The Walking Dead Roundtable 4.1: “30 Days Without an Accident”

Hosted by Jeannie Chan

Welcome back to a new season of The Walking Dead! Every week, I will nitpick er, lead a roundtable discussion of the previous Sunday’s episode. (For a recap on the plot of the episode, go here!) We ease into the fourth season of the series with a low body count and a general sense that our post-apocalyptic survivors are holding their own and doing pretttty well? Which, in theory, affords us more time to get to know these people a little better. Carly Mitchell and Kiki Smith join me this week to analyze the new character Bob Stookey and how well the Woodburies are fitting in with the rest of the group.

Jeannie: So, after 3 years of barely making it on a day-to-day basis, it seems like our survivors have finally put down roots. Forgive me for this pun, RT’ers, but it was just too good to pass up. We’re in the 4th season now, so it’s about time that we see some stability on this show, amirite? As weird as it is for me to see them functioning as best as they can in this contained society, and seemingly doing it well, I really want this to work out. I think they deserve this.

Everything’s fine. This is totally normal.

Jeannie: Let’s talk about Bob Stookey. And how his appearance bumps the current number of central POC on the show to.. 6? And it’s not just that! Bob is REAL. Bob has been made more whole in his 10 minutes of screen time than Michonne in 2 seasons. Which is a great improvement. I still feel like I’m begging for scraps when it comes to Michonne’s character development but even she’s becoming more of a real person in this episode. We learn so much! First of all, she’s capable of smiling. She likes to read comic books. She has a sense of humor. Like, where was all this before? Don’t even try to tell me that she did not feel secure enough with Rick’s group to let any of her personality shine through. I am not buying it. If this is Scott Gimple’s doing as the show’s new supervising producer, keep it up, dude. I have faith in you. Please don’t make me eat my words.

Carly: I’m getting a real heavy Shane-like vibe from him with him presented as a loner. Maybe some deep seated issues, some control problems (the alcohol?), people possibly having a problem with him… I think it could make for some really interesting episodes. I think we’re in need of a character that isn’t a big bad, but will provide for some conflict. People can be interesting and complicated without being all evil.

Kiki: Bob Stookey. I’m curious where this Bob Stookey character is going. My first impression was something is very, very off. It was the way they presented the character. But, then they go to this scene of him and the shelf of alcohol, which leads you to believe that maybe he’s a recovering alcoholic or that something bad there happened? Who knows. There’s also some talk on the internets of him being a spy for the governor. And by the way – WHERE is the governor these days?

Jeannie: Well, if that dramatic close up of the map that Michonne was studying holds any implications, I guess the Governor’s been hiding out in Macon, Georgia. Or that’s where Michonne is going next. I’m a bit confused by this set up. Is she just scouting these places to pick up his trail or is she singlehandedly going off to hunt him down? I very much enjoy the prospect of Michonne staging a similar horror movie chase scene through the woods. That would be nice. *fantasizes

Carly: I’m really excited for some Governor action. I bet they tease it for ages though. I’m a sucker for long storylines and I think keeping him in the back pocket allows for a lot more attention for Michonne. And less victim slanted attention, more proactive.

Kiki: Either way, I do hope that if we’re going to have a new POC as a central (perhaps for a bit, we hope), that they’ll a. have more dialogue and development than a couple of episodes and b. not be portrayed in a ridiculously negative way.  Either way, my interest in this character is piqued.\

Carly: I agree, Kiki, while I’m looking forward to a character that brings some non-evil conflict, it would be really unfortunate if they pinned it all on him as the new negative force.

Jeannie: A few nights ago, I was discussing the show with a friend who has read the graphic novels but hasn’t gotten around to watching the episode yet, and I was telling him all about Bob’s introduction and how excited I was that we already knew so much about him. I was going on and on about how it felt like a great change and I was clearly very hopeful about how Bob’s introduction was handled and what it could mean for the show. Naturally, my friend rains on my parade by asking me how I learned so much about Bob. Like, did he actually speak for himself or were these moments revealed by one of the other characters? I was stunned into silence for a bit trying to remember how it actually went down and I think that’s what was so very, very off about it, Kiki. Who said that Bob was a military doc? Glenn did. It was such a brief random line that he could have just as easily delivered it himself. Why can’t you writers throw us a friggin’ bone every now and then? GAHD. And before people get on my case about the fact that Bob wasn’t totally silent, yes, he did have that conversation with Sasha, but what did he even say? I just remember there was something awkward and twangy about the way he spoke. Not the strongest start, but hey, at least we know something about him. And he lived through the end of the episode.

Kiki: You’re right! I think the only thing that came out of his mouth this episode was him asking for something. First instance: he wanted to go on the run into town and second: he asked for help (well, clearly needed it in that instance) when trapped under the shelf in the store… But on the other hand, Jeannie, the writers may have been trying to emphasize that since this is a new guy to the group that everyone is getting used to. Funny thing, until you mentioned the military doc thing, I didn’t even remember that part. It was mentioned so briefly.\

Jeannie: When Sasha was trying to figure out how useful he will be during the run, Glenn chimed in and said, Duh. He was a military medic. And I was like, well he could have just said that. There’s no way of knowing. I find it interesting that in the same episode, Zach has apparently made a game out of trying to figure out what Daryl’s line of work was pre-apocalypse. Again, I might be reading too much into nothing (something I’m very good at, btw) but this dialogue about what these people used to do, this focus on growing things and moving their community forward – it all seems so normal. I don’t think Rick’s group (we seriously need to come up with a name for these guys) could have made this change without the Woodburies. They’ve been together for so long, struggled with each other for so long that they lost any incentive or reason to have the types of normal social interaction that we’re seeing now. This is all to say that I loved the moment when Patrick (kid with glasses) wanted to shake Daryl’s hand for being an awesome hunter and Daryl was just so grossed out by this display of decency. It did seem hokey to me.

Kiki: That scene with Patrick and Daryl did seem kind of, well, awkward and out of the blue to say the least. My first thought was “Huh? What’s that all about?” and then there was no further development into it, except for “what’s your past life” conversation with Zach. I’m guessing this was a way to introduce those two characters, but I feel like I there should be more to these conversation/stories ‘cause now I want to know more about his life. I love Daryl! Ha.

Carly: Or it could just be a way to show the different places these people are coming from – Woodbury’s faux normalcy. I wonder if they’ll explore the Woodburies adjustment to the (as mentioned above) dysfunctional set up of the prison set.

Kiki: Maybe we could call them the Ricksters? And when we refer to them both as whole- the Ricksterburies? Woodsters?

Jeannie: Haha, I think we’re going to have to keep working on the group name.

Kiki: You’re probably right, Jeannie {{sigh}}, I tried, ha ha. A follow up to Jeannie’s words on Michonne – I was thinking the same exact thing! So great to see her in an unsilent role and that she seems to be developing a healthy relationship with Carl and Rick. But, I am as curious as Jeannie as to where this complete personality 180 came from. Is it for real? Or is she up to something? Is she truly starting to feel connected with the group?

Jeannie: As far as development goes, I’d like to say that the showrunners have finally been clued in to how unevenly attention has been given to the different characters because on the surface level, it really does seem like things are getting better.

Carly: I had a similar thought in regards to appreciating a richer cast set up (age, race and gender wise)… but I also immediately followed up that thought with, ‘And half will be dead in the next 1-2 episodes.’

Jeannie: It feels wrong to do this on a completely arbitrary and subjective point system but this is what’s going to happen right now:

+1 for Michonne’s banter with Carl and Rick

+1 for Sasha stepping up as a leader in the group

+1 for Bob having some dimensionality so early on in his timeline

+1 for Tyrese’s existential quandary about killing walkers

+1 for Tyrese + Karen = <3

+1 for Glenn and Maggie’s baby drama (omg they would have had the CUTEST babies)

+1,000,000 for no POC characters dying!

My mind is all over the place with this discussion. Sorry, everyone. I feel like not much happened during this episode so I’m focusing more on the characters and how much of their lives we get to see. I’m pretty pleased with this episode with that respect. The list of people whose roles seem to be growing on the show is getting longer and I really have no complaints about that.

Also, as comical as this was, Michonne needs to katana something other than a cardboard cutout, please. Thanks.

Kiki: For. Reals. Not much else to say on your point system except I second those remarks! Keep it up writers!

Jeannie: But if we must talk about other things, who wants to place bets on what the deal is with this infection? Someone commented on the recap and guessed that someone deliberately poisoned the water supply or it somehow got tainted. I think a far more exciting prospect is that the virus has evolved somehow. NO ONE IS SAFE.

  • 7thangel

    every time i see Daryll, i remember that much of his characterization and his kick ass actions is from the comic Tyreese. even his relationship with Carol id from Tyreese.