The long anticipated season 3 opener for The Walking Dead finally aired Sunday night. Overall I loved the comic book series but unfortunately, I don’t think it has translated very consistently on the small screen. season 1 was strong but I found season 2 to be a bore and frankly, I was glad when it was over. Much to my chagrin, the season 3 opener came out of the gates not walking, but running. Here are my top 10 reasons why the episode kicked zombie booty:
- Mega zombie killing action: After a leisurely death here and there from last season, we finally see some serious hand to decrepit hand combat. I think more zombies were killed in this first episode than all of last season.
- Team kills: Everyone is getting better at combat. They aren’t sissies anymore- and it’s about time.
- More Daryl: Everyone’s favorite redneck is doing what he does best- killing. Every motley crew needs a gunner and he is as good as they get.
- Michonne: I think she became a fan favorite in about 30 seconds. She’s fierce, strong, and best of all, wields a samurai sword. May the cosplay begin.
- The Prison will set you free: Herschel’s farm storyline was a brief encounter in the original comic book but somehow turned out feeling like a prison. Unfortunately, they dragged it out for an entire season and it turned the series into The Crawling Dead. The Prison storyline promises to be much more interesting and is possibly the best arc in the source material. It is a rich environment with endless amount of dark corridors which makes it especially creepy. Plus, the sense that a Prison leading them to more freedom is perfect irony.
- Rick steps up: Finally some leadership from our central character. I liked Shane but he was making Rick look like a whimpering, indecisive fool. Leadership means doing what you have to do for the sake of the group regardless if you lose popularity points. It’s good to see Rick grow a pair.
- Non-stupidity: At least in this episode, people aren’t doing dumb things- like crashing cars, cutting themselves, getting lost, etc. Sure crazy things happen, but season 2 felt like the writers were just running out of good ideas. Let’s hope they don’t revert back to being idiots.
- The Herschel upgrade: Not to be an age-ist but we have one in every demographic but an extra in the 60+ category- so Dale had to go. Dale turned out to be pretty whiny so Herschel is a nice upgrade. He brings wisdom and steadiness to the group but has a certain toughness. Plus he has medical skills. Dale skill: fixing an RV.
- Gore: it’s always nice to remind us why The Walking Dead is on a cable channel. Zombies getting their faces ripped off and peeps getting limbs amputated is good, solid family fun for all. Keep it coming.
- Finally, Carl grows up: Finally, Carl is doing something instead of getting lost. Put a gun in his hand (with a cool silencer) and get him into the action.
I was really pleased with this season opener. If it follows the comics, this is just the beginning of the roller coaster ride. Let’s hope the writers learned their lessons from season 2 and keep this show running not walking.