The Walking Dead Season Premiere Review: It's a Wonderful Life

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Simply by itself, the title of The Walking Dead Season 4 premiere, "30 Days Without an Accident," gave off the ominous but predictable implication that somebody was going to end up walker food.

But peace time has found its way to the prison after a time jump from the Governor's defeat in "Welcome to the Tombs." Rick's turned into a farmer that doesn't use guns, the new people that have joined all love Daryl as much as the fans of the show and it seems as if life has settled into something of normalcy, even if hordes of walkers smash their faces against the fence keeping them out.

It's all a little underwhelming (and feels a little similar to the time spent on Hershel's farm in The Walking Dead Season 2), but there are some decent character setups for the season. And lots and lots of blood and gore.

Time to Farm

Rick's journey this episode was more reflective and personal. He questioned whether he could come back from all the things he's done, to the point of replacing his gun with gardening tools. And the super creepy woman who was like a combination of Nell and Mama reiterated that theme. And so did Hershel.

The circumstances are extreme and Rick has had to kill countless walkers and sometimes people in order to survive. So can you lose your humanity because of that?

I just didn't really understand why the crazy dirty woman had to stab herself. She couldn't live with herself for trying to kill Rick a la the things that were just too much for her to do? Was that necessary or just there to prove a point to Rick?

Rick can come back from it all, but I've got a feeling that there will be many more tough decisions to come. Life just isn't what it used to be.

Carol has come a long way since her introduction on the show. She's grown to be a strong character in her own right, even trying to teach the children how to use knives in case they need to. And I really enjoy her chemistry with Daryl, whether or not the series chooses to put them together romantically.

Glenn and Maggie, a couple of sexual bunny rabbits, worried about having a child. It's a similar concern to the one Lori had when she was pregnant, but I like seeing those two have some personal scenes.

Michonne is on the hunt for the Governor, a task that I'm sure will backfire, but her interactions with the characters from Daryl to Rick and Carl was a nice touch. It's great to see her show some smiles and emotion with the gang, as well as cut down monster advertisements. She does look pretty cool riding a horse with her sword, too.

It did feel like the characters have progressed since we last saw them (although, Carl just seemed whiny again), but sometimes I feel like the show cares more about designing the graphic ways in which walkers get killed - having them hang from the ceiling by their entrails, getting stomped on, exploding in blood and guts after falling from the sky. The effects used to bring those moments to life always look great, but there comes a point where it's over the top and just not scary.

Yes, there was some nerve wracking tension, but that came from the characters walking around in the quiet store or the walkers slowly pushing the ceiling in with their weight. The anticipation was there, but as soon as it started raining walkers, my only fears were for the brand new characters. You don't have them go along with the main cast on a run to survive. Someone has to get it.

Lawrence Gilliard Jr. on The Walking Dead

But that's where the premiere really disappointed me: in the introduction and immediate elimination of potentially interesting characters.

I liked actor Kyle Gallner as Beth's boyfriend and enjoyed his question game with Daryl. There was a youthful and different personality that I would have loved to have seen explored. Beth may have gotten to have at least known him, but viewers only really knew him as zombie food.

And while the inside threat was born with nerdy Patrick, I was bummed that a contrasting character around Carl's age was swept away to some sort of sickness. I guess the girls could serve another perspective on the children in this end of the world scenario, but Patrick could have been so much more. It would have been great to see even a friendship between these two.

Which leaves Tyreese's new love interest and Bob. I know the reality's horrors require stripping anything good in life on this show, so I can't see Tyreese's girl sticking around. As for Bob, he seems way too suspicious and overeager to be a "good guy." My guess is he's working for The Governor as an inside man. There was something weird about the way the camera kept panning in on him right before bad things would happen.

And why he couldn't break one of the beer bottles surrounding him while he was trapped under the shelf to use as a weapon was beyond me.

This was certainly a transitional episode from the quietness the characters have endured in the time we've missed them, but there wasn't much that we haven't really seen before. Walker attacks, random characters dying, Rick questioning the killing and choices he's had to make. And yet... there's just something addictive about the show. Maybe it's because there's nothing quite like it on television or there's always the hope that it will find that perfect balance of story and character, scary suspense and drama. Or that zombies are just fun to watch.

Either way, this series is always filled with exciting potential. A fair start to what could be an exciting season (watch out for shower walkers!), it's good to see The Walking Dead Season 4 in action.


Editor Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (199 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


I love all 4 seasons of this show. The one thing to add to make it more realistic is to the main vehicles be military trucks like HumVs or even transporter vehicles. Sending the team out in dodge chargers or other hybrids is unrealistic.


I love reading comments from so many people who have nothing to say but bad things about the show. If you dont like it, dont watch. That being said I do have to point out 1 MAJOR oversight by the writers that I havent seen anyone mention yet: Early in the episode we see Carl and Rick looking at Violet, the pig. They know she is sick, and their response to that is basically "oh well, nothing we can do about that." Dear writers, show runners: please know your characters and remember past plot points. I was literally screaming at the TV during the scene with Violet. The pig is sick and you just stare at it? HERSCHEL WAS A GOD DAMNED VETERINARIAN! Stupid.


Don't you think they would have found a cube van for supply runs? I wonder how many supplies Darryl can carry on his bike...


The first episode of this season was quite interesting, but I swear if they ruin The Walking Dead by putting a different type of zombie in the series I might just have to kill someone. The Walking Dead is my favorite zombie series for it's use in only Walkers, and no other type of "Fantasy" zombie that a majority of movie/game developers always place in to make it seem more dangerous. I'd like to see what happened to the governor after he wiped out all his militia, and Rick taking all the populace of Woodbury. I'd give this new episode a 4/5, lets hope the writers stop finger poping each others assholes and write The Walking Dead like it was before, I would like to see the prison fall, I liked it when there was a permanent danger of Walkers, from the initial first season.


To TV FANATIC.......THANKS for changing the cover photo for this show! Should be done for some others as well.......


I think the pathogen will be in 'meat' or by products...because animals may be picking something left by walkers, ingesting it and mutating it back into the ecosystem. Since every one is benignly infected already it isn't a stretch that the nonwalker closed system will quickly infect.


@AW It's been widely reported via the internet to expect more blood and gore this season. As for "decent character set up" ........this episode served to show the characters as they have adjusted to life at the prison and in the zombie apocolypse. Nothing more nothing episode I believe will take off...............Oh and the people you didn't know.......they were from Woodbury.....except the crazy woman in the woods Rick run into. I'm glad some of you all noticed the red eyed zombie that Rick was staring at..........I never even put that together.......thanks for pointing that out.....definitely sounds like the start of the "new threat" this season.


By "lots of blood and gore", do you mean that cheap 3 minutes of action we got the entire time, or when michonne was chopping up cardboard statues with her sword ? Last night was terrible. The writers should be ashamed of themselves for such horrible writing. There was no "decent character setup" for the new characters. Where did they come from ? We didn't even get a backstory on them and how they became a part of Rick's crew. The only thing enjoyable about this episode was how hilariously bad the zombies look now and Carl being a total bad-ass for a kid. Last night was very anti-climatic and uneventful. I know the writers always enjoy using the first 2 episodes to "set the stage", so to speak, but they barely did that. It was too much filler, especially that scene with the crazy girl in the woods. That was unnecessary. And all we got from the new characters was they worship Norman Reedus' character. If I wanted to see that, I'd go to a fan page of his.


The 1st ep. was okay.......But it did show somethings that we need to keep an eye like the walker rick kept on looking at W/the RED EYES i don't know if it's related to what the spoilers say. About a ''new and more terrifying threat @ the prison.'' I say it's the water or the soil. The next episodes 2 and 3 are going to be 1.CRAZY and 2.INSANE things will get MORE TENSE rapidly and quickly!


I'm surprised more mention wasn't given to the red bloody eyes zombie. There was a lot of foreshadowing with that. Rick looked at him 2-3 times - he looked different than other zombies, but I think Rick knew it was different and that it bothered him, but couldn't quite put his finger on why. Notice that Patrick died the same way. Will there be any differences between those zombies and the others? Faster? Stronger? Coherent? Definitely something up with the animals. I was expecting poor Violet to wake up as a zombie, but I suppose that's too easy :). I was surprised at my reaction to Beth's non-reaction to the loss of [?]. I guess she's a bit of the canary in the coal mine and her losing her vulnerability is sad. I hope Glen and Maggie find some birth control and think Maggie is being a twit about "sure, let's have a baby!". Not sure about eager new dude. Think he's a red herring. TOO obvious. Didn't know Michonne could smile, but glad to see it :).

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