Some people complained that The Walking Dead last year had way too much arguing inside a farmhouse and far too little battling the undead. The premiere makes up for all the lack of walkers last season, and by cramming as much walker gore as you can in 60 minutes. It’s definitely far more thrilling than 60 minute shouting matches outside of a barn. The Walking Dead has also graduated past farmhouses and has now moved on to the much bigger and scarier prison.

The crew has changed a lot since we last saw them. They’re dirtier, thinner and unhappier. They’ve now become “zombie busters” who mercilessly slaughter the walkers and scrounge whatever supplies they can find — though Rick isn’t willing to resort to dog food. Everyone in the crew, including young Carl, is willing to jab walkers in the face with crowbars or put a bullet in a walker’s head.

No one sees the walkers as humans anymore, and there is no arguing over slaughtering them. This is a huge contrast from the season 1, when Rick demanded they say a eulogy over the first walker that was killed, and he struggled with the idea of killing anything that was human. Hershel once clung to the idea that they were just sick humans, but now he is willing to split a walker’s head open.

This premiere delivers heaps of carnage. The battle with the walkers is intense and provides for an action-packed episode. The ease of killing has shown how much these characters have changed. They now live in a zombie apocalypse, and most of them seem to have even stopped clinging to any kind of hope. They no longer talk about building a new society, but now just are interested in surviving to another day.

The relationship of Rick and Lori is another example of how jaded and dark each character has become. Rick seemed willing to forgive his wife’s affair last season, and still wanted to grow their relationship. Rick now doesn’t want to look at his wife, and all their conversations are borderline fights. The viewing audience has been sick of Lori for at least an entire season now, but Rick’s frustration with her shows how bitter he has become.

The unborn child was once supposed to be a sign of hope and a future. Lori has given up on her baby’s chances. She gives Hershel the morbid directions to kill her or the baby if anything seems to be going wrong. Lori even hints that she might be carrying a zombie baby. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lori is right. Possibly disgusted, but definitely not surprised.

What is the biggest sign that the crew has become desensitized and has slowly lost touch with humanity? Rick doesn’t even think twice about amputating Hershel’s leg. It’s the right move, and is the only way to save Hershel. Still, it seems so heartless and dark when he does it. You also have to wonder if an amputation will really save Hershel, since I hear cuts of that size cause a lot of blood loss.

The crew does have some hope. Right after Hershel says goodbye to his leg, we discover the prison is actually occupied by living humans. This may just be misguided hope. We’ve already learned that not all humans are friendly. Their last encounter with strangers not only led to a shoot-out, but eventually led to the death of several of their own.

We finally get our first look at Michonne, another person who has become dark and violent in this world. She has shown a healthy dose of humanity in her small appearance. Right after slicing off many walkers’ heads, she brings medicine to Andrea and refuses to leave her behind. The two have formed a solid bond, and one of the few things that seem just and proper in this world.

The Walking Dead premiere gave us more zombies and more gore. The real horror is what this world is inflicting on our once righteous crew.

(Image courtesy of AMC)

Chris Spicer

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV