I watched the season 3 premiere of The Walking Dead last night, I like many others waited for it anxiously. Excited for the journey to continue and excited at the seemingly endless possibilities that the show had set up after a strong first 2 seasons. Was it worth the wait? The short answer is no, not really. The long answer is as follows:
Despite the episode containing more than an ample amount of zombie slaughtering it fell short on many other fronts starting with the fact that at the end of season 2 the prison the group now occupies was shown on screen after the camera panned across from Rick and the group in their makeshift camp. Either that shot was a complete fabrication on behalf of the producers and the group was in fact nowhere near the prison OR Rick and co have suddenly become the lousiest post zombie apocalypse survivors ever because they failed to notice a massive prison right behind them.
The alternative is they spent months travelling around only to basically wind up back where they started if the prison shown at the end of season 2 actually was their prison. The way that was dealt with in this episode was not at all satisfactory to me.
Upon finding the prison the group secures a small area of the yard including a guard tower or two from where they could keep watch and have at least some semblance of safety and security for a few days at least. This satisfies everyone except Rick who seems to have suddenly transformed himself into Shane and can see no issue with basically forcing a clearly tired and exhausted group of people into a hard bate against a small army of zombies – something Shane would have done and old Rick would have advised against (At least until they were better rested and had a plan.)
rick leads most of the group leaving Carl, Herschel, Lori and Carol to distract some walkers and skewer them from behind the safety of a chain link fence – smart right? to leave the most vulnerable with some sort of safety measure while the “fighters” do the dangerous thing and clear the path.
Once the group gets to the safety and security of a single cell block (Solitary?) they should be content for a while right? No Shane 2.0 immediately declares they need to go looking for food and med supplies (A good thing yes but really are they robots, they need rest.) Rick used to care about the group now it seems he’s not happy unless he is putting them all in danger and i think he’s become addicted to zombie killing kind of like Shane was.
They did get some rest but as soon as he could Rick had them assemble for a jaunt through a still unsecured likely zombie infested prison in search of food and medical supplies. Much like the initial battle this situation called for the most vulnerable to stay in the relative safety of the secured area but for some reason which nobody will ever be able to logically explain to me Rick decided to let Hershel, the group’s ageing (and only) doctor come along – WHY! It makes no sense to risk the only qualified medical person you’re likely to find for a while especially when you have a heavily pregnant woman to think of – leave the medical professional with those who may need medical help or bring him on a dangerous zombie hunt, hmmm hard choice – NOT! Maybe Hershel could shoot which was useful but so could Carl so why not take him? he’s faster and he can handle being in such a situation. then Hershel could stay with Lori in case shed did need help, if the others got into trouble they’d know where to find him and once the way to the medical stuff was clear then they could go get him.
So they take him along and even Stevie Wonder could see what was going to happen – He literally walks straight into a zombie who makes a quick meal out of his leg (apparently he decided to ignore the basic rules of zombie apocalypse survival – You see one on the ground you walk AROUND it NOT over it. And while we’re talking rules here, there were 6 of them yet they somehow managed to lose sight of Hershel – i remember when they always watched each other’s backs yet here hershel was able to split from the group call out for his daughter and go unnoticed by anyone until he was screaming courtesy of the zombie eating his leg! Nice job Rick!
They drag him into a conveniently located mess hall where Rick channeled Shane again and started hacking away at Hershel’s leg with an apparently very blunt axe like it was no big deal, no words or emotions of any kind just chop chop chop chop. Even if he doesn’t turn into a zombie the blood loss from the crude amputation is surely going to kill him then regardless of what medical supplies they find they’ll have nobody to use them. Good job again Rick!
That scene was really cold and not well done at all.
In between everything happen ing at the prison we got a few glimpses of Andrea and Michonne hiding out in some abandoned town – Well Andrea was hiding while Michonne was actually doing something – more zombies killing – YAY! But there was no explanation of how they got there, where they were, where they were going or anything that had happened. would it have really been so difficult to add some depth to the characters there?
Finally back to Carl, while I did enjoy his increased presence in the episode and how they’ve apparently set him up to have a bigger more important role this year his interactions with Amy were verging on uber creepy territory. When they both walked into that cell together for one second I feared they were going to start playing a grotesque game of tonsil hockey. Even if you ignore the legalities surrounding that relationship (If that is in fact where it’s heading) how can AMC even think it’s a good idea to have the characters “go there.” morally? Maybe I’m reading too much into it and that’s not where it was going at all in which case I’d owe them all an apology but I doubt I was the only one watching who thought that. TV shows have a bad habit of putting people in romantic relationships for what seems like no real reason other than they can’t stand seeing characters not romantically linked to another character.It may surprise them but not everyone must have a boyfriend/girlfriend to be a compelling character.
Television viewers are not stupid – They can tell when a relationship is “forced” on characters and after watching this episode that’s the feeling I get with Carl and Amy and to a lesser extent with Daryl and Carol – Though the latter pair were sort pod “circling” each other last season so no real shock there but still is it necessary they they get together? NO I don’t think it is. and I really really hope the carl/amy thing fizzles and dies before the next episode because it is incredibly unnecessary.
And speaking of carol how long are abc going to go without putting Melissa McBride in the main opening credit sequence? There’s clearly room and she has been in every single episode but still they have her as an “ALSO STARRING.” in the post credit sequence.
The episode was not worth the hype and if Rick continues to turn into Shane I risk losing all interest in him and the show.
As far as the zombie killing scenes and special effects go they receive an A+++ but the general story and character development etc. only get maybe a B- and in some cases (Taking Hershel through the unsecured prison and the Carl/Amy thing) they don’t even earn a D – Sorry but that’s my opinion.
The show has a lot of work to do to regain my enthusiasm for it which at one point exceeded almost every other show. I used to wait for new episodes with baited breath but based on the season 3 premiere I just can’t bring myself to care. If I do catch the next episode great if not then I won’t lose sleep worrying about what I missed. Hopefully they can prove me wrong and TWD can once again become one of my favourite shows but I’m not counting on it.