Episode Review: The Walking Dead Season 3 Midseason Finale

  • Publish Date: December 3, 2012
  • Comments: ↓ 5 user comments

The Walking Dead, Episode 308: "Made to Suffer"
Original airdate: December 2, 2012 on AMC

Spoiler warning: This page may contain descriptions of events in this and previous episodes.

Walking Dead

Last night's Robert Kirkman-penned midseason finale featured the arrival of fan-favorite Tyreese (played by The Wire's Chad L. Coleman) and the (brief) return of departed star Jon Bernthal. The series will resume its third season on February 10, 2013, and you can already watch a trailer for the next episode.

But, before you do that, let's find out what TV writers are saying about "Made to Suffer" and the third season as a whole...

Loved It Blast Magazine / Danielle Gillette
Like most midseason finales, there is little closure here, but it doesn't really matter. This episode was well-acted, and more than exciting enough to bring everyone back in February after the break. [Grade: 4.5/5]
Loved It Collider / Dave Trumbore
Props to the writers for this episode because there are a lot of plot lines to handle, yet they do it exceedingly well. It would have been easy to just focus on the big action piece for the entirety of the episode and leave it at that, but they manage to up the stakes for our major characters while including the minor characters in a bit of development of their own. [Grade: 9/10]
Loved It IGN / Eric Goldman
This was another great episode for The Walking Dead and a strong end to this half of the season. In Season 3, The Walking Dead has turned into a show that is perhaps less grounded and "realistic" -- in the midst of its genre scenario -- then it once felt, but this is easily the most entertaining and exciting than it's been for a prolonged period. [Grade: 9.3/10]
Loved It Paste / Josh Jackson
The mid-season finale ... was packed with memorable scenes and "wow" moments. [Grade: 9.2/10]
Loved It ScreenCrush / Kevin Fitzpatrick
Truly, has there been a more exciting episode of 'The Walking Dead' than "Made to Suffer?" Not only do we have lots of new characters to interact with, but the action sequences within the town were some of the best scenes the show has ever done.
Loved It Time / Nate Rawlings
The greatest feat Glen Mazzara's team managed to pull off this season was to bring the polar stories of Woodbury and the prison together using two characters that didn't even exist in the comics—the Dixon brothers. ... It was the subplot of two brothers who found themselves on opposite sides of a war—a story as old as stories themselves—that propelled us to an amazing climax to end the first half of this season.
Loved It TV Fanatic / Sean McKenna
There are some great episodes in the The Walking Dead Season 1 and 2, but this stretch of eight episodes really knocked it out of the park. Some great pacing along with maintaining a focus on the characters has made it probably the most compelling yet. [Grade: 4.5/5]
Loved It Zap2it / Geoff Berkshire
The pièce de résistance of an overall excellent episode was the stunning sequence that began with Michonne finding her way into The Governor's secret lair. ... If you've seen a more thrilling, emotionally-charged, edge of your seat six minutes of television this year, please share. Because I don't know how anything can top that.
Liked it A.V. Club / Zack Handlen
"Made To Suffer" wasn't the strongest hour of the fall, but it got the job done and it kept things moving. [Grade: B+]
Liked it Den of Geek! / Ron Hogan
From the introduction of a very popular character from the comics to one of the most brutal fights I've ever seen on television, The Walking Dead has put the shadow of season two in its rear-view mirror. Kudos to director Billy Gierhart, because the shaky camera rarely works, but Gierhart actually made it work during the brawl between Michonne and the Governor. It was gritty, claustrophobic, and thrilling in an episode full of such moments.
Liked it FEARnet / Alyse Wax
Season three has been so consistently good, and tonight is no exception. The excellence of this season has made tonight's episode less special, in the sense that it just feels like one of many. It was intense, and had a ton of awesome action, but there wasn't anything that stood out - if only because it was on par with the rest of this season.
Liked it Film School Rejects / Caitlin Hughes
While this is a better episode than most of this season's, it doesn't quite measure up to the standards of past pre-break attempts. With a few exceptions, nothing overly exciting happens here, and the "cliffhanger" ending is hardly a cliffhanger at all.
Liked it Forbes / Erik Kain
Sunday's was a strong episode overall, even if the addition of new characters was a bit much to pack into the hour and might have detracted somewhat from the more interesting rescue operation.
Liked it Grantland / Andy Greenwald
Despite the problems, The Walking Dead heads into the holiday hiatus in the best shape of its afterlife.
Liked it HitFix / Alan Sepinwall
Though it hasn't been perfect (notably in Michonne's minimal characterization), this eight-episode chunk of season 3 has been the strongest sustained period "The Walking Dead" has ever put together. ... "The Walking Dead" has become a much more morally complicated show, in addition to remaining one that's great at action and suspense.
Liked it Screen Rant / Kevin Yeoman
And with that, a whole new group of characters are introduced to The Walking Dead just before it shuffles off for a brief hiatus. This could be troublesome for the series; more people means more opinions, which means more arguing – something that's previously ground the plot to halt. But thankfully, 'Made to Suffer' isn't looking to put the audience through that again. This is a tight, well-paced episode that manages to keep the primary focus of the season in its sights for the duration of the hour.
Liked it TV Equals / Luke Gelineau
While not all of the moments from tonight's mid-season finale were effective for me, overall it was a thoroughly entertaining episode that definitely has me excited for the second half of the season in February.
Liked it TV Overmind / Jon Lachonis
This season TWD has built up and paid off more tension than other series do all year.

What do you think?

What did you think of last night's episode, and of the entire third season so far? Do you agree that it's an improvement over season 2? Let us know in the comments section below.

Comments (5)

  • CinemaNoir  

    excellent episode, one of the best. All the critics hit the mark on this one

  • JRath  

    This season has been leagues better than the first half of Season 2. When Season 2 ended, I could sense that this should could be epic depending on they handled it from here on out. So far I haven't been remotely disappointed, in fact I've been blown away. Long gone are the days on the farm searching for a little girl and here to stay are episodes that keep us on the edge of our seats, grow the characters, and give us some fantastic zombie carnage. I wouldn't say this episode was the best of Season 3, but that's because almost all of them have been fantastic. 1st half of Season 2

  • Coq  

    Why wouldn't Michonne kill the governor instead of killing her daughter and waiting for him to jump on her? Why in the HELL wouldn't she tell Andrea that The Governor's men tried to kill her when she left, that they kidnapped Glenn and Maggie, just why?
    I really hate when they do this in movies or series, they just stared at each other silently, what is that.
    Season 3 is not so bad, but honestly half of it really seems like filler to me, I have the feeling they're just trying to extend the series for as long as possible. .
    Just end with the original book's story and move on, they changed so much stuff already, why not just add new content instead of overextending the existing one and filling it up with garbage?
    This episode wasn't so bad, but it just shows way too much that they didn't want to tie ANY loose end. Hating this split season BS

  • TheQuietGamer  

    Loving this season. I do have some minor annoyances like Rick's unwillingness to help people outside of his group. I mean I get not trusting them or just welcoming them with open arms, but maybe they wouldn't have so many problems with people if Rick would just try to give people a chance and not be so aggressive towards outsiders. Also what was up with the whole missing Carol thing? It just seemed so pointless. But I'm still addicted and loving every minute of it.

  • JUIKER  

    Season 3 of Walking Dead has been everything you thought this show ought to be. The addition of Woodbury has added a whole new depth to the show. Gone are the days of actors trying overly hard to wring tension out of scenes. The tension is already there in complex dynamics, in playing-for-keeps plot lines and in new characters with truly unstable motivations. My serious qualm with this season is that there have been moments that have been just too dark and cynical. It's all far better quality, though, than, season 2's constant threat of B-movie melodrama and pointlessly drawn out "relationship stuff." I give it all an 8.5/9 and I'm staying glued.... I'm pretty sure.

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