The lead group makes it to a door and a corner, but around the corner are more walkers than even the new, improved group can handle. Some of the zombies are still wearing the riot gear of prison guards, and Daryl's crossbow bolt bounces right off a Plexiglas face shield. Armored zombies? No fair! This unexpected development leads to the group briefly getting split up as a walker comes out that door (which must have had a simple pushbar on the inside, making this the least secure prison ever), but Maggie quickly deals with him. Rick's got his hands full trying to take down a helmeted zombie, but with Daryl's help they manage to push them back and close off that section of the inner yard behind a sliding gate. One of the still-moving riot-ghouls on this side gets real up close and personal with Maggie wrapping its arm around her. Which is when the upside of the face shields becomes apparent: it can't bite her either, and she's able to jam her knife up under its chin and into its brain. "See that?" she says excitedly to Glenn and T-Dogg, who quickly copy that move, so clearly they did. Rick rips off another face shield, taking most of that walker's actual rotted face with it, and barely chokes back his disgust long enough to pry what remains of it head in half. And with that, they've taken the inner yard. Not one but two major zombie battles, not to mention a chick with a katana? So far, the third season gets a thumbs up.
But there's still that far courtyard beyond the closed fence, and one of the walkers they just took down is a civilian, which means there could be swarms more inside. Rick insists they push on in. Which they do, without even checking with the gang waiting back at the fence. The first door they open leads to a large room that was probably used to assemble inmates going in and out of the yard. small cafeteria, which they enter, pulling the door closed behind them for no reason I can think of. There's an inner tower, in which Rick finds a shot guard with keys at its waist. These they use to unlock the grate into the first cell block, which also appears empty aside from the odd corpse and a few walkers sealed safely inside cells, where they can be easily dealt with. Everyone moves in, again. Rick promises that this cell block is secure, but tomorrow they'll find the infirmary and the cafeteria, after spending the night in the cells (although Daryl wants the perch). Rick looks at everyone proudly, hungry for their approval, which I'd say he's earned. It's no small task, not only finding a prison to turn into a bunker, but one that still hasn't switched over to centrally controlled electronic locks, in which case they would have been screwed. How fortunate that this place seemed to be stuck in the same Mayberry time-amber that apparently afflicted all the small towns on this show, even pre-plague. But when Lori thanks Rick, he blows her off. I would normally object to such rudeness, but now I'm jumping up and down at this show passing up an opportunity to stage another existential debate.