So, I was pretty down on the Walking Dead at some points last year, and although I was a bit encouraged by the finale, I can’t say that I was really looking forward to this returning to the air. It kind of surprised me; all of a sudden, it was Sunday evening, I wasn’t enthused about the football matchup (Houston Oilers, you live forever in my heart), so I figured I’d watch the season 3 premiere and see how badly I was disappointed.
Things turned out a bit better than I expected. This was a good episode. Rick and his crew have finally made it to the prison that was alluded to in the last shot of last season, but some months have past judging by Herschel’s sea-captain beard and Lori’s basketball sized belly. Everyone, even Carl, is more proficient at luring out zombies and killing them efficiently; it’s actually kind of refreshing to see our heroes act somewhat competently in the face of the zombie hordes. The opening sequence, in which the camera follows around the survivors as they hack at and blow away a bunch of zombies all without saying a word, was really fun to watch. That said, it seems like the group dynamics are a little strained. Rick’s clearly the one giving orders, and I’m not sure how much everyone else likes that.
The group decides to clear out the prison as best they can and settle in there for a while until Lori’s baby is born. However, while scouting one wing of the prison, Maggie and Glenn get separated from the others, and Herschel goes off to find them only to have his leg nearly bitten off by a walker. The survivors drag Herschel back to a safe part of the prison and lock themselves in while Rick methodically hacks of Herschel’s infected leg. Yikes. Now they’re stuck, with a horde of hungry walkers on the other side of a locked door, with a pregnant woman and a gravely wounded, partially legless man to care for. The group looks as desperate in these final scenes of the episode as they looked competent in the opening scenes.
This is a good start, though. Yes, I know the caveat (this series does beginnings well but really tends to fade down the stretch) but I really liked this episode. It had a lot of action, and not a lot of standing around, complaining, philosophizing, or characters acting incredibly stupid. That’s a good thing. We’ll see if it continues.