Monday, October 15, 2012

The Walking Dead S3E1 "Seed" (10/14/12)

Interesting aside:  Frank Darabont's The Mist was playing on Syfy Sunday night and I realized that the actors who play Andrea, Carol and Dale on TWD were all in The Mist.  Nice to see Darabont taking care of his people.  And now, let the zombie carnage begin!

Rick and his small band of survivors, all that's left after the debacle at Herchel's farm, have been on the move for the last eight months, moving house to house, town to town, scavenging what they can and learning to kill walkers pretty efficiently.  They've got silencers for the pistols and go hand-to-hand when they can, trying to keep quiet and conserve ammunition.  Even Carl and Carol have become decent shots.  They're also on the verge of starvation all the time - despite this, Rick won't let them eat cans of dog food when they find it.  (What's wrong with that?  It was good enough for Mad Max.) - and Lori is just weeks away from giving birth.  Which will be a relief because then we won't have to watch her lug around that obviously fake pregnancy belly.

Everyone is wrung out, physically and mentally, and they can't keep up this panicked, nomadic existence for much longer.  They've been keeping track of the zombie herds on a map: apparently the groups of walkers are getting larger, flocking together and getting exponentially more dangerous.  They need someplace secure to hunker down and stay put for a while.  Fortuitously, while out hunting for game, Rick and Darryl find the prison, dozens of walkers lurching around the fenced-in yard.  If they can clean the place out, Rick thinks, it'll be perfect.

The prison is surrounded by two chainlink fences, with about fifteen feet between the two.  They cut the first fence, then stitch it back up with wire.  Now everyone is safe in that no-zombie zone between the outside world and inside the prison.  Darryl, Carol, Herschel and Carl go up into the guard towers to shoot walkers. Glen, Maggie, Beth and Lori try to distract the zombies, and poke them in the brains with sharp objects whenever they can, while Rick runs across the yard to an open gate that is letting zombies wander into the grassy yard from the prison's courtyard.  He closes the gate, making finite the number of zombies in the yard, and then climbs up another guard tower.  The sun shines brightly in the gorgeous blue sky and it's a perfect day for shooting zombies.  The shooters methodically pick the walkers off, one by one, until they're all dead.

The group is elated, thrilled with having so much open, safe space.  Around the campfire, they make plans to secure a safe water supply and maybe look into planting a garden.  Rick paces the fence, around and around, looking for weak spots.  Finding none, he rejoins the group and tells them that they'll need to make one more big push: they need to get into the prison because inside there should be food in the cafeteria, medicine in the infirmary, and more weapons.  Everyone looks sad at the prospect but no one complains or refuses.  Lori takes Rick aside and asks him to give everyone a break for a couple of days but he isn't interested in anything she has to say.  It seems that in the eight months since we last saw this show, Lori has gotten over her husband killing her lover and Rick doesn't want to have anything to do with his wife.  "I haven't left you yet, have I?" he snarls at her.

After the commercial break, we're in another town with the katana-wielding hooded figure: she's a slight, strong, dreadlocked woman - name of Michonne, since I've read the first 49 comics - and she's a total bad ass with her calm demeanor, her sword and her two armless, jawless pack-zombies on leashes.  She's also still with Andrea (whom she rescued in the season finale), who seems pretty sick.  Michonne tells Andrea that they can stay put for a couple of days but she's lying because the walkers are accumulating.  Andrea tells Michonne to go on without her but the other woman refuses.  Andrea then says she'll be dead if they stay here for a couple days.  So they head out into the woods, leashed zombies stumbling along behind.

Back at the prison, Rick, Glen, Maggie, Darryl and T-Dog make their way into the prison courtyard, protecting themselves in a loose phalanx so no walkers can come up behind them.  They put zombies down hand-to-hand only and, I must admit, they're all pretty friggin' good at it.  But there are a LOT of zombies and when they meet up with some dead guards still wearing their riot gear, the humans are momentarily stymied.  It's Maggie who figures out that you can grab the zombie guards' helmets, yanks their heads back and stick your machete into their brains from under their chins.  "See that?!?!" she exclaims almost joyfully.  There is some very excellent zombie carnage and the grossest bit is when Rick pulls a gas mask off a zombie and the skin of its face comes off with the mask.  It is squishy and completely disgusting and Rick looks like he might vomit.

They make their way into the mostly deserted Cellblock C with no problems, only a couple of zombies locked in their cells to clean out.  They find a couple of sets of keys on the non-animated corpses of dead guards.  Relieved to have a secure location, they bring the rest of the gang inside.  Everyone picks out a cell to sleep in, except Darryl who doesn't want to be caged and instead puts a mattress down up on the guards' catwalk, and Rick, who just slumps to the floor against a wall.  Another thing of slight note: Carl has a bit of a crush on Beth.

In the morning, Lori tells Herschel that she hasn't felt the baby move for ages and she fears it's dead, maybe zombified and ready to tear its way out of her.  Herschel calms her down but she makes him promise to kill her if she dies in childbirth or the baby if it's born dead too.  Blah blah blah - I really don't care about Lori's feelings.

Rick, T-Dog, Glen, Darryl, Maggie and Herschel load up with flashlights and weapons, supplemented with the guards' gear, and head out to look for the cafeteria.  The deeper they go into the prison, the darker and scarier it gets, lit only by their flashlight beams.  Glen has a can of spray paint and he marks each intersection so they'll know how to get back to Cellblock C.  At first all is quiet but then all hell breaks loose in those dark, narrow corridors, and zombies are everywhere.  They run, ignoring Glen's signs in their panic, just trying to get away.  Glen and Maggie get separated for a while and when Herschel goes back to look for them, he carelessly steps over a zombie, assuming it's dead.  It isn't and it takes a big bite out of his Achilles tendon (eewww!).  Maggie and Herschel are screaming, everyone comes running and Rick shoots the zombie before it can chow down further.  They grab up Herschel and run from the hordes of approaching zombies, finally barricading themselves in the cafeteria.

While Darryl and T-Dog hold the cafeteria doors closed, Rick frantically screams that there's only one way to keep Herschel alive.  He grabs an ax and starts chopping away at poor Herschel's leg.  It's brutal.  Mercifully, Herschel passes out almost immediately.  When the leg is finally off - and it takes a long time for Rick to get it off - they scramble to keep the old man from bleeding out.  Darryl is shaken, on his hands and knees.  He looks up towards the kitchen and sees a bunch of faces staring at them through the window.  He picks up his crossbow and flashlight and walks towards them.  But the watching group aren't zombies: they're human, prisoners who have managed to survive here.  "Holy shit," says one of them.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

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