The conclusion of the mid-season finale of “The Walking Dead” season three leaves Rick and the rest of his camp in the worst predicament they’ve been in since the series premiere, and maybe since the outbreak. As Rick and members of his group travel to Woodberry to save Glen and Maggie, the episode titled “Made to Suffer” lives up to its name for most of the characters involved.

After fans were left last week with Glenn and Maggie still captive in the post-apocalyptic suburb of Woodberry, it was a strange choice to start the show off with a new group of survivors on the run who make their way to the prison where the remaining members of Rick’s group wait to hear back about their hostage comrades. It is yet to be seen whether the new group will play a role in the series, but in “Made to Suffer” they served to show how Carl has evolved into the leader the group needs in his father’s absence.

Lead by Michonne, Rick, Daryl and Oscar make their way into the guarded haven Woodberry to rescue Glenn and Maggie, and enter into the hardest fought battle of they’ve been in, facing armed men rather than walkers. The entire episode is tense, with the show pitting Daryl just out of sight of his estranged brother Merle.

Season three so far has proved to be the best portion of the “Walking Dead” series, and it has done so with half of the season left. Rick’s group has been established throughout the last two season, and few new additions are made – two prisoners have joined.

The story has hit its stride now that Rick has found a supposedly secure place to keep the people cares about, all while there is a functioning suburb in traveling distance from them. There is a distninct contrast betweent he two bases, with Rick’s dark, dank prison in a perfect juxtaposition to the Governor’s seemingly quaint town.

Now the rebuilt civilization lead by the twisted Governor has gone into a panic, labeling Rick’s group of intruders as “terrorists” and appearing to declare war on them. Even though Rick and the others have made it outside of the Woodberry walls, how far can they make it on foot, with Glenn wounded and the Governors militia after them?

The big question trumps last year’s mid-season finale, when Shane opened Hershel’s barn.

The manhunt isn’t the only cause of the frustrating suspense from this open ended episode. Carol has the new group of survivors held captive in the prison, and Daryl and Merle have been reunited under less than desirable circumstances in Woodberry.

“The Walking Dead” has always used the zombie apocalypse as a way to express ideas about human nature, but it has never been as powerful as it has become in the most recent episodes. A tyrannical leader disguised as an old-fashioned gentleman, and the concept of people being trapped in the places where they believe to be safe are just some of the things that make this season more human than ever.

Since being reunited with his family, Rick has strived to make a life for him and his family that was like the life they had before. Now that dream place exists, and it’s worse than the prison that the group has settled for.