Image credit: Gene Page/AMC
BEYOND THE FENCE Glenn practices big-stick diplomacy.
EPISODE 01 | AIRED OCT 14, 2012
In a thrilling return to the zombie apocalypse, Rick and newly-militarized gang of survivors find a walker-infested prison and engage in some forceful colonization
By Darren Franich | Published Oct 15, 2012
The Grimes Gang ain’t so chatty nowadays. They spent a long winter homeless, perpetually on the move, searching for food, besieged on all sides by an endless zombie herd. They’ve devolved into pre-agrarian hunter-gatherers. They have no hobbies, unless you count “Amateur Beard-Growing” and “Competitive Zombie Eye-Gouging” as hobbies. They have nothing to live for, really, beyond the vague instinct that being alive is better than being dead. But they did find some totally sweet silencers. So they got that going for them, which is nice.
The season premiere of The Walking Dead reintroduced our happy band of apocalypse survivors in a fantastic, almost entirely silent sequence. They cleared out a walker-infested household with raw, military precision. The size of Lori’s belly indicates that we have time-jumped far, far away from the barn-burning season 2 finale. In the process, the show also essentially announced that it has reached the end of its Awkward Adolescence. The characters are no longer debating the meaning of life in a dead world. They’re just trying to stay alive. The new normal was confirmed in the first scene, when Daryl Motherf—ing Dixon found a pretty pet upstairs and committed the Owl Kill of the Week. Then Daryl stood over the owl’s corpse and yelled, “That’s how many licks, bitch!”
There was a nice moment of peace, with all the characters sitting quietly in the living room. The moment didn’t last. Walkers emerged from the forest. There’s a giant herd of zombies circling the Grimes Gang — or it might be more accurate to say that the Grimes Gang is a tiny herd of humans in a zombie world. “It’s like we spent the winter going in circles,” said Rick. Not to harp on a point here, but it was impossible to hear a line like that without getting the meta-message. Read that line as “It’s like we spent [season 2] going in circles,” and the opening minutes of last night’s episode look even smarter. The gang needed a new purpose; the show needed a new purpose. Rick and Daryl set off on a hunt for food — pause to imagine Daryl as the dad in the hunting mini-game of The Oregon Trail. And they accidentally discovered a sanctuary.