This new series of posts on my blog, despite not being about film, is deeply exciting for me to undertake, but I admit it will hopefully be easier when I actually don’t watch The Talking Dead after each episode, because I’d hate to repeat the almighty Chris Hardwick.
Anyway, I’m hoping that after each week’s episode of The Walking Dead season 4, I will have time to write a little review/recap of the episode itself. So, here we go: 30 Days Without an Accident everybody!
The episode’s opening is mysterious and never quite explained, except for maybe the fact that apparently our former Ricktator doesn’t like to carry guns anymore; as he is farming, he digs up a gun, proceeding then to dismantle it and throw the parts into his wheelbarrow. Cut to opening credits with a side dish of confusion: just how I like my season premieres!
The action that we, perhaps, were all hoping for and expecting, doesn’t really kick in until about halfway through the episode, but there is an underlying tension already building in the comfortable stasis that the group has apparently found in the 6 or so months since Rick’s grand gesture at the end of last season.
I think the most intriguing aspect of this stasis is the secrecy and potential for conflict just brewing beneath the surface of some of these new relationships. For instance, Carl gets into an argument with another child, one of the many new community members saved from Woodbury, about her naming the walkers. Then, there is Tyrese and his new girlfriend (which reminds me, was anyone else annoyed by how much making out there was in the first half of the episode? No, just me? Okay, well at least Maggie isn’t pregnant, right?)
And finally, the most shocking to me, was Carol’s teaching the kiddies during alleged “storytime” how to use knives properly in self-defense against the walkers. The only thing is, Carl is lurking behind the bookshelves and sees this, his surprised gaze met with Carol’s plea: “please don’t tell your father”
Wow. I get that Rick is trying to be a better father and have all of these kids still be kids for as long as they still can be, so that they don’t end up overly mature and jaded like his own son already is, but I totally applauded Carol’s new found discipline and rebellion, and was shocked to think Rick would have a problem with this or I guess more so just the fact that he doesn’t know that this is happening. That’s what he gets for not being solely in charge anymore, I suppose, and seeing as Daryl and Carol looked extra chummy at this point, I can’t imagine that our resident rock star (and former undercover homicide cop! Just kidding) would be equally ignorant to this. These people are in a world where children cannot be raised in ignorance and naivete, or else they will not survive. I wonder if Carl will be a tattletale after all.
Speaking of Rick, the most poignant and heartbreaking and subtly terrifying moments of this episode dealt with him and the distraught woman he meets in the woods. Like a Greek tragedy told in less than an hour, we see an outside perspective of the desperation and, well, insanity that many people must be faced with in this new and dangerous world; outside in the sense that Rick could have ended up like her, if he had continued on his crazy arc that he went through last season, upon the death of Lori.
My personal favorite moment of the episode though was of course the supermarket run, which entailed that perfect blend of gore and suspense that I love about the show and that Greg Nicotero succeeds at so seamlessly when he directs episodes. The technique of showing us something as viewers that the characters don’t know about yet is so effective. For the rest of the sequence, through every little nuanced moment (like Glenn looking at a display of family photos with babies on it and one of our many new characters acting as the catalyst for the walker avalanche through his emotional tug of war with a bottle of wine), we sat on the edge of our seats, knowing what was going to occur above them at any second, all because we saw a crashed helicopter and some walkers treading upon rotting ceiling.
Lastly, the ending was frustratingly perfect: it raised so many questions about the nature of the outbreak and how, maybe, it has mutated at this point. This season’s threat was therefore succinctly presented to us in the last 60 seconds or so of the episode, and the fact that this threat is something that may be festering within each character, or swimming in their water supply (come on Patrick, you had to cough like that, really?), or blowing in on the air is unsettling to say the least.
I give this episode 3 and a half (as we saw on the supermarket roof) out of 5 walkers!