Yay! It’s finally here! After months and months of zombie-free television, The Walking Dead is back with a new season of rotting flesh and gnawing teeth. And the show wastes no time giving us our sweet, sweet zombie fix. The season opens with Ranger Rick, Asian Kid, Black Guy, and Redneck searching a house and killing zombies. Carl is in the house with them which is weird because Rule Number One of The Walking Dead is that Carl is never in the house.
Once the coast is clear, the rest of the stragglers toddle in with their meager supplies. Lori looks about eight months pregnant, and overall the group is worn out. Gone are the days of hot showers and close shaves during a zombie apocalypse. Now, they’re filthy and sweaty. But within minutes of settling in, we see a trickle of zombies headed towards the house. The group silently springs into action like a well oiled machine, grabbing whatever supplies they can and piling into vehicles. It’s not safe here, and we get the impression that it’s no longer safe anywhere.
We learn that the group has been going in circles for months and may be surrounded. They eyeball a prison off in the distance, a perfect homestead with its barbed wire and fences. But, the prison yard is overrun by zombies. As usual, Ranger Rick has a plan. Bing, bang, zoom, the group works its way inside of the prison gates and picks off the zombies one by one. Everyone is enjoying the shooting practice just a little too much, and the idea that these were once humans is now long gone.
The women are ecstatic. “We haven’t had this much space since we left the farm!” Hershel even starts making plans for a new farm since the old one worked out so well. I suppose you know for sure that your life has gone to crap when you’re happy to be on the inside of a prison. Ranger Rick, however, is not satisfied with just a prison yard. He wants inside, and tells the group that tomorrow they need to push hard and get to the supplies and armory. Even Redneck looks nervous at the idea of entering a zombie-infested prison.
But like dutiful little soldiers, the group agrees to Ranger Rick’s plan and the very next day, the better half go in and starts slicing up the zombies. But whoops! The prison guards became zombified while wearing riot gear, which proves harder to kill because, yeah, body armor. Maggie figures out how to grab their helmets and lift them up just enough to stab the walkers in their necks, which I applaud because I can’t even squish a spider without doing a dance and yelling “Eww! Eww! Eww!” And, in a moment of spectacular realism, once the helmets come off, so does some of the skin.
They eventually secures another prison yard. Little by little, the survivors are taking over the prison. Next, they head inside. Have you ever taken the nighttime tour of Alcatraz? This is a lot like that, only there’s no self-guided tour headphones and it doesn’t end in a gift shop. Ranger Rick quickly finds a set of keys that magically open exactly the doors they are trying to enter because, in the end, this is television. Everyone picks off the few remaining zombies, clears out the bodies, and makes the cell block their new home. We see tension between Lori and Ranger Rick, Asian Kid and Maggie set up a little love shack in a prison cell, but I don’t even care about any of the annoying drama because PRISON ZOMBIES!!! See? Was that so hard? All you had to do last season was give me my zombies and I would’ve been happy.
Zombie Trivia: What has no arms, a leash, and is hungry for braaaaaiiinnz? Why, it’s the latest fad in zombie apocalypse house pets! And you can make your own by following these simple steps. First, capture a zombie (careful, they bite!). Then, chop off both of its arms, gag its mouth, chain it to the wall, and it will entertain you for hours with its adorable rotting and gurgling. So you see, it’s perfectly normal for Crazy Zombie Lady to keep zombies as pets. Nothing wrong with that at all. Heh. Nope. Not at all. Besides, Crazy Zombie Lady’s sadistic side is balanced out by her compassion for Blondie. Last season, she saved Blondie’s life. Now, Blondie is sick and unable to keep up with the frantic pace of zombie killing. So Crazy Zombie Lady scrounges up some aspirin from a local pharmacy and is hiding out with Blondie in an abandoned warehouse. She tells Blondie that they need to move soon because “they’re coming.” Blondie coughs and wheezes, but eventually pulls herself together. We see Crazy Zombie Lady taking her pets out for a walk, with Blondie trailing behind. Aww. They make a cute family.
Meanwhile, back at Zombie State Correctional Facility, the group scavenges weapons from dead guards while Lori grouses about the fate of her unborn child. She is concerned that the baby is dead because she no longer feels it moving. And if the baby is dead, that makes it a zombie. She’s also worried about dying during childbirth, because nobody ever gave birth ever without a hospital and epidural. Dying during childbirth would turn Lori into a zombie so poor Lori with all of these extra burdens. Shut up, Lori! You’re totally ruining an otherwise excellent episode.
Ranger Rick, Hershel, Maggie, Asian Kid, Redneck, and Black Guy wander deeper inside of the jail until they are in complete darkness. Their way is lit only by flashlights, which is not going to work so well once they have to use their hands to slice and dice zombies. And right on cue, walkers! The group tries to run back the way that they came, but another group of zombies cuts them off. They get separated, with Asian Kid and Maggie locking themselves in a cell for safety. Ranger Rick, Hershel, Redneck and Black Guy go back to rescue them, but just as Maggie and Asian Kid emerge, Hershel gets bitten by a zombie. Yes!!! Finally, he’s gonna die! I would’ve preferred Lori, but still, I am thankful for small mercies. Wait, what? Why are they carrying Hershel off with zombies on their tail? He’s as good as dead, leave him! You’ve all left better men behind. Sigh.
The group barricades themselves in the prison mess hall and tends to Hershell’s wound. Ranger Rick takes off his belt to make a tourniquet and then, in the most vile scene of the entire show, chops off Hershel’s leg with a hatchet. I would like to say that he did it in one fell swoop, but no. It took quite a bit of whacking to separate one slab of meat from the other. Wow. That was brutal. We don’t know if Hershel is dead, alive, or otherwise. But even if he survives, what chance does an elderly one legged man have in a world overrun by zombies?
Oh, also? There are other humans living in the prison.
So. It looks like we have a show on our hands. The Walking Dead has more than made up for last season’s snoozer. I look forward to next week, where the group will be forced to merge with the prison’s current occupants, and Blondie and Crazy Zombie Lady will surely become embroiled in wacky hijinks.by