Josh Wilding Reviews: THE WALKING DEAD Season Three Premiere; "Seed"
Last year, The Walking Dead was criticised for being a little too slow-paced, but there's no need to worry about that in the superb season three premiere, "Seed". Hit the jump for my verdict! [WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD]
The hunt for Sophia took up a lot of the second season of The Walking Dead, resulting in many fans feeling annoyed at what appeared to be a fairly slow thirteen episode run. Well, "Seed" more than makes up for the mostly dull time spent on Hershel's farm, and the new direction and tone that the series is heading in looks set to make this the best season yet. The "Ricktatorship" has truly begun, doing away with the lengthy discussions and arguments that our core cast of characters would usually have when it came to decision making. Now, it's Rick's way or the highway, and this (as well as the absence of Shane) makes him the leader that lovers of Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard's comic book series have been so desperate to see. A fair few months have passed since the season two finale, and despite the fact that this makes it a little hard to believe they've only just now found the Prison, it does help in offering an interesting new dynamic. It's shocking to see just how desperate the group have become, with Carl eagerly opening a tin of dog food before it's thrown a way by his clearly frustrated father.
All of the survivors are now far more adept at taking out the undead, and this too offers a fresh spin on things. With a slightly smaller cast, everyone gets a decent amount of time in the spotlight...T-Dog actually says more in this episode than he probably did in the entirety of season two! There is several different stages to the group taking over the Prison, all of which are thrilling and pretty damn frightening. Putting walkers in riot gear (thereby making them near impossible to kill) is a great idea, as is seeing Maggie work out how to take them down. The effects are also superb, with some VERY creative new zombie designs which are sure to be difficult to watch for the faint of heart! Director Ernest Dickerson (Dexter, The Wire) shoots the episode beautifully, and the scene in which Rick takes out the walkers from a watchtower with a rifle is a very iconic looking shot. The episode ends with a great couple of twists, and it was nice to see Rick's reaction to having to perform a grisly amputation - despite now being a hardened leader, he's still only human after all!
The final cliffhanger comes totally out of nowhere and the episode ends rather abruptly on this note, promising a very interesting lead into next week. How exactly they're going to handle this should be really very interesting, although whether we REALLY need additional cast members at this point (especially with the likes of Michonne and The Governor on the way) remains to be seen. Speaking of which, we finally get to meet Danai Gurira's Michonne in the premiere, and while we catch a glimpse of her two undead compatriots and quickly learn that she's developed a bond with Andrea, that's about all we do discover - she's not even named. Of course, it's likely that she will be fleshed out next week and as the season progresses, because anyone who isn't familiar with the comic books will surely be baffled at this point. Overall, this was a great start to season three, and while there are still a few worrying elements (the tension between Rick and Lori runs the risk of getting old fast), this really does look set to be the best year for The Walking Dead yet.
Season three of The Walking Dead has kicked off in style, reminding us that it's still one of THE best shows on TV. Stellar storytelling and a killer twist make this a superb hour of television. Bring on The Governor!
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