The new season of The Walking Dead aired weeks ago but I like to let the episodes build up before I start watching a new season. I had planned on reviewing The River but as I am not ready to admit that it isn’t a good show I am back to The Walking Dead.
PLOT: After season two ended on a wide angled shot of the prison the survivors spend approximately seven months roaming the back roads of Georgia only to end up a wide angled shot away from the prison. With exhaustion setting in and Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) now heavily pregnant the group work together to clear the courtyard with the intent of settling down for a short while. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) decides to take it a step further and clear the prison cell blocks. Once inside Hershel (Scott Wilson) is seriously injured and it turns out that there are other survivors living in the canteen. END PLOT
Season two had some terrific moments but it never quite got the pacing right. It looks as though Season three has learnt from the two month (real time) search for Sophia and got stuck right in to the action.
The pre-credits opening sequence was almost dialogue free and focused on the group clearing out an abandoned house - the fact that all of the survivors are now functioning as one unit was crystal clear. There was a nice little moment with everyone watching on as Karl opened the can of pet food. If Rick hadn’t stepped in I am positive that they all would have eaten it. I am not a fan of time jumps but “Seed” managed to fill us in on the missing seven months before the credits rolled.
Aside from a brief campfire scene there is very little time for reflection as Rick is ready for round two and the action starts all over again. There is a scene between Lori and Rick but she has lost ability to (purposely or not) manipulate Rick’s decisions. The actors’ performances can’t be faulted but the Lori/Rick exchanges were one of the more tedious aspects of the previous season.
We move away from the main action on a couple of occasions to check in with an ill Andrea (Laurie Holden) and her new companion Michonne (Danai Gurira). These scenes felt unnecessary and unfortunately they broke up the tension and sense of drama created by the episode’s main storyline.
“Seed” ended with the words “Holy Shit” and given the closing scenes it was perfect. In Season one Rick amputating another character’s leg was never going to happen. The Walking Dead has finally got the balls, the budget and more importantly the confidence to give us some horrifically graphic scenes. The wait for such a moment gave it more impact as it didn’t happen to a minor character – it happened to Hershel (Scott Wilson) one of the more likeable characters.
Andrew Lincoln as Rick is a very capable lead who can say more with his silences, especially to Lori, than he can with dialogue. His immediate reaction after amputating Hershel’s leg was fantastic. With season three heading to some very dark places I can’t wait to watch Lincoln’s performance.
Lori has always been harshly treated by the fans but I absolutely love Sarah Wayne Callies. There were a few times during the episode that she made me feel sorry for the way Rick treated her. I am on Team Lori as everything she did with Shane came after he told her Rick was dead. Her short period of grief is irrelevant to me. I will admit that the character doesn't help herself when it comes to fan hatred!
The popularity of Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) can be summed up by watching the opening credits of each season however the character hasn’t evolved from guest star to forth on the cast list for no reason. Daryl is probably the most developed character on the show. His interactions with the survivors are very different to what they were in season one – even moments of physical contact with Hershel patting him on the back or Daryl patting Lori show how changed the character is.
The same can be said about Carol who also gets the prize for best witty comeback of the episode. After taking Daryl some food she teases the notion of them screwing around together. Daryl jumps off the watch post saying “I’ll go down first” to which Carol retorts “even better”. Carol is no longer the battered wife or grieving mother so for the first time we are seeing her real personality. Melissa McBride being a very fine actress makes it all the more enjoyable.
Maggie and Glenn’s relationship is developing well however Lauren Cohen still acts Steven Yeun off the screen with so much ease it’s embarrassing. Cohen is very much the surprise find with the cast and long may she survive. Cohen’s version of Maggie has the potential to be the strong but grounded female character I don’t believe that the Terminator-like Michonne will ever be.
Despite T-Dogs survival chances being a running joke since season one I think Irone Singleton’s every man is a necessary addition to the show. T-Dog isn’t a leader, he isn’t a badass and he isn’t the villain – he is the Average Joe and I love him for it. I have such a soft spot for the hardworking T-Dog that I will be gutted if his run on the show comes to an end.
I am not convinced that Michonne will transfer well to the screen from the comics. As Michonne hasn’t been officially introduced to the audience yet the shots of her chained Walkers look silly without an explanation. The fact that Andrea appears to just accept them makes it feel even choppier. It is hard to form an opinion of Danai Gurira based on what we have seen so far but I will either love her or hate her. There will be no middle ground with this character.
There is no denying that the chained Walkers looked fantastic. The effects on the show are amazing and the amount of work that goes into creating the Walkers doesn’t get enough credit. The Walking Dead shows that sometimes old fashioned prosthetics and makeup cannot be beaten.
Episodes of The Walking Dead have ended on quite a few cliff hangers and the season opener was no exception. Season two tended to follow big episodes with fillers that only moved the story forward in the last scene. This happened too many times and I hated it.
“Seed” shows that when The Walking Dead is on form it is unbeatable television – it gets a 10/10.