Photo by Gene Page/AMC
By Jeannie Chan
And we’re back! Welcome to Season 4 of The Walking Dead recaps! I will try not to be as long-winded and opinionated in summarizing each week’s episode as I tend to get in the TWD Roundtables, but… I can’t make any promises.
The third season finale left me with so many questions and such disappointment about the gaping plot holes, I completely forgot what happened. AMC is kind enough to refresh our memories and let us know that the prison inherited a bunch of Woodburies. Rick finally admitted that he was not fit to be in charge of everything (sort of) and established a council. Also, Carl’s ease with which he killed another human being is something we definitely need to watch out for.
**SPOILER ALERT! Full recap for The Walking Dead 4.1: “30 Days Without an Accident” under the cut!
This season opens with a nice shot of living things: lush life growing all around the prison yard and, wait, what? Apparently, the prison has become something of a commune/food co-op. And Rick has found a Walkman or something and batteries so he can listen to some old tunes while he gardens. Rick unearths a gun, dismantles it and chucks it into what I assume is the compost heap. There are walkers surrounding the fence but everything is fine. Rick is just a man doing some light gardening in the afternoon sun and we are invited into this delusion. Until he pulls out his earbuds and we hear the walkers. How long can he shut out reality and maintain this facade of a functioning society? Let’s find out.
We return from the commercial break to learn that Carl has grown impossibly taller and that the Woodburies continue to be eerily polite and respectful towards strangers. Daryl ain’t havin’ any of that though. Or as Carol would call him, Pookie. They’re totally doing it, guys. Some of the Woodburies do their part on “fence duty” and kill the walkers that swarm the fence. According to Carol, they’ve increased in numbers in the last few months. Hm…
And speaking of people who are doing it, Glenn and Maggie seem to be going strong, though they wake up in the midst of another argument. Maggie wanted to go on the food and supply run with the cool kids. Glenn doesn’t want her to because she’s his girl and he doesn’t want anything bad to happen to her. Which is sweet and all, I guess, but Glenn. Glenn, we’ve talked about this. Girl can take care of herself, ok? Also, it seems like everyone’s gettin’ it on this season. Hooray for the lovin’ but that just means more people are going to die faster. Such is the law of television. Tyrese continues to be the moral compass for the show and goes to see his lady friend at the fence to tell her that he doesn’t like picking off walkers by the fence because it doesn’t sit right with him.
Michonne comes riding in on her majestic horse like a BAMF, as always, bearing gifts and more importantly, she speaks! And smiles! And jokes! This is.. well. This is quite a change. Hershel’s walking on his own now. Rick is anti-gun. What is going on here? Rick takes a walk in the woods and of course encounters a strange lady in awful shape. I have to admit, I wondered if she was really there or if Rick imagined her. I guess we’ll have to find out.
Some kids say hi and wave to the walkers at the fence. Which is unsettling and hilarious at the same time. They have an interesting philosophical debate with Carl about the humanity, or lack thereof, of the walkers. Carl undoubtedly relishes in this opportunity to show off how mature and wise he is when he spits back out what his dad had told him earlier in the day: “Don’t name them. They’re not people. They’re not pets.”
Lawrence Gillard, Jr. from The Wire (yay!) joins the cast as former military doc Bob Stookey and joins the cool kids on their run. He walks by the liquor aisle very dramatically and we can only guess what sort of very real and human demons he has to battle when he attempts to hide a bottle of wine in his jacket, hands all shaky. He sets the bottle back on the shelf though, good for him! But of course that sends the whole case crashing down and attracts the attention of all the walkers on the roof. And all of a sudden, walkers are falling through the ceiling. My boy Glenn has a close call with a bunch of them but pulls through like the BAMF that he is. And Bob has just about the most disgusting and intimate encounter with a crawling walker (crawler?) ever. BARF. He makes it out thanks to Daryl and Kyle Gallner (from Veronica Mars) and I would take the time to IMDB him to find out what his name is except that he gets bitten and viciously eaten by a walker, so… that’s the end of that guy.
Meanwhile, Rick makes his way back to this lady’s campsite and we learn that her husband is a walker and that Rick was meant to be food for him. Blech. Rick disarms her pretty easily and she just completely gives up. She said before that she has nothing left to lose and we see exactly what she means. As she dies, she says, “You don’t get to come back from this.” What “this” is is a question I think we’ll be answering all season long.
Cue to storytime, which is nothing more than a front for training the young kids for survival because as soon as the other adult clears the room, Carol busts out some giant knives and shows the children how to handle them. The kid with the glasses can’t handle this so he bails. Carl sneaks into the room and also bails when Carol asks him not to tell his father what’s really going on.
Rick walks by the pigpen later and discovers that the cute piggy that Carl had named Violet is now dead. He appears really distraught. The picture of a functioning and sheltered community they’ve worked so hard to maintain over the last few months is crumbling.
Back in the cells, Maggie tells Glenn that she is in fact not pregnant and both of them are super relieved. Glenn can’t see beyond what had happened to Lori but Maggie believes that they would have been able to survive and bring new life into the world. Daryl finds Beth to tell her the bad news that Zach is gone. Beth does not emote at all and wordlessly resets their “workplace hazard” counter back to 0 days. So apparently it had been 30 days since they had lost someone. I don’t know why I’m surprised; it’s in the episode name. Daryl, on the other hand, looks so tired of all this and says so. Beth says that she was glad she didn’t say goodbye to Zach. Because, you know, that’s always a good coping mechanism. Elsewhere, Michonne looks over a map of Georgia and steadies her finger over Macon, which seems to be the next stop on her hunt for the Governor. Bob lies down on his bunk, still reeling from what his momentary near relapse had cost him and the group. Rick has a heart to heart with Hershel about the woman in the woods. Hershel, as Rick’s life coach and spiritual advisor, tells him that he does get to come back. He did come back. His boy came back. There is hope. Not all is lost. This whole notion of (re)defining humanity in the post-apocalyptic world is something that I’ve harped on before with the characters on this show. I might be a little too hopeful in thinking that this season is going to dig deep and tackle these difficult philosophical issues and really do it well. I am aware that I’m reading a lot into these scenes and really projecting what I want out of this season into this recap. I give you all free reign to mock me when this all blows up in my face.
Anyway, back to the show. The episode ends on a huge HOLY SH– moment. The kid with the glasses stumbles out of his cell, looking really really sick. So I guess he wasn’t making a flimsy excuse to get out of training after all. Seriously, folks, he is so feverish and sweaty that he leaves distinct sweaty footprints as he walks. He collapses in the shower. The next time we see him, he has blood coming out of every possible opening in his face. He’s dead. But his undead eyes pop back open again. You know what this means, right? A) The body count in the next episode might increase exponentially and B) this infection is not playing around anymore.