Well, I can’t say that I was particularly excited for this season. Last year, I had started reviewing this show weekly, but I held off on giving my thoughts on the final episode of season three and ultimately neglected to review it. Partly, I chose not to write the review due to being really busy at the time, but mostly I chose not to write it because I thought it was a huge disappointment.
Thankfully, though, I at least didn’t hate this season’s opening episode, “30 Days Without an Accident”. Maybe there’s hope The Walking Dead and I can rekindle our relationship.
Spoilers after the jump.
So the last season left off with the Governor launching a failed attack on our main characters. The attack ultimately amounts to nothing. Our characters scare the Woodbury people off with ease. The Governor flies into a rage and murders a bunch of his own people before leaving, probably to appear again in a later season. Andrea’s very annoying storyline culminates in her death. Carl continues to be both obnoxious and murderous. And eventually the Atlanta survivors take in everyone from Woodbury whom the Governor didn’t kill.
All in all, it was very disappointing, because it felt as if there had been no climax. While I liked that Rick started to show a softer side, to try to get back some of his humanity by taking in the people of Woodbury, the story still built up this big showdown between the two opposing sides, only for nothing to happen. It was rather underwhelming.
This season opens with the Atlanta and Woodbury survivors getting along at the prison. Additionally, they have been taking in any living person that they find. Working together as a community, the survivors look to be doing pretty well. They have some crops growing, a couple pigs, and more than enough people willing to do their share of the work in order to ensure survival.
But all is not well at the prison. Walkers have been building up along the fences, and our survivors are having trouble keeping their numbers down. If too many walkers start pressing in on the fences, they’ll fall, and the prison will be overrun. Furthermore, the crops and the pigs are not enough to feed the survivors, so they have to keep sending people out beyond the fences for provisions. This is dangerous work, and it results in the death of an extra we’ve never seen before until now. He’s the first death they’ve suffered in thirty days, though, which seems to be an improvement.
More troubling, however, is the unexpected death of one of their pigs, which seemed to just fall ill. I say troubling, because the disease appears to be contagious. One of Carl’s new friends, Patrick, starts feeling sick, and the episode ends with him dying and coming back as a walker while taking a shower.
All in all, I was pretty happy with this episode. To start off with, I really liked seeing Carl interacting with other children. In the previous seasons—and the last one especially—he had grown very callous and murdered someone in cold blood, because he thought that that was what he needed to do that in order to survive. Now, we’re seeing a softer side to him, since Rick, concerned over what his son had started to become and growing more averse to violence, has been encouraging Carl to do normal kid stuff, like reading comics. The overall feeling this episode—with the exception of the foreboding ending—was much lighter than in previous episodes. There’s a lot more hope, which I think comes about from the sense of community between all the survivors. I have a feeling that this is intentional on the writers’ part, since I don’t foresee that calmness and hope lasting very long. It is The Walking Dead, after all. People are going to die.
Positively, the team up between the survivors has led there to being plenty of new characters, notably ones of color. For instance, Melissa Ponzio—Melissa McCall from Teen Wolf—started off as a recurring character from Woodbury named Karen last season, and is back this season as a series regular. She’s also engaging in a relationship with Tyreese. This does make me a little concerned for her safety. When the San Diego Comic Con trailer aired, I theorized that Tyreese’s sister, Sasha, was going to die, due to Tyreese’s actions in the trailer. We know from the trailer that the prison is going to be attacked and that at least twelve people are going to die; I worry that Sasha and Karen will be among them. But I hopefully I will be wrong.
On another happy note, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of the Governor. While I think he could have been a great villain—his attachment to his zombified daughter gave him some depth—he ultimately became very boring and clichéd. I don’t think I can forgive his character for what he did to both Andrea and Milton in the season three finale. He also killed the character Axel just I was starting to get to know him, sexually assaulted Maggie, and planned to torture Michonne, just to name a few things he’s done.
Michonne has spent her time out looking for the Governor, but she’s had no luck so far, for which I’m glad. I would really like to not see him around for a bit, though I know he will inevitably reappear.
There are plenty of other things this episode that I liked, such as Beth’s reaction to the death of her boyfriend, our late random extra. She refuses to cry about it and merely accepts that it happened, because as she says, she doesn’t cry anymore and she doesn’t like saying goodbye. It’s certainly been more character development than she got last season, where she seemed to be nothing more than a random person in the background.
Also, Rick’s storyline this episode—finding a random woman in the woods and trying to help her, only to fail and see her commit suicide—was certainly very engaging and spoke a lot for the direction his character is going in.
So far, it seems like a strong start for the season. I can only hope that the following episodes will be just as strong. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be reviewing it weekly anymore.