Walking Dead season 3: First episode review

I’ve been a fan of The Walking Dead since the start. It’s Andrew Lincoln’s best work to date – although I’ve always liked his portrayal of characters, particularly Egg in This Life, a great 90s drama about a group of law graduates.

However this show is not just about Sheriff Rick Grimes, like most fans I’ve come to care about many of the characters and the dynamic between the group. Also, the writing is first rate – the way scenes are constructed, the dramatic situations that build throughout an episode and each season as a whole. At no point do you feel the writers are being lazy or formulaic. It’s truly a brilliant show.

Anyway, on to the first episode…
I’m going to assume that, if you’re reading this, you’re familiar with the first two seasons and the main characters. To recap, at the end of season 2 Rick and his band of survivors had to flee Hershel’s farm, which had become overrun with our favourite shambling friends.

hershelThe story picks up a few months later when the group – having survived the winter – are moving around the local area, searching for food and looking for a base to replace their lost farm.

Immediately from the first few minutes of the episode you sense a shift in tone – the main characters are dirtier, leaner, more ruthless, and much more adept at dispatching the dead. They move like a well drilled SWOT team – even young Carl Grimes (Rick’s son), who’s grown up and become hardened to the gang’s way of surviving.

There’s a fantastic opening sequence where they all move silently through an abandoned house, efficiently killing zombies and clearing rooms. No dialogue is exchanged throughout the whole scene and it’s superbly tense and dramatic – vintage Walking Dead you might say. It’s why this show amassed such a loyal following in just two seasons.

In terms of plot I’m not going to say too much about the first episode, other than that the group – on their trails – discover a prison, which they duly move into in search of safe haven.

Suffice to say that – even in the small amount of time we see them in the prison – their chosen location turns out to be less than safe. The episode ends on a brilliant cliffhanger, with Rick demonstrating quick thinking in an impossible situation – but then we’ve come to expect nothing less from this show. Roll on the rest of the season!

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