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"The Walking Dead" — "Seed": I'm On the Run, I Kill to Eat, I'm Starving Now, Feeling Dead on My Feet

By TK | TV Reviews | October 16, 2012 | Comments ()


TWD_GP_301_0514_0367.jpg

Note: Allegedly, the showrunners have claimed that they’re sticking much closer to the graphic novels’ plot lines for this season. As a result, the NO SPOILER rule is in full effect. Comments with spoilers — warning or not — will be deleted without exception. Thanks.

Welcome back to our weekly love/hate sessions with AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” Season Three is being met with great anticipation — and more than a little anxiousness — by fans, given the strength of Season One, the woeful inconsistency of Season Two, and the powerful, terrifying storyline that this season parallels in the comic book. The first episode, “Seeds” was mostly solid, if unspectacular. It introduced some interesting new elements, showed a smidgen of character development, and moved us into some locations with vast potential for undead mayhem.

What worked best was exactly what was missing from much of last season — a palpable air of desperation. The episode picks up an undisclosed amount of time after the conclusion of Season Two, and every harsh day shows on their faces. Our intrepid group is bedraggled, hungry, frustrated and desperate, and it’s at these times when “The Walking Dead” is at its strongest, when the characters are forced to fight and scratch and claw for their lives. None of the stolid, farm-set dullness of the dreaded farm was present, and instead it was a struggle from the opening shot. The opening segment was particularly strong, with the entire scene shot without a single word from the cast.

Yet what also made it interesting is that it also showed how the group dynamic has changed in the past few months. In some ways, this smacked of lazy writing — instead of showing the development and evolution of the characters, we simply see their new selves. Rick’s resentment of Lori, Daryl’s stronger sense of loyalty, Carol’s subtly changing relationship with Daryl and her change of heart about Rick — all of these developments felt natural, yet I couldn’t help but feel a little cheated for not having seen the journey that brought them there. Yet in the end, it’s a minor quibble because the changes felt organic and sensible, something that was occasionally missing in prior episodes. But most critically, their actions and reactions have changed — they move and fight as a single, unified unit, each knowing their role, each understanding their purpose. They have, at last, developed a sense of cohesiveness and moved away from the constant, petty divisiveness that was so artlessly manufactured in some of the prior episodes. Hopefully this new found cohesiveness and will lead to less “OMIGOD WHERE’S CARL,” because seriously, enough already.

Sadly, we’re only given a couple of quick glimpses of the other faction, namely Andrea — suddenly sick and full of despair — and her unnamed savior (Michonne, since that one we probably all know by now), played by newcomer Danai Gurira. We’re shown just enough to be intrigued — a samurai sword wielding wanderer certainly throws a unique new curveball into the game and is a strong potential addition to the mix. And not for nothing, but hopefully we can finally get a strong black character who will wash the taste of T-Dog’s “aw hell naw” out of our mouths.

Yet what the episode was really about was just how desperate they’ve become. It shone through in little bits — the exhaustion, the frustration, the temptation to resort to eating expired dog food (or errant birds of prey), the bitterness — these pieces were all well executed, although ironically it felt like Rick and Lori were the weakest pieces of the puzzle. Andrew Lincoln’s newfound tough guy act isn’t quite ringing true, and Lori continues to be the one-dimensional shrew that she’s been all along. Even her fearful sobbing about the possibilities of a stillborn child — and those possibilities are terrifying — felt somehow both flat and forced.

The prison, of course, is what it’s all about, and that aspect did not disappoint. The viciousness of the group’s assault on the prison — stabbing through fences, harrying, unflinching close-quarters combat that they’d have been reluctant to do before — is a new and engaging dynamic and another example of their growing desperation. Rick’s push to take over more and more ground is intriguing, and clearly more than a little reckless, and Hershel is forced to pay the price (although one can’t help feel like history is repeating itself — Carl’s injury brought them to the farm, and Hershel’s will doubtless affect their stay at the prison). The scene of the group anxiously creeping through narrow, darkened corridors was one of the stronger parts, and watching the group’s slowly increasing panic as the onslaught grows and the tension is ratcheted up was gut-churning fun.

Sure, we could nitpick it more — Carl is suddenly a sharpshooter, making headshots from 200 yards (with a handgun, no less). Rick’s refusal to let the group catch their breath before charging ahead. None of them realizing right away that maybe you can’t stab through a riot helmet (a development that, while clever and logical, felt like the next level of villains in a video game). But I’m willing to temporarily forgive the faults in the hopes that the show will once again remember what made it great. It’s those moments when the writing can make the characters feel real, removed from the senseless bickering and petty jealousies that, while possibly realistic, were handled so ham-fistedly before. “The Walking Dead” is strongest when the stakes are at their highest and the ragged group is pushed to their limits. So far, so good.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Littlejon2001

    Pretty harsh review of a pretty freakin awesome episode. Were there flaws? Of course. But come on...I was too distracted by all the awesome zombie death. I'd rather them skip the character development...not exactly these writers' strong points. And they took way too much time in Season 2 anyway. It was time to gain ground lost. I'm excited for this season. Great start.

  • Aimee Fassbender

    I thought it was a great episode. Also , is it just me, or does Andrew Lincoln get sexier every episode?

  • DeltaJuliet

    Oh no. I have major Andrew Lincoln/Rick Grimes lust. MAJOR.

  • Kelly

    It is not just you. The dirtier and more desperate he gets, the sexier I find him.

  • My only real beef with "Walking Dead" criticism (and I've mistyped "The Walking Dad" and "The Walking Deaf" this week, which I think would both be great satire of "The Walking Dead") is when people apply their real life lens to what is happening on the show. "Those people are so stupid - they should never have run that way." Yeah, well, those people are also running for their lives and very literally in a life and death situation 24/7 with no break, no rest, no nutrition and no time to think things through. They are reacting as animals to primal fear situations. It makes so much sense that they fuck up constantly. I know we all cast ourselves as the surviving heroes in the zombie apocalypse of our minds, but statistically speaking most of us wouldn't even make it out of the prologue because it would be a total surprise and we would have no fucking clue what to do provided we weren't completely overtaken with blind panic.

    I do agree though that they could miss a shot here or there. And I'm dying for someone to do an accurate count of how many crossbow arrows Daryl has gone through.

  • ghisent

    On the one hand, I agree with you that the fuckups are somewhat realistic. On the other, they've been at this for a while now, and you'd think that some of the basic tactical mistakes they make - and all the stupid Carl stuff- would be common sense to them by now.

    As for Daryl, one thing I did like about this episode was Daryl killing the owl, and then later showing one of his crossbow bolts clearly having the same feather pattern in the fletching. Pretty clever.

  • I do appreciate that they have shown Daryl repeatedly taking a spent arrow out of his target to use again later. Still, he must have a SHITLOAD of arrows.

    The tactical stuff just really doesn't bother me that much, because 9 out of 10 times they are going into a situation blind. Now, that doesn't excuse the stupidity of, say, bringing Hershal in to clear the prison corridor or repeated trips to the drug store when they could have just looted the whole thing once, but overall I think they tend to have their shit together about the right percentage of the time (the opening sequence where they took the house and the cluster fight through the prison yard are pretty good examples of their pretty highly developed combat style at this point).

  • GDI

    The thing with them fucking up is that they shouldn't be saved by some amazing coincidence time and time again. People default to their level of experience/training when a crisis hits. Makes sense for Rick and Daryl to make it so far. Lori should have been terminated before the show began. Carl as well.

  • Well, Lori and Carl had Shane, then Shane and Rick, and now Rick to protect them. I'm trying to remember how many of the original group from season 1 have been killed off. Definitely Carol's husband & daughter, Andrea's sister, Dale, Shane, not to mention all of Hershal's people and various other hangers on. I'd say that this group has seen it's share of dumb luck survival and termination.

  • mernymerlyn

    For some reason, every time i post it disappears.
    But here is my question. How are they supposed to survive with a newborn? Babies are LOUD. They cry they scream, especially newborns. Especially hungry newborns like this one is definitely going to be.
    How are they going to remain safe and quiet with a baby?

  • DeltaJuliet

    I think that is part of the reason they are hiding out in the prison. It will provide some safety. Although, I'm not sure how many years I would want to hang out in there....

  • GDI

    There's a very fantastic answer to that, hopefully.
    We'll have to wait and see.

  • Guest

    How are they supposed to have a newborn added to this show? Babies, are LOUD. They cry and scream. There is no way they can be safe with a baby around when they require silence to stay alive.

  • Jeremy

    Go read the comics.

  • Craig Martin

    I just came for the Maiden reference..... sorry about this useless comment

  • TK

    [tips cap]

  • Guest

    My husband and I were discussing this and one thing that came up is how are they supposed to have a baby around? They scream, they cry. How are they supposed to keep a newborn quiet in a situation like that?

  • That's probably why Rick is so intent on getting them set up some place secure and semi-permanent.

  • I haven't read and don't know the rules, but my big question is: Will the hacking of the bitten area even work?

  • lonolove

    It has seemed to work in the past, and since we know they are all infected with the 'walker plague' anyway (and will re-animate regardless of having received a bite or not), it seems like maybe they are just trying to prevent some kind of putrefying disease? I mean, a human mouth is nasty enough when it has an immune system to ward off disease...a dead mouth would be pretty hellacious. (Like David Sorenson said)

  • Forbiddendonut

    I don't think they know, but it was worth a try. A panic move. I guess we'll see.

  • cjack

    Good review, big fan of the series. I was wondering about the whole bite on the leg thing....didn't we establish that everyone is already infected, and thus when Shane died last season via stab wound, he came back as a zombie right away. Why did Rick have to hack off Hershel's leg after he got bit then?

  • evatar

    If I remember correctly, the zombie bite kills you, like snake venom, I guess, and THEN the zombie virus takes over. SO the idea in hacking off the leg would be to amputate the limb before the "venom" can travel the blood stream and oil the host.

    I'm depressed I know this. *sigh*

  • Probably closer to a Gila monster bite. Nasty necromouth containing all sorts of infections.

  • evatar

    oil = kill

    I really need to proofread these things.

  • cjack

    Ok then! Thank evatar. I wasn't sure if the zombies were just really dangerous or if we still cared if they bit people. Don't be depressed, you are awesome.

  • MGMcD

    RE: skipping the character evolution - I would assume in future episodes we'll get some flashbacks of the preceding months, because there's too much unanswered right now; Rick and Carl's cold treatment of Lori (no matter how annoying she still is), how Andrea got sick and why Michonne cares about saving her, Carol and Daryl (come on!). That's part of the character study that is important to the show, so I hope they don't completely gloss over it.

    I was bored enough by the last season to not really be excited for this one, but this premiere gave me hope that the tension and action that accompanied the character study in the first season will be back.

    I will say I am slightly icked by the Carl/Beth thing. Sure he's hitting puberty and all, but she was a teenager last season. Even if he can cap a zombie at 200 yards, 17 year olds don't flirt with 13 year olds.

  • DeltaJuliet

    I didn't pick up on her flirting with him. I noticed him "flirting" with her and I think she was just smiling as an acknowldgement.

  • wsapnin

    I don't get it. By the size of Laurie's pregnant belly, they have been running around in circles for the last 3 months and never found the prison that was right behind them? And why doesn't anyone's hair ever get longer? Is T-Dog eating all the food because he is still too fat to be malnourished like everyone else.

  • rdchili96

    The Prison wasn't right behind them, it was miles away.

  • DeltaJuliet

    I said the same thing, especially Carol. Why hasn't her hair gotten any longer? Carl's sure has.

  • Jeremy

    Her hair did get longer. Pay attention next time.

  • Ted Zancha

    I kinda hated last season with a passion (save for maybe 3 episodes). But this episode was awesome. I don't understand the complaints. This seemed like an episode the writers addressed a lot of the concerns from last season. It's as if the writers heard everyone complain about how awful the dialogue was, so they gave us an amazing cold open with no dialogue. Even the character moments are looking better.

    I just hope, TK, that you aren't actively searching for things to dislike. Because this season looks to be wonderful.

  • southworth

    Also: in the case of a zombie baby, it might have a difficult time busting out of Lori with no teeth and nails the consistency of a kitchen sponge.

  • Babies have fingers and nails...

  • southworth

    As I address in the second portion of my comment! Baby nails are quite soft, and pretty useless when it comes to tearing through human flesh. Unless the zombie baby gets some kind of super strength, I doubt it could actually bust through. It might do some damage thrashing around in there, though.

  • Melissa D

    Baby nails are SHARP. They're like razors, kinda like puppy teeth. I've been cut by wee baby nails. That's why they have those little mittens to wear - keeps them from scratching the hell outta their delicate skin.

  • We've seen zombies just sticking their hands into people--ripping them apart. I have no problem believing a zombie baby could do the same thing.

  • southworth

    Um, I think I know a little something about zombies? I've been watching TV for, like, my WHOLE LIFE ;)

    Anyway the REAL reason it won't happen is because they already said it.

  • Way to ruin a dream, man.

  • southworth

    I'm ultimately on board with skipping it, but what I wanted to see was a season that took place in the winter. But that would have actually meant LESS zombie fighting, because the undead would be mostly frozen and/or extremely lethargic.

    Oh well! Maybe next season. YAY PRISON

  • SorayaS

    I'm not from the US but isn't the show set in the south? Do things freeze in the winter there? I'm with you, I'd love to see a really snowy season as it would definitely be eerie and raise a whole different bunch of problems but would that really happen on THIS show? (I'm asking because I'm really not sure of the climate in those states)

    I second the prison assessment- YAY!!

  • Bodhi

    Its set in Georgia & yes, things freeze in the winter there. You don't get piles of snow drifts or anything (at least not often), but it does get cold as hell. It would also depend on how close they are to the coast (I don't know where the prison is, geographically). Its colder & potentially more snowy in the upstate, but its nasty, wet, get in your bones cold on the coast.

    Its all relative though, I'm from coastal SC & now live in OK & my perspective on "cold" has changed

  • DeltaJuliet

    Come visit us in Maine :D
    We get shitloads of snow, and apparently earthquakes now too.

  • MikeRoorda

    The scene where Rick pulls the helmet off of the riot gear zombie and then stabs it in the face got an audible "WHOOOOAAAA" out of me.

    And spot on with this episode feeling very similar in visuals to a video game. As soon as I saw the dudes in riot gear shamble around the corner I immediately flashed to my Uncharted experiences and was thinking "well those are clearly next level bad guys." The scene where they were creeping through darkened hallways inside the prison was VERY Left for Dead or any other number of first person creepy shooters. (F.E.A.R. also came to mind.)

    Amazing episode overall. Had everything I wanted and left me with that slightly uneasy feeling that some of the first season tended to induce. It's like I can't decide if I was entertained or horrified, but eventually decide on entertained.

  • Rocabarra

    Yess, the zombies in riot gear made me think of L4D2 in the Parish campaign. One of the TWD party brandished a nightstick, not unlike how nightstcks become a usable weapon in the game. I wasn't sure if it was a blatant rip-off or shout out to fans. Good episode!

  • Wednesday

    Yeah, the baby belly looked pretty fake. But, overall, it was a strong opening, I think. They're all a lot grimmer and the niceties have fallen away. I'm not that interested in the "journey" to where they are now, because they've all survived and the new behaviors and attitudes are logical. I can go straight from A to C without needing B spelled out for me.

    What had been done to Carl's gun? It looked like it had a cone on it. Not being a gun person, I have no idea what that was supposed to be or do.

  • Forbiddendonut

    It looked like it was a "home-made" silencer or perhaps an actual silencer. Definitely useful.

  • Ernest Hirsch

    The noise of the gunshots attract zombies, so they built their own silencers. Fairly easy to do if you have some firearm know-how.

  • Lisa Beee

    In terms of nitpicking, my sister had one that could (possibly) help you out one day, should a zombie and/or other apocalypse happen. Or at least she says so:

    Apparently, according to miss microbiologist over there, those beans that Rick wouldn't let them eat because they were "expired"? Totally fine!
    It's just when the can is bulging that you want to watch out, because that means large amounts of bacteria are growing in there. Then again, I'm not surprised Rick didn't know that. Like when people don't cook their ground beef all the way through and thereby (somewhat) contribute to the Alberta Beef recall... "Rare" ground beef? That's disgusting! I thought you people knew better!

  • MikeRoorda

    Preeeeety sure it was expired dog food, and not beans, and that's why Rick hurled it into the fireplace in disgust. It was less, "UGH pinto beans are for pussies!" and more, "UGH dog food AGAIN Carl?"

  • Melissa D

    I worked with a guy who ate dog food once. He brought it into work, thought it was chili. None of us had ever seen that brand of 'chili' before, and the smell when he heated it up was godawful. He ate a few bites of it before one of the guys fished out the can from the garbage and discovered it was Alpo or whatever.

    My point is that shit is gross.

  • Forbiddendonut

    Yeah, it looked like it was soft dog food or cat food.

  • Dog food.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    I agree with all of your assessments regarding this week's episode (especially the sharpshooter Carl one). I now feel tainted and unclean.

  • Guest

    Needs more Maggie. And how old is Beth supposed to be?

    Great episode otherwise with minimal exposition... Exactly how I like Walking Dead.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    Right? And Carl is now a sexy grown up who splodes zombie heads from 600ft!

  • Forbiddendonut

    Easy there, Alpha Flight.

    Carl's been doing nothing but zombie hunting and surviving for the last 4-6 months now. Besides, he was partially trained by Shane, expert marksman (note: Carl showed an aptitude for dead-eye aim way back when he killed zombie Shane, so his continued improvement should come as no shock or surprise). Besides, it's very common in pretty much any zombie-related movie/show/story for people to be uncannily good at shooting heads. It's how they do.

    As for being a sexy grown up, he's a kid with a crush. I can't rightly blame him. I think Beth just thinks it's cute and innocent. I think the character Beth is supposed to be in highschool? Not sure exact age.

  • Finance_Nerd

    I call bullshit on Carl hitting consistent head shots from that distance w/a pistol unless he's a fucking handgun savant. Pistols are primarily effective from a max of 50 yds and that's assuming a shot at center mass (not the head) on a stationary target. The reason for this is that distance, wind, temperature will really affect accuracy after 20+ yds b/c of the short length of a pistol barrel. BTW - effective range is not typically considered a one-shot determination. The US military is reputed to consider the range at which an average shooter has a 50% hit/miss ratio on a target to be the maximum effective range for that weapon and target size. There's uncannily good & there's bullshit - that was bullshit.

    I have no problem with him hooking up w/Beth, however (if she consents). In that type of setting,he's likely to get his face eaten off before his balls drop, so let him get some tail before he dies.

  • Guest

    Needs more Maggie... And how old is Beth supposed to be?

  • Forbiddendonut

    I pretty much have only a love/love relationship with this show. It's not perfect by a long shot and has its faults, without a doubt, but I do enjoy it so. I'm extremely glad it's back.
    I agree that I thought they did a great job with showing the desperation. A big part of that seemed to be the proliferation of the zombies. Both with the main group and the "side group" the threat (and actual presence) of zombies was everywhere. It makes sense given how the virus works that this is a problem that will only continue to get worse (at least for the short/medium run). I wonder how much they'll continue with this episode-to-episode.
    I was curious as to how far AMC would push the limits on some of this stuff, but based on the "Cold Storage" webisode, it seems like they're reading to push the limits pretty far.

  • Dear TWD writers,

    That thing Lori said about the baby attacking her from the inside--please make that happen. It would be the most satisfactory television death ever.

    Dear TWD prosthetics department,

    Baby belly very, very bad. Worse than Beyonce bad.

    Sincerely...

  • DBO

    It would be a miscarriage of justice

  • Not sure how a newborn would eat it's way out sans teeth, but the idea is terrifying. Zombiebaby could do some damage in there, obviously, but I think it would be less chestburster (bellyburster) and more berzerker moving around and causing lots of internal injuries. Which would also be cool but ultimately less gratuitously satisfying.

  • wsapnin

    Maybe Laurie read the last Twilight book where the baby ate its way out.

  • Hands, feet, nails...

  • As a fully grown man I think I would have a hard time tearing through skin, muscle, organs and bone with my bare hands. Again, not that I couldn't do damage, but it wouldn't be like a knife through butter (or a fire poker through a skull as a case may be). Now I imagine a baby that can't even hold it's head up and the damage it could do. Again, I would fully expect internal bleeding and some serious pain, but I don't see a money shot of baby through stomach happening. Although their little legs are fucking monkey strong.

  • I didn't read below to see this identical conversation happening. Apologies.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    I wanted to use the damn thing as a speed bag every time it was on screen.

  • John G.

    AMC said, "oh there weren't enough zombies last season, you say? Oh, not enough happened. Fuck you"

    yes, AMC, fuck me indeed. Was there a single shot that didn't include a zombie death in this episode?

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