What's happening on October 14? The Walking Dead, that's what. Our long wait for season 3 is FINALLY almost over, and I don't know about you but I cannot wait for zombies to take over my Sunday evenings again.
We're just a few days from seeing firsthand what gruesome delights season 3 has in store for us, but if you're impatient like me, there are plenty of early reviews trickling in from those lucky entertainment writers who got a sneak peek at the first episodes. Click away now if you want to remain 100 percent spoiler-free -- otherwise, check out what the critics are saying:
First, a little context: as you probably know by now, most the third season will take place in an abandoned prison. The premiere deals with how the group discovers this place and sets up camp, while the second episode focuses on the fact that -- surprise! -- things aren't quite as safe inside jail as they'd hoped.
Here's what we'll see in the first episode:
The third season opens with a tight shot of a walker's eye -- yellow, reptilian, remorseless -- then the camera tracks back to reveal the interior of yet another bleak, tattered Georgia farmhouse, along with the bleak tattered group of survivors once again seeking safe shelter. There is none to be found here: More walkers straggle in from the woods, and the survivors take off. It's a smaller crowd now: Andrea (Laurie Holden) is presumed gone, though in fact she was rescued by a mysterious figure -- Michonne (Danai Gurira) -- who actually has a pair of walker "pets" and also wields a wickedly effective katana, a Japanese sword. Shane (Jon Bernthal) is dead, leaving the leadership role free and clear to Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln). He leads them to the edge of a clearing, and there lies salvation, in the form of a huge prison. Naturally, they have to first thread their way through the gauntlet of prisoners and guards, all very dead and very ravenous.
This reviewer's grade for the episode? A+:
Just to be perfectly clear -- Sunday is a blast. Heads will roll, and roll well. The gore quotient is through the roof. And finally this guarantee -- there is one, maybe even two, spots where you will yell out at the screen, "Oh, my God, that just didn't happen." Yes, the new season is that good.
Also, good news for those of us who disliked the draggy, boring attempts at character development in season 2, and have spent every single episode hoping that a walker would gnaw Lori's annoying face off:
It's not just that I didn't want someone to kill Lori during the first two episodes of Season 3 (she's been toned down a lot, thank goodness). (...) If the first two hours are any indication, Season 3 of "The Walking Dead" may be the most satisfying year yet. That's partly because the efforts to humanize and add detail to the characters happen in the margins of solidly entertaining, well-paced stories, and the characters don't do dumb things that make me lose respect for them. Rick and Lori are never going to be like "Breaking Bad's" Walt and Jesse, so it's wise to accept those limitations. As the season gets underway, "The Walking Dead" provides meaty genre stories with small, deft character moments, rather than the reverse. The show is, as it should be, freak-you-out entertainment that is nicely (if you'll pardon the word) fleshed out.
Oh, and speaking of annoying characters, it seems that Carl isn't quite such a pint-sized waste of food in this season:
... the talking scenes in the first two episodes didn't drag in the way many of them did last season, and I even wasn't all that troubled by Rick and Lori's son Carl (Chandler Riggs), who's grown up just enough to be useful rather than a constant distraction.
Fewer eye-rolling scenes, and more "Oh my god!" moments? Well hot damn, this all sounds great to me. Here's a sneak peek video from the first episode to tide you over until Sunday:
Will you be watching The Walking Dead on Sunday?
Image via AMC