The Walking Dead: “Seed”

Posted on October 15, 2012

Well! That was about as bracing as an axe to the shin, wasn’t it?

Like a lot of people, we approached season 3 with some trepidation, partially because what’s coming up should be an epic and jaw-dropping story which could so easily go wrong if it’s not written well, and partially (mostly) because everything went so wrong for this series in season 2 because it wasn’t written well. But this episode was so tight and lean, so spare and economical in everything but gore, that we don’t think we’ve ever seen an episode that so clearly looked the audience directly in the eyes and said “We know what we’re doing here.”

Our rag-tag group of survivors is even more rag and tag, but they demonstrate a smooth efficiency in dealing with walkers that they never had back in the days of crazy Shane and busy-body Dale. The opening scene has them enter the front door of a house, dispatch the walkers inside, look for food, and then clear out the back door when a herd shows up almost entirely wordlessly, like a team of special ops forces that just happen to contain a pregnant woman,  a ten-year-old and a 70-year-old. The script efficiently informs us, in exposition dialogue that doesn’t actually sound like exposition, that they’ve survived a winter together, that Lori’s near her due date (although the wholly unbelievable baby bump did that at first glance), that Carl’s a badass with a silencer, and that Andrea and Michonne have come to rely on each other and form some sort of tight bond (with overtones that sounded romantic to us). All the bullshit of last season seemed to have been addressed head-on. Lori, who just may have been one of the most detested characters on television, judging by internet reactions to her, was effectively silenced for most of the episode. We don’t think she said more than 5 words in the first 20 minutes and when she did speak, she said things that made you sympathize with her instead of blurting out, “Oh, SHUT UP, Lori.” Someone obviously sat Carl down, showed him how to use a gun and told him to stop wandering off. Someone finally got the idea that the lady folk can handle weapons too and that having them fold laundry all the time was an idiotic use of their time and resources. We think the biggest improvement must have been Carol, who went from simpering mess to wise-cracking badass – and somehow, the writers made this transition work. Everyone’s much harder and much leaner (except Lori, of course), but there’s an ease within the group that’s nice to see. We kept thinking during the episode, “FINALLY. We have a group of people we feel like rooting for.”

Things aren’t exactly rosy, however. Herschel never looked so old and frail before – and that was before Rick hacked away at his infected leg. Lori and Rick are barely speaking to each other and Rick seems to be one group member death away from cracking up for good. It’s to his enormous credit that he got the group through the winter without losing any more of them, but they’re starving and a life on the run has clearly taken a toll on all of them, even if it has made them better with guns. Everything was cooking with gas last night; great action scenes, horrifying gore, heart-in-the-throat moments like that hallway scene, and human drama that didn’t feel tacked on from another script, i.e., drama that arose out of the desperation we were seeing onscreen instead of drama coming from love triangles or parenting conflicts. We probably couldn’t have asked for a better season premiere than the one we got.

There were some disappointments, however. It took us a couple of minutes to process that we never got to see what it was like to survive in the zombie apocalypse in the dead of winter, a change in scenery that would have been quite welcome after two seasons of pit stains and shiny brows. The script is still relying on moments of character stupidity in order to generate horror – seconds before Herschel got attacked, we said “Why aren’t they making sure all these bodies are dead-dead?” Sure, Herschel’s momentary lapse can be explained due to concern for his daughter, but it was harder to take after 45 minutes of demonstrating how smooth and smart the team has become. In fact, Herschel’s presence on the hallway mission was pretty damn stupid. He’s the only member of the group with medical and farming experience, and he’s far too old to go on action missions like this. He should have been left back with Lori and Carl. But horror stories generally rely on babysitters going into darkened basements and other such stupidities, so we guess we’re going to have to suck it up going forward. People are going to continue to do dumb things on this show, but so long as these moments occur roughly with the same frequency as they did in last night’s script, we’re okay with that. The entire hour felt like the creators of the show turning directly to all its detractors after last season and saying with tremendous confidence, “Bring it, bitches.”

But we’re still kind of pissed that Rick slapped that can of dog food out of Carl’s hands. That’s the kind of thinking that should have been beaten out of this group months ago.

Oh, and Tom could not help but gleefully shout “That’s my girl!” pretty much every time Michonne did anything. We think Daryl and Michonne should get their own show. “He’s a hot red neck! She’s a kickass black chick! Together, they kill zombies!” We’d watch the shit out of that.



[Photo Credit: AMC]

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  • I respectfully disagree about the exposition dialogue, as we were laughing about the “Here, Carol, you’ve learned to shoot a gun okay now” line (though the actual line was even worse).  Especially because apparently the rest of the survivors, including Carl, are all sharpshooters extraordinaire, judging from their unerring accuracy with pistols at a long range.

    Though I will certainly take it over all of last season.  I agree; huge improvement in the scares.  Though I really want one of his parents to say, “Carl, stay in the prison!”

    •  Yeah, they really missed an opportunity for a laugh by skipping out on a “Get in the prison/your cell, Carl” comment.
      On that same note, my son plays Minecraft with the kid that plays Carl.  Every time he walks out of his house, they all yell, “Get in the house, Carl!”  Even 12 year olds have fun with that.

  • This is just a general curiosity because it’s in my field of business: but have any of you undead fawns watching the show decided to pick up the comic?  And of this (probably small percentage) of fawns, are you going to keep reading it?

    • BawlmerGurl

       I keep thinking about getting the comics, but I have a terrible time with graphic books. I loved David Small’s memoir “Stiches,” but haven’t been able to really enter the right headspace to finish anything else.

      It really kills me to know that there is a whole world out there with these characters that I don’t know about.

      And I love the “undead fawns” term. I haven’t read that before. Brilliant.

      I loved this episode.

      • MilaXX

        It’s a variation of the unborn fawns phrase from that reality show The Next Great Artist or whatever it was called. One of the artist of the first season had this picture of unborn fawns as the cnter piece of her final gallery exhibit and the name, and it’s many variations stuck.

        • BawlmerGurl

           Oh I know all about the unborn fawn nickname from “Work of Art.” I watched the first season of the show and followed Tom & Lorenzo’s blog entries. The artist from the show (Peregrine Honig) displayed a stuffed specimen of two real twin fawns as part of her final show. You can see at: I just hadn’t heard the undead spin-off.

      • I recommend giving it a try, it’s a very good series, though I also say you should read the first two volumes before forming a final opinion.  The artist switch in the second volume and the second is the one who remains for the rest of the series. He has a markedly different (but not jarring) style and story-telling eye.

        And I also loved “Stitches!”

    • G

       I haven’t read the comic and don’t plan to.  Kind of like the surprises.

    • SnackBandit

       I’m not going to lie.  Last night, after the show, I sat down and read 90 chapters of TWD. 
      And damn.
      I mean, whoa.  I hope the show plot doesn’t follow the comic too closely from here…things get so bad. 

      • MilaXX

         is it online? I’ve been toying with reading them for a while now. I think it would be the perfect thing to load on a tablet for waiting room reading.

        • It’s available online from Graphicly for a very reasonable price, and this site have comics formated specifically for web browsers and various eReaders. You can get it on Amazon too for the Kindle for almost the exact same price (I think one or two volumes might be a dollar cheaper either way).

        • turtleemily

          I know there’s Comixology, which I use to read and have them on my iPhone. And I think if you use your log-in on their website, you can read them through your internet browser, too.

          • MilaXX

            thanks! I’ll check them out

    • I have the first graphic novel in the series, but I have held off on getting the others, because I don’t want to be spoiled.

      • It’s hard to tell how much spoilers will be an issue.  The show has in some ways diverged quite a bit from the comic (mostly involving characters) and in others stayed very close (mostly involving general plot arc). The second season exists in a much more abbreviated form in the comic, and the finale of the first season never occurs in the comic at all.

        • I was the silly fan girl in the comic shop today buying The Walking Dead Volume 1 and an Archie comic.  

          I too only want to read up until the point the show has reached so as not to spoil future episodes/seasons for myself, I like the suspense of it all!

          • You’re safe to go through Volume 2 then.  After that it’s one of my favorite parts of the series and I’m fairly certain they’d be insane not to cover it in the show, so I’d hold off.

    •  After last season ended, I was so curious about the prison and Michonne that I went and read up to issue #90. Sure, it possibly spoiled a ton but at the same time it’s neat to compare the divergences in show and comic, plus if the show follows most of the basic plot points of the comic then it is going to get SO GOOD (as long as the writers don’t muck it up). I actually cheered at the end of the season premiere because I was wondering if they were going to cut out the prisoners (those 5 random alive guys) – and that’s all I’ll say. Except I’m still not sure they’ll follow the prisoners storyline exactly, so again, I know the comic version and I’m curious to see the TV version. So it’s like I’m only semi-spoiled because the show is  noticeably different from the comic book.

    • mjude

      a bit late with a response but i deed indeed pick up the first 3 comics, just to see what it was like (i am not a comic reader).  i can see the appeal.  the comics move much faster than the show & i didnt want to get a head of the story.

  • Daryl and Michonne spin-off for the win! It could be like a Mork and Mindy for the new zombie-crazed millenia!

  • Chickadeep

     “‘He’s a hot red neck! She’s a kickass black chick! Together, they kill zombies!’ We’d watch the shit out of that.”

    Who *wouldn’t*??  I’d be all OVER that show.  Thanks for the recap; pretty much my reaction too…though there were two other things that squicked me out: Maggie & Glenn’s gnarly, blood-and-guts-spattered macking session and Carl’s “I’m interested in girls now” attempt to bunk with Beth. On the other hand, Daryl and Carol’s interaction in that respect was kind of amusing. Daryl may be a hot redneck but he has no game whatsoever!

    •  The Maggie and Glenn thing bothered me too–let’s check carefully for scratches, and then get dried zombie blood and gore in our mouths by kissing each other’s besplattered arms and shoulders!  Even apart from the infection issue, EW.

      • It’s ok because there is medicine in the infirmary.

  • Lynn Landry

    Great recap, but I guess you guys have abandoned writing about Boardwalk Empire, eh?

  • I would totally watch the Darryl and Michonne show!  Though I agree that season 3 is a huge improvement so far, so perhaps we don’t need the spin off 😉

    I wondered at Herschel’s presence in the scouting group, but I figured they wanted him along in case they found the infirmary, so he could tell them the things worth burdening themselves with.  Plus, he is a good shot, as we saw with him and Carl up in the tower.  Or at any rate he didn’t almost plug Rick the way Carol did, who maybe might have been better off with the laundry if that’s any indication of her shooting ability…

  • Nice_Shirt

    Boo to DISH network for dropping AMC, but yay to my tech-savvy teen daughter for finding us an illegal stream to watch.  It ain’t ideal, but it’ll do because missing this season just isn’t an option.  My thoughts on this episode:  It’s clear that puberty is about to hit Carl (or, rather, the actor who plays him) with a big stick. That’s going to be tricky in a show that has such a long hiatus between seasons.  In fact, I’m betting that his obvious growth-spurt this past year was why the writers inserted the “unseen winter” into the story line, when last season ended with them camped within spitting distance of the prison.  That sort of ruse will only play so many times. 

    • tereliz

      I think it would be easier to endure the dead of winter out in the open in many parts of Georgia, than spend the summer traveling around looking for a safe place. Hard freezes are few and far between, but the summer lasts for ever. I thought it was a good call for them to skip over winter the way they did. 

      • Nice_Shirt

        I’m in central NC and we get a bit more cold weather & snow, but the climates are almost identical.  (Like Georgia, our biggest, nastiest snowstorms always seem to sweep up from the south. And it all melts within a couple of days.) Our 4 seasons consist of Almost Summer, Summer, Still Summer, and Christmas.  So yeah, the endless and oppressive heat and humidity can play its own role in the storyline.  Gray and chilly?  Not so much.

    • Natalie Marshall

      Heh, I was just about to comment the same thing- “winter” here in Georgia is the three weeks in late January/early February when the sky is grey and the temps are in the low 30s. Getting anything done in the brutality of July/August would be the difficult part.

      • Nice_Shirt

        Yup.  It’s bad enough if you don’t have central a/c, but you can make it bearable with lots of fans and open windows.  That’s obviously not an option with zombies outside and no electricity. I think the writers missed some opportunities, especially when Rick was holed up in that house with Morgan & son.  It would have been like an oven in there, and staying would have presented its own dangers (not to mention misery)…

    • MilaXX

       That reminds me of the time I was visiting friends in ATL and they got a freak snow storm that left literally one inch of snow that shut down the city. People were sent home from work, schools were closed & cars actually jack knifed on the roads. I was laughing until a friend explained that snow is so rare down there that they really don’t know how to handle it.

      • CozyCat

        DC is like that too.  The best part is that the Federal Govt always tells people to come to work –and then decides everyone can go home about 2pm.  So hundreds of thousands of people who can’t drive in the snow all hit the road at the same time! 
        I bet Zombies are even worse in the snow–it would have been fun to see them slipping and sliding around.

      • JasmineAM

        I’m from Alabama and the entire state shuts down for one inch of snow. In 2011, we had a snow storm with about a foot of snow. I don’t think we left the house for about 4 days. We don’t have snow plows, only salt trucks. I wouldn’t even know how to drive on ice and snow.

        • The secret to ice/snow driving is that it’s actually safer *not* to use your brake pedal too much, because that’s what will cause a slip. You go slowly, you ease off the gas if you need to slow down, and you apply the brake gradually if at all. It takes some practice, but once you know the basic concept it’s not too hard. Where most people mess up is that they panic, slam the brakes, and end up fishtailing all over the road.

          And just to keep it on topic, the one thing I would have loved to see if they showed us the winter would have been zombies that were stuck frozen in water or to the ground. I wonder if they freeze solid and thaw out in the spring (in colder climates), or if they keep going. There’s nothing in a zombie to generate body heat, but  freezing wouldn’t hurt them….It’s something to think about.

  • G

    This one episode was so much more fun than all of last season!  Figured they had to go big with the zombies… and they super-sized it.  What a relief to have Lori on the mute button.  And Carl.  Actually that first ‘special ops’ scene spoke volumes, and I really look forward to Michonne & Andrea being introduced to the group… since I haven’t read the comics, it’s all new to me. So far so good!

  • Mb

    Yay for more zombies per square inch than any episode last season (except maybe the finale).  I’m also glad Lori brought up what I was thinking – if they’re all infected, what happens if her baby dies inside her, does it turn into a zombie and eat her from the inside?  Seems a bit too “Twilight”, not that it wouldn’t go there and be also good gore….   

    • SorayaS

       It is a very cool premise but babies don’t have teeth, right? How would it work?

      • Mb

        Hmmm…good point.  That could explain the lack of zombie babies in the show.

      •  It would probably be stillborn…except not.

  • MilaXX

    Having just gone cat food shopping this weekend, when Rick slapped that can out of Carl’s hand, I was like, “wait what kind is it?”  Some of the better brands are  really high protein. Halo looks like beef stew and EVO comes in exotic flavors like duck and deer. (j/k)

    I was definitely getting a sapphic vibe from Andrea/Michonne and their “you protected me”, “I’m holding you back” comvo.

    Overall I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed last night’s ep. I hope they can keep the momentum going.

    • tereliz

      I know you were joking, but I probably WOULD be tempted to eat it in that situation. LOL! 

      But I still don’t know that I’d let my pregnant wife eat it unless it was cooked thoroughly. Dogfood harbors all kinds of bacteria that doesn’t bother dogs, but will make a person sick enough that they might die of dehydration (read: diarrhea) in a survivalist scenario like this. I got the same vibe about Michonne and Andrea, but is Andrea just sick, or does she have cancer or an injury, or did I miss something more obvious? 

      • MilaXX

        see I didn’t know that about dogfood. I also thought of that Babara Streisand/Nick Nolte movie in which the mother would cook dogfood doctored up with onions and such every time he complained about her cooking.

        • tereliz

          Yeah, salmonella, e. coli and other bacteria will die if heated up enough, so it wouldn’t have hurt old Nick any, but why take a chance if you were hugely pregnant and already worried your unborn baby is going to die and eat its way out of you? *ew*

          Our dogs love their homemade dog food so much, they turn up their noses at a $50 bag of kibble. Bitches.

  • ChiliP

    Great episode last night. My favorite part was the zombie herd in riot/combat gear. Makes it harder to kill them…then again, it also makes it harder for them to kill you!

  • Did Rick find a book on Roman Army military tactics? That circle thing that they did as they were getting closer to the inside of the prison was similar to a scene in Gladiator (Russell Crowe version):

  • Still the silent T-Dog. Did anyone hear a word from him?  Who did that actor piss off?

  • HobbitGirl

    As far as the “dead of winter” goes, let me remind y’all from up North that it was 75 degrees here (hour or so outside Atlanta) on Christmas Day last year. The snow we’ve had in the few years previous is actually really uncommon. They’re not going to be handling blizzards in this show unless they get themselves out of Georgia.

    • tereliz

      I think the location is pretty much perfect for getting by without heat or ac. Any farther north and the winters will be worse, and any farther south and the summers will be hellish. 

      • If a zombie freezes do they re-animate with the spring thaw? Inquiring minds want to know!

  • T-Dog question – I missed this episode in yesterday’s marathon. When did he join the group? Was he in the ATL department store with the lady who decided to stay in the CDC?

    What did T-Dog do in his other life?

  • MilaXX

     Someone mentioned on another blog that they were doing the phalanx fighting formation. I could see someone like Hershel knowing about it. Or as you mentioned, someone coming across it in a book during a raid. Either way I didn’t mind it so much. It shows that they finally got serious about surviving.

    • Good point on Hershel’s classical knowlege, MilaXX!

  • RocknLox

    I’m definitely going to be Michonne for Halloween. I knew these dreads would come in handy someday. 

    • Carolyn

      Cardboard samurai sword?

  • You guys hit on two of the things I said to my husband while watching this last night.

    1.  Shouldn’t Herschel stay behind?  He’s the doctor!  2.  Why aren’t those zombies on the ground moving and why aren’t they head-stabbing them?

    Did anyone else notice, though, that a few of the bodies in the cells had head wounds already like someone had come through and taken care of them already?

    Also, reading through these comments, something occurred to me about zombie bites.  If everyone is already infected, why does a bite turn them?  In other zombie stories, the bite is what causes the infection.  But, if they’re already infected, why can’t the bite be treated like any animal bite?  What about the bite causes the infection to spread/turn the victim?

    Also, I tweeted this to y’all last night but, being celebrities, I can’t imagine how many tweets you get and it may have gotten lost in the shuffle.  You tweeted about Norman Reedus last night.  He’s on twitter and posts lots of pictures from the set and of gifts from his fans.  He’s pretty cool and his handle is @wwwbigbaldhead:twitter.

    • ShivaDiva

      I think at some point they established that the bite doesn’t necessarily cause the turning, but it does kill the victim, which accomplishes the same thing.  Apparently they carry something nasty (go figure) that causes intense fever and other symptoms that burn the body up.  It could be like necrotizing fascitis, which would support the idea that hacking off Herschel’s limb fast enough would save him.  I remember seeing a real world report of a doctor talking about being able to watch the infection eat away flesh and muscle while they watched in real time.  What a way to go!

    • Ashley Reed

      These were my thoughts…I had a conversation with my boyfriend over the same thing. Obviously if a zombie eats all your internal organs, you die…but a little bite in the leg? Is that just infecting you will stuff (not zombie virus, but other stuff dead bodies harbor), causing you to eventually die?

  • ShivaDiva

    Woohoo!  The show is back!  I was willing to cut them some slack for going through such a crew upheaval during the middle of the second season, and it looks like they have their post-apocalyptic shit together now.  Michonne got a proper introduction and Rick finally resembles the character from the source material.  I had a feeling bumping off Shane would set things back on track — now they don’t feel the need to split them into good cop/bad cop cliches.  Rick should be both at once!

    Lori never was very sympathetic, even in the comics.  The big question mark for me is if they can somehow rehabilitate Andrea after making such a mess of her last season.  Here’s hoping!

  • If people didn’t do dumb things it wouldn’t ring true, either. Everyone isn’t McGyver.

  • Paigealicious

    “In fact, Herschel’s presence on the hallway mission was pretty damn stupid. He’s the only member of the group with medical and farming experience, and he’s far too old to go on action missions like this. ”

    “But we’re still kind of pissed that Rick slapped that can of dog food out of Carl’s hands. That’s the kind of thinking that should have been beaten out of this group months ago.”
    THANK YOU x2.

  • My question is how does that Michonne character manage such great hair in the zombie apocalypse?

    • JasmineAM

      haha, dreads are low maintenance, right?

  • nc17

    So glad you mentioned Lori’s baby bump. That thing was distracting. I don’t see how they can give me believable half eaten corpse but can’t keep a pregnancy prosthetic from moving? 

    • Pennymac

      Seriously. I’d never seen a rectangular pregnancy before….. 

  • Michonne is bad*ss and she’s barely even done anything. Now THAT is how you make a character (re)entrance!

    Agree that Lori and Carl are both more tolerable. We may be in the minority that never had a problem with the quieter (re: Farm) bits but the increase in zombie action must be great for all the exposition haters (we tackle the haterade in our review, so bring it!)

    Love that we essentially got two cliffhangers: Herschel and the new peeps. Who’re they?!

  • JasmineAM

    I LOVED this episode. Only minor things threw me off like:
    – Are they not worried about infected blood anymore? Glen and Maggie kissing each other’s bloody bodies just seemed stupid with past canons about zombie blood.
    – Lori’s belly is so fake looking and I hope the zombie baby rips out of her a-la Alien.
    – Carl’s love interest (no idea what her name is) is 15-16, and Carl is 10-11? 
    – Why say you’re low on ammo and then go shoot out an entire yard of zombies that are easily killed through the fence, with melee weapons?

    Also, Re: Hershel on the mission, he’s the medical guy and wouldn’t be smarter to take him along to the infirmary so he’d know what exactly to get?

    • Low ammo:  My husband said the same thing.  Also, melee weapons…do you play Left 4 Dead by any chance?

      It does make sense to take Hershel to the infirmary but couldn’t they have cleared the way first and brought him back later?

    • tereliz

      “- Why say you’re low on ammo and then go shoot out an entire yard of zombies that are easily killed through the fence, with melee weapons?”
      This exactly! Those zoms are all sitting ducks waiting for someone to stick a pipe through their soft palate, so why send an exhausted man in with a gun to kill them? And have everyone else in the group covering him, thereby wasting even more ammo? It seems kind of unrealistic for a group who has preserved their ammo pretty well for the past 6-7 months not to see how easy the walkers would go down through the fences, and act accordingly. 

      Otherwise, I really enjoyed the show.

  • Rebecca Jay

    Lori garnered sympathy?  Not at our house.  She’s getting what she’s had coming to her, especially from Rick.  I hope he hates her forever.

    Hey Daryl… wanna screw around?

  • BettyGurruchaga

    MilaXX is correct. It reminded me of the position used in the movie 300

  • turtleemily

    It seems like the writers are trying to course-correct some things to the graphic novels… What happened to Herschel in the episode happened to a different character in the book, and Beth (Bess? Maggie’s sister) seems to be filling in Sophia’s role.

  • Zippypie

    Sympathy for LORI?  Um, were we watching the same show?  She’s the author of her own misery and got no such sympathy from me.

    Definitely enjoyed the show, loved the “Aliens”-like sequence in the bowels of the prison and appreciated a kick-ass Carol. Yes, it was silly Herschel was on the mission but they were going to the infirmary for medical supplies and I’m sure the logic was that he would be needed in choosing them.  But that walker in the hall?  You knew it was going to bite him.

    I’m looking forward to more Michonne and Andrea and a romance between them would be great.

    The show seems fresh and that Mazzara and Co. took a lot of the fan feedback from last season and really ran with it.  Good to see!

  • YoungSally

    It was a terrific episode….at least for zombie killings.  My favorite part, however, was the host’s opening comment on “The Talking Dead.” ….basically took the words right out of my mouth.

    Now TLo…any chance you are going to keep going with Boardwalk Empire?  Cannavale really took method to a new level last night.

  • BigShamu

    Rick may have slapped that dog food can but don’t you know I would have skittered after it.  You’re already infected with the zombie bug, what’s a little Alpo gonna hurt.
    Owl…on the other hand?  Owl that looked like it had two broken wings?  All yours Daryl.
    I did enjoy the team playing Whack A Zombie with the helmeted walkers.

    • turtleemily

      The poor owl was probably too hot – birds will hot their wings away from their body to spread out their body heat. 

  • Truly_Outrageous

    I second the idea of a Michonne and Daryl show. Ooooh maybe there will be a budding romance. Gosh anything to get Norman Reedus naked. Seriously.

  • mimi

    I am shipping the hell out of Michandrea, but Darryl is definitely a favorite as well. Andrea’s become hella annoying, but these girls are cute together.