Why 'Walking Dead' Plot Holes Are Saving Season 3

The Walking DeadThere are some shows and movies where the plot holes are so enormous you can't stay engaged in the story because you just keep falling into these unexplainable pits, wondering what in hell the writers were thinking. That's how Prometheus was for me: so pretty, so much potential, but studded with Grand Canyon-sized leaps of logic that ultimately just pissed me off. Some might say season 3 of The Walking Dead is suffering from similar flaws -- but I'm hugely in favor of the eyebrow-raising story changes they made since last season.

I think there's a big reason The Walking Dead's creative team essentially hit the fast-forward button on Rick and the gang, altering personalities left and right while sweeping one big implausibility under the rug: they wanted to fix the things that sucked big zombie balls in season 2.

I'm all for it, and here's why. (Oh, also: SPOILER ALERT!)


If they picked up right where last season left off, they'd have had to tackle the difficult job of transitioning Rick's character in a way that didn't feel rushed or shortchanged. This could have been done, of course, had they not spent, say, at least half of season 2 stuck in that seemingly endless Sophia narrative, sending the characters around in metaphorical circles, butting heads with Shane, and struggling to find some sort of balance between the walker mayhem and the survivors' emotional evolution.

Breaking Bad is a fine example of a show that created a character arc that resulted in an utterly changed protagonist, one who underwent a moral transformation that wasn't always understandable -- but was always believable. Walking Dead didn't pull this off, so they chose to allow time to pass that wasn't accounted for.

(Oh, and I won't bother comparing the TV storyline to the comic, because I think it's obvious by now we shouldn't expect things to always match up.)

Yeah, it seems a little unlikely that our intrepid group of survivors didn't find the prison for, what, several months? We saw it at the end of season 2, after all, in a sweeping shot that rose above the trees and revealed it looming there, seemingly just a short distance away. In the season 3 premiere we got a short explanation that they'd been traveling in loops, but ... well, come on. They would have found it.

But who cares? The jump in time was a bit of a cheat, but I'm giving it to them because I'd rather we get to where we are now. Rick is far more interesting as a man who's willing to make brutal/immoral decisions to keep everyone safe; Carl's more watchable as a kid who's no longer comically, maddeningly inept; Lori's no longer the hideously inconsistent shrew who first demanded that Rick kill Shane then freaked out on him when he did so.

An astoundingly good, award-winning show might have effected change on our characters in a way that made us feel as though we knew them, understood their motives, and maybe most importantly, brought their essence to life on the screen. The Walking Dead is not that show, at least not yet. That's why I'm glad they made the choice they did: better to skip ahead if it makes for a more enjoyable season.

I'm sure it's a hell of a job, trying to balance nuance with flesh-eating corpses. But so far, I'm liking what I'm seeing in season 3 -- regardless of how we got there.

What do you think about the jump in time between Walking Dead seasons? Do you think it was a good move?

Image via AMC

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