The Walking Dead: 30 Days Without An Accident (4×01)
Synopsis: Season four brings us up to speed on what the survivors have been doing for the past six to seven months. Organized, efficient, and self-reliant, they are building something great here. Naturally, it can’t stay that way.
It’s been six to seven months since the shitshow that was Woodbury, making it a great time to check in on our favorite survivors and their newly collected walker-bait. Rick’s got headphones in, easily discarding an unearthed gun in the garden while drowning out the moaning of the zombies along the fence line. Back in parenting mode, Rick tells Carl he shouldn’t name the pig – Violet! – because she’s food, not a pet. Regardless, Violet’s not looking too great.
Elsewhere, Daryl is being warmly regarded because he’s been the one to do most of the recruiting lately. There are a lot of new faces around the prison these days, one of them being Patrick, who is enamored with seeing Daryl. He and Carol go on to talk about the walkers that are building up against the fence and there’s a nice little, “Sorry Pookie” line for those of you shippers out there. Inside the prison, Glenn and Maggie are in bed while he convinces her not to go out on the supply run planned for today. Tyreese makes plans with Karen, the woman they saved from the Governor last season, to go out on the run – she warns him to be careful and they kiss. He reveals that the only reason he ever volunteered to go out to the fence and kill walkers was to get to know her and it’s a cute, human moment to remind us about in the apocalypse. Beth has a new boyfriend, Zach, who is also going out on the supply run. While Sasha and Tyreese prepare to leave, an Army medic, Bob, who has only been with the group for a week, asks and is granted permission to go with them.
Hershel, with a newly acquired prosthetic leg, is teaching rick about cultivating plants when Michonne rides back into the prison on horseback. She brings comics for Carl and a razor for Rick to shave before volunteering to go on the supply run as well. She reveals to Daryl that she didn’t find “him” and wants to head to Macon next. The caravan leaves out while Hershel has a serious talk with Rick. He references this Council that has formed at the prison – consisting of at least Daryl, Glenn, Carol, and Sasha – who takes care of things and insists that Rick take his gun when he leaves the prison to check the traps for food. He protests, saying he has his knife, but is shown relenting to the request.
Outside of the prison, Rick finds a dying deer just as another figure approaches it. He hides behind a tree to observe and just as he’s leaving the figure calls out to him, “Wait. Please.” Her name is Clara and she asks Rick to help her get the animal back to her husband. Rick hands her food instead. When she asks if they can join his camp, Rick says he’ll have to meet her husband first and they have to answer three questions before he takes them there.
Back inside the prison, some kids are waving at the walkers and naming them. Carl spots them and chastises them for behaving like children. It really highlights the different way Carl has adapted versus other kids his age. The kids all run off for story time, including his friend Patrick, while Carl refuses.
On the supply run, Daryl and the rest of the crew plan everything out perfectly. They have formations in place and a well-practiced routine. At one point, Zach and Daryl are seen bonding – he’s trying to guess what Daryl was before the apocalypse. It’s been going on six weeks, with one guess a day, and this time he tries homicide cop. Daryl facetiously tells him he’s right, he was an undercover cop, before they go and clear out the last of the walkers from the store. Everyone else proceeds inside while Bob takes a moment to ponder over the severed bottom half of a walker just outside the door. After he enters, the camera pans back to reveal many walkers on the roof, along with a crashed helicopter.
Creepy Clara is telling Rick her story as they journey through the woods back to her camp and her husband. They were stuck in the airport after their flight to Puerta Vallarta was cancled – it took four days for the walkers to overrun it. Rick asks her what “things” she had to be willing to do to make it this long and she tells him: she ate animal carcasses, rotten fruit, she left people behind, and hid from people who needed her help. He tells her it’s not charity that’s driving him, everyone needs numbers against the walkers. All she asks is, “You call them walkers?”
In the store, everyone is slowly gathering supplies. Bob notices some dripping from the ceiling near the liquor before having a moral dilemma with himself about whether or not to take a bottle. Deciding, he forcefully puts the bottle back on the shelf, knocking the entire display onto himself, with the sound alerting the roof walkers. As they walk across the weakened roof towards the sound, they begin to fall through the ceiling. The first one falls like a nightmarish piñata – hanging from the roof – and before they can recover from the first, more start falling through the ceiling into the store.
Rick and Clara are still walking through the woods. She asks him if he ever had to do any of the same things that her and Eddie had to do? She asks him if he thinks people can come back from those awful things? He admits that he hopes so. She says that she hopes they answer his three questions to his satisfaction.
Glenn is getting overrun by zombies, but he has protective armor on and manages to wiggle away. Tyreese is seen shooting some zombies while Sasha shoots and ultimately resorts to a pool cue to kill the ones around her. Everyone is making a stand. Even Bob manages to rip part of the face off of one getting too close to him, while he’s still trapped under the shelving. They notice something big beginning to fall through the roof and attempt to rescue Bob and leave. Just after they pull Bob out, Zach is our first supporting cast casualty of the season! He’s bitten and killed as the others are left no choice but to run out of the store.
Finally, Clara gets Rick to her camp. She goes over a covered spot on the ground and tells Eddie that Rick is here to help. While Rick tries to make sense of the camp, she tries to attack him from behind, which he easily deflects. Not seeing any other options, she begs Rick not to stop it after and stabs herself. As she lays dying, she asks him what the three questions were. Rick asks her how many walkers have you killed? She admits Eddie killed them all until… Rick asks how many people have you killed? Just me, she tells him. Why? She tells him that you don’t get to come back from things with her dying breath. Rick leaves her and the camp without disturbing the zombified head of Eddie.
Carol is reading to the young children in their makeshift library when the other adult excuses himself. Luke asks if he can take watch and Carol allows him as she pulls out a box of knives to teach the kids how to hold them. Patrick asks to be excused because he doesn’t feel well and is ultimately allowed. Carl has snuck into the library and when he makes himself known, Carol asks him to please not tell his father, but he just leaves.
Everyone is back inside the prison and Rick is looking at the walkers along the fence line, as well as Violet the sick pig. It soon gets dark and Tyreese visits Karen, revealing to her that he doesn’t like going out there either. In their room, Maggie tells Glenn she’s not pregnant and he’s relieved. Maggie says she didn’t want to, but they could always have a baby because she doesn’t want to be afraid of being alive. Daryl breaks the news to Beth about Zach, who takes it in stride. She’s lost a lot of people already – her first boyfriend, her mother, Patricia, Otis – and is a lot tougher than I was expecting. Michonne is checking a map for Macon, while Hershel is trying to convince Rick that the woman was wrong – you do get to come back. Bob is also settling into bed.
Coughing is heard and we see Patrick panting and laboring to get to the showers. He coughs all over the barrel of water before pumping a shower, where he promptly collapses. It turns off on its own and we see shots of the quiet prison before coming back to Patrick. His face is bloody and he opens his eyes – he’s become a walker. Fun fact: the boy who plays Patrick is also Phineas from Phineas and Ferb. And now he’s dead.
How was that for a start to the season? Scott Gimple promised more character-driven content this season and explained that Daryl has really taken a role in leading the group. The Counsel was inspired by the comics (Dale brings it up) and on the television show they serve to do the administrative tasks – figure out supply runs, the food projections, the farm project, mediating. Those questions Rick asks Clara are part of the protocol – everyone is asked those questions when they’re being brought to the prison. Are you ready for this? When the first episode promises raining walkers, there’s going to be a lot to live up to for the rest of the season. I’m pretty excited! This episode was a breath of fresh air, a nice slow burn, to start out the season.