If you had even the teensiest concern about how Scott Gimple would fare as The Walking Dead’s new showrunner, you can stab it in the head and lay it to rest. The AMC hit’s fourth season premiere, “30 Days Without an Accident,” was action-packed and stomach-turning, heartbreaking and funny. In other words, pretty effing awesome. Here’s what went down.
LIFE AS WE KNOW IT | After a glimpse of some of the loveliest baby elephant ears you’ll ever see, especially outside of a penitentiary, we join Rick in the vegetable garden where he’s playing Farmer McGregor. (All he’s missing, Hershel suggests, are overalls and a bigger ass.) Apparently, since the Woodbury/prison merger, things have calmed down so significantly that the sheriff no longer even likes to carry a gun. However, when Rick sets out to check their traps — lest walkers make off with any game they might catch — the council insists that he pack heat. Good thing, too, it turns out. But more on that later.
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE… | In short order, we discover that Daryl’s hunting skills have made him a rock star to the Woodburyans (“You’re gonna have to learn to live with the love,” Carol teases); Michonne, who is now not only able to smile but crack jokes, has been riding off for long periods of time in search of the Governor; Carl has taken to naming the livestock (even suddenly-sickly Violet the Pig); Tyreese is dating Karen (Noah’s mother from last season); and Beth is dating Beaver Casablancas from Veronica Mars! As for the zombpocalypse’s supercouple, Maggie and Glenn, he’s being extra protective of her — with good reason, we find out later.
INTO THE WOODS | While trap-checking, Rick happens upon a newlywed who’s so grimy, she could easily have been mistaken for a walker. In fact, it’s her husband who’s a walker — or would be, if he wasn’t just a severed head in a sack! (Hard to walk without legs!) The woman is so desperate to be with him that first she tries to feed Rick to him, then she commits hari-kari! “You don’t get to come back from” the things we’ve done, she whispers as she slips away. So, when Rick gets back to the prison, Hershel has to reassure him in his patented Hershel way that, yes, they do get to come back from the things they’ve done. (Then why did poor Violet have to die? Why?!)
CLEAN-UP IN AISLE 3 | Meanwhile, Daryl, Glenn, Michonne, Tyreese, Sasha, Beaver Casablancas and newcomer Bob Stookey, a former Army medic, head out on a drugstore run, which — as they tend to on this show — goes horribly awry. Bob’s Sue Ellen Ewing-esque battle with a bottle in the beer-and-wine section brings a whole rack crashing down on him… which, in turn, starts the walkers on the roof shuffling… right over a part of the ceiling that’s been weakened by a previous chopper crash! Before all is said and done, zombies rain down on them, Bob comes so close to death that even we need a drink, and alas — after just a single episode! — Beaver is ready for the taxidermist!
IT GETS WORSE | When the survivors of the supply run return, Maggie informs Glenn that she’s not, as they suspected, pregnant — but they would’ve managed if she was. “I don’t want to be afraid of being alive,” she says. To which he responds, “Being afraid is what’s kept us alive.” (Welcome to almost-married life, kids!) Elsewhere, Daryl is surprised by how prepared Beth is to receive bad news. “Is he dead?” she asks impressively impassively. “Okay.” Then, assuring Daryl that “I don’t cry anymore,” she simply changes the sign she’s propped up from “30 Days Without an Accident” to “0” and gives him a hug. Finally, an ailing newbie named Patrick who resembles nothing so much as a white Urkel, trails blood to the showers, collapses and turns… as the camera focuses ominously on the water. Have they all been infected? Did the water kill Violet, too? Questions for next week!
Okay, your turn. What did you think of the season premiere? Are you liking the new characters? How bittersweet was it when Tyreese broke down in Karen’s arms after discovering that he didn’t like killing walkers any better in the field than he did at the fence? Is Rick now so pacifistic that he’d object the way Carol thinks he will to her teaching the kids self-defense? And how adorable was it when she called Daryl pookie? Anyway, whatever you thought, don’t just think it, vote in the pill below and then elaborate in the comments below!