Return of the Walking Dead
Tonight marks the return of one of the best shows on television and a personal favorite of mine, AMC’s hit The Walking Dead. And to say I was excited would be the understatement of the millennium.
Honestly, when ABC’s Lost came to an end, I doubted another show could ever fill the void. Some came close, but only TWD managed to grab hold of my imagination and to leave me wanting more with each episode. And the summers between seasons—while pleasant for the things we all love summer for—were also quite grueling as I waited for the next season premiere, which always seemed to take forever.
This summer was the worst of all. In a way, though, it’s also kind of a “tip of the hat” to Robert Kirkman, Frank Darabont and the rest of TWD’s creators. Because of their season three finale and all the questions swirling around Rick, Daryl and our other beloved survivors, I cannot wait to see what tonight’s new episode will bring. To make sure I’m ready, I even spent the weekend immersed in AMC’s TWD marathon.
Here’s where we left off last season:
That one-eyed charmer and all-around psychopath—The Governor (David Morrissey)—was up to his old tricks again. After capturing Andrea (Laurie Holden) and handcuffing her to a chair in his new torture room, he stabs his one-time “right hand man” Milton (Dallas Roberts) for refusing to kill his prisoner and locks him in the room to handle it once he transforms into a walker.
Talk about being bad at break-ups. Damn.
Meanwhile, our protagonist Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the other survivors are back at the prison, loading up their cars and preparing for the attack to come—The Governor and his Woodbury troops will be heading their way soon. The assault on the Governor’s forces by Merle (Michael Rooker) in the previous episode gave them a chance. And since Rick refused to turn Michonne (Danai Gurira) over to the Governor—who wants her dead after she killed his zombified daughter—she becomes a full-fledged member of the group.
The stage is set for the big prison assault as the Governor rallies his troops in Woodbury—all but new characters Tyrese (Chad Coleman) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), who stay behind to guard the kids and the old folks. A short time later the attack begins in earnest: grenade launchers blow up the guard towers; trucks plow through fences; heavy machine gun fire punches holes in concrete and rakes the area; and the Governor leads his small army through the zombie-scattered yard and into the prison.
Only where are Rick and the others? The place is abandoned. So the Governor goes deeper into the facility, down into the tombs while his Woodbury soldiers follow.
And that’s when all hell breaks loose.
Rick and his group stage an ambush—complete with smoke and alarms—that freaks everyone out and sends the Governor’s people running for their lives. During his escape, a Woodbury teenager comes across Carl (Chandler Riggs), Beth (Emily Kinney) and Hershel (Scott Wilson) in the woods and despite trying to surrender, Carl shoots him right between the eyes. He later tells Rick he did it because every time they fail to kill a potential threat, someone dies—and he is not taking any chances.
Man, Carl is cold! I guess that’s how you have to be in a zombie apocalypse, though. Survival is a bitch.
Back in Woodbury, Tyrese and Sasha continue to protect the citizens, but secretly plan to slip out once the Governor returns. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that their fearless leader is actually a textbook nut job, after all. Meanwhile, down in the torture room, Milton clings to life while Andrea struggles to reach some pliers he dropped behind her chair before the Governor poked him full of holes. They chat about good intentions, lost chances and some other philosophical things, but it’s only a matter of time before Milton turns… and the clock is ticking.
The Governor leaves the prison after watching his people flee like cowards and catches up with them on the road. And believe me when I say that he is not happy. His people refuse to fight and want to return to Woodbury and their families, but their objections are silenced when the Governor basically mows them all down—all but his two main lackeys, Martinez (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and Shumpert (Travis Love), who watch in horror as their leader then walks from one corpse to another, shooting each of them in the head to prevent them from turning into undead later.
Only one person survives the deadly mass murder—Karen (Melissa Ponzio)—by hiding under a corpse and playing dead. Luckily, the Governor runs out of ammunition before he can shoot her in the head, so he leaves for town while she lies amidst the carnage.
Following their victory at the prison, Rick and the others move into phase two: finishing the job. While Glen (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) stay behind to guard against a return attack by the Governor, Rick heads to Woodbury to end the fight, with Michonne and Daryl (Norman Reedus) by his side. On their way to town, they come across the convoy and Woodbury’s dead, some of whom have already changed into zombies. They also find Karen, who joins them as they rush to face the Governor.
Unfortunately, things have gotten even worse in Woodbury, especially for Andrea. She manages to get one of her hands free, but while she’s working on the second one, Milton reanimates and starts lurching her way. We don’t get to see what happens next—all we hear is a struggle, some screaming and the sound of a body falling to the ground—but by the time Rick and his team convince Tyrese and Sasha to let them into town and rush to rescue Andrea, it’s too late.
Milton is dead, but Andrea has been bitten and the fever is already upon her. She asks for a gun so she can end her own life—which they provide, of course—and Michonne remains with her for the moments leading up to the gunshot that ends her character arc.
The finale ends with Rick, his group and a bus full of Woodbury residents arriving back at the prison, much to the chagrin of Carl, who may actually find a girlfriend in the crowd. I wasn’t paying close enough attention, but it’s possible a few young cuties joined the fold. Rick’s hallucinations of his dead wife Lori are gone and everyone made it through—for the most part—but the Governor is still at large.
Enter season four. And it promises to be a good one.
Details about the new season of TWD have been hard to come by, but I have picked up a few nuggets along the way. Here are some things we can expect to see beginning with tonight’s premiere and throughout the fourth season:
- The Governor will have a role going forward, which we can all assume will see him acting even crazier than ever.
- Rick and the other survivors will hunker down in the prison they fought so hard to protect. And civilization even returns to their lives—one trailer shows children being taught lessons and crops being grown within the prison’s fences.
- Daryl will develop a protocol for weeding out dangerous people and will start bringing other survivors into the prison group.
- Carl will kick more ass than ever before and even Carol will cease to be a victim any longer.
- New characters will be introduced, including TWD comic book favorite Sgt. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz).
- There will be plenty of gore, but also more character studies, varied storytelling formats and some philosophical questions about human nature.
- Zombies will come in droves and will remind everyone—both on-screen and off—that while the living may be dangerous, it’s the undead who pose the greatest threat. Some of us may have forgotten that during season three.
In other words, season four should be awesome! Come on, nine o’clock!
Incidentally, I just heard that Robert Kirkman and AMC are developing a companion or spin-off series based on The Walking Dead, one that could be on the air as early as 2015. Instead of being adapted from a comic book, this series would be completely new and fresh—and Kirkman certainly seems up to the challenge.
“The opportunity to make a show that isn’t tethered by the events of the comic book, and is truly a blank page, has set my creativity racing,” said Kirkman, who will serve as executive producer of the new series with David Alpert and Gale Anne Hurd. “I couldn’t be more thrilled about getting the chance to create a new corner of The Walking Dead universe.”
Damn it, Kirkman. Now I have yet another show to wait for with unbridled anticipation. Thank goodness tonight’s new episode will provide some temporary relief. I hope all you fans out there enjoy it and that you non-fans (provided you truly exist) will tune in to see what all the fuss is about. You won’t regret it.
Only five more hours, peeps! Enjoy the show!
Posted on October 13, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged AMC, commentary, entertainment, news, perspectives, Robert Kirkman, television, The Walking Dead, undead, Walking Dead, zombies. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.