The Walking Dead S3E1: Seed
Original Airdate: October 14, 2012
Recap by Sarabeth Pollock
The last time we saw the Grimes Gang, Rick had finally revealed the secret he’d learning in Atlanta: Everyone is infected with the virus. That said, if they want to survive, he continued, they needed to keep moving. “This isn’t a democracy anymore,” he added.
Tonight’s episode starts with a shot of a Walker’s eyeball. As the shot pans out, we can see that these two Walkers are in a house and it looks like they’ve been there for a while. Rick kicks the door open, and he, T-Dog, and an older-looking Carl take them out. Carl has a big gun with a modified barrel (it looks like of cartoonish, really, but it gets the job done). In fact, Carl comes upon an old woman in a bedroom and he shoots her in the head with one-aimed shot. Rick creeps through the house and comes upon a door. When he opens it, he’s staring down the barrel of his gun at Daryl, who is pointing his crossbow at Rick. They exchange a smile. Daryl continues through the house, and when he comes to one of the (many) bedrooms, there is an owl staring at him from the rocking chair across the room. Just when you think it’s one of those magic, symbolic moments, he shoots the owl.
Once the house is clear, the rest of the group comes in and we see that obviously several months have passed. Carl’s hair is longer and he’s taller and more…wizened by his experience. Lori’s pregnancy has advanced considerably and she looks to be almost full term. The group sits in the living room. Daryl plucks the feathers from his owl and Carl starts to open cans of dog food that he’s found. Has it really come to this? The tired and worn out group is willing to eat dog food? Rick doesn’t accept this. He takes the can and throws it into the fireplace, disgusted. T-Dog looks out the window. Walkers coming. They get up and run from the house.
It would seem that this isn’t the first time they have done this.
The caravan of cars comes to a stop on the road. Carl is put on watch duty while the adults consult a map. Apparently a herd has been chasing them, but there is a fear that the initial herd may have merged with another herd. The last one had about 150 people in it. T-Dog gives us some insight into how much time has passed when he says that they have been going in circles all winter. Rick knows his group is tired, and he tells them they just need to find a place to hide out for a while. Hershel pulls him aside, pointing out that if they don’t stop soon, Lori will give birth on the road. While the group takes a break, Rick proposes a little hunting expedition with Daryl. It’s a welcome distraction for Daryl, and it happens to be fortuitous. For there, in the distance, is a prison. It’s not just a prison…it’s the prison. You can see the wheels turning in Rick’s mind as he looks at this fortified safe haven, littered with Walkers.
The great thing about prisons is that they are surrounded by fences that are surrounded by fences. The group cuts a hole in the outer fence and quickly seals it up. Now they’re perfectly safe in the middle ground between the inner and outer fence. Rick points up the hill and says that they could easily take over the yard if they can get up to the top of the hill and lock the gate. They come up with a plan that calls for a loud distraction while Rick slips inside to get to the gate. Hershel and Carl climb up one tower and Daryl and Carol go to another. As Rick makes his way across the yard, Maggie and the group behind the fence make loud noises to attract the Walkers. When they come up to the fence, they use knives and poles to take them out while the pairs in the tower take out anyone who gets in Rick’s way. He gets up to the gate and closes it, using some modified chains to lock it up. Rick looks relieved that his plan worked as he looks out across the grassy prison yard to see that it is now littered with dead Walkers. The West Georgia Correctional Facility is theirs.
Later that night, Daryl and Rick are on watch duty as the rest of the group sits around a campfire in the middle of the yard. Rick is pacing around the perimeter, restlessly. At the fire, T-Dog talks about setting up a well to maintain their water supply. Hershel talks about planting crops. Clearly, the group can see making this place their home, and a permanent place to stay seems to be something they are looking forward to. Betsy (Maggie’s younger sister) tells Lori that this will be a good, safe place for her to have the baby.
Carol brings Daryl some of the food, but there isn’t much food available. Daryl comments that “Little Shane” has quite the appetite. Carol chastises him, saying that Rick got the group farther than she ever thought he would. She rubs her neck, which is sore after using the shotgun earlier. Daryl gives her a little massage (making sure to wipe his dirty fingers before touching her). They share an innuendo-filled conversation before they return to the campfire. Clearly something has progressed in the relationship between them, but it’s still under wraps.
Hershel asks Betsy to sing a song for them. She chooses “Heart and Glass.” As she sings, the camera shows the other members of the group. They look tired. The winter has been harsh, and clearly there are things going on that we don’t know about yet. Rick returns to the group, and Carl offers him food. He takes it and offers it to Lori, but she doesn’t want it. There is tension between them, and though no one speaks through the song, their body language says it all. Maggie joins in with Betsy and they finish the song.
Rick acknowledges that taking over the prison was a big win for them, but he says that they need to push a little more. Most of the Walkers they killed were wearing guard or prisoner uniforms, which suggests that the Walkers were from inside the prison. That means the supplies could be intact. They could be sitting on a gold mine right now. But they’ll have to stick together and go hand-in-hand if they want to make it inside. Hershel agrees, citing that they are low on ammo. Rick gazes at the group. “These assholes don’t stand a chance.”
Lori goes after Rick and tells him that she appreciates everything that he has done for them, and for her, but the group is exhausted. They need some time to regroup before they do anything else. Rick persists and says that they have to push through. Lori knows he isn’t going to budge, so she resigns herself and changes topics. They still need to talk about “things,” she says. Rick stares at her, pointing out that “I’m still here.” End of discussion. It is obvious that there is tons of tension between these two, and boatloads of unresolved issues. The strange thing is that these issues are either from the end of Season 2, or they have developed over the winter. Why are they still outstanding? Don’t these two get time to talk?
In a (presumably) nearby town, there is a shredded American flag blowing in the wind. A person moves into a shop, disturbing the Walkers inside. Michonne swiftly cuts them apart, effortlessly decapitating them. One of the heads is still moving. We don’t know what she’s doing there, but clearly this woman means business.
Back at the prison, T-Dog asks the group if they’re ready. Rick, Glenn, Maggie, Daryl and T-Dog go into the yard while the rest of the group makes noise to distract the Walkers. Maggie is quite the badass now, taking out a Walker with her knife. There is riot gear on the ground, so T-Dog takes one of the shields and uses it to hit and stun the Walkers in front of them. Then the new batch of Walkers comes out. They’re dressed in full riot gear, including masks and full body armor, which makes killing them very difficult. The group soon learns that they have to get close enough to pull up the masks and stab them in the neck. That’s really the only place that they can get through on their armor.
Once they have taken out the Walkers, Rick surveys the bodies, noting that there are civilians mixed in with the guards and prisoners. There could be a wall down somewhere on the grounds, so the place could be empty or overrun.
Inside, the halls are empty and quiet. Rick goes up to the control tower to find that the guard is dead, presumably from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The good news is that he has keys. Most of the cells are open and empty, with a few dead prisoners lying around, but they come across a few cells with prisoners—now Walkers—locked inside.
They clear the area quickly and bring in the rest of the group. This two-story cell block will be home sweet home for now, and they can all take a cell to sleep in. Carl goes into a cell with Betsy, and it looks like they’re going to room together until Hershel chases a smitten Carl away. Glenn and Maggie take a cell together, and Glenn makes sure that Maggie isn’t scratched. Their relationship seems to be as strong as ever. Daryl opts to sleep on the “perch” overlooking the cell block, while Lori and Carol take a room together. Rick sleeps on the floor outside in the hallway.
Back in town, Michonne goes into an establishment known as the Deer Cooler. Her pets are tied up in the front room. She continues through the meat locker to find Andrea curled up in a back room. She’s really sick. Michonne gives her pills and presses a cold water bottle to her forehead. Andrea wants to know what is going on outside. Michonne tells her it’s “the same,” but there are Walkers everywhere. Andrea knows she’s lying and wants her to leave her there. Andrea will just hold her back, and she needs to leave. She goes on to say that she watched Michonne’s back all winter, so now she has to leave her. Michonne is steadfast. They’ll leave in a few days. Andrea is afraid that she’s going to die there. The next shot is of Michonne leading her pets out the back door, with Andrea following behind.
At the prison, the men check out the ammo they found. As they plan their next move, Carol asks Hershel to come with her, saying there’s nothing to worry about when Rick looks at her, concerned.
Lori tells Hershel that she hasn’t been able to feel any movement from the baby. Then she starts freaking out, because if they are all carriers of the virus, then the baby is infected. If the baby is stillborn, it would be a Walker. It could even pull an Alien and eat its way out of her. Or she could die in childbirth and try to kill them all. Hershel calms her, but not before she is able to exact a promise from Hershel. She makes him promise that if she dies giving birth, he’ll kill her before she turns. She doesn’t want him to hesitate at all. He agrees. Lori tells Hershel that she thinks Rick hates her for putting him at odds with Shane. Hershel points out that the baby doesn’t care about any of that.
The survey party dresses in riot gear. Rick tells Carl that he has to stay behind in case something happens (something tells me he will probably disobey this later). It’s possible that Carl will end up as the last man standing if something happens to them. Carl reluctantly agrees.
As they move down the hallway, they mark their path with spray paint. Rick, T-Dog, Daryl, Maggie, Hershel and Glenn move through the hallway apprehensively. The halls are silent save for the occasional bangs and rattles. There are dead and decaying bodies everywhere.
Suddenly they come across a group of Walkers, and as they run, another group chases after them. Maggie and Glenn are separated from the group. Once they are clear, they go back to search for Maggie and Glenn. Hershel hears Maggie’s voice, and as he creeps down the hall, one of the bodies on the floor reaches out and bites him in the leg. He screams in agony.
The group makes it to the visiting room, and Maggie holds her father down while Rick takes his hatchet and chops Hershel’s leg off to keep him alive. While he’s screaming, Daryl looks across the room. “Duck,” he says, and he stands up and points his crossbow at the group of men dressed in prisoner uniforms standing in a barricaded room across from them. A blond man with a Three Musketeer moustache looks at the newcomers. “Holy shit,” he murmurs.
Well, that was the first episode. Obviously some time has passed, but it seems like many of their issues are still unresolved. I want to point out now that I have purposefully avoided reading the graphic novels so that I can focus my attention on the show, so I will not be commenting on the difference between the two. I’m glad that we’ve arrived at the prison already, given that we rarely left the farm last season (I’m kidding—they left the farm every now and then). My hope, though, is that we get to hear about where they have been the past few months so we can be in on some of the uncomfortable silence going on between Lori and Rick, or the innuendo between Daryl and Carol.
I’m eager to hear what you all think about tonight’s episode. What was your favorite moment? What was your favorite Walker death? Let me know in the comments section below!