Monday, October 15, 2012

Review: The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 1: "Seed"

Premiering last night at AMC, the fantastic television series that is The Walking Dead returns for another season of gore and survival. Reuniting the surviving cast members after what went down at the previous season's finale, Rick Grimes and his group venture forth in search of a safe haven in Season 3. The Pilot episode, aptly titled "Seed", holds many meanings in what lies in store for our heroes... And the dangers that lurk ahead because of the undead apocalypse and more. With the new season on the rise, it's time to "Fight The Dead" and "Fear The Living" as the slogan of the series implies.

SPOILER ALERT for this review, so read at your own risk!

Before beginning with the episode review, here's a recap on The Walking Dead as a whole:

Since it began in 2010, I've been a loyal viewer of the TV series adaptation of The Walking Dead. Originally a comic book series created by writer Robert Kirkman and artists Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, the pacing of the books was reminiscent of George A. Romero's zombie films, coupled with the social commentary and desperation of the characters featured in the story. The television drama heightens the tension to new levels by establishing a different continuity of its own with characters and situations that differ from the comics altogether.

Developed by Frank Darabont and now headed by showrunners Gale Anne Hurd and Glen Mazzara, The Walking Dead follows the story of Rick Grimes - a police officer who wakes up from a coma in a hospital to find the world he once knew gone and ravaged by the undead. Reuniting with his family and banding together with a group of survivors, the former sheriff's deputy is forced to face impossible odds and dangerous situations to protect himself and those around him. Survival isn't limited to facing zombies alone, as interpersonal relationships are tested and a more gruesome enemy comes in the form of those who are still among the living.

Now for the review proper:

"Seed" pretty much begins where the last season left off: everything looking hopeless and bleak for Rick Grimes and company. After abandoning Hershel Greene's farm due to a zombie herd attack, the remaining survivors are forced to travel the road in search of food and shelter. Viewers will notice that there are a few subtle changes to note: Hershel has a beard, Carl is proficient with guns and has longer hair, and Lori's pregnancy has advanced even further. This is all due to a "Time Skip" period in which it is suggested that the group has progressed through winter, overcoming the dangers and zombies at each turn while waiting for the snow to disappear.

The episode starts on a silent note, and gives us a glimpse of the odds the group have to face with their visit to a dead household. We're then treated to a narrative proper (as well as a new intro sequence), and then the first seed is finally laid out - The Prison. Rick and the survivors have found a new place to call home... But they'll have to stave off some undead and take it a step at a time before they can properly settle in. Also, we are properly introduced to the katana-wielding she-warrior Michonne, who was last seen saving Andrea at the Season 2 Finale. It's a good balance of action and straightforward dialogue, and you can actually see the story shifting from desperation to one of hope as you gaze at the faces of each character and how they interact with one another. That's not to say there isn't any friction either.

Since beginning the "Ricktatorship", Rick has hardened himself to become a solid foot in keeping the group alive. His relationship with Lori though isn't fairing better, and the experiences he's faced in Season 2 clearly left him changed, for good or worse remains to be seen. He's still fighting the good fight, but with a hardened resolve this time. Everyone else remains mostly the same, with Glenn, Maggie, Hershel, Lori, Carl, Beth, T-Dog, Carol, and Daryl all following Rick's lead. On Mr. Dixon's return, he's still the same old redneck badass we all know and love, and hass bumped up to Rick's wingman after Shane's departure last season. Fans only get a taste of Michonne action and the return of Andrea for the Pilot this season, but we can be assured that there will be more in the episodes to follow.

Overall, things for the 3rd Season of The Walking Dead are looking up. That's in the viewer's favor though, as the survivors will have a whole lot of stuff to get in order before they can breath a sign of relief. Fans of the comics who know what this story arc involves will surely look forward to what's coming soon, with a certain fan favorite antagonist sure to be revealed soon, as well as the return of a popular character from Season 1. Let's hope the Seed planted will bear good fruit and more zombie slaying in the weeks to come.

Rating - 5/5

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