The Walking Dead is Walking Dead

posted by Nick Wisniewski

The Day After: The Walking Dead – Season Three Episode One

The Walking Dead returned from its summer hibernation with a highly anticipated premiere for season three. Expectations for the upcoming season were quite high after a rather lackluster second chapter from AMC’s popular zombie show. For those who haven’t seen it, The Walking Dead follows a group of survivors of a zombie apocalypse and chronicles their struggles to eek out a meager existence while combating each other and flesh eating monsters. The show is based off a popular comic book series written by Robert Kirkman.

Season two ended with a panicked escape from the farm the group was living on. Andrea was left behind to fend for herself and was miraculously rescued by a mysterious, cloaked person wielding a sword and leading two zombies leashed by chains. The rest of the team regroups in a field, unsure of what their next movie is. Lori is pregnant and Rick declares himself the almighty ruler of their group exclaiming “This is NO LONGER a democracy!” as the camera pans out to unveil a shady prison fortress in the distance.

And at this point, we have the main two questions waiting to be answered in the new season: 1) What’s up with the prison, and 2) who is this weirdo with the sword and why is he wearing a cape? Dun dun duunnn!

As to be expected with a show of this nature, the opening scene is filmed to create a buzz with the audience and hook us for the rest of the episode and (hopefully) season. The group enters an abandoned house and immediately starts offing zombies. They work as a team to clear the house with military precision… as if they’ve had some practice at it. Carl is yielding a pistol with a giant silencer and seems much more proficient with his weapon. Daryl is still carrying his crossbow for some god awful reason, while T-Dog and Glenn are still brandishing weapons ideal for hand to hand combat. The house is deemed safe and the rest of the crew (i.e. the women) are allowed to come in. Lori is visibility a lot more pregnant than when we last saw her which tells us that some months have passed since they left the farm. There is an awkward tension as nobody in the group is speaking to each other. Carl scavenges for food and finds two cans of puppy chow. He seems satisfied and proceeds to pull out a can opener to pop the lid off the dog food. Rick walks over and throws the can, showing that he is a BIG FAT JERK NOW. An awkward silence permeates the room until some walkers are spotted and the crew hurriedly leaves the house.

Clearly there were a few things that the writers were going for here. First, they needed to show that Rick was a real jerk now. Instead of just declaring himself the almighty leader of the group, they needed to show that his character has gone through a real change. This is obviously going to be one of the main focuses of this season as Rick is now the only living character who has had any kind of arc in his personality. Last season, Shane played the role of the antagonist and did it wonderfully; the writers finally gave us a character that went through a significant change and started acting rationally. Unfortunately, his arc came to a crashing halt when Rick killed him. The writers claim his death was necessary and I suppose it was as it sparked the match that is the fire that Rick will kindle this season, but I was seriously disappointed they decided to Optimus Prime his character.

Secondly, they needed to convey the fact that some time has passed since we last saw the group. I’m glad they were able to communicate it visually instead of some cheesy casual dialogue. In fact, they didn’t use any dialogue. I’m not sure what the reasoning behind this was, whether be it artistic or otherwise. It was a cool idea, but didn’t really hit home with me.

Truthfully, I think it has to do with Rick- he’s a terrible villain. We’ve spent so much time rooting for Rick as the protagonist, I don’t know why they decided to transform him into a Dick. Either way the opening scene was fine cinematically, but it lacked any real drama. There was no real danger, no surprises, no emotion. The lack of dialogue was meant to show us that Rick has turned into Dick without forcing it down our throats (lol). But the tactic was so obviously prominent that it had the opposite effect, as if they were telling us to find some meaning here because we wouldn’t do this for no reason.

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Moving on, the group has some meaningless conversation about where to go next and what to do about the baby until they conveniently stumble upon the aforementioned prison. It’s the perfect fortress! They dispose of the zombies in the yard with no regard for zombie blood. Glenn is able to shove a pipe through zombie skull with little effort, as if it was made of Jell-O. Whatever. Dick spots an open gate that is mysteriously holding back a group of zombies. Glenn volunteers to run and close it because he is the fastest of the group. Dick vetoes this and runs to close the gate himself for no God damn reason. There’s a big fire fight. Dick closes the gate, climbs a sniper’s tower, and kills some zombies with a smile on his face. Look everyone! He’s soooo crazy that he’s actually enjoying himself! The group is so satisfied with themselves they have a big campfire and eat dinner while Dick patrols the perimeter three times for, again, no apparent reason. Beth is singing some dumb song to remind everyone of a better time when Dick finally comes back from the fence. His face shows great agony while waiting for Beth to finish singing. He waits until she’s done to burst everyone’s bubble. He informs them that they will be pushing further into the prison in the morning to find food and ammunition. This plan seems obvious to the audience but not to Lori. She pulls Dick aside (lol) and offers that they rest for a few days and regain their strength before fighting more zombies. He dismisses her idea without a second thought, further cementing his role as our new antagonist. LOOK EVERYONE, HE HATES HIS WIFE!

Meanwhile, we discover the mysterious cloaked person is a woman and the reasoning for her zombie pets is still not apparent. She’s really good with a sword though. Inside her bunker we find Andrea who looks like complete dog shit. Andrea is obviously stricken with some kind of illness. She gets force fed some pills and falls into a coughing fit. She tells Sword Lady to leave here there as she’ll only slow down her escape from the impending zombie horde. Sword Lady refuses, and they leave the bunker together. I need some coffee.

Back in the prison there’s more fighting as a small group consisting of Dick, Daryl, T-Dog, Maggie, and Glenn forge their way closer to the door. We get introduced to zombies in riot gear and no one can seem to figure out how to kill them. Daryl shoots an arrow at one’s helmet and seems genuinely shocked when it bounces off. What? Lightning strikes and Maggie gets the idea of LIFTING UP THE MASK AND THEN STABBING THE FACE, thus marking the first time that a woman has done anything useful in this series. Further propagating her cliché woman status, Maggie exclaims (with a huge smile) “DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID?!” whilst in the middle of a gang fight with a bunch of zombies. WHAT?

OK. Everyone still on board? So now we’re inside the prison. Dicklifts some keys off the murdered guard, kills some locked up zombies, and opens the cells they were occupying.  Everyone except Daryl is content with sleeping a cell and there’s some weird sexual tension between Carl and Beth. Both of these characters are too young to consider sexually so I don’t really know how to process this but there will probably be a budding romance and the ensuing drama later on. Lori calls for Hershel and confesses she thinks the baby is dead. She’s afraid that if the baby is dead and infecting it’s going to start attacking her from the inside. Or she’s afraid that she’ll deliver a dead baby that will then turn into a zombie. Or that she’ll die in child birth and they’ll both become zombies. She DEMANDS that if either she or the baby turn into zombies that they don’t hesitate to kill her.

Does this really need to be communicated? Did she expect them to just carry around her zombie ass in hopes that they’ll be able to save her? Didn’t they learn their lesson from last season? Most of all, BITCH NO ONE LIKES YOU. Carl hates her because she wouldn’t let him shoot a gun last season and Dick hates her because he’s a big fat jerk now. Is this show for real? Of course they’re going to kill you if you turn into a zombie! Half of them want to kill you now!

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Dick decided that they’ll investigate the rest of the prison in the morning, even though everyone is covered in zombie blood and it’s clearly still day time because there is a ton of light pouring into the room. Glenn starts making a move on Maggie even though they’re both covered in zombie blood. Dick sleeps on the wall for some reason while still covered in zombie blood. WHY DOESN’T ANYONE CARE THAT THEY’RE COVERED IN ZOMBIE BLOOD? I don’t know, maybe you should take some of the remaining daylight to find a bathroom? I feel like they should be a little more concerned with getting infected from this blood, but that’s just me I guess.

Morning comes and half the group suits up to go fight zombies and explore the prison. Carl is pissed he can’t go. Dick tells him “if anything happens to us, you’ll be the only man left”. Carl is no longer pissed he can’t go and there’s more weird sexual vibes surrounding this twelve year old kid.

The group ventures down a dark hallway and we finally get to some really compelling action. Hershel walks past a (seemingly) dead zombie that proceeds to bite the fuck out of his ankle as he passes. As Dick and the others down the attacker and hoist Hershel to his feet, a group of walkers meander around a corner to potentially fuck everyone’s day up. Daryl shoots an arrow at the lead zombie and is surprised that they don’t all blow up? Why the fuck is Daryl still using the crossbow? Is this some kind of cruel joke? This is the most impractical weapon choice of all time. You can shoot one arrow and then have to stop and reload this giant bow. Are you stupid? You have like seven arrows total. The stupid kid gets a god damn gun and this dude is shooting one arrow every four minutes? Jesus.

They manage to escape the horde and venture into what looks like the prison’s cafeteria. Hershel is yelping an old man yelp while Dick takes off his belt and uses it to make a crude tourniquet. He pulls out a hatchet and without hesitating, starts hacking at the leg. Awesome. After what seems like twelve hacks, the leg finally comes out and Dick calmly states “he’s bleeding out” like he didn’t just cut a guy’s leg off. Daryl looks up and spots a group of inmates on the other side of a fence. The twist? These guys are human!

This premiere is about what I expected. Every episode of this show is exactly the same. Zombies die in the same lackluster manner, someone dies everyone once in a while, someone does something that boggles your mind, and there’s just enough of a twist ending to get you to watch next week.

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