**Spoilers below!!**

The Walking Dead Season 3 premier aired last night, and definitely didn’t disappoint.  With a nice mix of character development and zombie slaying, fans of the series had to be happy with the premier and the direction this season appears to be heading.

The episode began a considerable time after Season 2 ended.  After the epic battle at the farm, the main group proceeded to travel around the countryside, searching for food and supplies while charting zombie herd movements.  Months have gone by, to the point where Lori is almost about to have her baby, Hershel has grown a full beard, and even Carl seemingly becoming more than just a kid who doesn’t do what he’s told.  At the start of the episode, the situation has grown rather desperate for the survivors, who find themselves combing over areas they’ve already scavenged from.  Rick is the unquestioned leader, and has become stoic and even cold in his approach.  To be sure, he still operates to preserve the group, but is much more direct and quick to act than in previous seasons.  His attitude and treatment of his wife Lori is even more evident, to the point where he is shunning her.  Clearly, Rick Grimes is evolving into a different type of leader, father, and husband.

In other parts, Andrea and her companion / savior Michonne are etching out an existence, but too are in dire straights of sorts.  Andrea has fallen ill, and is reliant on Michonne to take care of her.  In a clip seen during previews for Season 3, Michonne enters a store, dispatches of a few zombies, and picks up some much needed medicine for Andrea.  In typical fashion, Andrea is defiant of Michonne taking care of her, but has little other choice if she wants to survive.  The relationship of the two characters is interesting, and it will be curious to see how it develops throughout the season.  The two are last seen leaving their safe house, as they too are living a hunter-gatherer, nomadic existence.  Judging by previews, however, this on-the-run lifestyle is about to be replaced as they will soon encounter a figure that might even be more menacing and problematic than walkers:  The Governor.

For Rick’s group, however, the situation appeared to seem more promising.  While on a hunt, Rick and Daryl notice an abandoned prison.  Unfortunately, the prison isn’t entirely abandoned, as there are a number of zombies on the premise.  In a gutsy move, Rick and company lead a charge to take the prison, slaying the zombies on the grounds and courtyard of the prison and finally gaining a semblance of safety.  Despite this success, the various blocks of the prison remain filled with walkers, and if the group wants to achieve true safety, these corridors need to be swept and cleared.  There are a number of different walker “types,” in the prison, from inmates and guards, to walkers in full riot gear.  A particularly gruesome scene involved a walker in riot gear being pinned down, his helmet removed with the skin literally peeling off his face.  The level of gore in this episode was noteworthy, and is an indicator of what can be expected throughout the season.

For all the positives that came with partially securing the prison, there was also a casualty.  In an effort to clean a corridor of the prison, the group was overwhelmed, and in their panic to flee back to the safety of the courtyard, became separated.  During this frantic development, Hershel was bitten in the leg while attempting to find Maggie.  The group was able to make it into a safe room, barring the door shut.  Acting without hesitation, Rick proceeded to hack Hershel’s leg off below the knee in a desperate attempt to save his life.  Just as Rick is done cutting off Hershel’s leg, Daryl looks up to see people in a room adjacent to them.  The prison is not only inhabited by walkers, but also another group of survivors.

If the season premier is any indication of what fans can expect this season, they’re in for a real treat.  There was a nice balance of character development and zombie killing.  The parallel storyline of Rick’s group and Andrea / Michonne also helps to offer a change of pace.

Review – 9.5/10

Did you like the Season 3 premier?  Let us know!


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