Is it time to get excited for October yet? These shots from the in-production third season of THE WALKING DEAD (snagged by Entertainment Weekly) make me want to watch the zombie-fest now!
Are there clues to be gleaned from the lineup in the photos? We can see (left to right) Rick (Andrew Lincoln), T-Dog (IronE Singleton), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Glenn (Steven Yuen) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan). Where are Lori, Carl and Andrea? Hopefully, they are waiting someplace safe while this crew faces down the walkers.
There will be blood…
And zombie gore…
Some course corrections…
And revelations… and more revelations. And then another one.
In short, the second season finale of THE WALKING DEAD was its finest hour, totally redeeming any complaints anyone could have about this farm-centered season. It also contained two great moments of fan-service had to have had fanboys coast-to-coast fainting into their Red Bulls: Michonne and the prison.
And we finally got the Night of the Living Dead pastiche we’ve been anticipating since the group set up shop at an old farmhouse.
This week’s episode of THE WALKING DEAD was all about confrontations that have been a long time coming — especially Rick and Shane finally…er, talking it out. That particular explosion has been simmering since early in the first season.
When Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Shane (Jon Bernthal) set out to release the captive Randall (Michael Zegen) at least 18 miles from the farm, they ended up finally talking about the elephant in the car. No, not the blindfolded Randall in the trunk, but all the issues between the two alpha males: from Shane abandoning Rick in the hospital to his affair with Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) to sacrificing Otis to challenging Rick’s leadership — it was all on the table.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Two guys walk into a bar, brandish guns at a tiny band of survivors of the zombie holocaust and say, “Take us and our group to your zombie-free safe haven or else!” Sheriff says no and shoots the interlopers dead. Only this ain’t no joke; it’s the life-or-undeath stakes of THE WALKING DEAD.
The Old West confrontation in the Deep South marked the climax of the winter premiere of TWD, which picked up exactly where the series left off in November: With Rick (Andrew Lincoln) lowering his weapon after shooting zombie Sophia (Madison Lintz) in the head. While the
dead truly dead were buried and burned (“We bury the ones we love, and burn the rest,” Andrea [Laurie Holden] declared), Hershel (Scott Wilson) high-tailed it to town to drown his sorrows.
There’s a lot of debate about what government should or should not be doing; whether it should be more or less involved in the lives of private citizens. Well, I think we can all agree on one thing: The government should absolutely stand ready to protect us from a zombie apocalypse.
And that’s where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention comes in. I promise I am not making this up: The CDC recently published, on its Public Health Matters Blog on May 16, advice on preparing for a Zombie Apocalypse. It’s true. And it’s not even October! The CDC references the history of zombie beliefs in the real world as well as TV/movie depictions (while conspicuously failing to mention AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD, in which the CDC figures prominently, if not exactly favorably; go figure!), and then goes on to explain the preparations one should make to stave off zombies. And, of course, survive other types of disasters. “Identify the types of emergencies that are possible in your area. Besides a zombie apocalypse, this may include floods, tornadoes, or earthquakes. If you are unsure contact your local Red Cross chapter for more information,” the blog entry advises.
The end of the initial, six-episode season of THE WALKING DEAD was time to look back at the beginning of the zombie plague. The teaser segment revealed how Rick came to be left all alone in a hospital overrun with walking dead: Shane thought Rick had died because he couldn’t hear his heart beating during the army siege of the hospital. But on his way out, Shane propped a gurney against Rick’s door… and that kept the dim-witted, shambling walkers out of his room.
Back in the present day, Dr. Jenner (Noah Baumbach) left Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) band of survivors inside the remains of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and treated them to food, wine and hot water. Just about everyone got drunk – and good thing, too, because the next day, Jenner revealed that CDC was running out of power, and when that happened, the entire facility would be sterilized.
THE WALKING DEAD decided to put a bit of a spin on a couple of classic zombie-movie tropes — or clichés, if you’re feeling less than charitable: One member of the survivors is secretly bitten, and another refuses to release the corpse of a beloved family member to be disposed of properly. Sure, we’ve seen this stuff before, but not the way TWD handles it. Besides, the series is just trying to be faithful: Jim’s fate was dictated by the comic books…
Jim (Andrew Rothenberg) was bitten by a walker during the attack that killed Amy (Emma Bell). He tried to keep it a secret, but Jacqui (Jeryl Prescott) noticed fresh blood on his shirt and immediately ratted him out. That made sense; too often in these situations, a friend is recruited to keep the secret. “I’m okay,” Jim kept insisting, although everyone (including Jim) knew he was pretty effin’ far from okay. As he grew weaker, he had visions of himself turning into a zombie, which was creepy, but also kind of cool to get a glimpse of the transformation through the mind’s eye of a victim. Even knowing Jim’s inevitable fate, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) wouldn’t let Daryl (Norman Reedus) kill the infected Jim: “We don’t kill the living,” he warned, even as he pointed his weapon at Daryl’s skull.
This week’s WALKING DEAD continued to expand on the theme: “We have met the enemy, and they are us.” Even in a world overrun with flesh-eating zombies, the biggest obstacle is still our fellow man.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Glenn (Steve Yeun) and T-Dog (Irone Singleton) set off to find Merle, but instead ran into a self-styled gang of tough guys who took Glenn hostage and demanded Rick’s bag of guns in exchange. You heard right: While the world was falling apart around them, Rick’s group faced off against a street gang over the bag of guns that Rick dropped back in the first episode. Instead of joining forces with Rick, Guillermo’s (Neil Brown Jr.) crew pretended to be gangsters and everyone risked killing everyone else. Which was insanely stupid; with the world collapsed, why fight for petty power and influence over a tiny band of survivors? At least Rick was simply trying to get his man Glenn back from the Vatos. In truth, Guillermo was a janitor before the fall, and his lieutenant, Felipe (Noel G.), was a nurse, and the Vatos were defending not gang turf, but an old folks home full of helpless, senile elderly patients.
THE WALKING DEAD has been racing up my Must-See TV list with all the relentlessness of a zombie trying to break down the door to a Mensa meeting.
One of the things I have found so remarkable about the first three episodes is that so much emphasis has been placed on characterization of the living. For an action series about brain-gobbling zombies the show has long stretches of quiet time. I was surprised that the narrative pace is not relentlessly up-tempo. In fact, it almost replicates the slower pace of the original comic book series. And that’s a good thing.
Step right up, folks! Don’t miss your opportunity to visit the one and only Zombieland! See! the amazing traveling zombie-killers Tallahassee and Columbus! Witness! the beguiling sibling con artists, Wichita and Little Rock! Marvel! at the last famous person on Earth, Bill Murray! Watch! in horror as the undead walk and ooze assorted unidentifiable bodily fluids…
In the near future, a virus will sweep the world, turning almost everyone into flesh-eating, undead monsters with lightning reflexes and ravenous appetites. Civilization has collapsed, and very few living humans remain. Some things, however, never change: Murray is still at the top of the Hollywood food chain, and still insouciant. Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg; Adventureland) is one of the few survivors – mainly because he has always been a skittish germophobe and budding recluse. Columbus adheres to a rigid set of rules, apparently derived from horror movie clichés, which has kept him alive. (Rule No. 31: Always check the back seat. Rule No. 17: Don’t be a hero.) He runs into Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), who is the Steve McQueen of zombie-killers: bloodlessly efficient and almost too cool for words. Tallahassee’s only weakness is a mad craving for Twinkies. The corpse-grinding guys meet their match in a pair of sisters dubbed Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), who survive on a wicked mix of brains and sex appeal. The boys just cannot stop underestimating them and falling for their cons. Complications inevitably arise when the group’s “every man for himself” ethos – the characters are designated by hometowns rather than names to keep each other at arm’s length – collides with simple human concern for one another.