—saved in the end by Carl—letting Rick’s gang know where their friends are held captive—but not that Merle and Andrea are among them. She doesn’t trust easily either.
They’re waylaid on the road to Woodbury by a herd of walkers, though, and the shack they hide in isn’t empty. Once again, the living prove to be as dangerous as the dead. Its owner is a crazy woodsman with a shotgun who lives with a dead dog and asks to see Sheriff Rick’s police badge. Michonne skewers him before he gets them all killed.
At Woodbury, there are a couple of experiments going on. In one, Milton is testing the cognitive awareness of newly turned zombies. But for Andrea, it would have ended with him becoming a cognitively unaware zombie himself. In the other experiment, Merle and The Governor are trying to torture Glenn and Maggie into revealing the whereabouts of their group. In a twisted turn, Merle leaves Glenn tied up in a barn with a hungry walker, but Glenn the Delivery Boy has become Glenn the Action Hero and makes short work of his attacker. Still, after hearing Merle pummel Glenn and being forced to strip for The Governor, Maggie finally talks with a gun pointed at her boyfriend. We learn to hate The Governor more with each episode.
So #TeamPrison knows where Woodbury is, and #TeamWoodbury knows who’s at the prison. There’s a post-apocalyptic battle coming in next week’s midseason finale, and it’s going to make the zombies look merely like a sideshow.