The Walking Dead, Season 3 Premiere: “Seed”

lori

“Lori- Prison Mom?”

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

The teaser opening for the season portrays a group that has changed much since the close of Season 2.  Lori’s pregnancy is advanced, every member of the group has become a seasoned marksman, and Carl, although still a child in body, has clearly aged beyond his years.  There is a profound moment in which the group searches a home for food and Carl shoots a zombie without so much as a flinch.  Just as profound is their apparent starvation, shown in their willingness to consider dog food for dinner.

Similar to the opening of Chapter 3 of the graphic novel, the episode revolves around the group finding a prison—which they believe will be the perfect place in which to settle, and a safe haven for Lori to have her child.  News that everyone is already “infected,” as evident by the undead return of unbitten characters at the end of Season 2, leaves Lori terrified of what will become of her child.  Lack of movement has her afraid that the infection may have finally affected it, and she expresses fearful speculation that she could end up with a stillborn zombie or, even more horrifying, that it might die and reanimate before it is born and mutilate her from within.

The many months the group has traveled has taken a toll on Lori and Rick’s relationship, although he has stepped up as their unchallenged leader.  His actions when they first reach the compound exemplify this.  He secures the first level interior yard on his own, relying on the rest of the group to back him from the safety of the fences.  He establishes himself as the hero here, as well as the leader, and his vigilance during their first night there shows how protective he has become of not only his wife and son, but everyone depending on him.  His actions after the attack on Hershel—immediately applying a tourniquet with his belt and cleaving off the bitten part of his leg—shows he is the decision-maker of the group.  He acts without hesitation, and he does so without asking for anyone’s permission, including Hershel’s.

Thematically, the prison is an exciting choice in setting for a story about the falling of social constructs.  They are “safe” behind the prison bars, a stark contrast to the safety society would normally consider itself with the inmates being confined within.  The prison also reflects the fact that they are all prisoners of circumstance, incarcerated by the state of affairs that have led to them to that spot.  While they are all heroes in their own right, no one is left innocent, as evident by the very adult (and hardened) changes that have occurred in Carl.  The cliffhanging introduction of surviving inmates still inside the prison open the doors for dynamics that might speculate themes of trust, judgment, and just how fuzzy the boundaries between “good” and “evil” might be.

The episode parallels very closely the first part of Chapter 3, titled “Safely Behind Bars,” with the major differences being how Hershel and others on the farm end up a permanent part of the group and Andrea’s side story.  It will be interesting to see where the writers take her with her mysterious new companion, as it is nonexistent (at least so far) in the graphic novel.  Comparing the titles, “Safely Behind Bars” is an interesting play on words, again offering a parallel between the social convention that prisoners are best kept “safely behind bars” and the safety the group finds within the prison confines.  The episode’s title, “Seed,” creates a similar play, putting the focus not only on the questions surrounding Lori’s baby’s health, but the seeds of civilization the group hopes to sew in their new home.

leigh lane

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Leigh M. Lane lives in the beautiful mountains of Montana, where she writes speculative fiction that spans from sci-fi to horror. All of her writing contains a gritty realism that hallmarks her unique voice, which also often has social or political undertones. Her recent full-length releases are Finding Poe, World-Mart, and Myths of Gods. Leigh’s influences include H.G. Wells, Kurt Vonnegut, Isaac Asimov, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and Stephen King. For more about Leigh M. Lane and her works, visit her website at http://www.cerebralwriter.com.

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