Season 3 of The Walking Dead may have moved to a new address but have no fear, if the premiere, “Seed” was any indication of what’s in store, then this season could be the best yet. We find Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the survivors several months later after their leader chewed them out with his “my way or the high way” speech. In that time, a full winter has come and gone and more than just hair has grown.
The most immediate change noticed is that Carl (Chandler Riggs) is a seasoned killer, Lori’s (Sarah Wayne Callies) deep into her pregnancy, Carol (Melissa McBride) has worked on her shooting (but is no Andrea), even Maggie gets her hands dirty. Unlike the long, drawn-out openings, “Seed” throttled us into a test of endurance for the entire episode when Rick stumbled onto a prison that’s overrun with walkers.
Rick believes that it could provide a new home base with fields of grass to grow crops, quarters to sleep in, and hopefully supplies that could heal and feed them. They’ve all mastered the art of the close kill in the time passed between seasons. Similar to a Spartan phalanx, a group consisting of Rick, T-Dog (Irone Singleton), Glenn (Steven Yeun), Maggie (Laurie Cohen) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) developed supreme confidence in close quarters with walkers (even with riot gear) and storm their way in, clearing the outside quarters and at least one cell block. The walker count in “Seed” may have exceeded all of Season 2.
This close combat makes every confrontation an adrenaline rush because we fear a bite or scratch. Every brain-squishing stab is a momentary pause of relief and chain link fences have provided a method for easy extermination.
Guns and ammunition are a growing premium and so is food. They’ve devised tactics in using fences to cut them, and close them up. Rick even has some crude contraption made with two giant waist hooks to hold a sliding fence door closed. Give it to Rick, he’s gotten these boys and girls prepared; this is a scarier, more amplified season and I can’t wait to see what other contraptions the group comes up with.
Feelings have grown as well, some further apart like Carl and Lori, while others have moved further along like Carol and Daryl. Carl has even grown protective of Beth (Emily Kinney). There is some fantastic tension between Rick and Lori where she is thankful for all that he’s doing, and Rick basically answers back with an F-you look.
Rick to Lori: Don’t patronize me. If you want to talk, talk to Hershel.
Oooookay then. More love has been lost between these two the past several months. And unlike most shows where we see romance blossom we’ve slowly seen this marriage disintegrate. The baby is sure to only magnify their problems.
Lori (later): My son can’t stand me, my husband hates me for what I put him through.
There are still snide remarks about Shane.
Carol: Rick’s gotten us further than I ever thought he could. Shane could have never done that.
And others such as Dale are long out of the rear view mirror, which makes you see how far they’ve left their moral compass behind. Even Hershel (Scott Wilson) has stopped his soliloquies.
There were some wonderful, suggested horrors introduced, such as Lori and Hershel talked about the baby coming. She hadn’t felt the baby move in days and fears it may be stillborn. What if it turns into a zombie inside her? What if she dies during labor? It’s sounding more and more like this is one of those TV deliveries we can’t miss.
The one thing they’re making us wait for is Michonne. Twenty minutes pass before we see what Andrea and Michonne have been up to. A grisly five-minute peek into their lives, the “pets,” was all too short, but we can see that they’ve grown protective of each other and it appears that Andrea is sick.
It would have been all too comfortable though for an entire episode to pass without some real tragedy. Rick has kept the group together and alive for months by making hard decisions. So when it took Rick four or five swings of a dull hatchet to hack off Hershel’s leg in hopes of cutting off the dead limb from a walker bite–the most painful two minutes of television played out, coupled with the fact that they’re not alone in the prison. Even Rick was taken back by it all. How often does that happen?
Episode two is set up in fine manner. We’ll find out what happens to Hershel, if Rick was quick enough to save him, if he doesn’t bleed out first. “Seed” was a major contrast to the season premieres in Season 1 and 2, and we can only hope for more to come. Our survivors have never mixed well with newcomers, so next week’s episode “Sick” can’t come soon enough. Let us know your thoughts on the Season 3 premiere and be sure to tune in Sunday night for the next episode of The Walking Dead.