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The Walking Dead Recap Season 3, Episode 6, "Hounded"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 3, Episode 6, “Hounded”

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 3, Episode 6, “Hounded”

When we last left Rick (Andrew Lincoln), he was digging through a zombie’s intestines looking for what remained of his wife. It was a grim moment and another illustration of The Walking Dead’s increasingly despairing outlook. At IndieWire earlier this week, Alison Willmore wondered whether the series is presenting an argument for the end of humanity. Given the trajectory it’s taken thus far, that’s not a far-reaching notion. That the writers continue to delve deeper into human despondency and ax more members of the cast in the process quite frankly makes it difficult to see any redeeming future for the characters, and perhaps the series itself. Nevertheless, every so often an episode gives us a fleeting moment of stillness and humanity that cuts through the surrounding gloom. Such a moment arrives late in “Hounded” just when you think Rick might be headed for a total breakdown. For much of the episode, he’s away from the group and preoccupied with strange phone conversations with unknown callers. His desperate pleas for help initially suggest that he may be losing it, but this thread evolves into an unexpected moment of catharsis that the series needed as much as its protagonist.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 3, Episode 5, "Say the Word"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 3, Episode 5, “Say the Word”

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 3, Episode 5, “Say the Word”

After last week’s episode of The Walking Dead ushered in a new level of intensity with the deaths of two major characters and the birth of Lori’s (Sarah Wayne Callies) baby, “Say the Word” is comparatively stagnant. This makes it consistent with the narrative rhythm that the writers have committed to since the show’s second season: After a dramatic turn of events, everything slows down, often for several episodes. “Say the Word” fits comfortably within that broader framework, but it makes better use of its quieter interludes than similar episodes and also offers a handful of isolated standout moments.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 3, Episode 4, "Killer Within"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 3, Episode 4, “Killer Within”

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 3, Episode 4, “Killer Within”

The latest episode of The Walking Dead, “Killer Within,” opens on a hazy morning at the prison where Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his band of survivors have settled down. The serene atmosphere is offset when a lurking figure opens the gates and baits walkers into the facility. With its dreamlike, foggy setting and a conspicuously waist-down perspective of the saboteur, a peculiar sense of disconnect underlines the implications of what’s being depicted. The scene ends with a single close-up of a heart placed on the cold cement. It’s a foreboding image that gains magnitude as “Killer Within” gives way to a sudden strike of tragedy. Moreover, the pre-credit sequence lends insight into how the episode amounts to a particularly poignant, if also problematic, entry in the show’s run.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 3, Episode 2, "Sick"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 3, Episode 2, “Sick”

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 3, Episode 2, “Sick”

If last week’s season premiere of The Walking Dead teased the promise of a rebound from the choppy second season, this week’s episode pivots forward into more fruitful dramatic terrain. It articulates the growing anxieties of the weary-minded members of the group, homing in on their struggle to retain control in the midst of rising threats. This plays out in two central scenarios amid the claustrophobic surroundings of the prison, where conditions are graver and Hershel’s (Scott Wilson) life is in jeopardy after being bit by a walker. While Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), Carol (Melissa McBride), and Glen (Steven Yeun) attend to Hershel with the dimming hope that he’ll survive the wound, Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl (Norman Reedus), and T-Dog (IronE Singleton) jostle with four prison inmates who’ve been cocooned from the outside world and now lay claim to the facility.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 3, Episode 1, "Seed"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 3, Episode 1, “Seed”

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 3, Episode 1, “Seed”

The Walking Dead’s season-three premiere suggests that the program’s showrunner, Glen Mazzara, and writing team have listened to everyone’s gripes about season two’s frequent and labored pontificating. Bearing almost none of the heated bickering and discussions of morality that personified the previous season, “Seed” is about persistence and strategy. It picks up several months after Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the group’s escape from Hershel’s (Scott Wilson) farm, which was overrun with walkers. Despite any unrest among them, the group exhibits a renewed sense of unity as it trudges on in an increasingly dangerous world. In the pre-credit sequence, Rick, his wife, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), Hershel, Daryl (Norman Reedus), and the rest of the gang raid a home in the middle of the woods and share a brief meal consisting of canned food. If for no other reason, the sequence is striking for its silence. Without a word of dialogue, the opening ostensibly sets the series forth in a new direction, thematically and otherwise.