The Walking Dead Season 3 Premiere Review – “Seed”

The Walking Dead makes its hotly anticipated return this Sunday on AMC, and we’ve had a chance to preview the first couple of episodes.  We barely escaped with our lives.

With the loss of Shane and Dale, the character-scape of The Walking Dead has been altered immensely.  Shane, of course, had tendrils that ran into every aspect of the series dramatic arcs, while Dale embodied the moral questions of the series in way that really spurned the often deep and philosophical after-show talk. I guess the pontificating is all up to us now. So how do you deal with the sudden loss of such integral narrative components?  You jump ahead, just a wee bit.

The Walking Dead picks up some time after last year’s finale finding Rick’s dictatorship in full swing, and unopposed, as the group drifts about exhausted without any base.  They have spent months trying to break out of an increasingly tightening corridor, flanked by drifting hoards of the undead that have forced the group to circle across the same area over and over again, picking it clean of its resources and descending into the less savory aspects of scavenging.  No-one is preoccupied with thoughts of those who passed, or why, yet it is pretty clear where some of the emotional chips have fallen, particularly between Rick and Lauri.

The opening scenes of The Walking Dead do a chilling job of showing us how the characters, and the writers, have moved on from those shocking losses, and become more focused on this new and desperately shifting core. There is new emotional baggage that has been slung over their collective shoulders since we last saw them, making it as interesting to learn about this missing piece of their past as it is to learn about their future. And of course, there are zombies.

Complaints for season 2 largely homed in on the fact that there just wasn’t enough undead.  The counter argument, as always, was that the season did some of its best character based story telling, but it was too late:  Season one and much of two had already shown us that The Walking Dead brain-trust was very capable of doing both in parallel.

“Seed” is so successful at blending The Walking Dead‘s grotesque genius for Zombie action with gripping character drama that it not only makes any of that criticism moot, it really raises the bar.  There really does seem to be an effort to step up the intensity a notch between season one and two, and that imperative is evident here with season three of The Walking Dead as well.  The Walking Dead has reached its blood stained state-of-the art.

I would be doing you a major disservice to give you too many specific details of “Seed”, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

– Words you probably will not hear this season:  “Carl, get in the house!”

– Herschel is NOT the new Dale, he’s Herschel.  Damnit.

– Rick strikes me as so withdrawn, and so changed,  I wonder how much of the old Rick still exists.

– The zombie deaths are fast, furious, and often cruelly inventive.

– When hankering for some Michonne, consider these words:  Tease and Deny.


  • Ryan

    I respect that you and so many other people think that the characters are really gripping, but I just don’t see it. To me, it seems like none of the characters have a personality except for Rick, Lori, and maybe Carol.

    How would you describe T-Dog? The black guy? How would you describe Hershel? The doctor? How would you even describe Glenn & Daryl? The guy who apparently runs fast and the hick/crossbow guy? These descriptions are about their physical attributes and unfortunately that’s the best way I can describe them. Personality-wise, there are no differences between them. If I were to get a line of dialogue from one of them, I would not be able to figure out which one said it. Period. Except maybe through colloquialisms. I never feel like I can connect with anyone except Rick. And I’m pretty sure it’s because I can’t identify who these people are. Am I the only one?

    • Jenna

      Perhaps a little too much focus has been given to the Rick/Lori/Shane love triangle which meant less screentime for the rest of the characters, but I think they have all been fleshed out pretty well…

      Hershel – Has conservative values and is deeply religious, at times naive because of his blind faith, out of the group he has the most faith and respect for Rick as the leader, a little overprotective of his daughters
      T-Dog – Insecure about his role in the group, thinks the others don’t take him seriously or see him as weak, perhaps feels he has something to prove
      Glenn – A bit of a goofball at first, his relationship with Maggie is so far the only positive thing to come out of zombie apocalypse which gives him a sense of responsibility to protect her and her family which has made him more afraid of death than he ever was because now he has something to lose
      Darryl – Started out as a bit of a loner with an unfiltered mouth and temper, afraid of intimacy because of his relationship with his brother that he looked up to but always made him feel inadequate, finally finds acceptance and a place to feel needed with this group and is slowly embracing that through becoming Rick’s right hand man

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