The Dead rises

The Dead rises

It’s alive! Three seasons in, AMC’s zombie drama is finally alive!

By Matthew Singer 11/01/2012

Almost a year ago, I inaugurated this column by doing a lot of bitching about AMC’s The Walking Dead. I called the zombie gore-fest “the most maddening show on cable” because, well, no serialized drama about a world overrun by the flesh-eating corpses of the undead should ever be as boring as its first one and a half seasons were. At the time, it probably seemed like the ramblings of a disgruntled fanboy. After all, the show was doing monster (ahem) ratings, so what the hell does it matter if it doesn’t measure up to one dork’s artistic standards?

Well, somebody must’ve been reading. Three episodes into its third season, the show has thus far undergone a significant turnaround. The action moves faster. The characters are more likable. Best of all, the frequent, long-winded monologues that often slowed the program down to a decomposed shuffle have been largely replaced by actual, meaningful dialogue.

I’d like to take credit for it, but of course that’d be inaccurate. I wasn’t the only person complaining.  If you had perused the Internet 11 months ago, you’d have come across plenty of viewers logging the exact same criticisms on message boards and blogs. If anyone deserves recognition for the improvements, it’s probably Glen Mazzara, who replaced Frank Darabont as show-runner going into the second season and is now fully at the reins.

In truth, The Walking Dead’s rise in quality actually began at the end of last season. At its halfway mark — when I wrote the column — the group of survivors at the center of the show had wasted an ungodly amount of time sitting around on a farm, searching for a missing girl no one even knew existed until she disappeared, and doing much more lip-flapping than zombie decapitating. Things appeared to get slightly more interesting when the girl finally emerged, fully zombified, and ended up getting shot in the head. But then, there were several more episodes of the cast hanging out on the farm, debating the reconstituted moral standards of the post-apocalyptic world without, y’know, actually living it. I said the show needed to start killing off characters, to create a sense that anyone can die any moment. And that’s what happened. Both Shane and Dale — increasingly psychotic and increasingly annoying, respectively — bit the dust. Then the entire farm was overrun by a shambling horde, creating a feeling of desperation and, even more importantly, movement sorely lacking in everything leading up to that.

That left me with cautious enthusiasm going into Season 3. Then, in the cold open of the first episode, Mazarra spoke directly to us — the people who’ve been desperate for the show to live up to its potential — by reintroducing the characters and having them not speak at all. With formerly namby-pamby Rick emerging as a true leader and the recent introductions of sword-wielding badass Michonne and a potentially great villain in the Governor, The Walking Dead is finally starting to run. If they can just find a way to get rid of T-Dog and Lori, we actually have a great show here.

I Need Media is a biweekly media column. Matthew Singer watches everything from PBS documentaries to Community and Showtime’s Gigolos, but mostly he’s just happy Breaking Bad is back. Follow him on Twitter@mpsinger.


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If they can just find a way to get rid of T-Dog and Lori, we actually have a great show here.

LOL. that is exactly what will happen in the next episode, episode 4.

T-Dog gets bit and Lori is shot to death by Carl as she bleeds to death in child birth.

posted by anno1404 on 11/01/12 @ 09:34 a.m.

"Killer Within" is indeed a game changer for The Walking Dead with the group dynamic completely rewritten at The Prison by the end of the episode. The episode is split between The Prison and Woodbury. The Woodbury segment is very talky and features some awesome dialogue between Andrea and Merle, Andrea and The Governor, and Andrea and Michonne. That creepy feeling that The Governor might be putting the make on Andrea also gets a little reinforcement this week. Notice how the girl in his bed was Brunette last week, and his deceased wife, like Andrea, is a blonde? Foreshadowing? Perhaps. The Prison is where all of the action is at.

For reasons I won't spoil, a herd of zombies attacks the prison while Rick's group is separated. With the generators running, The Prison alarms are blaring and attracting walkers from all over the coun...tryside. The groups consist of: Rick, Daryl, Glenn, seeking out the generators with the help of inmates Axel and Oscar; Hershel and Beth locked into a cage for their safety; T-Dog and Carol, running for their lives; and Lori, Carl, and Maggie also running for their lives.

The first to die is T-Dog. He suffers a walking bite to the shoulder. In an act of bravery he sticks with Carol, determined to get her to safety. The bite is a one way ticket on its own, but the way he dies is truly gruesome. With the route ahead blocked by walkers, T-Dog runs full steam ahead managing to knock back the walkers and open a brief window for Carol to escape.

The second death comes towards the end of the episode. Lori goes into labor and attempts to deliver the baby. At first it appears she might be able to deliver without a cesarean, but then she begins bleeding profusely. With no way to stop the labor or get help, Lori comes to a decision. Maggie must cut the baby out of her. Lori accepts that she will die in the process. With Carl looking on, Maggie cuts the baby from Lori's body. Lori dies in the process. In a very emotional sequence, Carl decides he should be the one to put the bullet in his Mother's brain to prevent her from coming back and we flash to season two when Rick and Carl were sitting in the barn and Rick told his son "No more kids stuff. People are going to die."

The end of the episode is absolutely heart wrenching. Rick and his group arrive at the separate part of the courtyard from Maggie, Carl, and the Baby. As they draw closer it becomes more and more evident what has transpired and Rick begins to absolutely lose it. It is a stunning portrayal of grief by Andrew Lincoln and will reach through the screen and squeeze the ever-loving tears right out of your eyeballs.

So what did I leave out? Plenty! Be sure to tune in to The Walking Dead 3.04 "Killer Within" this Sunday on AMCTV.


posted by anno1404 on 11/01/12 @ 09:37 a.m.
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