Currently watching the second episode of The Walking Dead‘s third season. At the end of episode 1, Hershel was bitten by a zombie on the leg, which Rick proceeded to amputate—with the hope, presumably, that cutting off the infected limb will prevent Hershel from turning.
Each of the three seasons, thus far, has seemed to be structured around a particular stage of the development of civilization. In season one, our group of survivors were hunter-gatherers, foraging in the woods as well as from the remains of civilization. With the move to the setting of Hershel’s farm in season two, we have a move to a society based in small-scale agriculture. This season, with the move to the abandoned prison as the primary setting, we seem to have to moved to a kind of medieval society and social structure. The prison itself suggests a castle or fortress. There are watchtowers and ramparts, from which the survivors can defend the castle (and take out the zombies infesting it); there’s a courtyard; there’s even a kind of moat (a double fence that surrounds the facility).
The prison is not exactly empty. Five prisoners are discovered barricaded inside the cafeteria. This is a slight departure from the graphic novel series, in which we have 4 prisoners, and, at first glance, there seems very little physical similarity between the prisoners in the novel and the ones in the series. Other characters in the series are sometimes dressed or styled to suggest their graphic novel counterparts, but I’m not quite seeing it yet with the prisonrs. Of course, the television series has been quite clear about establishing its autonomy from the graphic novels—in part to keep fans of the novel series interested by having surprises that aren’t in the comic book series.
Season 2 included multiple western themes and motifs (a shootout in a saloon, the last stand at Hershel’s farm, etc.), but I’m not seeing so much influence of or reference to the genre western in season 3, perhaps because we have so completely move inside. However, episode 1 did indicate an affection for John Ford style framing—especially with Rick, who we see framed in multiple doorways, windows, other open spaces.
There continues to be a good deal of zombie slaughter in this episode. The prisoners aren’t exactly naturals at zombie-killing. Although, they seem much more adept at killing humans. And so much for there by 5 prisoners rather than 4 prisoners. The “extra” prisoner didn’t make it through the episode. Actually, the dead prisoner count continues to rise . . . . Actually, many of the plot events from vol 3 of the graphic novels seem to have been condensed into this one episode. In particular, the tense relationship with the prisoners that is at the center of vol 3, well, there aren’t that many prisoners left at this point.
With just a hint of irony, Lori comments, “Today was a good day.”