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TV Review: The Walking Dead S.4 Ep.1 – 30 Days Without an Accident

the walking dead season 4The Walking Dead is back for a brand new season and right from the start this isn’t quite the same group of survivors that we knew before. After last seasons’ merging with the survivors from Woodbury this is a new community. One that’s somewhat given up weapons for plowshares. The prison is now a community, with farming, animals, long-term planning.

The fear is no longer the Governor and his army, instead the group is back to worrying about walkers, who keep on coming, building up against the fences like an endless horde. This is survival, with a focus on long turn sustainability. We’re quickly introduced to the new status-quo and numerous new characters, quickly figuring out who to keep our eyes on and who are just eventual zombie food.

This is a new society in a way, where scouting missions return prizes such as razors and comic books, as much as food and supplies. It’s no longer a Ricktatorship, instead of one man leading the charge, a council is in place making decisions and absent from that is Rick Grimes, who has taken to a life farming, raising his children, and contributing to the community by heading out into the forest for supplies. There’s time for zombie killing and there’s story time too. This is a society with children, plans and schools. But for all of the calm, there’s still a sense of dread underneath it all. This is a changed group, where they not only mourn the loss of members, but are so settled that they can mourn the loss of their animals. They are working towards long-term lives, trying to get over the fear that’s kept them alive.

But, threats still loom. The Governor is still on the loose and the team is on the lookout for him. That’s on top of the influx of zombies.

But, the theme of the episode seems to be choices. The choice to kill and destroy and the choice to make a new life. My guess is that’s a theme we’ll see continue throughout the season.

This episode has really brought us two things. Amped up fx is the first thing that stands out. A scene in a store with zombies literally falling from the sky increased the gore, excitement and goo. It was a tense scene, that showed off the production values, which were worthy of a movie, and frankly better than many.

The second thing is, that everyone is on the chopping block. Even as we’re introduced to new characters, folks are offed. Yeah, the death toll increases further in this episode, reminding us to just not get too attached to anyone too much. And that death is interesting in the episode, the loss of a community member is juxtaposed with the loss of an animal. Through all of that gore mentioned above, the humanity of the show and characters comes through just enough.

The first episode was an amazing start of what is a phenomenon of a show. Ending with such dread and a clearly ominous second episode. The fourth season of this juggernaut is here and it came with both calm and thunder.

Directed by: Greg Nicotero
Writer Credits: Frank Darabont, Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard, Scott M. Gimple
Overall Score: 9

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