The Walking Dead: 301 “Seed” Review
Reviewed by Rich Jepson, cult TV enthusiast and author of 24: Terrorism Through Television.
WARNING – FULL SPOILERS
It’s fair to say that last year fans were quite frustrated by the slow burning plot, constant one-on-one conversations and most of all, a concerning lack of zombies for a show named after the undead creatures. Well, ask and you shall receive, as we were treated to a Romero-esq turkey shoot, a Streets of Rage inspired courtyard battle and a chilling chase through the prison’s tunnels. Three big pieces of action that really got the adrenaline pumping and the tension mounting in this well scripted, well paced and well executed return for the show.
Is it just me or has the group gone in one big circle since the end of the second season? We were teased with a shot of the prison, looming in the background as Rick gave the group a lesson in dictatorship, but since then we learn that a winter has come and gone whilst the survivors have been moving from house to house. Eating whatever they can find or kill, it seems desperate times have called for desperate measures and now even a can of Puppy Chow looks like a Sunday roast – go figure.
Despite that, what was great about Seed was the little amount of time it wasted in getting to the prison. Whether you’ve read the comics or not, you only have to take a glimpse at a poster or peek at the trailer to know that the group are heading inside. With that being the case, full credit has to go to the writing team for getting straight to it and not spending a whole episode wandering around looking for food before stumbling upon their new, gated sanctuary.
So what’s changed since we last saw Rick and the others? Well in short, Carl’s grown up, Lori’s grown out, Hershel’s grown a beard and everyone else has become a badass with a gun. It’s impressive to see that the show has really let the characters evolve in the series’ absence, with the hell they went through at the finale of Farmville last year it’s no surprise that things aren’t the way they were before. Clearly this is evident between Rick and Lori and their fragmented relationship, Rick seems hell bent on finding a safe haven for his very pregnant wife but is so torn from her that they don’t even share the same bed anymore.
There were some really enjoyable scenes in this episode, not just the big action sequences but also the short exchanges between some of the other survivors. Daryl has become somewhat of a deputy to Rick in a much more focused role. As well as this, his relationship with Carol has developed into a much deeper friendship. What I really liked about this was the exchange on top of the riot van when Carol jokingly hinted at romance, it quickly brushed off any doubt and set the audience straight on their companionship.
As for the rest, well Maggie has gotten tougher and seems to be in with the big guns when it comes to hand-to-hand combat. I particularly enjoyed her “Eureka” moment when it came to taking out the riot gear zombies – back of the neck! Glenn showed he’s equally capable of holding his own and pitched in with some nice fence work too!
T-Dog seems to have slightly upped his game but is still very much a passenger in the show. Let’s face it; the most interesting thing to happen to him was a cut back at the start of season 2.
Oh and I almost forgot – Beth sang a song…good for you Beth.
Meanwhile, popular comic-book character and new edition to the show Michonne, has been busy slicing heads and taking her peculiar pets for a walk. Accompanied by a feverish Andrea, the two seem to have formed quite a strong bond in the 6-8 months that have presumably passed in the show. Michonne makes quite the impression as she takes out a trio of walkers in the store. She’s certainly one of the more extraordinary characters from the comics so it’s going to be interesting how she makes the transition from paperback to the small screen. Although we only caught a glimpse of this all female duo we get an instant impression of the dynamic that has risen over their time together.
Back in the prison, Rick’s ascendance into the dark is illustrated by his reaction to Hershel’s bite. Chopping off his leg without thinking twice or even discussing it with the others shows that he’s going to be a much more sadistic character than we’ve come to expect. There was a moment just before the end where he appeared to acknowledge this as he sat back in shock, as if he’d fully realised what he’d just done.
Gorier, grittier and now with a great new location to explore, this season should be a fun one. Each character seems to have developed in one way or another making it a lot harder to guess what’s coming next. With the addition of Michonne, a quartet of living prisoners and no doubt more new characters to come, this has the making of an amazing season. Roll on next week.
Scene of the Episode: The Spring Clear Out – Riot Gear Zombies! Fantastic. This scene epitomised the shows return – making the action bigger, the walkers tougher and the group now fiercer than ever.