Three episodes into The Walking Deadseason three and the panicky sense of foreboding is sinking in. Having read Robert Kirkman’s comic books, I am mired in the horrific possibilities of loss of limbs and cast members. If you haven’t caught up on this season yet, there will be spoilers.
At the end of season two, we left Rick and his group seemingly irreparably splintered with the group feeling betrayed by Rick (with the notable exceptions of Daryl and possibly Hershel). Could they be safe anywhere in this new zombie-plagued world? And poor Andrea, she was mistakenly left behind to fend off the zombie herd in the woods until her rescue by Michonne.
Season three kicked off with the episode “Seed.” Fans of Robert Kirkman’s comic book may have been surprised at how quick season three moved to the prison. Starting at the prison certainly kicks things off with a bang, but it was sad to see some of the great comic book moments that took place on their journey from Hershel’s farm to the prison cut. The survivors of herd-ageddon are definitely following Rick’s lead and Rick seems set on keeping some semblance of humanity. Rick slaps a can of dog food out of Carl’s hands as he tries to open it for food and Carol says to Daryl “Rick has gotten us farther than I thought he could.”
Once the group starts clearing out the fenced prison yard, we see them fighting as a cohesive, well practiced unit. Happily, Carol has stepped up and become a good shot (mostly; there was a close call with Rick). Carl has become a fighting part of the group as well in spite of his young age. But Carl may be getting too confident as he runs off alone to get medical supplies and smack talks his mom. And my favorite, Daryl, when he is not fighting, is usually shown apart from the group, keeping watch. He is definitely a valued member of the group, but his kept distance further supports his social awkwardness and possible low self esteem. It’s little touches like that, that make the writers on this show so good. They pay attention to who the characters are and we get to watch them subtly change over time in a true to life fashion.
Lori and Rick’s relationship is now fractured, more so than the season 2 finale let on. If the reason is Shane, Lori pulling away from Rick at the end of season 2, some other event during the interim, or a combination, we don’t know yet. Carl, and I think most of the viewers, have definitely taken Rick’s side in the argument. The others so far seem to be impartial. But even with Rick and Lori’s issues, it’s nice to see they are still working together. Just when the group feels potentially safe as they each grab a prison cell, and Hershel talks about planting crops in the yard, we remember Maggie’s question earlier in the episode: they mistakenly thought they were safe on the Greene’s farm, and how could they allow themselves the same luxury again? But it looks as if they are allowing themselves to get settled and feel safe.
In the second episode, “Sick,” Rick is forced to make another harsh, snap decision for the overall safety of his group (like cutting Hershel’s leg off wasn’t bad and bloody enough). One of the three prisoners they come upon during the impromptu amputation of Hershel’s bitten leg is obviously not a team player. Prisoner Thomas was a little too zealous when killing possibly infected Big Tiny and Daryl took note, telling Rick “Just give me a sign.” And when Thomas intentionally throws a zombie on Rick, almost immediately after, Rick chose to take Thomas out himself. After the events in “Nebraska,”’ it is no surprise that Rick could do that. The real surprise and clue that Rick has changed is that after chasing a prisoner who ran away out of fear, Rick locks him out in the yard with the zombies. Why this was necessary, if it was necessary, is up for debate, but Rick didn’t seem too shaken up about it; maybe because as a police officer and a father, you make snap decisions you can’t regret for the safety of those you are bound to protect.
Now there are two prisoners left, that we know about. We don’t know their stories yet or what their crimes were. Can they be trusted? Right now Rick is willing to share part of the prison, but we’ll see how long that lasts or if they get to become part of Rick’s group. And who was staring at Carol from the woods? A third unseen prisoner or someone from the Governor’s camp? In the first two episodes we only get a brief glimpse at Andrea and Michonne. Andrea is sick and obviously Michonne has been taking care of her and they’ve forged a successful alliance, so far.
Episode 3, “Walk With me,” is the first episode Rick is absent from. The entire episode is Andrea and Michonne’s storyline. I did miss seeing what was going on at the prison but next week looks like a heck of an episode. Most of my favorite shows this year are telling two or more sides of a story, Last Resort, Once Upon a Time, Revolution. I hope they can all keep it up without getting too tangled.
In “Walk With Me,” we finally meet the much anticipated Governor, who won’t share his real name, and by episode’s end, we know he’s going to be more trouble and danger than the zombies (hello, zombie head aquarium). The comic book Governor is a bit less fancified (I personally always envisioned Danny Trejo while reading the comics) than David Morrissey’s Governor. It’s a good change that works in this television story. His more white collar appearance will make Andrea’s trust of him more understandable.But what are The Governor’s motivations? Control and power? Vengeance? What is the purpose of the zombie experiments they are doing in Woodsbury? It is interesting that he isn’t just having others do the wetwork for him, he’s getting blood on his hands directly, opening fire on the army himself. A few of the men who are following him and getting their hands dirty do seem to have a look of remorse in their eyes, I can only wonder why they are following him on this immoral path. But one or two may be enjoying it. Merle certainly is. But the other people of Woodbury, are they happy with the Governor’s leadership? Will mankind just fall for anything to feel safe even if it is a false sense of security? History has shown entire populations will bow to evil men if the trains are on time and there is bread.
And this has to be said, Andrea is admirable for being strong, taking a stand against being stuck doing the household chores because she’s female, but that woman has bad instincts. She actually wants to give Woodbury a chance? And she certainly was loquacious to Merle telling him all about Hershel’s farm as Michonne looked on like “You need to shut your mouth.” Added to that, Andrea also has bad taste in men if she going to go from Shane to some entanglement with the Governor that has been hinted about.
Upcoming episodes are sure to be action filled and tense. How soon with the Governor and Rick meet, when Daryl is inevitably reunited with Merle, how far will he be tested with team allegiance vs. blood? And if you are familiar with the comic books, you know their fellow man is the survivors’ worst enemy, not the zombies. Season three is surely going to make the past two look like a cakewalk.
How are you liking this season? Do you like the comic book storyline or this one better? What do you think the purpose of the zombie head aquarium is? Are you sad Michonne took down her pets?