Aluke kalamar reviews the undeadly awesome premiere…
Plot: Several months have passed since the fall of the farm. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) continues to lead his ragtag group of survivors as they try desperately to survive this zombie infested world. A lot has changed during those months. Carl (Chandler Riggs), Rick’s son, has become much more active. The group, as a whole, has become a well-oiled machine with everyone skilled in the art of zombie killing. Rick’s wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) has progressed much farther into her pregnancy as well. Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson) warns Rick that Lori won’t be able to travel much longer in her condition. Luckily, Rick and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) discover a solution to this problem in the form of a prison. The group begins the extremely difficult task of clearing out the zombie infested facility and turning it into a safe haven. Meanwhile, apart from the prison group, Andrea (Laurie Holden) has fallen ill during those several months and is currently being cared for by Michonne (Danai Gurira).
To say I was excited for this season premiere is a complete understatement. I’ve been counting down the days since Season 2 ended several months ago. Thankfully I had the hit video game series and The Walking Dead monthly comics to keep me busy. However, with this much excitement, the risk of disappointment is that much higher. This happens way too often with every form of media. Thankfully, that is not the case with the return of The Walking Dead. There was no disappointment with this premiere. There was no moment where I thought, “That could have been better.” From start to finish, the first episode of Season 3 was spectacular in every aspect. The ending even made my jaw drop to the floor.
The best part of this entire episode was watching how much this group has grown since the Season 2 finale. Most of the time it was Rick, Daryl, Andrea, or the late Shane (Jon Bernthal) who took care of the zombies whenever the situation arose. Glenn Rhee (Steve Yuen), Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohen), T-Dog (IronE Singleton), and Hershel had some kills, yes, but the group never fully relied on them to take care of problems. Now, every single person pulls their weight regardless of who they are. Glenn, Maggie, and T-Dog are now part of the group with Rick and Daryl that first investigates any new locations. Carl is even used occasionally as well, becoming much less annoying than he was before. Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) has learned how to use a gun and Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) has also begun racking up her own kill count. Even the very pregnant Lori helps out! Under Rick’s guise, this group is so organized and powerful that killing the zombies in the first area of the prison is a breeze. This made those scenes very exciting and actually pretty breathtaking. It’s like this group has become a masterful killing machine. It’s the type of group you’d want in a zombie apocalypse, and exactly what I wanted to see. Plenty of time has passed since the previous season ended, so it makes perfect sense.
Having this season take place several months after Season 2 is also a brilliant decision by the writers of this show. The prison made an appearance in the past season finale, but for those who remember it was actually pretty far off from the group. Somehow stumbling upon it within a few months, considering how slowly they have to move to not attract attention and how many directions they can travel, is extremely unlikely. Plus, this allows the viewer to miss all those times where characters like Carol or Beth were trained to fight or those long winter months where the group probably stayed still. The real action occurs when the prison first makes an appearance. Fast forwarding through the months to when that happens is completely welcome.
In terms of sub-plots, this episode does a great job weaving them into the story. Laurie’s pregnancy fears, her fractured marriage with Rick, Carl’s distance from his mother, and everything else work really well. It makes perfect sense that all of this is happening considering what happened with Season 2. I look forward to watching these sub-plots unfold and how it begins to affect the surrounding environment.
The episode didn’t focus too much on Michonne and Andrea, and I’m actually perfectly fine with that. It would’ve been boring if huge chunks of the episode were dedicated to Michonne grabbing medicine for Andrea to help her get better. Watching Rick’s group take over the prison was much more exciting and a much better use of a viewer’s time. When Michonne was on the screen however, she was extremely awesome and exactly what you’d expect from her character. Gurira does an exceptional job portraying her. Michonne is a favorite from the comics and choosing the right person to portray her clearly was a top priority for the producers. I knew very little about Gurira before this episode, but she is definitely a very talented actress who knows how to bring this character to life flawlessly.
I also loved how The Governor (David Morrissey) wasn’t introduced with this episode. He’s been teased in the previews and everyone is aware his character exists now, but I don’t feel introducing him this early would’ve worked. The Governor is such a huge character and his time on the show shouldn’t be rushed. He didn’t even appear within the comics until the characters were comfortably safe within the prison either. Plus, when he does appear I know it’s going to be a HUGE deal, and the commercials show us that we meet him through Michonne and Andrea. As I said before, this episode wasn’t about them. It was about the group starting to clear out the prison and making it home. Bringing The Governor in now would’ve felt uncomfortable within the story. His character should appear naturally and not pushed in just to be on the screen as soon as possible.
In all honesty, I could go on and on with how much I loved this episode. I could also go into really extensive detail comparing this episode to what happened in the comic books, but I won’t. Regardless, this episode does an incredibly good job at starting of this season. The prison arc is one of the most memorable parts of the comic series, so adapting it to the small screen is no easy feat. I’m glad to see that everyone behind the show was able to pull it off. If every episode is as intense as this premiere, The Walking Dead will be one of the best shows of the year.
All Photos Credit: AMC