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'The Walking Dead': Norman Reedus on the 'Season of Rage' and Merle's Return

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Oct 12, 2012 | 9:29am EDT

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It's been seven months since Rick Grimes and his merry band of post-zombie-apocalypse travelers won(?) the battle at Hershel's farm, and now, in Season 3, things are going to be darker (and gorier) than ever. Everyone knowing that they carry the "walker virus" will hang heavy over our heroes' heads this season, and according to our crossbow-wielding favorite cast member Norman Reedus (sorry, we're biased), this will result in one major, communally-shared feeling: Rage.

"The first season was an introduction to this world," Reedus told Hollywood.com over breakfast during San Diego's Comic Con. "The second season was fear, [and] this season is rage. Everyone is full of rage. There's a lot of kills this season."

Yikes. Since this show has already delivered some devastating deaths and the creature forever known as the "well walker," we'll surely be watching much of this season between our fingers. But, as Reedus explained, the Grimes Gang has good reason to be so violent and despondent. "Look at the world," he said. "You're infected. You're going to become one of these [walkers]. There's nowhere to go. There's nowhere safe you can find... there's no light at the end of the tunnel."

Well, the "nowhere safe you can find" part isn't 100 percent true. Hollywood.com has already screened the first two (gory, fantastic) episodes, which find most of the Grimes Gang fighting for a safe haven in that prison we saw looming in the distance during last season's finale. "We have two different stories going on this season, [Andrea and Michonne's] story and our story," Reedus explained. "In our story, we find a prison. It's beautiful, which is odd already."

Of course, since this is The Walking Dead, things won't stay beautiful for long. Soon, Andrea (Laurie Holden) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) will find themselves face-to-face with one of the comics' most infamous villains, The Governor (David Morrissey), in a seemingly perfect self-contained town he's created. When the two plot lines will intersect is still unknown, but Reedus assured us that it will happen. "You have this town, where [The Governor] is screwing all these people. Sooner or later, those worlds will collide."

Sounds like a blast — but we have to admit, the number one thing we're excited about this season is the return of Daryl's petrifying, hand-less older brother, Merle (Michael Rooker). "Where Merle fits in... I can't even tell you!" Reedus said. "He's definitely coming to stir up some s***, you know what I'm saying? It's going to be fun."

While the old Daryl may have been tempted to join his racist, sexist, generally horrific older brother in his post-apocalyptic adventures, Reedus assured us that his years with the Grimes Gang have greatly changed him. "When you think of someone like Daryl growing up with a big brother like Meryl, he's always put down — he's always second fiddle," he said. "Once that pressure is away from him, he doesn't trust anybody. A lot of Season 2 was him saying, 'I'm going to go find this little girl,' and [the Grimes Gang] saying, 'No, wait for us.' He's like, 'Screw you guys, I work better on my own.' He wasn't really trying to fit in. Season 3 he's joined the group a little bit more. He's taking on a leadership role, and he respects them. They brought him in, they trust him, and they need him. It means something to him to fight for these people, and I think he would fight to the death for every single one of them."

The Walking Dead returns Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.

Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna

[PHOTO CREDIT: Gene Page/AMC]

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