Monday, October 14, 2013

The Walking Dead S4E1 "30 Days without an Accident" 10/13/13

In the aftermath of last season's finale (and, by the way, I did read the next comics to see what is supposed to happen but I can't remember because I repressed it all because the comics are GRIM, man, and I don't like them), the prison folks seem to have a pretty good life going.  Daryl regularly brings new people into the prison from his scouting runs, which diversifies the population.  They've got a nice garden and a pigpen with a litter of piglets (where'd the piglets come from, show?), so they're working on supplying their own food.  Regular supply runs bring back batteries and other necessaries.  They've got some power and running water hooked up.  The biggest threat is the ever-increasing swarm of walkers pushing against the outer fence: to try to thin the herd, a regular crew goes out to the fence to stab the clustering walkers.  But they keep coming, more and more, and the people have to keep an eye on them.

There's now a ruling Council in place, its members include Daryl, Carol, Herschel, Sasha, etc., but not Rick, who seems content to be a dad and a farmer, and check on the snare lines occasionally.  Herschel does admonish him to carry his gun when he goes out there, although Rick doesn't want to and is all angsty and "I'm broken" about it.  Daryl is way popular with the newbies - almost as much so as with the viewing audience! - and it's pretty cute the way Carol teases him about the fandom.  Glen and Maggie are still Glen and Maggie and, well, I'm just going to get this out of the way because it doesn't go anywhere: at the start of the episode, they think she might be pregnant, so Glen insists that she not go on the day's supply run; by the end of the episode, they know she's not pregnant and they are both relieved.  Also, Beth and newbie Zack (played by Veronica Mars's Kyle Gallner, but don't get too attached to him) have a little thing going, but Beth doesn't seem to be as into it as he is.  Oh, and Carl seems to be normalizing a little bit, acting like a delighted kid when Michonne brings him a stack of new comics that she picked up on her last scouting trip - she's on a Governor hunt.

That pretty much brings us up to speed on everyone.  There are two "plot" lines in this episode: Daryl, Michonne, Glen, Sasha, Zack and newbie Bob (who doesn't look at ALL like a "Bob") go on a supply run while Rick checks the snares.

Supply run.  The store they're hitting is a big box store, unrealistically unlooted, supposedly because the Army commandeered it and set up fences around it.  They also crashed a helicopter on its roof and that'll be important later.  After a tiny, tiny, tiny bit of character work, in which redshirt Zack tries to guess what Daryl's job was pre-apocalypse (he calls it "the Turn") and Michonne laughs her ass off at his guess of "homicide cop," they go into the store.  Bob stares for a while at the bottom half of a zombie before he goes inside.  Then, as ominous music swells, the camera pans up to the building's roof where we see the top half of the zombie, plus dozens of more mobile walkers and that helicopter.  (We get it, show.  There's danger up there.)  Inside, everyone pushes their shopping carts around, filling them with items from their lists.  Bob pauses in the beer and wine section, tempted by a bottle of wine.  He thinks about hiding it in his jacket but then puts it back.  (We get it, show, he's an alcoholic which may prove problematic at some point.)

More immediately problematic: the shelf he returns the bottle to collapses and the whole case tops over on top of Bob, pinning him.  The others rush to help him, unaware that the roof walkers have heard the noise and are wandering across the roof.  When the roof walkers get over where Daryl's crew is trying to free Bob, the roof starts collapsing under them for some reason.  This next action piece is pretty cool: one at a time, the walkers fall through the roof.  Sunlight streams into the store from the holes in the ceiling.  Some of the walkers splatter - one awesomely dangles by his intestines for a while - but most of them struggle to their feet and go after the humans.  For all their experience, Daryl's crew has a tough time with these walkers: Glen gets knocked down before getting free; Tyrese almost gets chomped; Bob just manages to hold off a walker before Daryl drags it away and lifts the case off him.  In the end, only Zack gets eaten, first with a bite to the Achilles tendon, then getting his throat ripped out.  Everyone else runs away, just as the helicopter falls through the weakened roof, crushing the beer, wine and walkers beneath it.

Snare lines.  Rick comes across what he at first thinks is a walker but which turns out to be an emaciated, filthy and ultimately batshit crazy woman.  She looks as much like a zombie as you can look without actually being a zombie.  But Rick doesn't know the extent of her craziness at first, although he is wary of her.  He gives her some food and she asks if she and her fiance Eddie can go back with him to his camp.  Rick says that he'll need to meet Eddie first, and ask them three questions.  They talk as she leads him through the woods to her and Eddie's campsite.  She seems very fragile,brutalized by all she's gone through.  There's a lot of talking.  They finally reach her campsite, which is neat and tidy.  She hurries off to one side, greeting Eddie, but Rick looks around in bewilderment, not seeing Eddie anywhere.  Then, screaming, she lunges at Rick with a knife.  He knocks her away easily and she starts crying, saying that Eddie is weak, slowing down, and he needs something fresh to eat.  Then, miserably, she asks Rick to not "stop it," because she can't be without Eddie.  Realization dawns over Rick's face and, over his aghast protestations, the woman guts herself.  Rick drops to his knees beside her.  As she slowly bleeds out, she asks him what those three questions were.  Rick: How many walkers have you killed?  How many people have you killed?  Why?  Her answers:  Eddie killed all the walkers.  Only herself.  And, because you can never come back from this.  After she dies, Rick staggers to his feet.  He spares one glance for the twitching, squirming burlap bag sitting beside the fire ring, then walks away home.  It's a nice touch to leave Eddie to our imagination.

Wrap-up:  Daryl tells Beth about Zack's demise.  She feels bad but doesn't cry about it, instead giving Daryl an awkward hug.  Rick tells Herschel that he's nearly as nuts as the crazy lady and Herschel's like, no, you aren't and you're not going to be.  I think Herschel is as over Rick's melodrama as I am.  Finally, one of the new kids, Patrick, who is a Daryl-fanboy and Carl's friend, gets up in the night, coughing and sweating.  He staggers to the shower room and passes out in there.  As the episode ends, we see Patrick's dead face, blood drying around his eyes, ears and nose.  And then his eyes pop open, zombie style.  I don't imagine that's not going to be good for the rest of the prison dwellers, either having a zombie or a plague inside with them.

Overall, this was an okay episode, if it's just to be looked at to set the stage for the upcoming season.  The "plot" lines didn't advance the story at all, and I don't feel like I know any of the characters any better than I did before I watched it.  We'll see how the season goes.  Fair warning: if Daryl dies, I quit.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

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