Where we left off . . . Shane tried to kill Rick, but Rick stabbed him. Shane turned into a zombie despite not being bitten by one, and Carl shot him double-dead. Hershel's farm was overrun with walkers, and our feckless Still Alives set out into the wilderness. A sword-wielding heroine with two pet zombies saved Andrea from zombie extinction. Rick declared that it was his way or the highway. And then he announced that everyone is infected with zombieness, whether or not they get bitten or scratched or catch an errant drop of zombie blood in their eyeballs. Remember all that? Just like it was yesterday? Or at least last March? Great! Because here we go, zombie fans. It's October and that means it is ZOMBIE TIME.
Where we pick up:
An extreme close-up of an eye, just like on Lost! Except this is not a living, breathing eye. This is a gross, cataracted, cloudy and disgusting zombie eye. AWESOME. Bring on the zombies. Bring them on and keep on coming.
Rick and Daryl and Carl storm into a deserted cottage, quickly dispatching the three little zombies who called it home. The house seems secure, although Daryl spots an owl hanging out in the window. He kills it with his crossbow, because owls ought not to be chilling during the day, and besides, the owls are not what they seem. The rest of the Still Alives funnel into the house. Oh, hi, everyone! At least, oh, hi, everyone who is left! There's Hershel and Glenn and Maggie and Beth and Carol and a very-pregnant Lori. Hi, guys! Make yourselves at home! Maybe you'd like to eat some doggy kibble, because that's the only food around here, except for that owl. The Still Alives somehow survived the winter, and now they have longer, shaggier hair. And Carl is apparently part of the A-Team, because all that shooting practice back when they used up so much of their ammo totally paid off. I'll keep talking because you lot are rather taciturn. Seriously, it's been five minutes of teevee time and no one has said a word.
T-Dog spots zombies out the window and the Still Alives are off and running again, peeling away just as the undeads start to bang on their very-clearly-branded Hyundai. For when you need to survive the zombpocalypse – Hyundai.
And lo, we have new credits for Season 3. Good to see you, new credits. You are spooky and zombieriffic, and you make me feel really hopeful that this season is going to be so much better than last year's never-ending Search for Sophia.
The Still Alives consult a map and determine that they're all out of options, especially after driving around in circles all winter. T-Dog wants to get water from the creek, so Daryl and Rick use this break time to try to hunt some food. Instead, they spot a prison with its yard just crawling with zombies. And, oh goody gumdrops, there are so many zombies. HOORAY FOR ZOMBIES.
Rick and his team secure the walkway around the yard and push forward to gain more ground. Rick makes a run to open another gate as the Still Alives take out the zombies in his way. These Still Alives are more or less crack shots except for Carol, who accidentally sprays Rick's feet with bullets. Rick makes it all the way to the guard tower and the rest of the prison-yard zombies are all killed (er, double-killed). HAPPY DAYS! Now the Still Alives can build a campfire and chill for a little bit! In fact, Lori hasn't even felt this good in weeks! Celebrate good times, come on! They have more space than they've had since they left the farm, and everyone is in high spirits. Beth evens sings us a pretty little tune, and Maggie joins in, and I just wish they would bust out some Indigo Girls. Please? Some "Closer to Fine" just for old campfires' sake? T-dog notes that they can dig a canal under the fence so they'll have freshwater, and Hershel adds that then they can plant some seeds (titular line alert!) and grow some new crops. Ah, the future farm!
Of note: Carol's shoulder hurts due to the kickback from the rifle, and Daryl gives her a mini little massage. What should we call them? Caryl? Darrol? Either way, they still rhyme.
Rick notes that all the zombies are wearing prisoner or guard uniforms, which means (theoretically) that the prison fell pretty quickly, so the supplies could still be intact – food, water, an infirmary, and a weapons armory nearby. He wants to surge onwards into the prison itself, with hand-to-hand combat because they're low on ammo. (Ahem, all that target practice back in the day, ahem.) Lori cautions him that everyone is exhausted and needs a few days to max and relax. Rick and Lori seem pretty at odds, despite the fact that her prosthetic preggers belly is about to burst. I am pretty sure the producers spent the whole prosthetic budget on the zombies, because her tummy looks ridiculous.
But, wait! Who is this? Why, it's Michonne, she of the katana and the chained-up zombies. She takes out some snarling zombies with her awesome swordwork and snatches up some packets of aspirin. Oh dear – could someone be sick? Could it be a certain blonde who once got jiggy with Shane in the front seat of a car? Hmmmm.
Back at the prison, it's time to bust some more zombie ass. Rick, Glenn, T-Dog and Maggie engage in some hardcore zombie skull-smashing while the remaining Still Alives try to draw the walkers away. They keep a tight formation, slashing and killing until they encounter walkers wearing full-blown tactical armor. Maggie discovers that she can kill the armored zombies by plunging her weapon up and under their protective faceplates, and the rest of the team hurries to plunge their tools into the zombies' brains. Mmm, brains. We have prison access, gang! Onward to cellblock C! (Let's tango).
The rest of the Still Alives file into the prison and pick bunks so they can hunker down. Hershel bustles Carl out of Beth's cell – it appears that little Carl the Kid has a bit of a crush on our once-depressed friend. And Lori and Carol become cellmates, because Lori and Rick aren't on the best of terms. Glenn checks Maggie's back for scratches, and they share a tender moment away from the eyes of her father.
Michonne brings the aspirin to Andrea, who is super sick after spending the winter saving Michonne's ass (or so she says). Andrea knows she is going to slow Michonne down, but they're in it to win it together, so they set off into the great unknown along with Michonne's pet jawless, armless zombies. Be safe, ladies! I hope you meet up with the other Still Alives soon!
Lori confides in Hershel that she thinks she lost the baby because she can't feel it move. She freaks out that the baby might be a zombie, or that she might die during childbirth and become a zombie and try to eat the baby. BABY BRAINS, YUM. She makes Hershel promise that if either she or the baby are zombies, he will put them down, immediately and without hesitation. Lori wishes she never made it off the farm because she's a mess and Rick hates her because of all the Shane mishegoss, and even Carl the Kid can't stand her. (Join the club!)
The fighting Still Alives decide to investigate the prison, leaving Carl behind as the last man standing. They advance steadily under their flashlight beams, as Glenn spray-paints directional arrows on the walls so they won't get lost. Everything is more or less hunky-dory, albeit spooooooky, until they encounter a herd of zombies. A creepy snarly zombie chomps down on Hershel's leg, and the rest of the Still Alives carry him to safety in what appears to be the prison commissary. The only way to save Hershel from turning into a zombie is to amputate his leg, so Rick hacks it off with a hatchet. HOLY SHIT.
Daryl notices movement behind a grate and draws his crossbow. But that's not a zombie! Those are other humans! And they say the same thing we're all saying: HOLY SHIT.
Holy shit, indeed. This season already feels so much better, because there are so many zombies and so much goop and gore and disgusting zombie-goo. Bring it the frak on, Glen Mazzara. I believe in you.