The Walking Dead has brought its A game this season. This isn't the same group of survivors from three years ago. They've turned into lean, mean killing machines. After an uneven second season, season three has been firing on all cylinders. Within the first eight episodes, we've seen multiple deaths, and we're not talking random zombies. Characters have come and gone, and the danger continues to rise. Here are 13 of the season's most shocking moments to date.
And obviously ... spoilers ahead!
Machete to the head
From the moment he stepped on the scene, Tomas was trouble. He was pompous, selfish and reckless. Rick gave him fair warning about his attitude, but he continued to push it. The last straw was when he casually threw a walker in Rick's direction. At that point, he'd signed his own death certificate.
T-Dog checks out
This still grinds our gears. When T-Dog made it to season three, we thought maybe, just maybe, he'd get more screentime. Unfortunately, his biggest episode was his swan song. When walkers invaded the prison T-Dog was bit, but he still soldiered on. It wasn't until later that he met his messy demise. In an effort to save Carol, he sacrificed what was left of his life.
Lori's death and Carl's killshot
Not to sound cruel, but Lori's death was inevitable. In her world, pregnancy is a death sentence. She was forced to give birth via C-section with Carl's hunting knife. There was no anesthesia or sterilization. Just blood and guts. After she passed, Carl chose to give her the final death blow. A shot to the head.
"No, no, no!"
How could you not cry in this scene? When Rick learned of Lori's death he broke down. There was nothing anyone could do to console him. The acting was top-notch. The look Andrew Lincoln gave Chandler Riggs (Carl) deserves an Emmy in itself.
The Governor loses his cool and his eye
Thanks to Michonne, the Governor's hideous inside can match his outside. After watching her "kill" Penny, he lost it. He didn't care about appearances, he just wanted Michonne to suffer. They had a knock-down, drag-out fight that resulted in her stabbing his eye. If Andrea hadn't stepped in, his neck would have met Michonne's sword.
Will he or won't he? The Governor tortures Maggie
This is one of the most disturbing scenes of the season, and zombies weren't involved. The Governor used intimidation to demean Maggie in the worst way. He led her and viewers to believe that she would be raped. It was disgusting and showed how twisted he really is. We could barely keep our eyes open during this one.
Glenn fights a walker, while tied to a chair
Glenn's known for being fast and resourceful, but this was pushing it. After Merle left him bound and defenseless against a walker, we thought he was a goner. Thankfully, he picked up a few tricks while under Rick and Daryl's tutelage. It was a nail-biter, but somehow, some way, he made it out of there.
The Governor reveals his fish tanks (starts at 6:00)
This is the moment we knew the Governor was more than just a dirtbag. How does he unwind after a long day's work? He sits in a dark room and stares at floating zombie heads. You could argue he's trying to numb himself to the horrors of reality. Unfortunately, that doesn't make it less creepy.
Shane returns... sort of
By the end of season two, Shane was nothing but walking testosterone. He bumped heads with Rick at every turn. Therefore, when he was finally killed off we were ecstatic. So imagine our surprise when he popped up in Woodbury! Granted, he was a figment of Rick's imagination. We hated Shane, but loved his portrayer, Jon Bernthal. It took us back to the good (bad) old days.
Hershel loses it
Yes, Hershel's an active senior, but he should have sat this one out. While on the move, he was bitten by a walker. To keep him from turning, Rick had to act fast. Hershel endured a horrifying surgery, where Rick hacked off his leg. The camera didn't shy away from the blood and bone. We saw it all! We still have nightmares about it.
The group vs. riot gear walkers
In order to survive, you have to adapt. While clearing the prison yard, the gang encountered a new type of walker. They were protected by riot gear. None of their usual moves worked. Luckily, Maggie found away to get around them. Go for the neck!
Rick and those creepy phone calls (starts at 5:44)
While in the throes of grief, Rick got a phone call. If you haven't read the comic, you didn't see that coming. A part of us thought it could be legit, but then we realized something was up. Rick wasn't talking to anyone from the outside world. He was chatting with dead people. Dead members of his group, to be exact.
Daryl and Merle's horrible family reunion
Once Daryl learned Merle was in Woodbury, we knew it was a matter of time before they reunited. Unfortunately, the Governor kidnapped Daryl and used him in a power play. He wanted to punish Merle for his lies (Michonne's still alive, surprise!), so he pit the brothers against each other in a fight to the death. It's a revelation that's yet to play out. Expect to see the aftermath in next week's "The Suicide King."
The Walking Dead returns Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC
What was the most shocking moment for you?