Season 3 of The Walking Dead is definitely more in-your-face than the previous 2 seasons… and I love it. When we last left our lonely, hungry group of survivors in the prison, they had just hacked off Hershel’s leg. He was being a bit careless as he frolicked through the hallowed halls of the jailhouse and didn’t take into account that maybe the walker laying against the wall wasn’t all the way dead. Seeing no other way to save him, Rick hacked and hacked and hacked, until Hershel’s gnawed on leg was just a bloody stump… and that’s when they realized they weren’t alone. The leg sprouted legs of its own and grabbed an axe! No, just kidding, but we did see a group of inmates watching through the grates in the kitchen as Rick and company made their way to the cafeteria.
This week picked up right where we left off. Hershel is bleeding out as our group rushes to save him. The new group of prisoners, lead by an actor that looks like he should have played the Governor (if they wanted to match the look in the books), follows our group back to their cell block only to be met by a crossbow wielding Daryl and a glock toting T-Dog. Things begin to get a little heated as the prisoners want to the group to move out of the prison, but Rick’s not having any of it. Rick agrees to let them stay in the prison, in a different cell block that they will help clear, in exchange for half of the food in the kitchen that the prisoners were living off of. After a bit of back and forth, the prisoners agree and the group makes arrangements to clear out the other cell block.
The prisoners aren’t very well versed in the ways of killing walkers, so despite Rick’s best efforts in explaining that they have to go for the brain, don’t use guns, and whatever you do, don’t break formation… as soon as the walkers come around the corners the prisoners bum rush them as if it were a prison riot, shanking and beating them to, well, death, but they weren’t dying. Eventually the first group of walkers is taken care of after Rick explains that they really do need to hit them in the brain, but not before Big Tiny is bitten on the shoulder. Rick explains that there’s nothing they can do for him after he’s been bit and he must either be killed or locked up… well our fearless prisoner leader, Tomas, decides to take matters into his own hands and bludgeons him to death before he has the chance to say another word. At this point Rick knows he’s dealing with a psychopath.
They move further into the prison and reach the outer doors of the cell block. As they open the doors to the cell block a horde of zombies pour out and despite Rick’s warnings, things get ugly fast. Tomas swings his axe a little too close to Rick, almost taking his head off, and then proceeds to throw a walker at him. After Daryl saves Rick and all the walkers are taken care of, there’s an intense stare down between Rick and Tomas… Rick makes a choice and puts a machete through his skull; it was a good choice. If Rick hadn’t done what he did, that guy would have killed all of them in the end. At this point one of the prisoners makes a break for it as he thinks Rick is going to kill him as well. He finds himself in a courtyard full of walkers and ultimately pays the price at the mouths of the zombies. The two remaining inmates don’t seem to be too large of a threat, so Rick lets them live in the cell block as the original deal described.
Meanwhile back with our favorite group of survivors, Hershel stops breathing which prompts Lori to go into CPR-mode to try and save him; thankfully she is able to, but not before we get a bit of a jump scare as we think he has turned. It turns out that Hershel is stronger than everyone thought and is taking the amputation like it’s no big deal; no fever, no infection, no zombification. Most of his good luck is due to the fact that Carl decided to take things into his own hand and found the infirmary full of fresh gauze and medicine, needless to say Lori wasn’t too happy with him wandering off, but at this point Carl is pretty self sufficient and can take care of himself. The episode ends with a somber look at what are possibly the final moments of Lori and Rick’s relationship as husband and wife. It was a powerful moment, but the real suspense came from the set of eyes peering through the bushes at Carol as she practiced her C-section on a zombie cadaver.
Another great episode this week and I can’t wait to finally get into the Governor and Woodbury next week, not to mention a bit more of Michonne. I’m pretty sure the eyes peering through the bushes are the Governor’s people and when Andrea and Michonne explain to him that they don’t know where their group is, this set of eyes is going to come forward with information about survivors living in the prison. Things are getting good and the pacing of the show this season, so far, has been perfect. I can’t wait to see what they bring to us for the next 14 episodes.