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The Walking Dead: ‘30 Days Without an Accident’ – Season 4 Episode 1

Alex Straker

walking dead 300x169 The Walking Dead: 30 Days Without an Accident   Season 4 Episode 1  SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 1, series 4 of ‘The Walking Dead’

I never thought I would say these words, but it feels good to be back in prison. The series opener of The Walking Dead’s fourth year is undoubtedly slow, but like the groaning corpses that litter its landscapes, it catches up to you and leaves you terrified before the end. The story picks up some time after the tragic battle with the Governor that left Andrea six feet under. And it’s clear from the outset that things have moved on since then.

It’s been 30 days without an accident. The survivors have strengthened the defences around the prison (it’s a nice touch to see Morgan’s influence, in the form of the skewers surrounding the entrance). On a personal level, Rick is working on his relationships with his children. Michonne is hell bent on finding the Governor. Tyreese hooked up. Daryl and Carol still haven’t. In this episode, Rick encounters a mysterious survivor in the woods who forces him to reflect on his own grief and Michonne steps up her search for her sworn enemy. Meanwhile, a routine supply mission ends in disaster, and a member of the community undergoes a shocking transformation.

For those that wonder what the characters get up to when they’re not fighting for their lives and waging war against sociopathic maniacs, this week’s episode offers some excellent examples of the social pastimes open to survivors of the zombie apocalypse. There’s gardening (the survivors pick off the roaming walkers like weeds), story time (complete with a bonus ‘Zombie-fighting for Dummies’ course, courtesy of Carol) and if they’re lucky, a shopping trip.

It’s the store sequence that leads to the effects-laden highlight of the show. For those who like their zombie action with a George A. Romero slant, it’s a fast-paced, thrilling adrenaline injection in an episode otherwise preoccupied with smaller moments. It’s excellent to see Michonne, Daryl, Sasha and Glen in the middle of zombie carnage again; they each get their moment to shine in a series of scenes that see them fighting off the undead in the aisles while zombies rain down on them from above.

Death works a bit like buses in The Walking Dead; you go 30 days without an accident and then the Reaper calls twice. While it’s a sign of the series’ boldness that they’re willing to introduce new (and rather nice) characters into the fold only to swiftly axe them, somehow it’s difficult for us to care – we’ve only just met them and haven’t yet had the opportunity to form a strong connection. It would have been more effective had one of the central team been killed off (although it’s likely that this season will have its fair share of casualties).

As in previous series, Andrew Lincoln’s Rick remains the emotional core of the show, with his forage into the woods leading to one of the series’ more moving scenes in recent memory. Season three saw him stray into anti-hero territory in the wake of Lori’s death, and this episode goes some way to redeeming his humanity.

Although it’s obvious from a mile off that Rick can’t trust the mysterious woman he encounters (that he initially mistook her for a walker should have convinced him there was something off about her – trust your instincts, Rick), it ultimately leads to a moving conclusion, in a scene that draws its power from his willingness to have sympathy for the dead.

Ultimately the episode is funny, brutal, gory and moving, and a strong indication of good things to come.

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  • Farley

    Lighten up about what? Is expressing an opinion like ‘really heavy stuff, man’? Certainly seems very unpopular around here. Maybe it’s those who find it difficult to deal with others expressing an opinion without getting ticked off or judgemental or abusive who need to lighten up.

    Nowhere have I said I expect that ‘EVERYTHING is gonna happen STRAIGHT AWAY in the very first episode’; that’s nothing to do with any point I’ve made. Actually quite a lot happened, but it was disjointed and lacked any central, driving dramatic momentum. One of the reasons, as I explained, I found it tedious and unengaging.

    And I have been patient with the show. I have been a long-time fan of the show, but feel the writers really began screwing up very badly half way through season 3. But I have followed it through and am still giving this season a chance to recover from that. So I’m not being quick to judge. So perhaps it is you yourself who judges too quickly without understanding the situation. Possibility?

  • Emily Thorne

    I didn’t spot that, but it may be because for most of the time i am watching i am covering my eyes. Oh and going “urhhhharrghhgh!”
    (much like a zombie now i think about it ;)
    in utter horror..

    Oh, wait, i remember-it was one of the Prison crew, one of the new people who, now we see him going all early-zombieish (kind of like flu) we realise must have been bitten before and is now, gulp, inside the prison and about to go all zombie on us!
    or rather them.
    Uh Oh…

  • Emily Thorne

    much as ai love The Walking Dead i cannot help but wonder at random times throughout watching it these things:

    *how come they haven’t all starved to death by now?
    ( i mean wouldn’t you have to wait a long time for the tomatoes to grow?!)
    *eg. how are they feeding all the numerous new people as well as themselves?
    *where do they get their petrol from?
    *what happens when someone gets an infection that needs antibiotics?
    do they die without them?
    *what are they using for contraception?
    *why haven’t the zombies died out by now?
    eg. there was only a finite number of humans that could have turned into zombies & zombies need food /flesh to live-wouldn’t some end point in proportions or ratios inherent in the human:zombie population have been reached by now?
    & so on..

    not being a zombie expert like some others answers on a postcard appreciated..:)

  • Robert Robertson

    * Survivors can still forage canned and dried foods from stores. They can also hunt wild animals and fish. There are also edible wild plants.

    * There are so few survivors that abandoned vehicles will provide petrol for a long time. Then there are filling stations to plunder; petrol tankers etc.

    * I think antibiotics are perishable so serious infections could get more dangerous as time passes.

    * Condoms stored in cool dark places are probably still viable but survivors should get down to some serious reproduction to preserve the human species. They also better get into larger groups to ensure a varied gene pool.

    * Zombies eat wild animals too, which are probably reproducing quite well without many humans around.

    However:-

    Do zombies reproduce? No zombie babies yet :-) – I think zombies are parasitic fungi and reproduce like mushrooms. :-)

    How does a zombie keep a human body moving when human cells require a circulatory system, respiratory system, nervous system and especially a digestive system judging by a zombies’ appetite? Yet zombies keep going when shot in any vital organ other than the brain. Zombies don’t get out of breath. It’s contradictory – zombies are and are not biological entities.

    The strange doctor at the CDC in season 1 gave a pseudo-scientific account of the partial colonisation of the the brain by zombie cells so I feel justified in raising these questions. :-)

    None of the above should get in the way of a good story though!

  • Emily Thorne

    Ha ha, thanks for that, very interesting:)

    Yes, good point about the circulatory aspect of zombies i do agree and like the idea that they are a form of funghi life form.:)

    I seem to remember at some point the CDC Doctor saying that everybody on earth had been infected by the virus. Yet this has never been explained or mentioned again?

    All i have sussed about zombies is this: that they are operating on the ancient, Extra-pyramidal system of the human brain which has three functions and aims: eating sleeping and sex.

    This ancient nervous system also responds to smell. Dunno if zombies have any sense of smell in The Walking Dead but you ave a good point about their circulation and forward motion!

    & do they bleed?
    & could their forward motion be propelled by nerve endings firing somehow?

    Good points about reproducing too-it has been enlightening to see just how scary/ risky pregnancy was as a condition back in the day. as per what happened to Lori..

    I agree, it is a stonkingly good story!
    shame i have to spend most of the time watching it from between my fingers in utter horror!:)


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