'Seed' (Season 3, Episode 1)
George Romero's Night of the Living Dead movies didn't just invent the modern conception of a zombie; they provided a blueprint for how best to mount a zombie movie, by focusing on the futility of flawed human beings trying to collectively make a safe space for themselves. The Season Three premiere recalls Romero's 1978 masterpiece Dawn of the Dead by following Rick and his allies into an enclosed space — in this case, a prison — where they try to purge the undead and set up a permanent camp. Some of the best episode are process-driven, detailing the planning and hard work that goes into making it through another day of the apocalypse. "Seed" is a survivalist how-to with a few detours into how a community cooperates, both with each other and with any strangers they encounter. As a bonus, it also offers the first extended look at the fan-favorite character Michonne, who's out in the wilderness with her butchered zombie slaves, taking care of one of the group's lost companions.