[TV] 6 Things “The Walking Dead” Season Premiere Did RIGHT!

The Walking Dead

I have all of “The Walking Dead” trade paperbacks and I’ve been reading them for years. I was a fan before AMC ever announced they’d be adapting Robert Kirkman’s tale of the undead for the small screen. I say this because I’m one of the harshest critics of the ongoing series, now entering its third season. I’ve taken a lot of heat from you dear readers for holding the producers accountable, so much so that my partner in crime even slapped my hand. But the fact of the matter is, I expect way more from the cabler responsible for such classics as “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men”.

The Walking Dead” is the first major zombie series to hit TV, thus I understand where everyone is coming from. We want to be forgiving and give the show a pass. But as fans of horror you too should expect more. We’ve made it a record-breaking series, but it shouldn’t be rewarded for lazily limping by. They need to respect us and kick it up a notch. The ugly drama that went public last season was a sign that, whether you like it or not, there was something wrong with the show. And, as it turns out, AMC has worked diligently to fix it.

Last night AMC aired episode 03.01 “Seed“, the premiere episode that made me believe wholeheartedly that this is a new start. I am finally excited to see what comes each Sunday night. With that I want to reflect back on the season premiere and point out 6 things they did correctly that can take this show into a new era of awesome.

1: It opened with a bang! Guns were ablaze in the season premiere as the survivors slowly worked their way into a prison complex. When the bullets eventually wear thin, they use an arsenal of blades to stab the (un)living hell out of hundreds of walkers. There’s no shortage of blood and guts, and the FX team used plenty of practical effects that would make the great George A. Romero proud.

2: They quickly integrated character drama. The weirdest and most interesting moment was when Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) made intense sexual advances towards Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus). It’ll be interesting to see where this goes. It was also extremely important to create conflict between Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln), who have tension over Lori’s past relationship with the now dead Shane (Jon Bernthal), and for how last season ended (with Rick having to kill Shane). The most human moment was when Lori confided in Hershel Green (Scott Wilson) about her fears of having a stillborn baby (would it try and claw its way out? What if she dies during birth? Etc.)

3: Carl could be a badass! Without a shadow of a doubt, the biggest mistake made in the series thus far (besides the casting of Chandler Riggs as the character in question) was having having not having Carl kill Shane (those duties went to Rick in the show) at the end of Season 2. He’s one of the best characters in the book – a young boy who is forced to grow up at an exponential rate. Carl murders Shane in the comic, which turns him into a gun-wielding and unstable child. It’s one of the most brilliant characters in the franchise as it truly dives into what it would be like to “grow up” in this environment.

I’m not sure if it’s the poor casting of Riggs or not, but the show seems intent on taking the blame off Carl’s shoulders (maybe they feared the audience wouldn’t like to see a young boy shoot someone?). Last night the writers took Carl in a new direction by showing him shooting walkers alongside the survivors. And later on he was given the command to protect the women in the prison (look into this moment anyway you wish). The point is, the characters within the show are now treating him with more like an adult, which is the direction he needs to go for this to have any suspense. I was happy to see a taste of this, but they need to take this a step further. I just don’t know if his character can ever hit the depths that it should/could have if they had him actually kill Shane.

4: They gave Michonne (Danai Gurira) a lot of screen time. It was a great decision to save the introduction of The Governor (David Morrissey) for another episode and instead opt to spend time developing Michonne’s character (who was already teased at the end of Season 2). While she’s depicted as a hardened, tough woman (she slaughters zombies with no regard and keeps two as pets), they inject her with loyalty and ethics. By pairing her with a dying Andrea she’s depicted as more than a brutal killer, she’s someone the viewers will care for.

5: There’s finally some unique zombies and even more exciting kills. “The Walking Dead” often suffers from “gunfight syndrome” – meaning, watching a gunfight for an hour and a half gets boring. The same can be said about killing zombies. Shooting 100 zombies in the head isn’t fun unless there are UNIQUE zombies and HERO zombies. Season 3 injects some originality with their SWAT zombies, and kick it up a notch with a series of sweet kills (everything from be-headings to one zombie losing his skin and having his face sliced in half).

6: They finally ended with a cliffhanger! One of my biggest gripes with the previous seasons was that the episodes rarely ended by leaving something unresolved. Good television leaves the viewer begging for more. “Seed” ended incredibly strong and cut off before anything can be resolved. What’s scarier than a bunch of zombies? How about a group of surviving prisoners? I feel like this is the first time I’ve said aloud “Next week can’t come soon enough!

What say you?

  • Remember-Slithis

    I thought this was a brilliant smooth ride!Your six points were spot on.I really loved how Rick has gotten the group to fight like a tactical squad.The Zombie effects were beautiful.The Swat Zombies face ripping off was the coolest.I love this series even for the slowness of past seasons.This year is starting off perfectly.I haven’t read any of the books so it makes me enjoy it more.I will read eventually.I liked how Carl is being portrayed.I like that I and Rick both hate Lori.Embrace this Horror Fans because this show is for all of us.

  • djblack1313

    1. Carl technically DID shoot & ultimately put Shane down (did you not watch the ep?).
    2. Andrea is not dying. she’s just sick.

    i pretty much agree w/ everything else you said. this was a great ep. the one thing that was incredibly stupid was Rick thinking it a good idea to send the ONLY doctor in the group into the prison for zombie cleanup (especially with his wife being near ready to give birth). look what happened.

    but between this show (at least the first ep) and DEXTER being MUCH better than last season tv is an exciting place. fingers crossed AMERICAN HORROR STORY continues this trend!

  • Remember-Slithis

    Well said DJ about the Doc.Also you would think everybody would be smart enough by now to walk by a Walker at a distance where they wouldn’t get attacked so easily.

  • RubberMan

    Yo Dawg I heard you like having so we put a having in your having so you can not have while you’re having. or not…Good episode but the reviews give me a headache.

  • Milk

    Just in case you guys were wondering I totally read the books before they were popular. Ok? Make a note of that. Before it was cool I was totally a fan and now that it’s popular I judge it very harshly because I am not pretentious in the least.

    Number 3 doesn’t have enough having.

    • gordongirl_18

      I laughed!

  • gordongirl_18

    I don’t think Carol’s advance was intense. It just felt like two friends who are comfortable enough with one another to tease back and forth.

    • http://thefilmpolice.blogspot.com/ Armand DC

      They’d make an awesome couple anyway. HAHA.

      • gordongirl_18


  • Vampire_Mistress

    I was going to make the same point, Rick may have killed shane but it was Carl who actually put him down when he turned into a walker….was one of my fav parts of the whole season, i really hated shane.

    I don’t know about the rest of you but I actually loved the first two seasons, everyone complained that it was about the characters too much and not enough zombies, well sorry to say but in my opinion, you need to get to know the characters, the zombie’s will always be coming….not a boring episode so far in any of the seasons but thats just my opinion. :)

    Plus, I really don’t think anyone should be making comments on a show that they do not watch…its easy to catch an episode here and there and comment but you really don’t know whats happening, if you don’t follow the whole series

  • Joe-Banger

    interesting conversation here. Good thinking Remember-Slithis! I will try harder now to get into this show. I tried reading the graphic novel last year but I hate reading in black and white so I passed on it. I watched part of the new episode last night but I was hung over as all hell and I could’nt really enjoy the show or anything! Time to give up alcohal.

  • Joe-Banger

    I meant to say ALCOHOL! See that? Brain damage! Ive gotten enough of that from years watching tv. LOL!

  • LAPD

    Season 2 most definitely dragged on. I loved watching the barn burn, I knew then they had to get the hell out. But the show rule, bottom line. I have read the books and I liked how they are changing it up from the books. I knew once Herschel was bit, I knew the leg was coming off.

    • weresmurf

      Absolutely. I think the writers know they need a ‘Dale’ for future plotlines, I get the feeling Herschel is going to fill Dales role and not bow out when he did in the comics.

  • weresmurf

    In the comic, Carl shoots ALIVE Shane before Shane can kill Rick. Carl kills a human.

    In the tv show, Carl shoots UNDEAD Shane, a zombie. This is different. It allows Carl to rationalise it that his Dad killed Shane and he merely put down Zombie Shane, it was ‘his first zombie kill’. While technically yes he did ‘kill’ Shane the 2nd time permanently, he did not kill Shane as a human. It’s pretty different.

    • weresmurf

      Goddamn it that was a reply to djblack

  • evenscarier

    Thanks for clearing that up. I’ve never read the comics and when he said about Carl not killing Shane, I was a bit confused. Andrea’s dying? Why?

  • http://www.facebook.com/justin.mcgill.16 Justin McGill

    Hmmm… I wonder.. just, and I have no inside info here, just curious how much do you think they will keep from the books? I figure.. season 3 will end with the end of the Governor arc (so I’d assume we shouldn’t see him until episode 5 or 6 at the earliest?). I think the “siege” will probably be the logical mid season end point.

    I think the Carol hitting on Daryl like that, and Daryl shutting her down.. is a quick character about face.. and could indicate that are going to put Carol in line with her arc in the books? (that was just my take on it though).

    Still wondering if they can still introduce those 2 cute kids for Carl to play with..

  • noNoNOOO

    As an avid fan of both the series and the comic(before the series) for people who have/are reading the comic, I am highly interested to see what they do with Lori’s character and Michonne’s simply because what happens with them in the comic I just don’t see being played out in the series, but I couldn’t agree more, the season premiere was fantastic. To see Rick get into badass mode and shift in the dynamic between him and Lori was refreshing.

    I’m ready for more and even more excited for American Horror Story: Asylum.