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Walking Dead 401 – 30 Days Without An Accident

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Walking Dead

Walking Dead returns for a fourth season with a huge batch of new characters for us to watch die horrible deaths.

The season unfolds with the crew still living at the prison. It’s apparent some amount of time has passed, just as between season two and three. It’s tough to say for sure, but it’s been at least a few months. Not content to hole up in their fenced in prison, they’ve instead been taking in other wandering survivors and building a community. Daryl’s become something of a hero to the newbies, and he wears their admiration awkwardly. He seems to have a friendly, chummy relationship with Carol these days. I didn’t sense any romance there, just silly nicknames.

We later learn why the population of the prison has expanded so much, when Rick explains that greater numbers increase safety. I don’t think he means against zombies, either. All the trouble with the Governor (who’s still out there somewhere) is still fresh in his mind. To make it work, Rick and the gang have been farming, with helpful advice from Hershel, and trapping animals to supplement what they find on supply runs. They’re governed by a council of some kind, apparently made up of some of the original survivors plus some members of Tyreese’s crew (notably his sister Sasha).

What this means is we missed a whole bunch of civilization building between seasons, an aspect of post-apocalyptic fiction I find particularly interesting. I’d loved to have seen them build the pig enclosure or harvest their first tomatoes. Then when it all inevitably gets destroyed, it will feel more significant, since we were there when they built it.

Instead we got a ton of new people to try and keep track of. I have a harder time remembering all the Walking Dead characters than I do with Game of Thrones. Luckily a lot of these people are being introduced briefly so we can watch them die. We’re also learning about new relationships that have blossomed. Beth and goofy kid who you could tell was going to die because they telegraphed it. Tyreese and Karen, who looks gorgeous even in a slime-splattered apron. Daryl and no one (so far). Glenn still playing the nagging ball and chain to Maggie. There’s even a kid squad, the Junior Survivors. Or Walking Dead Babies (“When your world gets kind of weird and you wish that you weren’t theeeeeeere/Close your eyes and make a wish and a walker will chew your face off while you were screwing around making wishes.”).

Carl seems awkward, but less annoying. Until he stumbles across Carol’s minor league knife class and runs off with that, “I’m telling,” look. I’m not sure why Carol’s 3rd Grade Murder Academy has to be held in secret in the first place. Meanwhile zombies gather at the fences, where survivors on fence patrol mush their heads. I still don’t understand why zombie heads are made of melted butter in Walking Dead. All you have to do is wave a sharp object at a zombie and its head bursts like a ripe melon. When Hersh tries to convince Rick to carry his gun when outside the fence, Rick is like, “What, I’ve got my elbows.”

The episode diverges into two plots. One was stupid and predictable. Daryl and the gang went on a run to some kind of abandoned Army base/grocery store. The new guy is an alcoholic and can’t resist the wine rack. Little does everyone know a helicopter crashed on the roof at some point, which for some reason caused dozens of walkers to live up there. Was the copter carrying them all? Anyway, Alky Bob brings the wine racks down on himself and suddenly it’s raining half-men. The whole thing was hilarious, including the divebombing zombies and especially including Beth’s boyfriend being chewed upon. The best part of the whole sequence was that it introduced the world to the concept of Daryl Dixon: Undercover Homicide Detective.

Beth doesn’t react much to boyfriend guy’s death, which is kind of to be expected. Changing the “It’s Been _30_ Days Without a Workplace Accident” sign to zero is the kind of bleak, black humor Walking Dead needs more of. Daryl seems to take the death harder though, and there’s a weird sort of embrace. The age difference is a little awkward there, but I don’t know. I can see that happening.

Rick, on the other hand, has the kind of intensely tragic encounter that reminds you why you bother watching Walking Dead at all. The peaceful domesticity of the prison/town contrasts so sharply with the sad, frail Irish woman Rick finds in the woods. She begs for help. Rick says he needs to meet her husband Ed and ask them three questions before they can join the commune. She leads him back there, describing how they learned to cope with the horrors of life in this world, and how she needs Ed to live. Not just because he keeps her safe and teaches her to survive, but because his existence gives her purpose.

At their small camp, Rick is confused. The tent is empty. The girl talks to Ed, but no one is there. Distracted, Rick nearly fails to deflect her desperate knife attack. Defeated, she explains that she kept Ed even after he was bitten. Oh there he is, in a sack. He’s starving, and she needs to feed him fresh kills. It’s super F-ed up, and you wonder how Rick will react. Bring her back to town and try to heal her shattered mind? Nope. Because she pleads with Rick to not end it for her after she turns so she can be with Ed, then plunges her knife into her own stomach. While she bleeds to death, she answers Rick’s three questions:

How many walkers have you killed?

How many people have you killed?


Just remember, no matter how nice you try to make your little village, the rest of the world is one giant perpetual tragedy.

Case in point, we think we understand the zombie disease. Everyone has it, it becomes active when you die, no matter how you die, then you turn zombie. But what about these walkers with the bleeding eyes? What about Violet the pig who’s fallen ill? What about the nerdy young boy who isn’t feeling so well? Who wakes up pale and sweaty? Who collapses in the shower? Who wakes up a walker with bleeding eyes?

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Posted by on Sunday, October 13th, 2013. Filed under Dark TV, Headline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.