AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 1: “Seed”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Glen Mazzara
* For a review of the Season 2 finale, “Beside the Dying Fire” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Sick” – click here
This Season 3 premiere sees Carl (Chandler Riggs), Glenn (Steven Yeun), Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) looking for supplies. Afterwards, they all sit around in the living room of a bare, ransacked house. Carl gets ready to open a bunch of dog food. Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), Beth (Emily Kinney), Hershel (Scott Wilson) and the rest look on dismal, disgusted, but starving. T-Dog (Irone Singleton) soon hears a walker, then the group is forced to flee their momentary squat house.
Out on the road they’re looking for another place to stay. While going for a little hunt, Daryl and Rick find a prison, the one we saw at the end of last season. In the yard are zombies walking around every which way. But there is possibly a place for them to stay. Especially considering they need one badly, with Lori very pregnant, tired, and everyone needing a bit of a rest. They cut their way through the fences towards the prison buildings, using wirecutters, then closing up the hole behind them systematically. Their time on the road, obviously a good few months, has hardened them. Given them order. They’re following Rick in their new system of something other than democracy. It’s working because they seem definitely as a team, particularly without Shane (Jon Bernthal) to throw a wrench into things. Rick has them all setup at the entrance of the prison and ready to execute a plan in order to take the prison for their use.
The plan goes well. Everyone helps to clear the yard of walkers, gunning a ton of them down one after another: “We haven‘t had this much space since we left the farm,” says Carol (Melissa McBride) rejoicing. In the evening, everybody settles down a while and has something to eat. Rick and Daryl patrol, as T-Dog and Hershel talk about plans for the prison yard going forward. They all hope it’ll be a good place for Lori to give birth eventually, too. That’s a major plus, and something they need to be thinking of, as having a child in this wasteland could easily prove to be deadly. Carol and Daryl have a nice, fun little moment together where he massages her shoulder, and she quips it “could be romantic – wanna screw around?” It’s an excellently lighthearted moment in the middle of all the action. Afterwards, Beth also sings a song around the fire, putting everyone in a nice mood for once. Funny – you’d never have seen something like that happen with Shane around, would you? For some reason that’s what comes to mind at the time. Maggie joins Beth soon and the group feels at ease, if only for a short time.
Rick wants to push a bit more and get inside the prison. There’d be a ton of goods left inside: “weapons, food, medicine.” Looks like a tough job ahead, but Rick believes in his people, that they have the fortitude to through with it and make themselves a new home for however long they can.
Now we’re introduced to Michonne (Danai Gurira) – the hooded figure who came across Andrea (Laurie Holden) at the last of the season premiere. But briefly. We’ll come back to her later.
At the prison, the group heads in back-to-back through the yard, up towards the buildings. Lori, Carol, Carl stick back by the fences to lure away as many walkers as possible. There are a ton of walkers in the courtyard, some with body armour having obviously been guards. A tough fight talks the survivors awhile to get through several waves of the living dead. Maggie stabs a zombie trying to kill her then happily looks to Glenn and says: “See that?” Plenty of great practical makeup effects here in “Seed”, showcasing the always amazing work of KNB – the wizards of gore in the past 30 years of horror television and film, Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero. Best one: Rick tears the mask of a guard and his dead face comes off with it, eyeballs rolling around and gunky skin hanging around the skull. Fucking incredible.
Once Rick and Co. make it inside the prison appears fairly deserted. No noise. Not a sound or a soul, anywhere. They move further in, getting the keys from a corpse which lets them into another cell block. Still, no signs of life, or of the undead either. Lots of corpses, gunshot to the middle of the head and the like. Once things are officially cleared the whole gang moves in, settling rooms for themselves and getting prepared to nest a while. Things, for now, are looking good.
We arrive back to Michonne again. She’s taking care of Andrea who is pretty damn sick. Fairly sick herself, Michonne’s zombies are creepy as all hell. They’re on leashes, no arms, no jaws. Weird thing to do. But part of why her character is interesting. Seems like something an insane person would do, yet there she is looking after Andrea, nursing her back to health. She wants to find them a place to stay, somewhere Andrea won’t get sicker, won’t die. They have a tenuous relationship, though, clearly a decent one after months on the road together. Michonne says she’ll “go in a few days“, but hopefully they stick together as a team. Not too long after they head out into the world once more; all four of them. At least Andrea’s not on a leash.
The gang at the prison are loading up on supplies. Plenty of security gear, as well as guns, ammo, flashbangs, et cetera. At the same time, Lori worries about the virus – if the baby is stillborn, it could tear out of her. She wants to discuss with Hershel what happens if she dies in child birth, reminding him many women died before modern medicine much like the situation in which she finds herself. But she asks more of Hershel – to be put down if something like that comes up, to not make Rick do it, as he may never recover. Remember this moment because a situation down the road calls this back to mind.
Heading further into the prison, Rick leads a crew of the survivors and leaves Carl in charge back with a few of the women, including his mother. The depths of the building aren’t as clear as the outer region. Not only are there walkers, the electricity isn’t on anymore, so the place is like a tomb. Glenn smartly spray paints arrows on the wall to mark their walk, almost like an urban Hansel and Gretel. Blood and gore line most of the halls. Bodies lie hacked to pieces. Finally, around one corner is a pack of zombies. The group push back and find themselves on the run.
The horrifyingly unexpected soon happens. First, Glenn and Maggie end up cut off from Hershel, T-Dog, Daryl and Rick. The two hide in a closet together escaping an onslaught of the living dead. Then, while moving along a hall Hershel gets one big bite in his leg. A panic breaks out, as Maggie stumbles onto her father. Rick and Glenn get Hershel out of there. But to what end?
In a split-second decision, Rick decides “Only one way to keep you alive” and hacks off Hershel’s leg above the bite in his calf. Everyone understands, but justifiably are horrified. Blood everywhere. Though, Rick gets the leg off. And up behind them appear several prisoners behind a cage in the cafeteria. Uh oh.
Moving on into the new season, up next is “Sick”.