The Walking Dead: Season 3 premiere

New Bottle of 12 year old Scotch: Check
Old recliner taken off a neighbors garbage pile: Check
LCD TV newly optimized for HD display: Check

Season three premiere of The Walking Dead: Oh Yeah.

SPOILER ALERT! If you have not watched the season three premiere of The Walking Dead, DO NOT read this article.

I have been waiting for this night for over six months. I love AMC.

After weeks of watching one of the biggest networks in the world fumble it's way through Revolution, finally a show that knows how to get it right is back, on a network that used to be known for playing old black and white movies.

I was giddy all weekend!

I watched with baited breath as the counter ticked down while watching last seasons finale. I waited and waited to crack my new bottle. I have an order, a sequence, a way of doing things. It's a mini tradition. 

Get the ice at 8:40, let it frost in the room temp
Crack the bottle at 8:50, let it breath
Pour it at 8:55, let it settle
Look at it drooling
Pick it up when the AMC Production screen comes on, enjoy the sweat trickling down the side and temporary stick of my fingers to the side of the glass from the frosty condensation. 
Smell it a while, take in the aroma, count the scent points...

Upon the first glimpse of new footage... take the first sip into my mouth, allow it to surround my tongue, and experience the flavor. Then the carnage!

Who says TV cannot be spiritual?

Season three began with a closeup and fade out from a zombies eye. I sipped with greed from my scotch. The Walking Dead had found me again.

So the first five minutes pretty much explained the last several months of real time without a word being spoke. The crew had grown together and had a method. They stormed a house like a swat team, but found nothing but Dog Food. Carl went to work opening it, but Rick showed his growing frustrations by taking the goo and throwing it.  OH, and Carl jacks his first zombie. They didn't bother making a scene out of it. Just made the point. This was a new character.

It was poetry!

I have always praised TWD for it's smart writing and way of doing things. This beginning was the epitome of my praise. They didn't go over board, didn't bother to fill the beginning with too much expository, just got to business. After the intro, they ran the opening credits then filled in some back story.

The survivors had been on the run for a winter. Lori was about to pop and they had exhausted their options. A herd was surrounding them, and there was little for them to do. They established that Rick was in uncontested control, that Carl had aged (12 year olds age and change much faster than adults). Only a couple months passed in the show time between seasons one and two, but Chandler Riggs had aged a couple of years... He was starting to show.  Most importantly, without much ado, it was demonstrated that they were desperate.

Carl from season one. Young, innocent, useless.

Carl from season two. A plot device. He didn't do much, but
half of the show was about him.  Strange.

Carl in Season Three. They made him into a character
who takes point!  

Look how mature he looks! 

But lets start with the opening!  The credit sequence was pretty cool. In seasons one and two they sorta followed some of the cast members names with images of the characters.  Well, in season three they drop in cool images to correspond with each actor/character.  For Rick they show his badge, discarded and blown into the open by the wind followed by some discarded shells an centipedes, perhaps representing Shane.  For Carl they show the farmhouse that Sophia presumably hid in. Or was that Daryl... It flashed past so fast that I had a hard time keeping track, plus I was sipping m scotch with fervent vigor.  More on the opening once I have had a chance to digest it all.  It was pretty sweet.

On with the show!

After a brief planning interlude where they show that Rick is the boss, giving orders like "Take Point" to Carl, then showing that the crowd knows better than to question him, Rick and Daryl stumble across the prison.  

It doesn't take long to put it together...

Here is one thing that has always bugged me about zombie movies.  At this point, one of your most valuable weapons is a sharpened ski pole, or some other sort of lance.  Especially since zombies seem to group up at chain link fences and snarl.  Glen went down the line lancing them all with some sort of broad skewer. Why did they not all have one at this point? They had crow bars... but why not good quality spears?  In a world where the rules for killing zombies are firmly established, you would think that the survivors would have taken on a sort of Romanesque way of doing things. Short swords and shields in the front ranks, and spears in the back ranks, going over their heads.  Zombie lawn mower!

Small issue.

So they storm the prison!  The first task is to take the grounds outside. Rich runs through to the inner gate with the intention of closing it. They had a jury rigged set of clips for that purpose.  And the others took up position on the ramparts, shooting their new found military weapons.  But again more issues. Why risk Rick's life running in there? Why not just stay at the fence all day, luring over the zombies and stabbing them in the face.  Even the ones up inside the inner gate! The ones in the yard come first and get lanced, then the ones trickle down from up the hill.  But instead Rick runs in to shut the inner gate, and the gang shoots off dozens of rounds.

Oh well.

Shoot and skoot and it's all done!  

Without getting too too much into the episode, the rest plays out as we have seen in the previews. At this point, most of you, and I have read some of the comics or at least a synopsis. I have checked out a wiki that talks about how the comics are different yet follow the same plots. You will see parallels. That does not mean you are invited to discuss the comic here though!  However I can! :) In the comic, Sophia and Carl hook up in the prison. With Sophia dead, who is the next girl in line?  Poor Hershel has to watch all of his hot daughters getting boinked. They set that stage.

And of course they cannot have a new season of a TV show without putting a main character in peril.  My only question though, why did Rick hack through the lower leg when he could have more easily hacked through the soft knee tissue? That lower leg bit is probably going to end up coming off any way...   

Kudos to the budding love scene between Carol and Daryl!  I loved the jokes, especially the one about Daryl going down first.  You have to wonder if they have not already screwed!  Over 8 months, I bet they have.  It is just about certain. She is sorta hot in an old redneck lady sort of way, especially since she has quit crying about Sophia, which is all she did last season.

And just like that, months of waiting came and went and the show was over. I gobbled up every scene and it was done. Maggie looked less hot some how. The little blonde though, looked much hotter! I wonder if Maggie appreciates being upstaged by her little sister.

One of the most compelling plot twists was the relationship between Carl, Rick and Lori.  They are torn apart. Rick and Lori obviously are done as far as their marriage, but worse, Carl seems to have created some distance between himself and Lori as well.  When they are sitting at the fire, there is at least five feet between them, when in the first two seasons they were joined at the hip.  Obviously Rick has turned his back on her. It is only his sense of honor that keeps him civil. He offered her his food and she sheepishly rejected it, but he didn't bother with the "Honey you have to eat" shit, he just held it there, refusing to budge until she took it.  Not saying a word. It appears that Lori, after two seasons of manipulating and twisting, has been reduced to a sniveling sap.  

Then Lori tries to question rick privately, and he puts her in line. Then walks away from her like the manipulating bitch deserves. I love it. "I'm doing stuff... things... isn't that enough?"  Then he just turns his back on her and goes out on patrol. 

This episode reinforces where last season ends. There is no question. Rick is in charge. 

That is about it!  

How do you feel about the sorta love scene between Michone and Andrea? I don't even think there were necessary at all this episode. There was plenty to do at the prison. The cut scenes sort of slowed things down.

I liked how in The Talking Dead, the shows producer discussed the "emergency pack" for taking off body parts and how Hershel and Rick planned for that eventuality. However, he was bitten, but then they dragged him around.. At that point wasn't it already too late? Blood was pumped from the bite and up past his knee. They should have taken his leg off at the knee immediately!

I think the prison clearing scene that devolved to a cluster fluck chase were sort of silly and forced. They were clearing the prison, and marking off which way they came, but then some how areas behind them were full of zombies. Sure it is possible the hallways were circular and zombies could have gone around, I just think they would have been much more cautious and though about that after 8 months of surviving together. Hell, for as long as I can remember from playing Dungeons and Dragons, as we clear out dungeons, we don't move forward until we are sure that our backs are safe.  

I particularly liked the scene where the prison guards in riot gear came around the corner. It annoyed me that they tried a few futile attempts at breaching the riot helmets before figuring out that they just lift the visor and stab em in the face... but the humor was there.  It felt very video game, in a good way. Those were the "badass" zombies. 

Any way, it was pretty much a nerds wet dream. Zombie survivor room securing tactics, building a fortress in the middle of Zombieland, and at least half the guys potentially getting some.  What lucky survivors where all the chicks are hot, even the old lady!  

I love this show.  The next several episodes promise to be good. I hope that the plot with The Governor does not slow things down though. I am anxious to see how the military fares, and also to see how The Gov sets up his little town.  I hope they do some flashbacks. Hell, I wouldn't mind if they devoted a third of the series to flashbacks. I would love to see the fall of Benning! I can care less about Michone and Andrea though.  Andrea annoyed me in the first two seasons, and is no less annoying now.  She was hotter in The Mist. By the way, if you didn't notice, Frank Darabont is a total nepetist! Sure he was fired because he fought for his vision, but that aside, he was responsible for the cast!

Did you ever see The Shawshank Redemption? How about The Green Mile? And as I just mentioned, The Mist?  Take a look at some of the actors in TWD and see how many of them appeared in those other movies, also done by Darabont. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I just think it is interesting that the actor who played Dale was in three of them!  I guess he and Frank are buds!  Maybe some one can do a break down of who appeared in what...

Jeffrey Demunn in The Green Mile

Dale and Andrea in The Mist! 

That is all for now!  Can't wait for more.



Hulksmash said...

Funny story. They wanted Jane for Rick. The lead from The Mist.

Anywho onto a couple of things. I think closing the gate was essential. It's a huge building and there could be hundreds or even thousands of zombies inside. That being said you don't have the time or energy to stand at a gate for days driving a sharp stick through it.

Also, sharp sticks break. And let's not forget piling the bodies up will mean you can't get to the zombies behind or that they won't be able to see you. Essentially they saw a chance to clear the yard and give themselves some defensive depth. Makes perfect sense to me. Especially as it seems something they have been prepared to do as evident by the gate closer they used.

Secondly romanesque style requires quite a few things, but one of them is at least 10 men conditioned to that style of fighting. These aren't people who have had time to fashion weapons and develop doctrines. These are less than a dozen people who have spent the last 4ish months on the run, generally in winter.

As for the leg thing I feel like it is a slowly spreading disease. Similar to gangrene. It spreads from the point of contact and will eventually kill you but it's not instantly transferred by blood. So moving him then removing the leg makes sense. As for where he made the cut maybe he's trying to preserve as much as possible for a safer surgery later? Immediate trauma care and stabalization. The the risky and more precise surgery.

Oh, and I like the cut-scene to Michone and Andrea. It shows a different kind of survival and what can happen if you just get sick in the new world. Plus, as much as you dislike Andrea, this time jump might have fixed a lot of character issues. We'll have to see.

I thin that is my favorite part. We got stuck with so much disfunction and failure to gel last season it's good to see they didn't spread that out. They time jumped and spared us the gelling of the primary group. Granted they are adding new elements to the group but at least they spared us the round and round while Rick truly established authority.

Overall, very, very happy with the new season. Fingers crossed it keeps going. I enjoyed from the barn massacre on last year (oddly after when they fired the second show runner) and it looks like it's going to be a good year.

Jawaballs said...

Agreed on the Roman training, and yah I see how they took advantage of the chance to divide and defeat.

But even after shutting the gate they should have saved the rounds. The walkers in the field would have all made their way over to the fence, like a bunch of deer at a petting zoo. They could have spent an afternoon leisurely stabbing zombies through the fence until the field was clear, then gone up into the tower Rick occupied, and used all that ammo thinning the herd inside, after of course, spending the evening stabbing the ones inside.

I do see the pleasure in blasting them all though. It must have been satisfying to shoot the zombies from safe positions!

You hit one of the biggest reasons why we enjoy this episode right on the head. Last year we dealt with infighting, and a season of debating. That stuff would happen, but those groups would die. We want to see survivor groups... well... surviving!

Lantz M said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, every is already infected; it's just a matter of when you die. So would it really matter when they cut off the leg so long as he didn't lose too much blood or die from infection?

Jawaballs said...

In this world they established that they all carry the disease which manifests upon death. It is not the bite that turns them into a zombie, the bite is what kills them. It poisons them and their body shuts down, then the disease manifests them. SO I guess if they cut off the leg soon enough after the bite, the infection would not have time to spread and he would live.

Jawaballs said...

I may have missed it but Laurie Holden didn't seem to be named in the opening credits. Strange since she has been featured in so many previews...

Jawaballs said...

Oh wait, never mind, They list hers and Lori's right next to each other over a picture of some empty shells with centipedes crawling over them. Very interesting!

TheRhino said...

Definitely worth the wait! The hardest part now is waiting from Sunday to Sunday.
I think the reason maggie is a little less "hot" is because she's part of the "men" group now. She is a front-line fighter, always mixed in with the male characters. So, one sort of subconciously associates her with men now.
I think the rush to clear the prison was driven by Lori's impending childbirth. While Rick has distanced himself from her, he hasn't distanced himself from the baby. He cares about that kid, but not about Lori. His rush through the yards was driven entirely by that, as he explains to Lori when she asks him to give the group a couple days to rest in the cleared yard. He wanted to clear all the ay to the cafeteria and infirmary ASAP to make sure the baby would have the food and medicine it needed.
I was a little disappointed in the Herschel bite scene. They panned too long over that slumped zombie, so you knew exactly what would happen. I liked Herschel as a character, and will be sad to see him go. There's no way he can survive an impromptu amputation like that, purely from shock or later infection of that big, open stump.
They do have to clear payroll for the new characters though, unless AMC bumped the budget ;).

Jawaballs said...

Yah I think Hershel is bait too. In the previews for the season there is a cut scene of Daryl walking towards a grave with his crossbow over his shoulder. I wonder who is in that grave... I don't know any thing about budgets, but I suspect they must have increased it at least a little. By moving into a sound stage they are saving a lot of money, but there are a lot of new actors they have to pay.

Shin40k said...

I've not had to wait as long. I decided to jump into the series because I saw you had such praise for it. I was hooked on season 1 but I had to wait for Season 2 to come out on Blue Ray. I watched those all in about 3 days and was hooked even further. This episode was pretty grim. I look forward to being able to discuss the show now :D

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