The day The Walking Dead, Season 3 Episode 1 was on AMC, I watched it our travel trailer, ginning like an idiot in anticipation of the long awaited next chapter of my favorite show. We were due to move the next morning to a new place for the winter, but packing would have to wait for this and all the twitter chatter that I would have to get in on afterwords.
I was unsure of which kind (or in denial), but I knew our new place had satellite. I refused to guess until I saw it rear its ugly head in person. When we arrived at the new place on Monday, I found that the dish on the roof said in big, bold, ominous letters DISH. On top of being diagnosed with Bronchitis this week, the news that my Walking Dead habit will be much harder to maintain has been a bit crushing.
One way or another I’ll see the episodes, but at the same time as everyone else, unlikely. I don’t look forward to the plethora of spoilers on Twitter I might inadvertently see but, hey, life goes on (literally!).
*For all my reviews, keep in mind I have not read the comic and don’t plan to until after the series is over so that I can judge the story as It’s presented to me for the first time. If you know the answers to my questions, comment if you like. Questions come to me given how the show is presented, without any background information (as it is to most people who watch it). Which is how I like to review things – at face value and not compared to their counter part, source or the like. Each work in it’s own light.
Season 3, Episode 1:
I, like most everyone else who loves the show, have spent the summer trying not to let the wait torture me. I went on with my summer with occasional day dreams about life in prison, “life in prison” holding an entirely different meaning than it does right now.
The episode threw me off in the first scene. At the end of the last season, which I watched just before this episode, Lori is only a few months pregnant, Carl is but a child and Hershel does not have a beard. They are also only a short walk from the prison, as you can see when the camera pans upwards into the sky to reveal the next season’s key hint. Was there a river in the way? Did I miss something? How did it take them months of going in circles with no solid plans and why did they even stay in that area so long?
I also found it hard to swallow that after the mood of the characters in the last episode of season 2, and how highly some of them thought of Rick, that they had been unquestioningly following him in circles around the region for such a time and were now sitting on the floor, planning to eat dog food. His wife is malnourished as we later find out and absolutely no progress with distance has been made and seemingly no plan is in action, except to “find some perfect place” that Rick insists they will find. It reminded me of the debates last night and the “just trust me, I’m a business man” argument. For some reason, the characters decided to trust that promise, I assume because they felt they had no other choice and Rick had done well in the past. As they sat on the floor, looking terribly hungry and tired, preparing to share dog food from a can, they looked like an abused family under the dictatorship of an abusive father, too afraid to stand up to him, or maybe felling too hopeless. Either way, their months of suffering and putting all their faith in Rick, would pay off.
When they found the prison, the look on Ricks face spoke volumes about his position in this situation. Taking the can of dog food away and throwing it on the ground, it had been clear that Rick was feeling the pressure of leadership and of course his failures at doing so. Their passiveness must have made the failure feel even worse and it was eating him up inside. When he saw the prison, something inside of him lit up and came back to life. He saw an opportunity to not only survive, but flourish in a protected environment.
Perhaps one of the most difficult parts of this plan was to ask the group to trust him once again and do as he says to get it done. In the months that we missed of their journey (ones I kind of wish we had seen), everyone in the group, including Carl, had become deadly zombie fighters. Unwavering shots to the head, stabs to the face and no one in the group was a burden any longer.
One of the things that annoyed me about season two was all the “baby mama drama”, relationship issues, the way Daryl treated Carol, the way Carl had been such a little shithead and was responsible for Dale’s death. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the season, but I am not a fan of prolonged drama. Some of that shit went on way too long.
This season, so far, all of that drama is gone, or comes second to the will to survive and the tasks at hand. They are a team, undivided by pettiness and ready to work towards a common goal. In the theme of “baby mama drama” though, I laughed out loud and I think even clapped, when the prospect of a dead baby tearing its way out of Lori came up. I really don’t like Lori and I LOVE zombie babies (Dead Alive).
As I tend to like secondary characters, like Carol, Dale, Glenn and Maggie (I was disappointed that Carol was not in the Season 3 promo posters), the scene where Maggie goes samurai on a prisoners face, seemingly overwhelmed by the frustration and hate for walkers.
Maggie goes Berserk
Of course Carl’s transformation into a responsible, mature little zombie killer was also impressive but I am still pissed at him about being a little shithead in season 2. I understand that being a kid in a post apocalyptic world can be hard, but you either buck up and surrender your childhood, or you die. I was amused to see that #killcarl is a commonly used hashtag on twitter, and I would have agreed last season, but as he didn’t die like everyone wanted. I decided to give him a chance, and so far he’s on his way to earning back my trust.
I have many a time fantasized about living in a prison, huge catholic church, castle with walls and gates etc. – basically anything stone, large, and secure, so I was pretty happy with the prison scenario when I first heard about it. While I watched them “storm the castle” in this episode, I couldn’t help but think of how I would make the place a home and how people’s mental health could be affected by living in a prison in the long term. Sterile blank walls, colorless everything, trapped, cornered in small concrete rooms. My anxiety would take its toll after a while. I would probably end up living in a tent in the prison yard during the summers. For the situation the group is in though, this really is their best shot (short of going somewhere more remote than the midwest, which I would have done long long ago). I still don’t understand why they wont go west, or north to some remote part of Canada. “Lets run around in circles in the same tri state area till we find a place or die” seemed to be the general plan. Oh well, it worked out – maybe!
The episode ends with another cliff hanger for someone like me, who does not read spoilers or the comics (I like it that way). A group of men have been surviving in the prison already ( I did see hints of this in episode previews) and undoubtedly a struggle for power will ensue. I have to wonder though, if these men have been there the entire time this disaster has been going on, are there any food rations left? How many rations would a prison have back stocked and how many of them went rotten in the walk in freezers the first month? For the sake of the show and my hopes for the group, I will assume there is a ton of food in the armory nearby. Things like powdered eggs, REM’s and the like – and hopefully some dehydrated fruit so scurvy doesn’t set in.
I am excited to see more Michonne, the very comic-bookesque character we saw very little of this episode. She has been so worked up by fans of the comic book that I was sad to see they only showed about 2 mins of her in this episode, but at least we got to see her sword skills!
Can’t wait till next episode! (However it is that I acquire it.)