‘Walking Dead’ Preview: Survivors Under Siege

by | February 26, 2012 at 12:10 PM | TV News

Watch your back, Rick: In this scene from the new episode of "The Walking Dead," Sheriff Rick (Andrew Lincoln, right) has to keep an eye on Shane (Jon Bernthal) (Photo: AMC)

What’s happening so far this season on “The Walking Dead”?

Well, generally speaking, society is breaking down. How’s that for an understatement?

Sure, that’s pretty obvious — what with millions of undead staggering around looking for a steadily shrinking supply of live people to sink their rotting teeth into. But we’re not really referring to that. What we’re talking about here is the mini-society of survivors on the show who are eking out a perilous existence on a remote farm.

That’s the society that concerns us most, and that one’s been threatening to fly apart in all directions ever since the series returned to resume its second season earlier this month. The third of these new episodes (technically the 10th episode of Season Two) premieres Sunday night (Feb. 26) at 9/10c on AMC.

Our own opinion of this new flight of episodes is that they’ve been so suspenseful and hair-raising that we don’t doubt “Walking Dead” fans will abandon the Academy Awards for an hour Sunday night to see what happens.

Watch the episode that started the new half-season of “The Walking Dead” right here:

We think we’ve detected a theme running through these episodes — it’s the gradual collapse of the society of survivors as tensions between these living souls get ratcheted up more than a few notches. The one who’s become most unglued: Shane, the broken-nosed deputy (Jon Bernthal). He’s the one with the most potential for violence, and the one whose humanity (such as it is) seems most under threat.

Sheriff Rick (series star Andrew Lincoln) is also undergoing similar changes; he’s seeming to become to more barbaric and merciless with every episode. Not that we really blame either of them since they’re attempting to cope with an apocalypse.

And there are fissures and rifts opening up between myriad other characters as well. But even more important than all that: We’ve observed that in these new episodes, the zombies are back — which isn’t to say they ever really left this show, but last fall, for the purposes of storytelling, the threat posed by the undead took a back seat in some of the episodes, and that left some critics wondering if “The Walking Dead” had lost its edge.

These recent episodes prove to us that it definitely has not — including this Sunday’s episode, which we’ve seen (thanks to AMC). How was it? Well, it did what it was supposed to do: It scared us half to death. Enjoy!

“The Walking Dead” airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on AMC.