The Walking Dead Season 4 Review “30 Days Without An Accident”

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 1 30 Days Without an Accident (1)

It’s finally back, ladies and gentlemen! After 9 months being off the air, even more behind-the-scenes drama, and quite a few notable characters being cast, The Walking Dead returned tonight with the fourth season premiere episode “30 Days Without An Accident”. The old crew and the newbies from Woodbury are still trying to deal with life at the prison, but there is an increasing walker threat from the outside, and a new threat is rising from within their walls!

There was yet another change of the guard in the showrunner position in the off season, as Glen Mazzara stepped down and long time Walking Dead writer and producer Scott Gimple stepped up. Gimple also wrote tonight’s episode, but he doesn’t seem to be making a distinguishable mark on the series just yet. I’m sure future episodes will reveal the new tone he’s setting, but he definitely did a solid job getting this fourth season underway.

Gimple isn’t the only new hire for The Walking Dead, as they’ve also cast several new roles for this new season. It stands to reason that some of the old Woodbury inhabitants would be cast in important roles, and the biggest new role is Bob Stookey. Stookey is played by The Wire‘s Larry Gilliard Jr, who is the second Wire alumni to join the cast after Chad Coleman’s Tyreese. The struggling alcoholic war veteran is one of the biggest character cliches in TV history, but I’m sure that Gilliard will lend his own spin to the character soon enough. The Walking Dead has developed somewhat of an unfavorable reputation for never having two black actors on the show at one time, so I’m hoping Tyreese and Bob can stick around for a little while.

A couple of the new characters are just love interests for existing characters. Melissa Ponzio is playing Karen, Tyreese’s new squeeze, who didn’t have much to do tonight besides stab walkers and look pretty. Kyle Gallner played Zach, some dude that’s moved in on Beth. I’m a little bummed that Carl and Beth still haven’t ended up together, since they really seemed to be building towards that next season, but I’m sure that Carl will be the shoulder to cry on now that Zach’s been eaten. Or a shoulder to not cry on, as her case may be. These kids sure are getting pretty messed up, aren’t they?

On top of the new characters, we’re also checking in to see how the old cast is holding up. Michonne certainly seems to have cheered up quite a bit from last season. It’s possible that the writers were paying attention to critics like myself who were a little annoyed at how solemn and silent she always was. I’m hoping we get to see her smile a couple more times, as her comic book counterpart definitely had a humorous side to her. She’s still talking about going to Macon, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Daryl, Glen, Carol, Sasha, and Hershel are all part of a council now. It isn’t clear whether or not Rick was a part of it, since Hershel said that the council wants him to carry a gun when he’s out of the walls, but he can’t not be on the council, right?! He’s Rick! Oh, and it’s only lasted for a few minutes and I’m already over Maggie and Glen’s pregnancy storyline. Not interested. They’ve already manufactured so much nonsensical drama for this couple, I could really do with a lot less.

The requisite action scene this week took place at a big department store, and it was definitely surprising how big-budget it all seemed (for AMC, at least). The visual of the walkers falling through the ceiling was a really cool one, but why did they all fall through at that exact moment? Did Bob knocking over the alcohol cabinet set off some kind of chain reaction? I would have bought them all falling through one big hole at one time, but they fell through like 20 of ’em!

Rick had an interesting little one-off story tonight with some crazy woman in the woods. I’m not entirely clear on why he was so affected by some crazy lady keeping her husband around as a walker. I guess we were supposed to think that this somehow related to his situation with his wife, but it was a little goofy that he burst into tears after she stabbed herself. It looked like he was developing such a thick skin last season, like when he ditched that backpacker. What happened to that guy?!

I was a little disappointed with most of the first 58 minutes of this episode, as I felt like we really weren’t getting any feeling of where this season was going. That is until we got to that final scene, where Patrick the suck-up died in the shower and came back as a zombie. This disease that Patrick contracted seems to be the big new threat that the cast and creators of The Walking Dead were teasing in the off season. Seeing as how both Patrick and the walker at the fence that Rick kept looking at were both bleeding from their eyes, it appears that there is a new way to turn into a walker without dying first. Or at least, there’s a disease that you can contract simply from being “infected” (which everybody is), and it just kills you and turns you instantaneously. This is an especially concerning condition, since there’s really no way to prevent it. I’m really hoping that they don’t use this as a plot contrivance or “cheat” in the future. Theoretically they could just say “Ok, now this character will come down with a case of zombie-itis”, and that’ll be that. Right now when somebody turns it feels like it was earned, because they were killed or bitten. Now everybody is at risk, which is both a very terrifying prospect for our characters, but also means that anybody can be arbitrarily turned without doing anything wrong. I’m hoping this does turn out to be an interesting threat for our crew, and I can’t wait to see what The Governor has in store once he returns!

What did you think of the season premiere episode? Sound off in the comments section below!

Random Thoughts:

– I know I complain about this every year, but remember back in season one where everybody was so concerned that even getting walker blood on your skin could turn you? Now everybody is just stabbing zombies and getting guts all over them like there’s no tomorrow.

– What on earth kind of accent was that crazy girl in the woods supposed to have? It sounded like it was swinging back and forth between southern and Irish.

– You gotta love that the green Hyundai van is still absolutely beautiful and squeaky clean. Good ol’ product placement!