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Walking Dead Episode 301

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The Walking Dead returns! After a second season that was panned by fans for too few zombies and too much looking for Sophie, season three sends the survivors to a prison that is chock full of walkers. Plus, Michonne the zombie-slaying samurai.

If you want to catch up on The Walking Dead before you dive into season three, check out all our recaps of the season two episodes. Then check out the webisodes, which offer a little slice of life in the week or so after the dead rose up. Finally, the ground rules for these recaps: I’ll be addressing the TV Walking Dead on its own merits, without comparing it to the comic books. Needless to say, the recaps will be really spoilery.

What is the situation when this season begins? Here’s the condensed version: we know that everyone is infected, so everyone will zombify when they die whether they’ve been bitten or not; Laurie is pregnant; Rick killed Shane, then Carl killed zombie Shane; there’s a woman out there with a sword and two pet armless zombies on chains who saved Andrea; the survivors are near a large prison complex; Rick has decided to be a badass and take charge of the group.

We quickly learn that the group has spent the winter traveling, going house to house like a zombie strike team, taking out walkers and looting. Apparently the looting isn’t going too well, as everyone looks pretty lean and Carl tries to eat some cat food. Carl is a full member of the zombie strike team, running around with a silenced handgun. Daryl shoots an owl. Laurie is really pregnant.

As the group tries to figure out where to go next, someone complains that they spent all winter going in circles. This is sort of a hilarious way for the writers to get around the fact that some months have passed since the season two finale and season three, yet they’re still right near the prison. Rick spots the prison and realizes it would make a secure hideout, especially with Laurie ready to drop.

The initial assault on the prison goes really well, as they clear out most of the walkers in the yard from the guard towers. They pick off a lot of them hand-to-hand with machete and crowbar jabs to the head through the fences. It bugs me how easy it apparently is to stab a zombie right through the head. I get that there’s a lot of rotting involved, but there’s still a skull to contend with. Zombies aren’t made of butter. Those knives should go in tough and come out tougher. Instead it’s just a lot of “splorch, splorch, splorch.”

Once the yard is secured, everyone seems pleased, but Rick has bigger plans. He wants to take the whole prison under the assumption that it hasn’t been looted yet. Food, medical supplies, an armory – it’s a zombie survival jackpot. Laurie undercuts him though. Their relationship has degenerated to the point that Rick actually says, and this is a direct quote, “You want to talk, talk to Hershel. I’m doin’ stuff. Thangs.”

Not a typo. He said, “THANGS.”

The next day’s incursion into the prison proper features some of the best zombie FX. The survivors have a terrible time figuring out how to defeat zombie guards wearing helmets with face shields. They just keep whacking away at the shields until Maggie figures out how to stab them in the chin. You know, in the places not covered by the helmet? Seriously, how did these people even survive in the world before the zombies? With this revelation they quickly dispatch the rest. That gas mask zombie was great, and I suspect that was an animatronic piece that got stabbed in the last shot, not a make-up.

Once they get into a cleared cell block, everyone makes a home. Daryl won’t sleep in a cell, but this seems to me like the ideal place to sleep. Obviously, keep the key with you at all times so you don’t get locked in, but I can imagine getting the first truly relaxed sleep in months inside a locked cell in a locked cell block. Total security.

Laurie has a little talk with Doc Hersh that she thinks her baby is dead and will become a zombie and devour her from the inside out. I wished for that outcome last season, and it might come true! Zombie baby, yes.

Meanwhile, Andrea has been hanging out with mystery swordwoman, who we all unavoidably know is named Michonne. Actress Danai Gurira has a striking look, beautiful, fierce and strong all at the same time. Her expertise with the samurai sword was almost comical, as though we’d stumbled onto the set of a wuxia zombie movie. Andrea is sick and plays the whole, “No, leave me behind and save yourself. I’ll only hold you back,” card. Anyone else get a bit of a relationship vibe from their interactions?

Speaking of ‘shippers, Daryl and Carol had some fun banter atop the bus. Reticent Daryl and Carol the cougar could make for some entertaining comic relief this season. How will Carol make a double-entendre out of the phrase “necklace of ears”?

To wrap things up, the gang heads deeper into the prison. All the corpses they find look like they’re in really rough shape. As if they’ve been devoured by zombies, in fact. So where are all the zombies? Oh, right around the corner. The missions goes FUBAR fast, Maggie and Glen are separated and Hershel gets chomped on the leg by a walker playing possum.

The final scene contained a couple of great, “Holy shit!” moments – first, Rick grabs a hand axe and whacks away at Hershel’s leg with no warning. Very decisive. And incisive. Immediately following the field amputation, a haggard looking bunch shambles up to the gate of the cafeteria where Hershel is bleeding to death. Before Daryl can open fire, it turns out they’re humans. Prisoners, it would appear.


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Posted by on Sunday, October 14th, 2012. Filed under Dark TV, Headline, Images. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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