THE WALKING DEAD Season 3 Premiere Recap: “Seed”

by     Posted 1 year, 321 days ago

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It’s finally here: the season three premiere of The Walking Dead on AMC (but not on Dish…I promise that’s the last time I’ll say that).  The last season found our survivors of the zombie apocalypse holed up at the Greene family barn for the duration, until a host of walkers (and some dramatic deaths) drove them from the land. Tonight’s opener showed us that the long winter has hardened the team into a well-oiled machine, but they’re in dire need of shelter for a very pregnant Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies).  Hit the jump to check out our recap and review, plus bonus items like body counts, best kill, best zombie/effect and number of casualties in the season three premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

walking-dead-season-3-lauren-cohan[Spoiler Alert: All reviews and recaps come with a general spoiler warning from this point onward.]

Let’s get to it dead-heads! I’ll start off each article with a brief review of the episode before we get into critical specifics.  Tonight’s premiere opens with a five-minute sequence devoid of dialogue, other than the hoot of an owl (which quickly became dinner) or Rick’s whistle signaling the “all clear.”  The gang clears Walkers out of an abandoned home and finds little in the way of supplies (nice find on the dog food, Carl!).  As Walkers swarm the area, it’s clear that this home is not a fitting shelter and the gang moves on.  Luckily, they happen upon a prison (that was fast!) and set to clearing it of the undead.  It’s the gang’s first victory of sorts in a long time, but Rick pushes them harder to clear the whole prison out and make sure it’s safe.  All’s well until an ill-timed raid puts the crew in danger as they get caught between two packs of Walkers in an unlit and unmapped section of the prison.  One of their number is wounded and they find that the undead are not the only things that walk the prison.

But how about that opening? Five minutes straight with no dialogue as the tactical team of Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl (Norman Reedus), T-Dog (IronE Singleton) and a rapidly-growing-up Carl (Chandler Riggs) clear out the abandoned house, signaling for Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) to come in to help finish off the stragglers.  Once clear, they’re joined by Lori, Carol (Melissa McBride), Beth (Emily Kinney) and Hershel (Scott Wilson).  Where’s Andrea (Laurie Holden), you ask? More on that in a moment.  After what’s clearly been a long, hard winter, Lori is super pregnant and the whole crew is hard up for food.  Carl happens upon two cans of dog food and sets to prepare them, but Rick’s pride still won’t allow it.  As the resurgent Walkers chase them from the house, it’s easy to see that Rick has whipped them into a well-trained unit that operates with precision and without question.

walking-dead-season-3-prisonI’m digging the credit sequence for this season, one that shows images of abandoned homes and storefronts and finally settles on the prison, in what’s sure to be the structural focal point going forward.  And wouldn’t you know, as the crew just happens to stop to reconnoiter, Daryl and Rick happen upon the prison.  For anyone who’s complained about the lack of zombie kills in the past, you got your money’s worth in this episode.  Kills abound from both a long distance and up-close-and-personal as the survivors clear the prison yard of the shambling dead.  Like shooting fish in a barrel (and I’ll be damned if every single one of them isn’t an expert marksman now).  Regarding plot, the takeaway from this scene is that no one questions Rick any more and they all appear the better for it.  Less hesitation, less time bickering, more time killing to survive.

There’s a sweet scene that unfolds here as the gang settles in around a campfire in their new home.  They start to talk about plans for the yard, bringing in water and planting crops.   It’s a nod to the fact that they still hold out for hope of a normal life in this harsh new existence.  Daryl and Carol continue to show signs of a reluctant romance, although Carol is a bit more forward and actually lightens up quite a bit!  The “Innocence Award” goes to Beth Greene for her rendition of “The Parting Glass” sung around the campfire.  Things were almost back to normal until Skulking Rick comes back his perimeter patrol to tell them all to rest up for another recon mission in the morning.

It’s here that an interesting discussion takes place between Lori and Rick.  After the complicated and messy end of Shane (Jon Bernthal) last season, things were left…well, complicated and messy.  With Lori’s reaction to Rick’s confession fresh in my mind, I expected this heart-to-heart to be Rick still trying to win Lori over.  Boy was I wrong!  Lori’s character is the most likable I’ve ever seen her in the series; she’s patient with Rick and only wants what’s best for her baby.  Rick ain’t havin’ it!

walking-dead-season-3-danai-guriraHalf-way through the show, we get to our first introduction to the new character, the katana-wielding Michonne (Danai Gurira).  She carves up Walkers in search of aspirin, which seems a risky venture.  Turns out, “A” is for aspirin and it’s also for Andrea, who has partnered up with Michonne but is looking under the weather.  As I haven’t kept up with the comics, I’m not 100% sure why Michonne has two armless, jawless Walkers chained up with her (please don’t ruin it for me or anyone else in the comments!), but it’s an interesting visual to say the least.  After a brief pissing contest, Michonne and Andrea leave their shelter in search of greener pastures.

Back at the prison, Rick and the crew are pushing on, clearing out Walkers with hand-to-head combat.  Sure, you’ve got your general prisoner zombies, some civilian zombies, but the best Walkers, hands down, goes to the Undead Riot Guards!  What a great kill sequence and the Face-Peeler effects here were outstanding.  You would think that once Rick secured a cell block and got considerably improved housing for his crew, he’d be happy, right? Wrong.  Even after that victory, he turns a cold shoulder to a thankful Lori.  This, in part, sets Lori off on a tirade of morbid thoughts that she confides to Hershel.  Hershel does his best to assuage her fears of: a) an undead baby in her womb that may or may not attempt to crawl out, b) the fact that she may die in childbirth and c) may then team up with her undead baby to attack them all.  I hear that all pregnant women have the same concerns.

Lori also happens to be concerned about Carl, who has fallen in lock-step with Rick (Carl even continues to wear Rick’s hat).  I love Carl in this first episode and I think he’ll win over a lot of naysayers.  The kid is growing up and has shown he can handle a bit of responsibility as well as his weapon.  He’s also showing interest in Beth Greene.  The awkward scene when Hershel good-naturedly chases him out of Beth’s prison cell was deftly done.  But as grown up as he may be (or may be becoming), Rick still leaves him back in the protected cell block when he leads Daryl, T-Dog, Glenn, Maggie and…Hershel (?!) on an ill-fated mission to explore the rest of the prison.

walking-dead-season-3-zombieThe last sequence of the premiere was definitely the most tense: the gang, in the dark, exploring unfamiliar territory with only a can of spray paint to mark their way.  Of course, once the panic sets in at being trapped between two groups of Walkers, you can forget about your damned bread crumbs!  As Glenn and Maggie get separated from the others, it turns out that the poor unfortunate soul to be the first victim of the undead in season three is none other than Hershel Greene himself.  As he searched for Maggie, a crafty little Walker playing dead (like real dead) chomped him in the calf.  The only thing more surprising than Rick hacking Hershel’s leg off with a dull ax was the fact that the next room over housed more survivors dressed up like the living dead.  Holy shit!

Rating: 7/10, because although it was a great premiere, I want to leave room for episodes that stand out both for the excellent and for the abysmal.  If “Seed” is our benchmark, it’s going to be a helluva season!

walking-dead-season-3-norman-reedusMusings: 

  • I love Crossbow Poncho Daryl! Collect ‘em all!
  • Glenn and Maggie: you’re cute.  Keep it up.  One of you will probably die soon.
  • Not sure how I feel about the Andrea/Michonne team up, but for right now it’s an interesting change of pace from the central group.
  • Zombies in riot gear? Awesome! +2 DEF!
  • Our survivors seem a lot smarter this season, but trying to shoot/stab a Walker through riot gear…c’mon.  Also, Maggie, stop celebrating every kill or someone’s gonna bite you when you’re not looking, dummy.
  • Also, WHY THE HELL DID YOU TAKE OLD MAN HERSHEL INTO THE ZOMBIE-INFESTED PRISON?!

Body Count: 

  • Holy shit…I lost track.  I’ll try to do better on a second run-through.

Best Kill:

  • There were a lot, but this week’s best kill has to go to the cold-blooded one-shot from Carl in the show’s opening as he doesn’t hesitate to put a bullet in the head of a Walker. The kid is growing up fast.

Best Zombie/Effect:

  • I loved the riot gear zombies, but the best one was the critter whose face peeled away when his riot helmet was removed! Great, great effects work all around in this episode with some “How’d they get that shot?” moments and kills.

Casualties:

  • It looks like Hershel is the first victim to fall prey to the Walkers this season.  As a Walker bite took a big chunk out of his calf, Rick took the rest of his leg below the knee without hesitation, though I think he could have sharpened that ax a little better.

Join us next week for another recap and review of The Walking Dead!  Be sure to leave your comments and suggestions below.

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  • Tmo

    Hershel lives………………..you heard it here first.

  • LEM

    Yeah Herschel isn’t going to die…at least not yet and a 7/10 rating for this episode? that’s just wrong no matter how you justify it. This may be the best episode the show has had yet and hopefully the rest of the season follows suit. If you watch the show you should be able to come up with reasons why Michonne has armless/mouthless zombies. My favorite line of the episode was Herschel asking Carl if he found his cell yet…I guess the zombie apocalypse isn’t slowing down Carls raging hormones…hilarious.

  • Danny

    I agree with LEM above, 7 is way too low of a score for this episode. There was nothing wrong with “Seed”, it was the perfect opening to season 3. It’s like giving a student an “C” on his essay even though he met every requirement for a B just because you think he can write an “A” paper down the road. At the very least “Seed” should get an 8 or 8.5.

    • George

      I totally agree with Danny and LEM, this episode was the perfect start for the season and it looks like the show plans to follow a good direction to the gory, dark and real feeling of the characters lives. At least a 9 to this episode!

  • mike

    It was ok… finally doing what they should have been doing within weeks of apocalypse, looking for a fortified place, weapons, food and medicine. Could have killed all of the walkers in the yard of the prison through the fence without wasting any ammo or risking anyone’s life. Still making stupid decisions like bringing the old man with them, rushing into uncharted territory without attempting to draw the walkers out by making noise from the safe side of a locked door. Just rush in! Sounds like that is what most fans want though, they wouldn’t survive long in reality however.

    • LEM

      Yeah I agree with that. They could have easily made noise to corral them to fence and kill them there without risking themselves. Then after they clear an area they should have just kept doing the same thing in each space close the next fence and kill them.

      • aeolus

        You all know this show does have source material right? More or less they have stuck to the general idea of what goes on in the books so going “The Surge” right away wouldn’t have worked for the show before now. The group needed to be galvanized before clearer heads prevailed and more logical tactical decisions were made.

        Also, it’s a zombie show. Characters can’t make the same decisions you and I would make; that would be totally contrary to most thriller/horror fiction.

  • Gerberzy

    I thought this was a really bad episode. Maybe the show lost some of it’s touch once Durabont left. I feel like it was all action and no drama. When they do try to do something emotional, it’s so blatant and heavy handed (plus that acting isn’t great) it becomes almost laughable, Ex. the scene when Lori cries to the Doctor. Btw, I really don’t like Carl or any other characters except Daryl and Glen. And the blood seems especially fake this episode. I think it’s 100% CG, when in the past they used faked blood and CG. It’ just looked goofy and fake plus when the actors shoot the guns there is no kickback which makes it look even faker. Thought this was a really bad episode, even though I really tried to enjoy it :/

    • Sypher

      WE WANT MOAR ACTION

    • Michael

      What made the WD good was the intellectual, human exploration. If it is just going to de-evolve into yet another zombie movie (YAZM) then I will find something else to do. There are plenty of zombie movies out there, I don’t have to devote my time to a series.
      And brining Herschel along into the zombie infested area? The only doctor, with baby on the way was beyond stupid. Time to elect a new leader and get rid of the John McClane wanna-be.
      7/10 was generous for this episode. 6/10 or less due to the fact that they are still making bad decisions.

  • Gerberzy

    I thought this was a really bad episode. Maybe the show lost some of it\’s touch once Durabont left. I feel like it was all action and no drama. When they do try to do something emotional, it\’s so blatant and heavy handed (plus that acting isn\’t great) it becomes almost laughable, Ex. the scene when Lori cries to the Doctor. Btw, I really don\’t like Carl or any other characters except Daryl and Glen. And the blood seems especially fake this episode. I think it\’s 100% CG, when in the past they used faked blood and CG. It\’ just looked goofy and fake plus when the actors shoot the guns there is no kickback which makes it look even faker. Thought this was a really bad episode, even though I really tried to enjoy it :/

  • Jacob

    Michonne uses the zombies to carry shit.

    • charlie

      HE SAID DONT SPOIL IT!!

      • zachrifice

        if you watched the episode you figured that much out. It’s not really a spoiler if you paid attention.

  • GET OVER IT!

    “Rating: 7/10, because although it was a great premiere, I want to leave room for episodes that stand out both for the excellent and for the abysmal”…whaaaaat?!?!?!
    Very, very lame! Rate the episode on its own merits you fool, noob critic!

  • beth

    Don’t mind all these anons, my jaw was down almost the whole episode. And i complete agree on your rating.

  • tee

    You don’t need to read the comics to know why Michonne has armless zombies. Use your eyes. She had them carrying all her bags. They’re modern day camels. or donkeys.

    • Dev1359

      @ tee
      Actually she uses them for their odor in order to dampen her own scent so that zombies stay away from her. Seeing as how she traveled alone and not with Andrea before she met the rest of the survivors in the comic I’m not really sure how effective this still is on the show with Andrea being with her.

      • Thundersaurusrex

        DEV she also used them as “Mules” in the comics/graphic novels so Tee wasn’t wrong.

  • tee

    You don\’t need to read the comics to know why Michonne has armless zombies. Use your eyes. She had them carrying all her bags. They\’re modern day camels. or donkeys.

  • Neku

    Really 7/10 i would prefer 8.3/10 or something but anyways does anyone got a link to episode 1? becuase i missed it yesterday :(

  • lokey2345

    Pointless really. The situation of the story reads more and more like something that would fit into a 1st person shooter video game. The morale dilemmas and struggling with issues of humanity were what made season 2 incredibly powerful and moving, and when they killed off Dale it was pretty obvious the writers were heading in a different direction where everyone and everything would be more grittier and darker than before which is comic book stuff, but I suppose that’s how this series originated. -Good while it lasted though.

    • LEM

      The reason they killed off Dale had nothing to do with the writers going in any direction. The actor asked for his release after the Darabont situation because of his longtime friendship.

  • nico

    Great opening episode! The hour sped by so fast. Finally an episode where Lori doesn’t get on my nerves. I may actually start liking her. Poor thing has her work cut out for her now. Can’t wait till next week! YEA!

  • Teinen

    Seems to me we’re seeing some of this reduced budget that was subject of much if the AMC/Darabount feud. Some of the zombies looked fake and cheap, and the entire prison seemed much less epic than I had imagined. Like the outside, it’s like they just went to home depot and put up some fencing in a field. Plus all of the fencing looked brand new. I’m also on the fence (like that?) about whether or not the women playing Michonne can act. We’ll have to see on that. Her sword swinging movements were way too ” action movie” like posing. She seems a little heavy handed, even here expressions were a limitless overstated, she’s pretty expressionless in the comic.

    Also, the level of recap, analyzing, and participating in talking about the show while the show is in progress is ridiculous. Can’t people just watch the show?!?

  • Teinen

    Seems to me we\’re seeing some of this reduced budget that was subject of much if the AMC/Darabount feud. Some of the zombies looked fake and cheap, and the entire prison seemed much less epic than I had imagined. Like the outside, it\’s like they just went to home depot and put up some fencing in a field. Plus all of the fencing looked brand new. I\’m also on the fence (like that?) about whether or not the women playing Michonne can act. We\’ll have to see on that. Her sword swinging movements were way too \" action movie\" like posing. She seems a little heavy handed, even here expressions were a limitless overstated, she\’s pretty expressionless in the comic.

    Also, the level of recap, analyzing, and participating in talking about the show while the show is in progress is ridiculous. Can\’t people just watch the show?!?

    • k

      In the comics Michonne is self-taught so some “action – movie” like poses are actually kind of appropriate and make sense in some ways. She was on Treme a while back and was quite good – give her a chance she may leave you pleasantly surprised.

  • Disappointed

    7 is far to generous. I was expecting a much better opener. Lost interest a few times during this episode. 6

  • lisa

    zombies looked more like sleepwalkers.maybe alittle less graphics on the killing.Rick finally looks a lot more confident in taking charge.Lori is a whiner,never liked her.my favorite is Darrel.I hope Hershel makes it.

  • prod

    Have to agree with everyone else, rate an episode based on the episode not on what you think is coming down the line, that is crazy, nuts and stupid.

    Although now I am starting to see how the academy awards work,

    Awards person: “Hey, Leonardo deserves the academy this year”
    Person 2: “Nah, I can see some great things for him down the line,
    so we’ll skip him this year”.
    Awards person: “Yeah you’re right lets give it to a first timer, who we know will only have this
    moment”

  • Dev1359

    Actually she uses them for their odor in order to dampen her own scent so that zombies stay away from her. Seeing as how she traveled alone and not with Andrea before she met the rest of the survivors in the comic I’m not really sure how effective this still is on the show with Andrea being with her.

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  • Nate

    A hell of an entertaining opening episode to what has become, in my mind, one of the absolute best shows on TV. I personally am happy as hell that Shane is dead and gone. Don’t get me wrong, Jon Bernthal is a fantastic actor and I loved him as Shane, but Rick’s character has already developed so much in his absence that I find him hard to miss. As far as the reduced budget is concerned, I don’t see it. The make-up effects were great (Face-Peeler was awesome!) and the actors are as ever more than up to par. 10/10 for my money, can’t wait to see what’s in store for what might just be the best season yet. Here’s to hopin’.

  • Collin

    um im new to this but i thought the plot of the episode was really well thought up and i liked the chain of events that took place the only thing i thought was wrong about this episode was poor costuming and effects for the dead i mean it was ok but last season had way better visuals does anyone agree ?

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  • The Spoiler Man

    Hershel gets bit but survives.
    All prisoners are dead except 2 due to mistrust.
    Someone is watching the group from outside the prison.
    Andrea is taken by a group to a small town that lives happily where she encounters Merle (Daryl’s brother form season one)
    The governor of this new town has issues. He’s a womanizer who keeps more females than males in his town to repopulate and kills extra males without hesitation (soldiers).
    The governor appears as a good guy from the outside but is very selfish and will kill others without any hesitation for their supplies or skill sets.
    You’re welcome :)

    • The critic

      “The governor appears as a good guy from the outside but is very selfish and will kill others without any hesitation for their supplies or skill sets.”

      Please explain how he kills people for skill sets? I mean how’s that even possible?

      Spoiler man, you’re an idiot.

  • Paulette A Hamilton

    I don’t mind spoilers just because most of you people are too lazy to read the comics which means that in it self will be spoiler I say continue on with the spoilers.

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