Before we get started on this review, I just wanted to let everybody know that this will not be a Breaking Bad review. BrBa has changed the way we watch television and the way I shave my beard. But don’t let that take away from The Walking Dead. It’s the best show on TV right now and an object of our obsession, but it’s still not Breaking Bad. That being said, we still LOVE TWD. It’s full of great actors and a suspenseful script. We might be shortening our reviews, but we still want to bring you the best recaps and reviews that we can write!
Much like the beginning of Season 3, The Walking Dead Season 4 premiere picks up months after the previous season finale. While I found this an endearing trait last season, I feel like this season premiere left me wondering what the hell happened. It seems that rotting walkers are a natural aphrodisiac because everybody seems to be in love. As Daryl puts it, “it’s like a damn romance novel.” Even Rick and Michonne seem to have a little something going on, and it just feels wrong. Especially because it becomes clear who wears the pants in that relationship. However, this is mostly embodied in Carl’s attitude, which is decisively less murderous and has the disposition of a normal kid, something that we can only attribute to reading comics all night long (take that, Comics Code Authority).
Making a debut is Bob. Fans of the comics know Bob as the Woodbury town drunk who patched up the Governor. He’s a former army medic and a sad, sad alcoholic. We were especially pleased to see another alum from The Wire play a recurring role on the show. We also meet Zach, Beth’s new boyfriend (or ex, I suppose) and Patrick, who is played by Vincent Martella from Everybody Hates Chris. There are a ton of new characters in this season’s premiere, but these were the ones that stood out to us.
The episode is split into three main settings, essentially, with Rick wandering out into the woods to retrieve a deer from a snare and other main characters heading to an outpost to grab some food, Carol and Rick stay in the prison. If it were only that simple… As the group enters the building, the camera pans out to the roof sprawling with walkers and an errant helicopter crash. Okay, how the hell did a convenience store building survive a helicopter crash? And how did all those people end up just dying there? It’s like FEMA dropped walkers on the rooftop instead of supplies, which doesn’t seem implausible. Anyway, as they enter the store, Bob finds his way to a huge shelf stocked with wine. Sidenote: can anybody in Georgia tell me whether or not your convenience stores have fully stocked shelves of alcohol? If so, your state may have a drinking problem. As Bob silently caresses the booze, then chooses to put down the bottle, the entire shelf says “fuck you” and collapses on itself and Bob, drawing all the walkers to the soft part of the roof and raining down onto the floor. Trying to save Bob, who is disgustingly trying to peel back the skull of a zombie with his hands as he is trapped underneath the shelf, Zach ends up getting bitten. It’s a real shame, because I thought he could be a really good character. This scene had a lot of carnage in it, with the decaying carcasses splatting on the ground. It was awesome.
At the prison, Carl is playing Captain Buzzkill when he berates the other kids who are joking at the expense of one of the walkers, Nick, who has a nametag on his shirt. It shows that Carl is trying to be more like his dad, who scolds Carl for naming one of the pigs Violet, but that he is far off from the badassery we saw at the end of Season 3. The kids all go to story-time with Carol. A grown man, who is credited as Ryan Samuels overlooks as his two daughters attend. This is extremely frightening to me; comic book readers will recall that Herschel had two young daughters that were murdered and mutilated in the prison by one of the inmates. Is TV ready for that?? I’d like to think not, but we’ll see. After Samuels leave, we join Carol’s Book Club in a basic knife training seminar. Hanging out with Daryl has done a lot of good for Carol. Although, when Carl finally decides to join the party, Carol is afraid he will tell Rick. It shows that Carl is most likely outcasted by the other kids; even Patrick, who is supposed to be his friend, lies to him. Something tells me Carl is gonna end up growing too fast and returning to form when shit hits the fan again.
Meanwhile, Rick runs into this crazy lady named Clara, who he initially mistook as a walker. I’m sorry, but that’s usually the first sign that you shouldn’t trust a person. Clara shows her puppy dog eyes at Rick, asking for him to help bring the deer back to her starving husband. Rick reluctantly agrees to add Clara and her husband to the merry band of misfits in the prison, if they can answer three questions to his liking. It’s a pretty predictable result that ends up with Clara trying to kill Rick to keep her walker husband fed. It’s a desperate attempt by a broken person who has nothing left to live for. It made me a little sad, but come on! This is almost two years into the zombie apocalypse; you gotta have tougher skin by that time. The questions end up being:
“How many walkers have you killed?”
“How many people have you killed?”
You can tell that he’s had a lot of time to think about these questions, and they are likely asked to every person they come across. Clara’s leaves Rick with haunting words. “You can’t come back from this.” She requests that Rick leave her to turn as a walker so that she can join her husband. Whether Rick honors her request or just doesn’t wanna deal with her shit anymore, I don’t know, but he leaves her to turn.
Everybody reconvenes at the prison after a long, crappy day. Michonne is still thinking about the Governor, Beth finds out about Zach and doesn’t really care, and Rick is still reeling from what Clara had told him. Rick talks with Herschel “Summer Santa” Greene, the anchor of the group, about it and Herschel tries to convince Rick that he and Carl have come back. It’s a nice segment that really makes you appreciate what Herschel means to the group. Oh, we also find out that Glen and Maggie aren’t pregnant. The episode ends with Patrick taking a cold shower, collapsing from some odd sickness, and bleeding out of his eyeballs and turning into a zombie. I guess everybody does hate Chris. Not that I’ve had this happen to me before, but my guess is that this is bad news for everybody asleep in the prison.
Hush Comics gives The Walking Dead’s “30 Days Without An Accident” a B-. At the end of the day, I’m super excited that The Walking Dead is back and this was a great episode to come back to. While some of the story feels disconnected due to the time off and some of the scenes here feel out-of place, the little awesome things that happen make up for it. The premise of zombie eyeball-bleeding disease also brings a lot of anticipation for what’s to come.
written by Sherif Elkhatib
All images credited to AMC Television