(Warning: spoilers ahead!) Well, did you watch The Walking Dead tonight? Did you did you did you? Because holy crap, THAT's how you do a premiere. I know this show has kind of a reputation for starting out strong then petering out later in the season -- see also, CDC doomsday clock, the Endless Search for Sophia™ -- but let's hope season 3 has plenty more of what we saw tonight: legitimate tension, and survivors who appear exactly as effed-up as they would be in a post-apocalyptic zombie-infested scenario.
Now that Rick and the gang have left their farm-sitting, iced-tea-sipping, Shane-fretting days behind, things have gotten seriously hairy. And it's ABOUT DAMN TIME, if you ask me. Let's discuss what went down in tonight's premiere:
We open with a super-closeup of a walker's disturbingly milky eyeball -- then we see that our ragged group of survivors is sweeping through a house with military precision, dispatching zombies right and left. They have suppressed weapons now! T-Dog's impaling walkers like a boss! Daryl neatly arrows an owl for dinner! Carl's visibly weighted down with the burden of forced adulthood! Damn, this group has leveled up.
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Well, except for how everything shits the bed, what with having to constantly be on the run from walkers and all. Also, the only canned goods they find is dog food, which Rick angrily hurls into the fireplace because he'll be damned if he's letting anyone live like some sort of filthy animal. They're going to divvy up an owl like civilized people.
Life is seeming pretty bleak for the survivors, especially Lori, who is now a trillion months pregnant, as evidenced by one of the worst stunt bellies I have ever seen. (Seriously, the FX team must have shot their wad on the corpses 'n' gore, because they clearly stuck a basketball under her shirt and called it good.) Luckily, while Rick and Daryl are out on a hunting excursion (must. find. more. owl), they spot a creepy prison that's crawling with walkers. Perfect! All they have to do is conduct an insanely bloody, ridiculously improbable SEAL-level mission in order to set up camp in the yard!
Whew, glad that's over with! Now we get to see some sexy action between Carol and Daryl. Finally, these two seem to be hooking up. Oh man, he's massaging her back, she's asking him if he wants to screw around, he's ... leaving?
"I'll go down first," he says, as he starts climbing down from their post.
"Even better," she leers, and that's that. WTF? Dude, Daryl, if you're waiting to find a hotter piece of ass, may I remind you that you are among the last surviving humans on Earth? I mean, you had owl for dinner, and she's still up for oral. COME ON.
Whatever on those guys. Back to the even sexier couple: Lori and Rick, whose relationship seems to be a little strained these days. "We need to talk," Lori says. "About ... things." Rick's like, oh you mean things like how the child you're carrying might be Shane's, the man who was my best friend, who I killed last season? Then he does four snaps in Z formation and storms off.
Damn, Rick, that was cold. AND I LOVED IT.
Now we cut to the katana-wielding badass we briefly met last season: Michonne. She's holed up in a deer locker with Andrea, who's got some sort of dramatic coughing-based illness. "Just go," Andrea hacks weakly. "I'll just *cough* *wheeze* hold you back." By rights, Michonne should behead her instantly for being such a battlefield cliché. Instead, they leave together, dragging Michonne's armless, jawless pet zombies along.
Back in the prison, Lori has a heart-to-heart with Hershel, and for the first time in the history of this show, I don't actively want terrible things to happen to her. She's worried about the baby, worried about giving birth ... and worried about what might happen if the baby dies while it's still inside her. Um, jesus, worst thought ever. Talk about your depressing birth plans: if possible, have aromatherapy candles during labor for relaxation purposes; also, avoid zombie infant clawing its way out of my flesh.
The group decides to explore the rest of the prison, which is horror-movie terrifying and drippy and dark and littered with half-rotted corpses. One of whom, unfortunately, decides to take a healthy bite out of Hershel's leg, and oh no, not Hershel. Happily, Rick has a plan! Unhappily, it involves gruesomely hacking off Hershel's leg with an axe to try and stop the infection. We're unclear on whether or not this impromptu surgery will actually save Hershel or not, but Rick does answer the question of whether or not a man's leg can be cut off with one clean blow: no. No, it cannot. Rick goes at him like a kid trying to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop: one, a-two, a-three ... (This despite the many, MANY scenes of knives and other objects being pushed easily through skulls, I might add.)
(Also testing my suspense of belief limits: Lori's third trimester self stuffed into skinny jeans. Did she make a trip to A Pea in the Pod, or, like, how's that working exactly?)
While Hershel passes out and everyone freaks, suddenly we notice the shocked group of prison inmates watching the whole ordeal. Living prison inmates, it seems, based on the fact that one of them accurately describes the scene thusly: "Holy shit." And -- fade to black.
Thrills, chills, and a total lack of annoying character navel gazing! Two blood-soaked thumbs up, Walking Dead. The long wait for season 3 was definitely worth it.
What did you think of tonight's Walking Dead premiere? Did you love it as much as I did?
Image via AMC