‘The Walking Dead’ Season 3 Premiere Review

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Danai Gurira Andrew Lincoln and David Morrissey in The Walking Dead Season 3 The Walking Dead Season 3 Premiere Review

After 2 seasons of watching Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) struggle to keep a petulant group of survivors alive in The Walking Dead, things are finally looking up for him from a leadership point of view – but decidedly down everywhere else.

So, in an effort to guide the remaining ensemble down the long road to ruin, season 3 kicks off ‘Seed’ by loosening the narrative’s grip on just how serialized the series needs to be, and by moving the episode along at a much more deliberate pace. This solves two of the show’s bigger problems, in that more progression is allowed to happen off-screen, and the things that are presented in the episode are considerably more interesting. There were glimpses of this in the last half of season 2, which was largely a march toward change for the better. The increasingly burdensome conflict between Shane (Jon Bernthal) and Rick was finally resolved, and the farm where the plot went to die was overrun by walkers and destroyed by fire.

As much as Hershel’s farm had drained the plot of its excitement, perhaps it had been designed as a means by which the audience could get to know and eventually care about these characters. It didn’t really work out that way, however, and by the end of season 2, all we really knew was that this group had a hard time getting along and that they were, more or less, looking for someone to lead them. But despite Rick’s best efforts, the group had largely decided Shane was the way to go. That, of course, was undone with Rick killing his former best friend, and adopting a no-nonsense attitude toward keeping these folks alive. Now, the season premiere sets out to show whether or not the whole Rick’s-way-or-the-highway approach worked out.

Norman Reedus IronE Singleton Andrew Lincoln Steven Yeun The Walking Dead Seed AMC The Walking Dead Season 3 Premiere Review

‘Seed’ gets underway by establishing that even though the prison was revealed to the audience at the end of ‘Beside the Dying Fire,’ the group has spent all winter jumping from house to house, more or less tending to the everyday requirements of survival. The jump in time works by granting the assumption that everyone has had sufficient time to process Shane’s death and to work out whatever problems may still linger between them – at least to the point that their squabbles are no longer as big a threat to the group as the walkers. It also makes Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) being pregnant a far more immediate issue to deal with, and helps explain why Carl (Chandler Riggs) appears to be two inches taller and can gun down walkers as efficiently as his father. Most importantly though, whatever happened during the winter made the group a far more cohesive unit, which is conveyed only by the fact that they’re still alive, but also by how quickly they make use of the prison.

The clearing of the prison yard and cell block, followed by the search for supplies, are the most substantial set pieces that ‘Seed’ has to offer, and they manage to provide plenty of gruesome moments and jump scares to keep things thrilling. The episode also establishes that the state of Rick and Lori’s relationship has been taxed to the point that he barely speaks to her, and when he does, it’s in a terse, matter-of-fact tone. Rick hasn’t gone off the deep end like he seemed he was about to while addressing everyone at the end of last season, but whatever transpired over the winter has earned him enough recognition that even Carol (Melissa McBride) mentions to Daryl (Norman Reedus) the group wouldn’t have survived as long under the guidance of Shane. It shows that although time has passed, the influence of Shane is still significant beyond more than the unasked questions about Lori’s pregnancy, and it also serves as a small victory for Rick, setting up a new direction for the series under his leadership that will hopefully consist of more than watching every argument as it unfolds amongst the survivors.

There are also a few moments that grant a clearer view of the characters’ state of mind, like the comfortable way Maggie (Lauren Cohen) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) look after one another during a rare moment of solace, and Lori’s feelings of regret about Shane and her husband, which are amplified by the fear that she’ll have to deal with a zombified baby, or worse, the group will be forced to put her down if she were to die giving birth. They’re short moments that flesh out where these characters have been, and how those events have shaped them into who they are now. It’s also a good starting off point for whatever drama is to come.

Danai Gurira in The Walking Dead Seed AMC The Walking Dead Season 3 Premiere Review

‘Seed’ also offers something the series hasn’t really done before; it’s allowed the main story to splinter off. At the end of last season, Andrea (Laurie Holden) was presumed dead, even though Michonne (Danai Gurira) had saved her in rather grand fashion. Here again, Michonne’s entrance grants the series some excitement and suspense, as she deftly deals with a store full of walkers in search of some aspirin to give to an ailing Andrea. Even though the episode doesn’t spend too much time with them, it establishes the pair has come to rely on one another, and the lack of medical supplies has begun to take its toll on the survivors. Most importantly, however, Andrea and Michonne’s storyline – though it will likely converge with Rick’s group soon enough – is a welcome break from the blow-by-blow account of what everyone else is up to.

This gives season 3 two distinct storylines to follow, which, if nothing else, should provide plenty of opportunities to keep the tempo from relaxing to the degree it has before. And with 16 episodes in this third season, the worry is that the prison will become as much of drag on the plot as Hershel’s farm was. So, in what appears to be another effort to combat the temptation of comfort that the prison represents, it turns out not all of the prisoners have succumbed to the walkers – and as far as introductions go, hacking off Hershel’s (Scott Wilson) infected leg is about as memorable as Rick & Co. can probably hope to get.

It may be too soon to say that ‘Seed’ is the episode Walking Dead fans have been waiting for since the pilot, but it certainly offered plenty of visceral excitement and intrigue to back that notion up. At any rate, since much of season 3 is supposed to deal with the threat humanity poses to the living, the surviving prisoners and the Governor (David Morrissey) will likely help keep the suspense above the threat of being kicked off a farm.

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The Walking Dead continues next Sunday with ‘Sick’ @9pm on AMC.

TAGS: the walking dead

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  1. Finally back !!!
    Yeah…this season gonna Rock :)

  2. Great episode!

  3. I loved this episode. This was by far the best episode in a while. I’m glad they saved Hershel, I’m glad Carl has grown more, still a little upset that Lori is whinning all the time but who can blame her. As long as nothing happens to Daryl. AMC would lose ratings if Daryl died.

    • she is pregnant….hormones are doing their job…

  4. dudee that ending!!! holy crap!!! holy s*** balls fjskdjskjdksj

  5. THIS was the perfect episode. I am PSYCHED for this season!!

  6. I thought the episode was fantastic! I loved the opening. Five stars! :)

  7. I have to be honest and say that I thought that was the worst season premiere of the show yet. 9 months go by before they found the prison that was just over the horizon from them in the season 2 finale? Highly doubt that would’ve happened in real life. Absolutely no answers and more questions. Rick and Lori thing was horrible. In the finale it was the opposite. Lori was mad at Rick. Now Rick’s mad at Lori and Lori’s the one feeling bad for it? Worst of all it was probably the slowest episode yet! Season 1 was my favorite so far because every episode was fast paced and told a lot of story. Nothing was filler, due to only having six episodes. Yet when they double it the next season and then even go further with 16 episodes in the following season, it’s supposed to tell more story, not drag it out! Everything that happened in that episode could’ve taken 30 minutes. There must’ve been a dozen commercial breaks. This is certainly not The Walking Dead TV series I became hooked on in season 1.

    • They’re actually following the source material fairly closely. I think they got off to a pretty good start.

      • but taking an hour just to go through that? It was just killing one zombie right after another through the whole thing. We didn’t get to find out much of anything about Michonne and Andrea, and this whole months going by before they find the prison story is not believable at all.

        • Brian… you couldn’t be more incorrect with your opinion. Sorry, but it’s ridiculous to say “that would never happen in real life” about anything that takes place in a fictional story. Anything can happen. An no… it’s not crazy to assume that they hadn’t found the prison. If they head in the other direction it’s not crazy at all. There is no google maps or gps to tell them where anything is. They aren’t familiar with the land. They move slowly and methodically to survive. If they head out in the other direction it’s not obsurd to think that it could take them a year to work their way back around. Hell they could have come back to the very same spot and headed left instead of right and still not gone in the direction of the prison, yet had new ground to cover. If I set you down in the middle of nowhere and there was safe haven 5 blocks away yet you have 20 different directions to go in you might take a year to find it as well. You might never find it. Also they addressed this very question after the show during the Talking Dead where the writer of the episode explained this. Secondly the growth is what allowed them to take the prison… had they found it right away there would be no chance they’d have been ready or able. God it’s so annoying to hear people complain about one of the only shows on television trying to do something different than every other … show on television. Maybe you should stick to your crime dramas or Jersey Shore… cause the crap on there sure would happen in real life. ??? wow.

          • T-Dog mentions going round in circles all winter when they were looking where to go next after leaving the house at the start when using the PAPER MAP on the car bonet.

    • Still here at office and haven’t made it to home and to the episode,
      but reading your comment I can’t believe that 9 months are gone by until the find the Prison..its right behind them at the Horizon,should be the next day or so after season 2 ends !

      And if they really made it 9 months that would suck !

      • Doesn’t mean they went in that ditection

        • They just didn’t find it…why is that not believable? They said they were traveling all winter and made a loop.now they found it. Pretty easy to believe. Terrific episode.

          • Plus, would you go straight to a prison or would you raid the local area first to make sure you found what you could before you make post?
            Episode 1 for Season three was one of the best episodes yet. Totally stoked.

    • They never said it was 9 mos from the end s2 till now. Months have passed yes but I dont think its been quite that long. They made it through the winter and Rick and Shane in s2 had talked about surviving the winter which makes me think its only been 4 or 5 months since s2. I’m more curious about these “migrating” patterns the zombies seem to have. They hinted at it in the finale last year and mentioned it again last night, so I’m assuming its something that the writers will flesh out as the season progresses.

    • In real life people have GPS, most of them can’t get around the block unless it tells them to make 4 left turns. In their case they are cold, hungry, and being pushed in all directions by Walkers trying to eat them. You see when they look at the old map “that obviously don’t have the prison on it” T-Dod says they been going in circles and different groups of Walkers are herding together. In those conditions I find it very possible they missed the prison. The scenario was so bad carl was about to eat dog food.

      • Well, that GPS thing is not true. Tech weiners may live by their GPS, but there are still people out there in the world who used maps and compasses just like the old days.

        That said, while I consider it HIGHLY improbable that they never noticed there was a prison around (as areas like that have highway signs all over about hitchhikers) I’m okay with them not finding the prison for a while. It gave the characters time to harden before they get there. It’s more in line with the hardened nature of the character’s in the books now.

  8. Loved this episode!!! One of the best of the series!

  9. Dudes seriously? Quit Griping. This season is starting out a whole lot better than the last season already. Hopefully soon sh** is gonna get a whole lot more real than this and maybe then you’ll just shut up and enjoy it.

  10. Well to all the complainers who cried about there not being enough Zombie kills i hope your happy now you have your 45 minutes of watching fish get stabbed and shot in a barrel with absolutley no character development that was so boring and dissapointing , this show was never about the zombies , the zombies were just an extreme circumstance wich pushed the characters into making extreme desisions wich made compelling viewing , this was not compelling i actuly found myself laughing out loud espeacialy at the start when it became clear T Dog had been demoted even further down the pecking order to fire poker guy while Carl got a pistol and silencer WTF poor T Dog they wouldnt even let him have a riot shield .

  11. When will ScreenRant add an edit function it s annoying when you post a comment with a glaring mistake but carnt fix it ?

    Also it looks like Hershel fell off the wagon again because at the end of that episode he was completley legless = ) Sorry could not resist

    • They do need an edit button because I see spelling errors I make and didn’t catch sometimes and I don’t want people to think i’m ignorant because of that. I still don’t completly understand how SR keeps up with who I am when I’m reading and responding to stuff because I’ve never had to put in my name and e-mail more than just once.

      And yeah. I sure hope Hershel doen’t use that real crutch as a just another crutch.

  12. This was awesome my fav episode so far the prison looked exactly like from the books. And what a surprise seeing Dexter, Axel, Thomas, and Andrew. Michonne wow

  13. I was pretty happy with the opener and i am a harsh critic of the show.The directors and producers still have no idea how firearms work and how living in a world without electric and modern comforts comes into a survival situation.I guess its easier to skip ahead and give them new toys without a explanation instead of showing that the average person who cant change a lightbulb isnt going to know how to build suppressors. All in all it was a good episode and much better than Comic book men.

    • They have a firearms trainer with them. Rick. He showed he had good gun knowledge in the pilot.

  14. Brian, dude, you’ve gotta chill. Yes, the 9 months thing does seem a little uneblievable, but what’s the big deal? It moved the story along. Sheesh – even The Godfather has a timeline that doesn’t really make sense (it seemed like Michael Corleone was married in Sicily one minute, comes back to the US the next minute, and then is married an has children with Kay the next minute). So cut the show some slack, will you?

    Besides, while the timeline is not really believable, works. At least it sped up the timeline for Lori’s pregnancy, which, to me, is a really boring subplot anyway. I’m kind of disappointed that they don’t do something cool with the whole pregnancy thing, such as the group somehow finding out that the baby has something to do with a possible cure.

    One thing I don’t get is Rick cutting Hershel’s leg off after he is bitten. Why do they think that by doing so he won’t turn in to a zombie? I thought it was pretty much assume that when someone gets bitten, they are going to turn. Did they find something out abotu the virus/infection during those 9 months that we don’t yet know about?

    Other than that, it was a really good start to season 3.

    • In the comic it was explained that the bites dont infect you, only kill you. It spreads an infection in you that kills you and since everyone is already infected they turn into walkers after they are die. It was explained better in the comics when a different character went through the same thing. In this episode it felt like he just hacked off his leg for no reason.

      • We dont know if Hershal is already infected we only know the main/original characters are from being tested at the end of season 1.

        • ^^therefore answering your own issue. Best option was to cut off the leg and see if he survives.

        • Again, going off the comics, EVERYONE IS INFECTED. The virus is in everyone and it activates when they have been killed. The bites from walkers spread through and kills the victim thus activating the virus.

          • ^^therefore answering your own issue again. The removed bite area may stop the infection spreading and then stopping it leading to death.

            • Oh God I hope so! Just when Hurshel has a bad ass long hair! Hershel noooO!!!!!

      • Cutting off Hershel’s leg was an urgent matter and the episode ended with that. There’ plenty of time for Rick to explain his reasons in the next episode.

        The comic series explores numerous ways in which the zombie apocalypse has changed people and survival. The TV show is following that path as well, just not in an identical way. If you consider the circumstances they are in and their determination to survive, it would be clear that the show is not about answering any particular question, but rather a study in human survival.

  15. Just wondering. Nothing about the story or spoilers or anything. What did the opening main title/ credits look like?

    • Hey Xander, and everyone else here, this thread links to an article titled “The Walking Dead Season 3 Premiere Review,” with “review” being the operative word here, implying that everyone here has already seen the episode. If you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want to know about it, then why bother reading this thread in the first place? The article itself basically tells you everything about the episode.

      The fact that people come on here and whine about how we’re all giving away spoilers is rather thoughtless.

      • Hey Couch,

        Xander was not complaining about the spoilers. He wasn’t asking for spoilers, just what the opening credits were like.

        Frankly, I can’t remember what the opening credits were like. I guess that shows how engrossing the intro was.

    • I think rick cut off hershels leg cause he needs hershel to deliver his baby

  16. I liked the premiere episode, but one nagging issue while reading these comments. When did it say 9 months have gone by since the season ended? Andrea said she’s been helping Michonne all winter long and uhm.. wouldn’t Lori have had the kid by now?

    My friends & I have read the comics so we’re just picking this season apart as we watch. I LOVED Rick tearing that riot gear wearing walker’s face off when he removed his mask. EHRMAGERD!

    • Everyone is assuming its been 9 months because of lori’s pregnancy. Just because a pregnancy last around 9 months begining to end doesn’t mean its been anywhere near that long. If it had been 9 months then she would have had the darn thing already. Or at the very least they’d all be just as scared that she’d have it any second as they are of all the walkers around them.

      Based on the context clues from the episode (they said winter had come and passed, Lori’s pregnancy shows but they arn’t concerned that she is gonna have the baby any second. Lori is concerned that she is stillborn. Even uncertian things like Hershels sweet new old guy beard and carl’s hair and how he’s just a little taller, etc.) I’d say its only been 4-5 months at the most.

  17. “Minor Spoiler for this episode.”

    Seeing everybody, especially Carl take down walkers was the high point of the episode, but while they were walking past the dead in the prison, all I was thinking was that they should make sure they were actually “dead”. I don’t know if it was the acting, but hershel’s leg being cut off didn’t really leave a big impact on me.
    Overall this episode was okay, just because of Carl. They grow up so fast lol

  18. Now that I think about it, Rick seemed like he knew that he should have cut off the leg, but since there aren’t any members with missing appendages, how would he? It must have been the acting.

  19. Very good start to the season. It definitely felt like more of a set-up, but I’m fine with that; it was a great set-up and not a lot of drag.

  20. I agree with the complaints of this episode. Nothing really hooked me in. It all dragged out and I dont know if it was the acting or what but everything felt stale. Who knows, maybe it’ll get better.

  21. Solid opening episode. The part I didn’t like was Michonne. She seemed so corny (notably the sword-work) to an otherwise well-acted show. Hopefully that will change, but otherwise a good start.

    • My friend burst out into laughter watching her sword work and I agree. She looked like she had no idea what she was doing with the sword.

      • Its not like she ever trained in how to use it. It’s just something she picked up when sh** started getting crazy and she taught herself how to use it. What do you expect a random person to become a samuri master just by picking up a sword? Cuz I’d sure like to see you fumbling to try it. You’d end up cutting yourself.

        Then again it brings up the question of why she relies on it so much. Then again if everyone else is running around with machetties and axes then the samuri sword would seem just a bit better to have around.

  22. You fanboys always complain. Why can’t you guys just shut up and relax for once. Stop being such harsh critics because you think it looks cool.

    • Thank you!!!’

      Glad someone finally pointed that out

    • Being a bit critical about people being critics :P

  23. i liked how they had Hershel get bit by the walker instead of dale (like in the comics).

  24. This episode was sick!!! (in a good way :D )

  25. The leg thing was explained in Talking Dead. It was just something they discussed and agreed upon (the group) during their ‘walk about’.

    I also did not like the gap in time.Could ahve been shown better in a two minute montage maybe with a little snow.

    Another thing I did not like was Michs first swing of the katana. I will go back and watch it again but she did not seem comfortable with it.

    Also they should know to check all dead looking things making sure they are dead. Rick poked the guard in the booth by did not concern himself with a body in a dark hall….

    Picky? Yes but its things like this that stand out in my eyes that make it less than what it was.

    Stop watching it? Never. Still good. Just not their best.

    • Aknot,

      “I also did not like the gap in time.Could ahve been shown better in a two minute montage… ”

      I completely agree. Lori’s pregnancy was telling me that 6 to 7 months had gone by, Herschel’s beard was telling me only a month. And then their clothes was saying a week. It wasn’t until Andrea mentioning all winter that the timing clicked for me and that was more then half way through the show.

      And being picky for me was the can opener. Why carry a big, bulky can opener when numerous pocket knifes, like the Swiss Army Knife come equipped with one?

      Did love the Walkers in riot gear, that was a great touch.

    • I agree, aknot, btu the thing is that they are in the Atlanta region, where it rarely goes below 60 degrees during the year and has had maybe two snowfalls in the last 50 years, so the weather thing really wasn’t as much of a factor for me. I was surprised that Rick and Shane even talked about it in season 2.

      I can’t help but be interested in seeing whether Lori has a zombie baby, or whether the baby is born fine. That would at least reveal something about the virus/infection.

      By the way, is it assumed that Hershel has died, since Rick says “he’s bleeding out way too much” at the end, or is there any sort of hope for him?

      • @Aknot. In all the confusion with the walkers in the hallways at that point I feel like Hershel might have been in a hallway that they hadn’t checked out yet, and he ignored the body at the moment because he was concerned with finding Maggie and Glenn.

  26. Great episode and a great start to the season. I think that this season will likely end up topping the first because the stage and teh bar have been set and they are introducing more characters which means that more of the the cats will die…

    I think that Rick’s wife told Risk that she wasnt sure if Rick/Shane were the father which is why Rick is over the top angry with her and telling her things like “I’m still here aint I” ….knowing the type of man that Rick is supposed to be I doubt that they would have him consider leaving his wife if that was his child….at this point they are not sure who’s chi;d it is, and being that they are sticking close to the source material, it could very well be Shane’s

  27. One thing that bugged me was that they didn’t cotinue to kill the zombies through the fence. I mean how hard could that be? It is alot safer than running around them and you get to conserve ammo… Plus Rick was concerned about conserving ammo anyway. Makes no sense.

    • Well as secure as those fences are you would not want to take the chance of them ‘breaking’.

      Remember it is a prison and setup to keep humans in. If a human tried to get out they would get shot. Zombies dont have that fear so they would pile into the fence.

      granted they could have run around to keep em thinned out but it may have taken a longer time. They wanted in and wanted safety sooner than later.

    • There was the gate to be shut inside/the other end by Rick. Don’t get your issue? The fence would buckle under so many zombies if they stayed where they were.

  28. good to hear. i must wait for the d.v.d release in europe, damn. i can´t wait, the zombies looks so great ,best make-up-prosthetics work from the genre.

  29. IDC IF IT WAS SLOW OR FAST OR HAPPY OR SAD.. ITS BACK!! AND THATS ALL I CARE ABOUT. I LOVE THIS SHOW AND EVERYTHING IT HAS TO OFFER. U DONT LIKE IT THEN DONT WATCH IT. MAN. ALL PEOPLE DO IS COMPLAIN!!! ANYWAYS. I WILL MARRY DARRYL .. OMG HE IS SO… MMMHMMM,MGSFGAWGHJBHRWGOGNERG. IF HE DIES I WILL NOT WATCH THIS SHOW ANYMORE. OR IF GLEN DIES, HES AWESOME!

    • One thing that keep on coming to my mind is that why wont the survivors wear very hard/tough protective clothing or wear like three long sleeve shirts to keep bites away.Like during the time Daryl was having hallucinations in season 2 while looking for sophia in the bushes the walker couldnt bite his foot due to his shoes. They should be wearing tough shirts that cover the necks arms or like three socks or something and long boots for the legs. I know they in short supply of cloths and materials they should try and somehow customize what they wear to minimize the bites. I dont know why the issue of wearing better gear for the survivors did not come.

      The show rocks, the sound effects,the way each episode ends,the characters body language, the delivery is above 70% in 100 mark so thumbs up.

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