Okay, this is going to be short, but sweet.
That was damn near perfect.
I have to write more? Okay then, here it is, spoiler-free…
I was concerned, going into this season, that without that Shane Dynamic, the other characters were too thinly drawn or too unlikeable to really keep my interest. As far as I was concerned, Shane (Jon Bernthal) was the heart and engine of Season Two and I really regretted seeing him go – even though I knew it had to happen. I was just happy that in the end, Shane seemed to realize he had gone too far and was able to push Rick (Andrew Lincoln) into putting him down.
And while I would have liked to watch the aftermath of all that, I think the creators made a good decision to jump us forward in time for the Third Season opener. If people complained about the time on the farm, imagine the complaints as they wandered around in circles all winter.
Instead of that, what we get is a seasoned group operating like a survivalist machine as they travel, going house-to-house searching for food, supplies, and shelter. Even Carl (Chandler Riggs) is now kind of badass, clearing walkers with hardly a flinch. We've also skipped over all the messy emotional work as Carl and Rick pull away from Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), instead launching into this season with Lori ready to pop and the Grimeses really just a family in name only.
People forget that all of last season took place over the course of a month or so in-narrative, so the break has allowed the show to catch up emotionally to where we already were as an audience, while jumping to the sort of action that many fans were clamoring for all last year.
In addition to this, we also get the introduction (after the brief glimpses in the Season Two finale) of fan favorites, Michonne (Danai Gurira) and the Prison.
If Writer/Producer Glen Mazarra and Director Ernest R. Dickerson hadn't already established themselves as the team to beat when it comes to putting together beautiful and engaging episodes of this show, I don't think there's any doubt about it now. They produced the strongest episodes of Season Two, providing excellent character work along with plot developments that have only made the show stronger, and this one is no different.
Eventually I'll stop worrying, I guess.
Paul Brian McCoy is the writer of Mondo Marvel and a regular contributor to Shot for Shot, Streaming Pile O' Wha?, and Classic Film/New Blu, all here at Comics Bulletin. His first novel, The Unraveling: Damaged Inc. Book One is on sale now for Kindle US, Kindle UK, and Nook. You can also purchase his collection of short stories, Coffee, Sex, & Creation at Amazon US and UK. He is unnaturally preoccupied with zombie films, Asian cult cinema, and sci-fi television. He can also be found babbling on Twitter at @PBMcCoy and blogging occasionally at Infernal Desire Machines.