Monday, October 15, 2012

Countdown to Halloween Day 15 -- Separating Themselves: A Review of the Season Premiere of "Walking Dead"

I have enjoyed the first two seasons of The Walking Dead quite a bit, although I was in agreement with most that the 2nd season's stay at the farm made it seem like the show had dragged on for years.  During the break between seasons I read all of the available collections of the comic book that inspired the show, and so was very much looking forward to the new season, which was promising to introduce three key aspects of the books:  Michonne, the prison, and The Governor.The season 2 finale had teased two of those aspects, and the season 3 premiere, "Seed," followed through on those two while leaving the third to whet our appetites in the "This Season on Walking Dead" promos.

The episode jumps forward in time a few months from the last episode, which I appreciated, and not just because it provided a good excuse for Carl's obvious growth spurt. The show really needed to find a way to distance itself from the endless trudge that had been the farm storyline, and the time jump facilitated that perfectly; we go from seeing a group that was battered and defeated, to seeing one that's moving like a well-oiled machine under their new Ricktatorship.*  The scenes of Rick barking orders and everyone following with no question demonstrate the new status quo better than anything else; he's kept them all alive throughout the winter, and they've come to trust his judgement.  Well, everyone but Lori, that is, but what else is new?  

I was less happy with the way the time-jump pushed all of Andrea and Michonne's getting-to-know-you time into the limbo of off-screen, and even less happy that TV Andrea continues to be horribly annoying.  I hope that they tone down her attitude soon, because right now I really don't relish watching any scenes with her.  Which is unfortunate, since the season is shaping up to have Andrea and Michonne's interactions with The Governor be half of the show.

While I wasn't quite sure how I felt about that direction at first, on reflection I think it's a smart way to go.  After all, the biggest complaint the previous season got was that the plot felt interminable at times, so by splitting the main narrative in half, the writers will be able to give us a break from the unrelenting horror of one scenario by letting us witness the unrelenting horror of the other.  Plus, a comparison between the benign dictatorship of Rick, and the not so benign dictatorship of The Governor could fit well into this parallel story structure.  My one hope is that the Governor story line avoids the unpleasant rape storyline from the books; that soured the storyline for me when I was reading it, and would probably be worse for me in live action. 

On the whole, "Seeds" gave me hope that this season was moving in the right direction, and I'm looking forward to see where it goes next.

*I wish I could take credit for that one, but alas, I cribbed it from some other Internet sage

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