It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was on the verge of completely giving up on this train wreck of a program. There are few shows in the history of TV that I’ve wanted to like more than The Walking Dead, but it constantly slaps me in the face with story lines that either drag on forever and ever or by simply making incredibly stupid decisions about what directions to take these characters in. After the episode where the Grimes gang spent an entire hour of TV time deciding that they wanted to execute a defenseless man in cold blood, I was literally ready to call it quits on The Walking Dead. Then, last week arrived and Rick’s actions on being forced to put down Shane re-invigorated the show with life for the first time since “Pretty Much Dead Already”. This episode served exactly as a mission statement for what this series needs to be/can achieve and it’s a beacon of hope for those of who were becoming increasingly frustrated with Season 2 that perhaps, Season 3 can restore that essential spark that was lost over the course of this season.

After Rick was forced to kill Shane last week (and then Carl proceeded to shoot zombie Shane to put him down one last time), the death of one of the group’s very own at the hands of their leaders quickly became the least of their worries. The helicopter that Rick thought he saw way back in the pilot had led a herd of Walkers all the way from Atlanta (over the course of many months) towards the general county of Hershel’s farm. When Carl shoots Shane, this massive herd of zombies hear the gunshot and begin ambling their way toward the farmhouse which quickly gets swarmed and overrun. As the group flees, Herhsel’s son Jimmy and the late Otis’s wife Patricia get eaten in the attempts to escape. Also, Andrea gets separated from the group (and by the end of the finale everyone just assumes she’s either dead or simply unrescuable). Just when Andrea runs out of bullets, she’s rescued by a mysterious hooded woman with a katana with two armless, jawless zombies chained to her (Michonne!!!!!!!!!!!!). When the people who survive the attack on the farm make it back together as a group, Rick’s character takes a darker turn for the worse. After Lori rebuffs him for what he had to do to Shane (because her dumb-ass slept with him), things only get worse when Rick snaps on the entire group and tells them what he had to do, scarring Carl forever in the process I’m sure. He informs the group how ungrateful and self-centered they’ve been, and then informs them the group isn’t a democracy anymore. As the season ends, we see a prison in the background (finally!).

What an action-packed opener. They spent the first half of the episode in full-on survival mode and since two people got eaten and what appeared to be dozens of zombies that got their brains blown out, the action never really died down until everyone was finally off the farm. It wasn’t just that there was plenty of action. The show managed to maintain a high level of action without devolving into someLand of the Dead gorefest. It kept up an intensity even when people were unloading seemingly impossible numbers of bullets from a clip (do these guys ever have to reload?) True I had almost no emotional reaction to the loss of the episode’s (and season’s) red shirts, but that is going to happen on a show which has killed off season (and two series) long characters in three episodes straight. I get that not every episode of the season can be like this (because it needs to deliver its biggest moments at the season finales for best impact), but the show could try and achieve small-scale moments like this more often instead of endless boring existentialist conversations. Also, the fact that Michonne and the prison both appeared are great signs as she is extraordinarily bad-ass and the prison is where the best moments from the comics happened without a doubt.

I’m going to keep this review short because I still have to do a Justified review today that is going to be not just one but two episodes as well as the Christmas special episode of Doctor Who for season 6 (because I’m finally now completely caught up with Dexter and I’m getting closer to being all the way caught up with my favorite time lord). The moral of this whole review is that after a season where I kept bouncing back and forth between wanting to stop watching the show (although still not as bad as I felt about True Blood’ s last season) I’m finally excited to be a fan of The Walking Dead again. It appears that Robert Kirkman seems to be taking a larger and larger hand in the production of the series and if the show is willing to pay closer heed to the source material for future seasons (even though several characters from the comics have never been introduced yet or are prematurely dead [Dale 😦 ]), the third season could finally be the season where this show finds its true potential.

Final Score: A-

Season Score: B