Welcome to a roundtable discussion of this week's episode of The Walking Dead from your friendly neighborhood LowBrowMedia savants.
This is a spoiler-heavy zone. You have been warned.
Magus: I was fairly underwhelmed by the third season opener of "The Walking Dead". While the episode offered a great deal of action and gore, all of the interesting character development and reactions to Shane's death took place over the winter that was completely glossed over. From the opening, it seems that the survivors have been keeping on by jumping from house to house. Somehow they completely missed the prison we saw just behind them in the previous season's finale. Also, Lori is incredibly pregnant now. Also, T-Dog has more dialogue in the first fifteen minutes than he had in all of seasons one and two.
When they finally find the prison, they find it occupied by walkers but not so many that they can't formulate a plan and take the prison yard in short order. At this point we also learn that everyone has been taking target practice over the winter as each person delivers one head shot after another. Having cleared the yard they take a night to gather themselves and give the show what it has so desperately needed; a musical number. We are also treated to a scene of Carol's and Daryl's budding romance, or at least the closest thing either of them are capable of doing to resemble romance. There is no rest for the weary though as Rick informs them that the prison could be a veritable treasure chest of supplies and so now plans are made for taking the interior of the prison. After that, Rick goes off to take watch at the perimeter, alone.
|What do you mean all they had was Extra Strength Tylenol?|
Before that we learn the fate of Andrea and her mysterious rescuer, Michonne. During the winter they apparently have been doing the same as the other survivors and moving from place to place. However, Andrea has picked up some mysterious illness that is slowly turning her into deadweight and complete bitch to Michonne. But before we can learn too much, we're back at the prison as Rick and a small group take one of the cell blocks. Here we're treated to walkers in riot gear. Considering how difficult they are to take down with weapons, it makes me wonder just how they managed to get bit in the first place, unless they got bit first and then put on the riot gear.
In any case, with the cell block secured, everyone begins moving in and Carl shows some affections in the direction of Hershel's youngest daughter, Beth. Glen and Maggie, covered in gore, can't seem to keep their hands or mouths off of each other in their cell. As everyone else gets settled in and Lori has a conversation with Hershel about her fears of an undead baby, Rick wanders off to find himself a lone nook where he can be alone. We're back with Michonne as she delivers some much needed mystery medicine to Andrea and the two of them get moving, Michonne's walker pets in tow.
Now Rick has decided to lead a group into the interior of the prison in search of food and supplies. What follows is a standard maze with flashlight sequence that ends in Glen and Maggie getting separated from the group by walkers and a walker getting a leg up on old Hershel. After some impromptu surgery by rick with a hatchet, it's revealed that the dead aren't the only ones in the prison as we see several inmates behind chain-link.
|God, I miss cable TV.|
I know all of this sounds awesome and it was certainly an action-packed episode with lots of walkers and walker slaying, but it feels like we missed a lot of interesting character stuff with the winter having been skipped over. Also, it seems problematic that they were just wandering around in the same area without running into the prison sooner considering how close they were to it. The big thing for me is that the discovery they are all already infected, that they are all walkers just waiting to happen, should change the way these people relate with each other and the larger world. "The Walking Dead" are not the walkers, they are the humans left to live and eventually die. Maybe they'll get around to that this season. Here's hoping.
Jon: I may be in the minority on this one, but I'm gotta admit that was the most enjoyable episode of The Walking Dead since season 1. Magus, you're 100% correct in your assessments of where the show missed the mark, but I still have to give this episode props for turning in one hell of an upgrade over what we had most of last season. Gone is the farm, home of the long-winded, repetitive conversation. Now as they roam the open road, we check in on the gang on what we later learn is just another unsuccessful home invasion they engage in as they remain just one step in front of the zombie herd. Hopefully this season will give the smaller band of characters more conflict from without and within. Look, I have to admit I don't particularly like any of these characters on a personal level, so I really enjoyed the wordless cold open as much as for not having to listen to them blather on too long about something uninteresting as I did the general bad-assery.
Meanwhile, after a steady downward spiral in character choices, I really like the direction Rick is taking. He's not completely in my good graces yet, but I for one respect his tyrannous leadership of the the group that he implemented at the end of season 2. When all they scrounge up to eat is a skimpy owl and two cans of dog food during that abandoned house raid, Rick hurdles the dog food away from Carl. Even as desperate as they are for food, he's not ready to reduce them to eat that food source yet. Impracticable? Sure. But that's the kind of attitude they need to keep their spirits up, not that any of the rest of them really seemed to be inspired by it in the moment. Meanwhile, he's finally listened to America and has completely become fed up with Lori as the rest of us are. Bravo, Rick!
Speaking of Lori, I enjoyed her conversion with Hershel in the prison cell. Just the mere mention of a zombie baby devouring her from the inside was enough to give me the serious willies for rest of the night. So much so that I didn't even realize how preposterous that scenario would be until a couple of days after the episode premiered. I know it's possible, but it's certainly rare for a newborn to have teeth at birth, not to mention the lack of muscle strength and Freddy Kruger-esque fingernails, necessary to enact the type of damage Lori was freaking out about. But I sympathize with her in this case; she's surrounded by death and Rick no longer appears interested in comforting her any longer, just securing her safety. But she's placed no higher on the safety list than any one else in the group.
Having not read past the first trade of the comics, I have no idea what's in store with Micchone, but if the massive freakout on my Facebook feed after her introduction at the end of last season was any indication, it's going to be fantastic. How Andrea plays into things with Micchone and when the two of them meet up with the remainder of the group are high on my list.
So even though there are still plenty of flaws with The Walking Dead, I think we're seeing subtle changes from the new creative team (post-Frank Darabont) that point to some serious improvement over last season. In any event, we'll be here each week recapping the show, so stop back in for a reminder of what happened the previous week before you sit down to watch the new episode each Sunday.
-----------------------------If you liked our The Walking Dead review this week, we've also been taking a look at the most recent seasons of Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Check them out!
|Aw, hell naw!|