When last year's second season of the zombie apocalypse drama began dragging like the decomposing legs of a shambling undead horror, fans started to fear that the promising potential of the AMC series, based on the popular graphic novels, might never be realized.
It's been gratifying, then, to see how the show's third year - which marks its midseason finale Sunday, before going into hibernation until February - has found its footing.
Nearly every episode has had some dramatic development that's sent fans into a tizzy of talking and tweeting, and Sunday's instalment is shaping up to be a corker, as a revitalized Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the evil Governor (David Morrisey) finally clash. There will be gunfire. Zombies. Loyalties being tested. Worlds colliding.
Here are five reasons why The Walking Dead once again owns our eyes, ears and braaaaains.
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