*Spoilers up to and including season 3, episode 2*
I had one foot out the door after Walking Dead’s second season ended. My favourite character (Shane) was gone, Lori was still a pain in the arse, other characters were underused (T-Dog) or one-dimensional (Beth, others from Hershel’s group whose names I’ve already forgotten). I could muster little enthusiasm for season three, instead seeing the upcoming barrage of new shows like Person of Interest and The Newsroom that looked far more interesting.
Yet, last night, I again found myself watching Rick & Co putting sharp things through zombie eyes. My wife, inexplicably, reared up a few weeks ago and proclaimed that we had to record season three. She who barely looked up from Facebook whenever I watched an episode had stealthily enjoyed season two’s finale. She was intrigued by Michonne’s arrival and a teasing shot of the prison.
Between seasons, time has passed in the zombie world at about the same rate as it did here. Months have gone by, ammo and food supplies are low, Lori is rocking a big pregnant stomach with a belly button like a silencer. Andrea is presumably presumed dead by the group. I liked that the show didn’t have Andrea mentioned in conversation, instead just showing her elsewhere, leaving new viewers to deduce what link there is between her and the others.
Without saying a word, Michonne disappointed. In her first appearance in season two’s finale she looked bad of ass. In a hooded cloak, armless pet zombies chained to her sides, I got carried away and speculated that perhaps she saw killing walkers as a ceremonial or religious act. Then we saw her properly, and she looks just like a po-faced normal who’s handy with a pointy stick.
Back to the main group, and no, Walking Dead, that little boy would not have been clearing rooms of zombies on his own. Stop it. Look at him, that silenced pistol looked like an elephant gun in his tiny hands. He has to learn to kill zombies (or whatever you call it when you kill a dead person), I get that. But look at him, he’s a little boy playing dress-up in his dad’s hat.
The learning of skills continued through the episode, which helped with the idea that time has passed. Deputy Grimes is slowly levelling up his undead body count (perhaps he should get some little tears tattooed on that tiny face of his) as his kill-skills improve. Carol’s become a handily handy medical expert. There was actually a moment of humour (#unreality)! Team Grimes tried to teach the prisoners how to take down zombies, but the cons’ prison instincts kicked in and they attacked jailhouse style, with shanks and bats, ineffectually digging holes in zombies and stomping on them.
Rick’s coldness towards Lori is unrealistic. He’s not the type to be so harsh. Unless something has happened in the intervening months, which I doubt. He’s changing in the show—becoming the ruthless killer he ‘has’ to be, the kind Shane thought he was and wanted Rick to be. Right now that feels forced as well. There’s not a lot of room in Walking Dead for subtlety, but it’s required in the writing of Rick’s arc for this season if we’re to take his coldness towards his pregnant wife, and towards others, seriously.
But the gore and effects remain magnificent.