The final image of season two of AMC’s The Walking Dead was an ominous shot of a prison looming in the distance. Fans of Robert Kirkman’s comics know what this means. In the upcoming third season Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his scrappy band of zombie apocalypse survivors are going to hunker down inside the sturdy walls of the abandoned penal institution. That makes sense if you’re trying to separate yourself from a bunch of flesh-crazed, undead walkers.
The prison is a fan favorite as far as locations go in The Walking Dead. It also kicks off one of the most brutal, memorable story arcs of the entire series. Thus far, the only glimpse we’ve seen of the prison has been that long distance shot. Until now. EW has a pair of photos that feature the new location. While not the main focus, the images give you a good idea of the heavy fences and thick walls.
Settling into the prison is no easy task. While the walls keep walkers out, they also fulfill their original purpose, keeping bodies in. There are a multitude of cells, hallways, offices, and courtyards to clear of zombies before anyone can even begin to relax.
Everyone gets into the walker smashing action, including Maggie (Lauren Cohan). She did just lose her father and most of the people she cared about in this world, and it looks like she’s using a machete to take out some of that angst on the zombies.
The Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara has this to say about the iconic setting:
The prison itself will be a threatening, malevolent character. It is a challenge to live in the prison. And I think we’ve really been able to get a lot of story out of it. So it will not feel like a safe corner keeping our characters away from central action. It will really play that they are in a shark cage. Life in a prison is life in a shark cage.
Even within the relative safety of the walls, there is no time to relax. The prison functions both as a fortress as well as, you know, a prison, for the group. While they may be momentarily safe from zombies, the pressure mounts in many other ways. Being confined is never easy.
The Walking Dead returns to the airwaves this October.