The Day After: “The Walking Dead” Episode 401


“30 Days Without an Accident”

Written by: Scott M. Gimple

Directed by: Greg Nicotero

Last night was quite a busy night. I’m a New England sports fan and got to witness two amazing comebacks, one from the Patriots and another from the Red Sox. But there’s one thing that ALMOST trumped both, the return of The Walking Dead.

It begins to worry me when a show is in it’s fourth season and already on its third show-runner.  Thankfully the season 4 premiere, directed by the always fantastic Greg Nicotero, showed no signs that this is something to be worried about.

The Walking Dead doesn’t start with a bang, but with a calculated slow pace. At the end of last season, the remaining townsfolk that were under the leadership of  the Governor were now joining Rick’s crew at the prison.  Set roughly six months after, the prison is now showing signs of community.  They are farming the lands giving them self-sustainability, they are teaching the children and there is a council set up, similar to a government, that votes on what is best for the group.

Life seems relatively normal, you know besides the zombie fence impaling.  Every season Nicotero keeps topping himself on the zombie FX and I don’t know how he does it. There are now also tons of character relationships brewing. Rick’s no longer crazy, Michonne is still looking for signs of the Governor, Carol is teaching the kids how to knife-fight and Daryl is still a bad-ass.

There were some great moments between the characters last night.  Rick tells Carl not to name a pig because it is food and they will eventually eat it.  Carl later recites this when a group of kids begin naming the Walkers outside the gate, which is ironic because the Walkers view the kids as food. Carl says that the zombies aren’t pets so they shouldn’t be named.  The line of the episode, however, is when Glenn and Maggie have a pregnancy scare.  Glenn says that fear is the reason why they still live, Maggie corrects him by saying that “it has only kept us breathing”, inferring that living in fear of everything isn’t living at all.

The highlight of the episode was obviously the shopping store scene, in which the zombies were literally dropping in from the ceiling.  Much zombie gore is spilled and Beth’s new boyfriend is used as a zombie chew toy, which was one of my complaints about this episode because the moment I saw them talking at the beginning of the episode I knew he was a dead man walking.  Beth receives the news and reacts almost as if she was expecting it to happen.

My biggest complaint about the episode is Rick’s scene with the crazy lady in the woods.  He follows her deep into the woods and just by looking at her you can tell she’s untrustworthy.  I get what they were trying to do, make Rick see how bad he could have become.  But this whole scenario seemed forced by the writers and I simply do not buy Rick actually following her that deep into the woods.  He could have just asked her the three questions right off the bat.  Even the fact that she killed herself kind of came out of no where.

The episode ends with a Harry Potter look-a-like dying and becoming a Walker, something which is confusing because the kid was never attacked by a zombie.  So what killed him if it wasn’t a zombie bite?  Did something airborne make him sick and die?  Either way, a Walker is going to be wandering the prison halls while people are sleeping.  This isn’t going to end well.

Taken as a whole, “30 Days Without an Accident” was a fantastic opening episode to the season. Let’s hope that they can maintain this throughout an entire season.