Welcome back to The Walking Dead, Season Three! I tell ya, one can wait so long for a show to premier again that by the time it gets going, they find themselves falling behind on their watching and reviewing. Would you believe I didn’t get to watching the latest episode til this morning? Yeah, it’s crazy I know. But I hope this review makes up for that and piques the interest of anyone who has yet to watch it.
Now rumor had it that this episode was the best one yet. That’s a pretty tall order considering that the show has set some pretty high standards thus far for action, suspense, and good old fashion gory kill fests! But I went in with an open mind and tried not to expect too much. Mainly, I just wanted to see what they would choose to reveal and what other cliffhangers we could expect.
Last, I should mention that thanks to a friend (hi, Khaalidah!) I’ve taken it upon myself to learn all I can about the comic books and how this show relates and deviates from them. Thanks to my initial research – still looking to get a comprehensive volume of the first 90 or so issues – I noticed a few things in this episode that were pretty significant as far as the overall storyline goes. But more on that later. Here’s what happened this week on The Walking Dead:
The show picks up where the premiere left off, with Hershel bleeding on the floor from an impromptu amputation and Daryl discovering that there are inmates still alive and uninfected inside. After hurrying Hershel back to a cell where they try to stop the bleeding, Daryl, T-Dog and Rick have a strained chat with the inmates. Eventually, they come to an accommodation. In exchange for helping them clear out a new cell block for them to occupy, the inmates agree to share what’s left of the food supply with them.
At first, this doesn’t go so well as it is clear that the inmates are not used to fighting as a single, disciplined force. They make a mess of things as they come upon their first group of Walkers and begin stabbing them in the stomach and rioting on them. However, things improve with subsequent encounters, and slowly the group begins to get the hang of Rick and his group’s tactics. Namely, go for the head, stay together, and don’t let them get around you!
However, the biggest man, ironically named Tiny, disobeys these rules and slips off in the middle of an encounter, causing him to get scratched. The groups begins to debate what to do with him, but that ends when the inmates de facto leader (the only one with a gun) bashes his head in and they move on.
When they reach the cell block, a pitch battle ensues to the take out the last guarding the doors. During this fight, the same prisoner tries to take Rick’s head off, accidentally-on-purpose, and tosses a Walker on him when that doesn’t work. As soon as they kill off the last of them, he pretends it was all an accident. To this, Rick responds, “Yeah, I get it… Shit happens.” And then plunges his machete into the mans’ skull!
Another runs, and ends up getting locked out by Rick, to be eaten shortly thereafter. Of the last two, Rick and the others try to decide what to do with them. The one insists that unlike their companion, he is no killer and just wants to live. The other refuses to plead, and tells Rick to do what he will. Rick decides to spare them, and they enter the new cell block. They find that the former inmates were all shot in the head, execution style.
Meanwhile, Hershel goes from bad to better as Carl manages to slip off and find the infirmary. Coming back with gauze, bandages and peroxide, he even boasts that he killed two walkers. Naturally, his mother is incensed, but he insists he’s just looking out for the group. And the medical supplies help, as Carol gives Hershel’s stump a proper wrapping that will ward off infection. They also cuff him to his bunk, as a precaution…
What follows is on the most touching scenes as Maggie has some time alone with Hershel and tells him its okay for him to let go. Unlike her little sister Beth who hopes her father will recover, Maggie is convinced that they must be prepared for the worst, and tells her unconscious father that she and Beth will carry on as best they can. They have a close call when Hershel stops breathing and becomes suddenly reanimated after Lori gives him CPR, but everyone calms as they realize he’s still alive. He even comes out of his coma shortly thereafter to the relief and delight of everyone.
However, Carol has impending woes as she knows that Lori’s baby is due soon and may have to be removed by C-section. She doesn’t know how to do this, and at the time it seems as though Hershel will not be on hand to do it himself. Hence, she asks Glenn to help her procure a female Walker so she can practice on it. After finding and killing one in the yard, she gets to work on slicing open its stomach. As she does, she is watched from the treeline by someone… or something!
Things come together in the end as Rick and Lori have a private chat. They commend each other for their quick actions and being cool in the crisis. All in all, they agree that it was a good day. However, Rick still can’t talk about all that’s happened between them. The episode ends with him telling her how thankful they all are for saving Hershel’s life, and then leaving her alone.
Hm, best episode yet? Not in my humble opinion, but definitely a good one! Personally, I am waiting on next week’s which the previews have indicated is where Michonne and Andrea will meet “The Governor” and be brought to his little town. What’s more, hints are given that Merle Dixon, Daryl’s crazy-ass brother from season one, will be making an appearance. If this episode had some people thinking it was the best yet, I’d tell them to wait on next week’s. Promises to be revelatory!
But of course, this weeks episode still needs a little play by play. For starters, it was damn good because of the way it juxtaposed the group’s fight to save one of his own members alongside the rather ruthless display Rick made with the prisoners. After cutting a deal with them but realizing he couldn’t trust them, he quickly dealt with their ringleader by splitting his head in cold blood! Then he even trapped another one outside where he was eaten by Walkers. As the Joker would say, “See, even to a guy like me, that’s cold!”
What’s more, hints are given that Carl is heading down the dark path as well. After running off to fetch supplies, he had absolutely no patience for his mother telling him that he took an unnecessary risk. In addition, the scene when Hershel is revived and they suspect he might be a Walker ends with Carl holding his pistol whooped out and at the ready. This, along with last weeks episode shows how Carl has progressed from little kid to dedicated killer. And when it comes to his parents, he’s showing some clear signs of identifying with his father at the expense of his mother. You might say he’s picking up on the conflict between them and picking sides.
Also, there was a little revelation that put me in mind of something I read about from the comic books. During this episode, Rick tells the prison inmates that they all have the virus, and that as soon as any of them die, they will be reanimated as Walkers. To my memory, this is the first instance of this being mentioned in the series, though I could be wrong.But if it is, it means they have now tackled an important part of the comic book series, which was the grand revelation that any one of them, including people who die while still human, has a strong chance of coming back as a Walker. Remember Shane? Well, if they choose to follow the comics on this point, Rick will have to travel back to where they buried him, unearth him, and put a bullet between his eyes.
Like I said… cold!