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The Walking Dead S4 E01 Review
The Walking Dead – S4 E01 “30 Days Without an Accident Recap and Review”
After too long of a wait AMC’s The Walking Dead returns for season four, and it didn’t disappoint.
The series picks up a short time after the final events of Season 3. Rick’s group, the Woodbury survivors, plus several other stragglers have established a fairly functional community with job assignments, schedules, and even a governing council. The episode moves fairly quickly in reintroducing us to the returning cast. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) looks to have regained his sanity to a degree. He’s spending most of his time farming. To the uneasiness to those around him, he has taken to walking outside the gates with no pistol. Hershel (Scott Wilson) has a new prosthetic and continues to act as Rick’s Sherpa. Carl (Chandler Riggs) looks to have lost some of the hard edge he developed, taking more to farming with his father -he’s actually kind of likeable now. Fan favourite Darryl (Norman Reedus) has settled into the respected and well liked hunter/gatherer role and his interactions with Carol (Melissa McBride), who actually appears happy (kind of), is one of the more interesting relationships on the show. Maggie (the really hot Lauren Cohen) and Glen (Steven Yuen) are the only ones that seem to have not developed as much since we’ve last seem them. I think the only time we see them is when they have a depressing conversation after having sexy time. They’re border line boring, at least for this episode. Beth (Emily Kinney)…well no one cares about Beth. Lastly, badass Michonne (Danai Gurira) is still badass and has returned from hunting the Governor.
The episode skims over several new characters. Half the time I found myself trying to figure out who the hell is who. We got Karen (Melissa Ponzio), the former Woodbury resident, who has gotten sexy time cozy with Tyrese (Chad L. Coleman). Ok, they don`t exactly show it but one can assume. Tyrese’s younger sister (played by the superhot Sonequa Martin-Green) is on the aforementioned Council. There`s a guy named Bob (Lawrence Gillard, Jr.), a Harry Potter lookalike named Patrick (Vincent Martella), Beth’s new boyfriend, Zach (Kyle Gallner), and a bunch of other people who I’m sure have names but we are not meant to care about for the moment so we’ll skip them for now. Interesting enough, while farming Rick explains to Carl that he shouldn’t name the pigs lest he become attached to what will eventually become their food. I feel the same about many of these nameless characters wandering throughout the compound destined to become zombie fodder.
The episode is cut into two parallel stories. Story one is Rick’s trap check run outside of the compound. Rick comes across Clara (Kerry Condon) whom he mistakes as a walker at first, who with her husband, have managed to survive in the woods through very limited means. She persuades Rick to accompany her back to her camp site where Eddie, her hubby, is so they can convince him to take them back to the prison. As it turns out, her hubalub is a severed zombie head who she’s been feeding rotting animal corpses to, unable to accept his fate and let him go. After failing to kill Rick with the intent of feeding him to Eddie the zombie head, she pulls a hari kari and takes herself out begging Rick not to finish her off so she can be with Zombheaddie in the after-undead-life. Rick leave’s granting her dying wish.
This was the slower moving story of the two, but there was a lot more tension. I kept thinking that Rick was hallucinating the entire thing. Also, If you’re familiar with the graphic novels you may remember the group of cannibals that briefly feuded with Rick’s squad and Clara looked so worn out I almost expected her to lunge at him and take a chunk out or take him back to people wanting to make him into a stew. Obviously, it wasn’t either of those. Instead we see Rick’s Luke Skywalker in the Dagobah cave type moment where he sees what may become of him if he does not retain a grip on reality. We also get an idea of the politics of the prison. They will allow people to join their group based on the answers to three questions;
How many walkers have you killed?
How many people have you killed?
This looks like it could be a main theme in the show. It firmly defines the new world they live in. It’s now accepted that to have survived this long, you have had to have killed another person. The devil is in the details, so it’s the why that matters and defines your ultimate compatibility with the tribe.
On a less serious note, who else wanted to know if it was Gwyneth Paltrow’s severed head? What an opportunity, Brad Pitt just did World War Z. I smell crossover! Market that shit yo! Maybe this way we’ll actually see the Battle of Yonkers. World War Z, what a waste of great source material, but I digress.
Story two follows a routine supply run by a designated group from the prison consisting of Darryl, Michonne, Glenn, Tyrese, Sasha, Bob, and Zach and is definitely the more action driven plot. Their video game style run takes them through an army camp outside a shopping mall. Bob makes the clichéd move of craving booze, putting it back, and having the entire shelf of booze crash onto him thereby blowing their cover and alerting the walkers on the roof that their horderves have arrived. Walkers start walking, and the decaying mall roof crumbles under their feet dropping them onto our video game squad ala the Xenomorphs in Aliens. Remember that scene in Jimmy Cameron’s sequel? Yes, it’s still awesome. If you’re not old or cool enough to know what I’m talking about you need to sit in the corner and rethink your life. Anyway, Zach and Darryl manage to get Bob free, but Zach gets bitten, dragged down and killed Private Hudson style. Everyone else survives and we learn a valuable lesson-don’t date Beth. Seriously, that’s two dead boyfriends of hers now. Remember what’s his nuts from the farm? Yeah me neither, I just remember that he’s dead. Date Beth and you might as well wear a red Starfleet shirt while you’re at it. Even Beth knows it. When Darryl tells her about Zach, she’s like…meh, I’m gonna change my sign. Does anyone else see the humour in this or do I have issues?
Back at the prison, Carl tries to be a kid again, attending one of the regularly scheduled story times with the rest of the kid his age which turns out to be a weapons lesson from Carol. Hmm, maybe she’s not so happy after all. This reinforces what seems to be another accepted normal of this new society- you’re never too young to learn to defend yourself or even kill. Another theme I see the writers focusing on this season.
Then Harry Potter gets sick and dies and respawns, eyes bloody, not unlike a zombie Rick kept seeing at the fences. Infected water source? It’s a logical plot route. These people are smart enough and have a system that defends against zombies (fences and fence kill squads) and internal power-struggle threats like Shane (the Council), and external threats like the Governor (their acceptance procedures). What can hit them now in the absence of a main antagonist is plague, that is until the Governor comes back to make heads roll. The cast is a little bloated at the moment, so this may serve to thin out this herd of Private Wierzbowski’s.
The two parallel story lines paced the episode very well- a nice mix of tension and action with several character defining moments both subtle and obvious. The establishment of several possible season running themes suggests a very good season ahead of us.
Caligula’s rating – 5 horse senators out of 5 *****
So what did you think of the first episode to season 4? Awesomeness or let down? What themes do you see playing out? What characters have you taken a liking to and which do you want to see walker swarmed? Admit it, there’s at least one.
Brought to you by
Ego’s reviewing Caligula