The Walking Dead - Season 4, Episode 1: "30 Days Without an Accident" TV Episode Review
Written by Steve Pattee and TGM
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott Gimple
2013, Rated TV-14
Episode premiered on October 14th, 2013
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Emily Kinney as Beth Greene
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes
Danai Gurira as Michonne
Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee
Scott Wilson as Hershel Greene
Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier
Kyle Gallner as Zach
Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha
Melissa Ponzio as Karen
Chad L. Coleman as Tyreese
Lawrence Gilliard Jr. as Bob Stookey
Kerry Condon as Hungry Woman
Warning! This review contains spoilers for this episode.
It’s been almost seven months since we spent Sunday evenings with a new episode of The Walking Dead. The last we saw of our favorite group of zombie apocalypse survivors, they had just won a major victory against The Governor, not only sending him into hiding, but embracing his people into their own colony of misfits.
It’s been an indeterminate of time later from that big battle until in this first episode of season four, but things seemed to be going smoothly. There’s a committee ruling over the band of survivors, with each person assigned to or volunteered for specific jobs, such as thinning out the ever-growing zombie horde converging at the fence surrounding their prison home, doing supply runs, farming, teaching the children, and various other things needed to keep the people fed, clothed and sheltered.
Steve: I’m going to go ahead and get this off my chest now so we can get it out of the way, and I realize I’m already picking up my broken record complaints from last season, but dammit, can Rick just die already? Last night’s episode had everything I could have hoped for: new characters, old favorites, a wicked scene involving a bad roof, zombies, and a helicopter, a creepy lady who lives in the woods, and some thoughtful dialog. And then there’s Rick, bringing the whole thing down like some sort of emo kid who cuts for attention. We get it, he’s sad. Move on, already.
TGM: Sorry, but I didn’t feel like Rick was overly morose during last nights episode. I thought he was pretty solid. You can tell that he’s trying to recover his humanity a bit, giving creepy lady and her husband a chance to survive. Heartless Hitchhiker Ignoring Rick, or Bat Shit Crazy Rick from days past would have put one in her head and one in her chest without blinking an eye.
Steve: I can see that, but again, it shows how selfish he still is. Do I need to mention he left a body to turn because he felt sorry for her? Screw Rick, you don’t leave bodies to turn to zombies when they are shuffle distance from the camp. But I do see where you are coming from about him trying to find his way. I’m just tired of it. It’s been going on for two years now. Time for another plot point.
TGM: I think it's safe to say that the zombified crazy lady will be seen again. She is going to kill someone close to Rick, and it is going to tear him apart. It’s Drama Writing 101.
Steve: I hope so. Maybe it will eat Judith. That would be awesome.
TGM: OK, well, let’s move on from your Rick fueled obsession, shall we? He’s the lead of the show. He ain’t going anywhere.
Steve: I have three words for you: Shane, Laurie and Andrea. Granted, they weren’t leads, but they were major characters, and I honestly don’t think Rick is as safe as some would think. But, I agree, I need to move on (at least for now). While this premiere episode didn’t wow me like I was hoping it would (which could be my own fault for building it up my head too much), I have to say that scene in the department store was damn impressive. THERE WERE ZOMBIES FALLING FROM THE CEILING!!11!! I particularly liked the timing of the dropping dead, too. You have new-addition Bob, who is clearly a recovering alcoholic, struggling on whether or not to take that bottle of hooch when he accidentally knocks over two shelving units, which in turn cause just enough of a disturbance to alert the zombies who are shambling on a roof that was clearly weakened by a giant helicopter landing on it. And before you can say The Weather Girls, it’s raining zombies (hallelujah). Talk about having a bad day.
TGM: Yep. We now live in a world where there is such an oversaturation of zombie-themed entertainment, from movies, shows, video games, comics, etc, that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to do something new and unique with them. With that said, that “raining zombies” scene definitely qualifies as something new and unique. I don’t recall ever seeing anything like that before. Kudos to the writing staff. Oh, and it’s always nice seeing Daryl and Michonne kicking ass.
Steve: Exactly! Another thing I liked about this episode is some of the non-action sequences. There were a few great moments here that wonderfully showed the violent world these people are forced to live in. The first is when Daryl breaks it to Beth that her boyfriend died on the supply run. As he waits for some sort of an emotional response, she simply says she doesn’t cry anymore and she’s just glad she got to know him because he was really nice. This scene was both well written and well acted on both sides. Beth neither comes across as a tough chick, nor an unfeeling one, it just is what it is. And on some level, Daryl seems to both understand and hurt for her. It’s a very emotional scene without being emotional. I know that doesn’t sound like it makes sense, but I think those who watched it know what I mean.
TGM: Absolutely. I was really preparing myself for some big, blubbery, crying snotfest from Beth once Daryl told her that her red-shirt boyfriend was eaten alive, then had a helicopter dropped on his melon. I was pleasantly shocked by her cold and calculated response. And I loved how she calmly changed the “days without an accident” board without even blinking an eye.
Steve: The other scene I really liked is when Carol is starting to teach a group of children how to use knives and Carl catches her. “Please don’t tell your father,” is her response when she notices she’s being watched, to which he runs off to God knows where. My first reaction when Carol busted out the cutting utensils was one of uncomfortable agreement with her actions. On one hand, you really don’t want children to have any part of violence (either as a victim of or one causing it), but on the other these youngsters need to be trained to survive. And if nothing else, that’s one thing The Walking Dead is exceptional at: being much more than a show about flesh eaters. It’s a show about people in a horrible situation and the things they must do to survive. Which, now that I think about it, was the theme for the night.
TGM: Quite frankly, I found it to be the natural progression of Carol’s character arc. I’m sure somewhere in the back of her mind she’s thinking that if she taught her daughter, Sophia, how to handle a knife or a gun that she’d still be alive today.
OK, so how about we discuss the elephant in the room? Are our heroes sailing up shit’s creek without a paddle? Unless I’m completely off base, it appears, at least to me, that the zombie virus has somehow mutated and can now be accelerated by drinking from a contaminated water supply. Holy shit, that’s a game changer if that’s the case.
Steve: Well the writers have to do something until another big bad comes to town. This show is so much like The Road or Stake Land where the characters never get a break. I don’t necessarily know if something’s in the water as you say, but it wouldn’t be that off since they are killing zombie after zombie at the fence, so it’s bound to have some sort of effect on at least the water found in that stream that runs next to the prison. One thing I’m extremely happy about, though, is that hog that died didn’t rise up. It felt like the shot lingered on the dead bacon-maker for an extended period of time for the viewer to expect that, but I would have been pissed if it did. Another thought I had last night is at what point are the dead no longer an issue (at least the majority of them)? They have to deteriorate into something that is not a threat at some point.
TGM: Well, there is absolutely no way anyone could survive in a world full of zombified humans AND animals. It would simply be too difficult. Too much undead biomass bearing down on you. But I’d be lying if I didn’t half expect Babe to rise up with cloudy eyes and give some sort of snorty growl. And yes, I agree, the dead bodies should start to decay to the point where they can no longer ambulate. SCIENCE FUN FACT IN 3… 2… 1… depending on the conditions, a body can completely degrade down to a skeleton in days. However, considering this is a fictitious universe, I’m going to give them some leeway on this. Also, bees and dogs can smell fear and the human head weighs eight pounds.
Steve: Whoa, whoa, slow down with your college education there some, sir! But, yeah, I’m hoping this is addressed eventually because it will start to bother me on a nitpicking level.
Anyway, I know I said at the beginning of this discussion that this episode didn’t necessarily wow me as a season premiere, but I still really dug it because every part centered on the toll this apocalypse is taking on everyone involved, pretty much from top to bottom, more so than episodes in recent memory. The dialog between Glenn and Maggie summed up nicely for seemingly most of the characters’ internal and external battles on why they continue to fight.
TGM: I was very happy with this episode and thought it was an all around solid offering. There was decent Daryl action, raining zombies, a potential new threat to the group, and not a whiff of The Governor. There’s so much more to talk about, like Tyrese continuing to be a big pussy, Carl getting taller AND having some (living) friends to play with, and Michonne finally opening up to the group, but that will have to wait for another day. Bring on the rest of the season!
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a TV episode.
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