If you have not watched every episode of The Walking Dead that has aired for this season, or if you intend to read all the comics, I suggest you stop reading now. There will be some spoilers ahead. Now, for the rest of you, I can honestly admit that I have never seen a single hour of TV that was powerful or as compelling as this past Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead. You know, the episode where Lori finally gave birth? I sat there, watching, sobbing for Rick. The emotion Andrew Lincoln displayed in that single scene may be one of the best performances I have EVER seen an actor give in my life. It was gut-wrenching. And as I sat there, it dawned on me: Season 3 of the Walking Dead has been, hands down, the best season of television I have ever seen. Yes, it has even surpassed the mighty, flawless Game Of Thrones for me. How? Well, allow me to explain.

I have been a massive fan of The Walking Dead comic since its very first issue. Though it was slow-going at first, I understood what they were doing. They were building the tension, and slowly showing us that The Walking Dead was not about zombies at all. It was about humans, and how, under the worst circumstances, we humans become the monsters. It was brave and raw and violent and unforgiving. And all those things made it amazing to me. But, much like this season has shown us regarding the show, The Walking Dead is tragic, through and through. It is not some video game-esque romp through some world where beheading zombies gets you points and better weapons. No, this is a world where you WILL lose everything you love, eventually. A world where you will be forced to make the toughest choices you ever have in your life. A world that will eventually crumble in on itself, though it is just a matter of time. And up until this season, the show was by no means on par with the comic book. But then, the prison setting happened, and much like I predicted six weeks ago, everything changed.  This season of The Walking Dead has been one of the most badass and brutal things I have ever seen, and I am loving every minute of it.

Thleg amputation scene was one of the most shocking things I have ever seen on TV.

First of all, the violence that has been shown this season has EASILY trumped any other season (or show) and we are only four episodes in so far. We have seen a zombie have its skin pulled off the entirety of their face. We have seen zombies stabbed in the chin (many times over). We have seen a character get his leg hacked off (by the way, that really was actor Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick, hacking off that leg, but the leg was fake. He said doing the scene made him physically ill because the leg looked and reacted so realistically). We have seen a guy take a machete to the skull. We have seen countless zombie bites, and we have seen a guy cave in another guy’s skull with a crowbar. Even having typed all of that, I cannot help but feel like I have missed a few, and that just shows you the level of gore and mayhem they are working with. But that is not the point of this piece.

The point is, think about the prison setting, think about the Governor, think about the pregnancy and birth, think about Michonne. I mean, have you ever seen the zombie genre handled so perfectly? From setting to the frantic pace, to the sickening feeling that is growing over the course of the season, the feeling that things are just going to get worse and worse, this really is the single best season of television I have ever seen. Honestly, I really did just say that. I ADORE the Game Of Thrones series (as do most of you, I am sure) but season two of Thrones lost the perfect pacing of season one, and though I loved it, season 3 of Walking Dead has just surpassed it. It really has.

Even though my girlfriend is on that show.

Mainly, it was episode four of this season of The Walking Dead, The Killer Within, that took the mantle of ‘best hour of TV I have ever watched’. This is where the article is going to delve into some SPOILERS, so read on at your own risk.

First of all, I want to say something about the death of T-Dog. Who is T-Dog, you ask? He is that token black guy they threw on the show to make it all more racially diverse before Michonne showed up. Problem was, T-Dog was generic as hell. He really was. There was NO PERSON ALIVE who ever answered T-Dog, when asked who their favorite member of the Walking Dead show was. Sorry, T-Dog. You weren’t in the comic, and you weren’t very flushed out or well written, so you being bitten and saving the others was nice, but had no effect on me, emotionally. I’m sorry.

Seriously, quote ONE memorable line from this dude. Bet you can’t.

I also found it odd how the show had T-Dog, but no Tyreese, who was an essential and BADASS character from the comic. Something tells me we will see him soon, though. They have shown a black guy around Woodbury (the Governor’s make shift town) who keeps eyeing Michonne, and he looks freakishly similar to how Tyreese was drawn, so let’s hope that happens. He is a stellar character, and was key to the flow of the comic.

Another thing worth mentioning from this season is just how alpha Rick turns. No longer is he dealing with Lori’s bipolar insanity. He just stops taking people’s shit and starts running the show. Even the start of the season began with Rick telling the group ‘This is no longer a democracy!’. Thing is, no one argued. We also saw hints of just how tapped this whole thing was making Rick when he machete’d that prisoner in the face (which was the right thing to do, by the way) and then pushed the other guy outside with the walkers and locked him out. It’s one thing to kill someone, it is another thing to toss someone to the beasts and let them get ripped apart.

You see, this is all getting to Rick. It really is. And finally, it is culminating. The moment you see it all become too much is the (SPOILERS) moment he sees the bloody baby and doesn’t see Lori, and you can see that he knows she is dead. It is in his eyes. Then he lets out a wail, and falls to the ground. The moment gave me chills and put tears in my eyes. Plus, knowing Carl had to shoot his Mother? How f*cked up is that? Emotional overload on all levels. You can see Rick looking at Carl, and Carl has no emotion, and Rick knows at that point how far gone they all are. How he has already, essentially, lost everything.

We ALL hated Lori up to this exact moment, and then, suddenly, we all didn’t want her to die.

The funny thing is, Lori’s death floored me for multiple reasons. One, I thought I wanted it up to the point when it came, and when it came, I realized how selfish I was. I wanted her to die because she annoyed me on the show. She was moody and insane and emotional and irrational and EVERYTHING A PREGNANT WIFE AND MOTHER MOST LIKELY WOULD BE DURING A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. But I didn’t realize that until I saw her on the floor, holding her son’s hand. And listen, I am about to drop a HUGE SPOILER FOR THE COMIC RIGHT NOW, so if you intend to read it, close this article right now.

If you think Lori’s death on the show was sad and unsettling, you should see how she died in the comic book:

Yes, she is carrying the baby she just gave birth to.

You see that picture up there, from The Walking Dead comic? The actual death scene of Lori? Can I tell you how sick I was when I read that? How unfair and cruel and twisted that was to experience in a comic? And guess who did it? Guess who shot them? Well, I won’t ruin everything for you, but he is on the show, I will tell you that.

So what is my point in all this? Well, like I said in my predictions for this season, the prison is the REAL start to The Walking Dead world, in my opinion. Everything else was just sort of zombie movie fodder, but here, this is where stuff really starts to go south. And all of it will take a toll on Rick that will turn his world inside out, even more so than we have already witnessed. Seriously, watch this scene in case you missed it. I have never seen so many genuine emotions conveyed in thirty seconds. Andrew Lincoln’s performance for this scene alone should earn him an Emmy.

I get chills every time I watch this scene. Just emotionally devastating to behold.

I have seen many great shows over the course of my lifetime, and many of those shows have had some stunning performances, but the feeling I got in the pit of my stomach for Rick in that scene, as he looks helplessly at Carl, who is completely numb, and just realizes it is all for nothing, is without par. He has basically lost his son, his wife, and now has a newborn to take care of in a world where it doesn’t stand a chance. And then the episode ends.

And me, and my buddy Jamie, just sat there, in silence, our eyes watery, and our faces twisted, just so. And the only other time that had happened to me with a TV show was when Ned Stark was beheaded on Game of Thrones. But at NO single moment in the second season of that show did I feel that feeling again. And yet, something tells me this season of Walking Dead is going to have me feeling that, over and over again.

Just wait until Rick starts getting his phone calls. That shit is real messed up.

So, for me, Season three of The Walking Dead has forever raised the bar on what television can make people feel, and thus, is the single greatest season of television I have ever watched. And the funny thing, this season is just getting started.

And I haven’t even touch on the return of Merle, yet. That is a whole article in itself.

Keep a puke bucket and a box of Kleenex near you during this whole season, trust me.