The season three premiere picks up about eight months where the finale left off. Looking very much the worse for wear, the team has been moving from house to house looking for food and a safe place to stay. While going hunting, group leader Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and unofficial second in command Daryl (Norman Reedus) come across a prison. Rick sees it as the haven they have been looking for, and sets the group towards ridding it of the walkers so that they can move in before his heavily pregnant wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) is due to give birth. Meanwhile an ill Andrea (Laurie Holden), separated from the group last winter, is hiding out with her new friend and fellow survivor Michonne (Danai Gurira) waiting to recuperate before moving on.
Seed was a fantastic opener for this season. Several issues left by the previous season’s finale are addressed both subtly and in an out right manner. The teaser is a great example. Not one word was uttered by any of the characters. None was needed. We see them all moving like a well oiled machine: Rick, Daryl, T-Dog (Irone Singlton)and Carl (Chandler Riggs) enter with their respective weapons, clearing a house before the rest of the team move in. No orders are given, everyone knows the drill and their place in the team proving that Rick’s “not a democracy anymore” approach after killing Shane (Jon Bernthal) has had its benefits. Verdict: 9/10
The young boy, who last season had been too scared to kill a walker, takes them out now without any hesitation, fear, of remorse. I see it as a welcome change because if he’s seriously expected to survive in the zombie world than he has to be able to take care of himself. But even this world isn’t bad enough to impair the behaviors of a growing boy. Carl seems to have developed a slight crush on Hershal’s daughter, Beth (Emily Kinney)-another welcome development. It’s a cute and fun touch of normalcy.
Speaking of Beth, she’s come a long way from the weak willed, seemingly spoiled teenager who was so quick to “opt out” of the walker infested world. She holds her weapons like she’s comfortable with them and readily stands guard along with everyone else. Rick must have put the group through some very effective training exercises. And yet, her demeanor is that of someone willing to live, not one being forced to. Beth’s optimism in telling Lori that the prison would be “a good place to have the baby, safe” best reflects her new outlook on life.
Lori demeanor too has changed drastically from the last time we’ve seen her. The strong (at times entitled) woman has turned into a timid docile creature. Along with the baby, she seems to be carrying the weight of the knowledge that she’s the reason Rick had to kill Shane. I must say, I’m glad she’s reached this point of clarity. So does everyone else, it seems as Hershel says that the whole group had had to endure her and Rick being at odds all winter. Lori vents to Hershel that her own son can’t stand her, and that Rick hates her, even though he’s too good to say it. The very fact that Lori admits her culpability makes her infinitely more likable than she ended up being in the last season. Her worrying that her child might be a stillborn; might die before its born, turn into a walker her and eat her from the inside makes her downright sympathetic. As if expectant parents didn’t have enough to worry about…
Rick is edgier, more impatient. Though it could be this new attitude is only with Lori as he seems to be fine with everyone else, most of all his son.It’s interesting that Carl, despite how much he loved Shane, isn’t angry with his father and they seem to be close as ever. I take it to mean that at some point, after Rick calmed down from his rant in “Beside the dying fire, he sat his son down and explained that Shane had actually tried to kill him. I’m glad for it as Rick didn’t deserve to have his son (along with his wife) hate him for trying to protect them.
Of course, Lori doesn’t hate Rick anymore. But he is obviously resents her very much. When she tells him they should talk he says she should talk to Hershel, leading me to think that, perhaps for a while after last season’s finale, Lori was so upset over Shane that she refused to talk to Rick for a while. It’s not too farfetched considering how much she ignored Shane when she found out he’d lied about Rick being dead. But at some point, Lori must’ve forgiven Rick, just like she’d eventually forgiven Shane. But it seems like it was too late. Unlike last season, Rick is now making his decisions without consulting Lori. Not only that, he seems downright bitter with her. Lori tries to talk Rick into giving the group time to rest, he replies that he needs to prepare a nest for the baby. When Lori acknowledges that he’s doing his best Rick tells her “Don’t patronize me.” He’s obviously reached a point where he doesn’t care what she thinks about his decisions anymore, doesn’t need or perhaps even want her support anymore. But I think this has more to do with the fact that Rick can’t afford to be affected by Lori’s moods rather than the fact that he hates her, as she thinks. He tells her “I’m doing stuff,” meaning he’s busy, and “I’m still here” meaning he has no intention of leaving her, adding “isn’t that enough?” This indicates that Rick now is too concerned keeping his family and the group alive to be worrying about domestic disputes rather than the fact that he’s using these responsibilities to avoid said problems. There still seems to be some care there. It’s in how his gaze softens ever so slightly when Lori, shamefaced, replies “You’re right. I”m sorry.” It’s also in how Rick hands Lori his plate of food, and won’t remove it even after she says she’s had some, till she takes some of his own rations. He’s angry, he has every right to be. But there’s still love there, I think.
It’s great that Yeun and Cohan have such great chemistry together considering the fact that they are now depicting the newest canon couple.Love is clear as daylight between Maggie and Glenn. He’s still volunteering for suicide missions, and she’s still trying to look out for him by trying to stop him. They also have each others back’s literally as Maggie seems to have replaced Andrea as strongest (physically) female. She’s not without competition, though…
Looks like my wishes have been answered and we’re going to see more of Carol’s personality than the fact that she was an abused wife (now widow) and mourning mother’s. Carol is refreshingly different from the woman who told Daryl “I’m a burden” in last season’s finale. She’s more independent. Rick tells her that “you’ve become a pretty good shot” and gives her the (shared) responsibility of covering his back by taking out walkers from afar. She also admits that Rick’s gotten them a lot farther than she ever imagined, and that Shane could never have done that. Love the continuity and the fact that she’s admitting Daryl was right about Rick. And while Carol always seemed confident about Daryl’s worth, she’s been more wavering when it comes to her own. But that no longer seems to be a problem. She not only gotten more self assurance, she’s also more secure with regards to her relationship with Daryl. The woman actually flirts with the burly hunter, asking him straight up if he wants to screw around. I think my jaw literally dropped here. Mcbride’s reading of the line was deliciously playful as was her subsequent laugh. I love it. I love her and the possibility that I might be right; she and Daryl have been in an established (albeit off-screen) romantic relationship since last season-at the time it seemed like fan-fiction. But now…what other reason could there be for Carol’s blatant come ons? Elation at having finally found a place to stay?
As to Daryl, his soft spot for Carol (Melissa Mcbride) has been established. The two had formed a connection over the loss of Sofia, and later after the acknowledgment that they were both victims of abuse. This intimacy only seems to have increased during the months the team spent off screen. Skittish Daryl who can barely stand looking people in the eye is so comfortable around Carol that he gives her a shoulder massage when he she complained of an ache due to her rifle’s kick back. He stops after a few moments and tells her they better get back. One wonders is it because he suddenly realized how intimate his actions were and was hit by a bout of self-consciousness? Or is it because he realized that it really wasn’t an appropriate time/place to consummate any attraction he and Carol have towards one another? Was that why he told her to stop flirting? Cause they didn’t exactly have a place to make out in? Or is it because he simply doesn’t have any romantic feelings for her and doesn’t want to give her the wrong idea?
T-Dog and Hershel
I look forward to learning more about T-Dog and am glad to see him have more screen time. As to Hershel, I was traumatized to see him get bit but the fact that Rick cut off his infected leg might mean he’ll still be around for some time. Hopefully, that will be longer than just serving his purpose delivering Lori’s baby…
I love the actress they chose for Michonne. She’s beautiful, elegant, and very good at projecting her character’s deadly abilities. Character-wise, she seems to have gotten very close to Andrea and refuses to leave the sick woman behind. This loyalty is explained when Andrea tells her “I saved your ass all winter didn’t I?” These two women have kept each other alive and therefore have a very close bond. Now I’m not sure who Michonne meant when she told Andrea “they’re coming.” I assume she means Walkers but could it be, like in the prison, there are other people out there to fear?
Icings on the Cake
-When Rick angrily throws down a can of dog food, Daryl flinches. Love the continuity that Daryl was a victim of abuse.
-Characters singing on television usually makes me want to self mutilate, so painful are they. But in this episode, when Hershel requests his daughter to sing Parting Glass, the moment felt incredibly genuine and realistic. The soft clear voices, the ambiance, Carol and Daryl joining the group, followed by Rick, his offering Lori some food, which she reluctantly accepts…this was my favorite scene of the episode. It was all incredibly nostalgic, so hopeful, so bittersweet… really beautifully directed scene, and wonderfully contrasted by both the zombies walking around in the background as well as the bloody premise of the show.
-Maggie’s delight in discovering how to kill the zombies despite their plastic masks covering their heads was awesome.
-Daryl refusing to sleep in a cage is very in-character.
-Love Lori confiding in Hershel and him giving providing her with a friendly ear, advice, and comfort.
-Rick calling out to Daryl for back-up as they head further into the prison. Shows how far he’s come to trust the man and reassures me that he has someone to fill in Shane’s spot as his back up and friend.
-I am constantly surprised by how phenomenal the acting is on this show, by every single person involved. Seriously, this is an amazing cast.
“Guest little Shane over there’s got quite the appetite.” -Daryl to Carol on Lori’s baby. One line tells us that either the entire group now knows about Lori and Shane, or that Rick confided in Daryl. Love either possibility. Great writing.
“Pretty romantic. Screw around?” Carol, to Daryl. You just know shippers went crazy over this line.
“I’m so exhausted I don’t even care.”- Maggie to Glenn, on how gross the cell, their new room is.
“Holy shit.” -Indeed. Can’t wait for the next episode!
-I almost hurled when Rick cut off Hershal’s leg. I guess that was the point, so congrats.
-Why the heck would Rick take Hershel with him to clear the rest of the prison? Seriously, why risk the life of the only man who has any medical experience days before your wife is due to give birth? That’s just not in character for the leader who surely knows better.
-Make-up really has to do a better job of making Laurie Holden less attractive. I mean, the woman looks sick all right, but she’s still a knock out. That’s just wrong.
-Zombies can play dead now? Lesson learned, Hershel.
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