The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 1 “30 Days Without An Accident” Recap

TWD 401 Rick Grimes

In The Walking Dead Season 4 premiere titled “30 Days Without An Accident”, it’s raining zombies and a new infection emerges!

Watch the full episode online at AMC.com. No log in is required.

After watching, continue reading for a spoiler filled discussion and review of The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 1. Let’s dissect the episode! 

Day Thirty

The previous season of The Walking Dead is the strongest of the first three although Andrea’s story arc was mishandled and the finale left fans wanting more. Some of the inconsistency, particularly in the latter half of season 3, can be attributed to the drama behind the scenes most notably the firing of writer and executive producer Glen Mazzara.

The good news is that Season 4’s new show runner Scott Gimple, wrote the strongest character-centric episodes last season: “Clear” and “This Sorrowful Life”. Gimple’s task at hand is finding the right balance between the post-apocalyptic zombie carnage fans come to expect and compelling character development. Both of which the show wants to prove it can sustain over the length of a complete season. 

Don’t Name Them

It’s been several months since Rick took in a bus load of Woodbury residents at the end of Season 3. Since then the prison has become a structured, peaceful community working together to build a sanctuary. Because of their secure living conditions, they can plant vegetable gardens, raise pigs, and provide school-time for the children.

A safer and sustainable community has noticeably impacted the survivors. In some ways it’s like giving familiar characters a fresh new coat of paint from when we last saw them.

A more talkative Michonne smiles with ease, though she is still determined to hunt down the Governor who is possibly hiding out in Macon. Riding in on horseback, she brings comics for Carl whom she has a special connection with because he was the first person to accept her into the group.

Carl is a kid who had to grow up way too fast. It’s nice to see he’s interacting with children his age though he doesn’t think like them.  In the time jump from the end of last season, the writers have course corrected Carl’s dark path into something more palatable.

Unlike the season 3 finale, Carl is respectful to his father and learning to be a kid again as difficult as that may be. Naming the pig is a subtle way to imply that Carl can still become emotionally attached to living things. After all the trauma young Carl has endured, he is capable of turning back on the humanity switch … at least for now.

the-walking-dead-season-4-pics-041

Everybody Loves Daryl

Similar to how Daryl is a beloved character on the show, within the group of survivors he’s also attained a certain level of renown which he is surprisingly comfortable with.

It’s more than his all-round badassery and deadly efficiency with the crossbow that makes him a fan favorite. There is an air of mystery and mystique about Daryl. While Daryl is not an undercover detective like he jokes, it’s not knowing all the specifics of his back story which adds to his intrigue.

My kill of the week is Daryl’s nasty head stomp inside the supermarket. The runner-up is the death of new character Zack whose neck got gnawed on.

Daryl has come a long way from the tough, outsider of the group. He took it upon himself to tell Beth about her dead boyfriend which he could have left it to Maggie or Hershel to do. Daryl was prepared to give consoling words to Beth which demonstrated he’s not as emotionally damaged as he once was.

Everybody Else

As the season progresses, we’ll have a better understanding of how “30 Days Without An Accident” establishes the baseline for each character’s arc.

The relationship drama between Glenn and Maggie is forced at times but I’m hopeful it can be addressed by the new show runner. For the moment, I am interested in the dilemma of Maggie not wanting to be afraid to live her life while Glenn believes it’s too risky to bring a newborn into this world.

New character Bob hasn’t made an impression on me, either good or bad. From what I can glean, he’s possibly a recovering alcoholic by the way he’s conflicted in taking the bottle of alcohol.

Tyreese is upfront with his feelings for the new girl. He’s a morally grounded, compassionate ladies man but feeling sympathy for killing walkers against the fence is a direction I’ll have to see more of before I pass judgement. For now, it’s a strange way of thinking.

You Get To Come Back

Because this episode is meant to re-establish where we left off with Rick I didn’t mind that the story beats are vaguely similar to “Clear” which handled the crazy person story line more effectively. While “Clear” was an expedition to find guns, Rick doesn’t believe he needs them any more. Also, he’s not in the same state of mind as when he left behind the lone hitch-hiker.

Crazy Clara represents what Rick could have become if he didn’t have a community to support him during his mental breakdown. He no longer closes himself off to new people until their properly vetted though he should know better than to trust Crazy Clara.  If Rick stopped Clara from stabbing herself and brought her back to the prison could she have been rehabilitated or was she too far down crazy town? With many new characters to be introduced this season it will be interesting how effective the ‘three questions’ to assess a newcomer will be.

TWD 401 Clara and Rick Grimes

Prey For The Dead

Season Three’s tagline “Fight the dead, fear the living” lived up to it’s word with the Governor superseding the undead as the overarching threat.

At this point, fighting walkers is an every day way of life for the survivors. It takes a serious situation for the survivors to be genuinely afraid for their lives. The children naming walkers on the other side of the fence like harmless pets makes a point of their false sense of security.

This season promises to focus on survival horror which was not prominent in the Woodbury storyline. A standard supply run at a supermarket turns into a fight for their lives when it’s starts raining zombies. It’s cool how the helicopter came crashing down from the roof but compared to the prison infiltration scenes from Season 3’s première it’s not as exhilarating.

Down With The Sickness

The nature of fear is an interesting aspect for a survival horror show to further explore. A new threat is introduced this episode which taps into an innate fear of a danger that cannot be fenced off, outsmarted or stabbed in the head.

So what are the theories on this new threat? It appears to be a communicable virulent disease that leaves a person undead with bloodshot eyes. Patrick (aka Harry Potter wannabe) shook hands after Daryl licked his fingers. Could Daryl have a natural immunity to the infection like how one pig got sick while the others pigs didn’t? Is this what killed the deer? The emphasis on the shower head and basin might hint that it’s also transmittable through water contamination.

Before Rick saw the dead pig, the camera focussed on a walker outside the fence that had similar bloodshot eyes to Patrick’s. Are these walkers different from the regular walkers? Right now, we have more questions than answers which is a good way to tantalize fans until the next episode.

What did you like and didn’t like about the season premiere? What are your theories on the new infection? 

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About Eddie@Jaccendo

Movies, TV shows, comics, and video game news & review.

Posted on October 14, 2013, in Television, The Walking Dead and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. I like how the obvious thing was never done. Beth’s reaction, the disease, Carol’s private school. It shows intelligence, which is good.
    Also, the fact there are so many characters are scaring me. It means people are ripe for killing off and I think Daryl and Carol are next. Daryl is so awesome his death will pack a punch and Carol’s arc has gone from annoying character to everyone loves her. It seems her death is the next step.

    • I also liked the fresh direction of the characters including Beth and Carol. I hope these are not one-off moments but a beginning to their character arc this season.

      This episode handled the huge cast quite well. But with the new disease many bodies are going to drop very soon. All those new woodbury people are there to pad the body count.

      I would be shocked if Daryl dies this season. The writers turned Carol around into a likeable character. In a deleted scene from the DVD, she kindly brought a meal to Merle. Then threatened to kill Merle if he betrayed the group. Pretty badass coming from a former abused wife.

      I can envision Carole joining Sophia in the afterlife at the end of the season to complete her character arc. But since she’s from the original group, I’d be sad to see her go.

      • I’m always the first one to scoff at the fanboys and fangirls who claim they’ll never watch a show again if X or Y is killed off (just look at how often that happened with Game of Thrones, the Twitter reactions alone were HILARIOUS) but Daryl being such a huge fan favourite (and a huge favourite of mine too) I honestly don’t see them giving him the ax. It would be a ballsy move if they did, but he’s developed into a character that has become pretty much the heart of the show. If they really wanted to mix things up and punish the group for their complacency it would be a harsh lesson and would give the viewer a serious slap in the face to realise the absolute futility of their situation (NOBODY can be safe in their world), but there really is no replacing Daryl.

        As for Carol, I respect what they’ve done with her character (they needed to do it, the majority of us were baying for her blood at one stage), but I can see the need for one of the core group to bite the dust. Which one will it be though?

        • Daryl’s immense popularity pretty much ensures his survival … at least for now. I read that the creator plans to introduce Daryl into the comics and there is a video game with Dixon brothers as the playable characters. There’s still a lot of areas to explore with Daryl including his leadership abilities which this episode touches on. It would be ballsy to axe Daryl and also very short sighted (ie. dumb) of the writers.

          The funny thing is that I was so excited watching the ending to Game Of Thrones 1×09; I wasn’t upset or angry, I just loved the feeling that anything can happen and no one is safe.

          When a character like Andrea isn’t working and not worth salvaging, it’s time for them to go.
          The person I was watching this with wanted Glenn to die next season and for Rick & Maggie to hook up haha. But I want Glenn to live for at least a few more seasons. Of the core group, I’d say Carol and Beth are most likely to bite the dust first.

          • I loved the Red Wedding reveal in GoT too, but then I’d read the books, so I knew it was coming. That’s not to say I wasn’t shocked, because it was done extremely well, and I did soooo enjoy everyone else’s reactions to it. One of my favourite things about GoT is that nobody is safe, anyone can go – it is part of what makes it exciting.

            Glenn was starting to get on my nerves, and then that scene last season when he’s tied to the chair and must survive against all odds brought me back around again. I agree with what most people are saying regarding the Maggie/Glenn match, it is tiresome, but then what relationship wouldn’t be tiresome to watch given the situation?

            I think you’re probably right that Carol and Beth seem the most likely to bite it (or get bitten) first, they seem to bring less to the table. How interesting it would be if they axed Rick though… 😀

            • I also loved watching people’s reactions to RW on youtube! Haha, sounds so cruel yet so fun. 🙂 What I also liked about RW is that there are consequences for people’s terrible decisions and that the “good” people don’t always win.

              That is a great Glenn moment from last season, I wish there were more of them. We first meet Glenn rescuing Rick from the tank where he showed how smart & resourceful he is. That’s the side of him the writers need to show off more. If they develop him more as an individual maybe he can bring something fresh to the relationship.

              I hope the show runner doesn’t write Rick into a corner. Rick is no longer a leader and he’s not making sound decisions this episode. If they ever plan on getting rid of Rick I think they need to build him back up to a great leader, the guy calling all the shots with everyone depending him … then bang! Everyone is left to pick up the pieces and really feel the loss of a character that carried the show. I do think that other characters including new ones could rise up and takes his spot as the main protagonist. 🙂

  2. It was different and I liked it, bring on the new show-runner 😀

    Can’t wait for the prison leaving, should never keep the gang in one place for too long. Too tempting to get lazy with the storytelling 😀

    Next episode should be good watching!

  3. Great recap! I am curious as to how they will play out the virus or infection that killed the kid in the showers and affected the pig. I didn’t even connect the handshake with Daryl (It was nice to see Reedus get second billing in the credits) until after the kid collapsed in the shower and turned. Also, as you pointed out, I wondered about that walker they kept cutting to at the fence. So many enticing developments and I hope they flesh everything else out in good fashion.

    I expect some great things from the show runner and the writing team. It’s good to finally watch some live action episodes since the books have been dragging the Negan story-line forever. All in all a very entertaining, dynamic, if a bit slow in spots (ahem, Maggie and Glenn), episode. I am looking forward to some more of your recaps! Thanks!

    • The writers did a good job of introducing the infection and piquing the curiosity of fans. I also hope they can keep it interesting with some twists and eventually answer all the questions they’ve raise in a way that makes sense. I didn’t notice Reedus got second billing now, nice catch. I read that Reedus originally auditioned for the part of Merle but the producer liked him so much they created the role of Daryl for him.

      I did a marathon rewatch of Season 3 last month to prepare for the new season haha. I’ve also just started reading the first chapter of the comics. I appreciate how the show fleshes out the characters like Shane and I’m surprised the iconic shot of Rick in the tank isn’t in the comics. Great as always hearing your perspective. I hope to keep up with the TWD recaps. Thanks!

      • I envy you starting the books. The first few volumes are so good. I hope you enjoy them. Be warned (you probably already know this), though, the books and the show differ greatly in so many ways that I have lost count but that is to be expected when comics get translated and brought over to any medium.

        Speaking of iconic shots, the shot of Rick approaching Atlanta was pulled right from one of the first few issues. Enjoy the books!

        • It’s great to see familiar characters in another light in the comics. I’m aware of some major differences, but I expect there will be some surprises too. From what I heard, Season 4 is not based on a storyline in the comics (?). I’m also interested to see if the themes like leadership styles are as developed in the comics vs show.

          I immediately recognized that shot as well with Rick on horseback approaching Atlanta. Very cool! That image is used for one of the season 1 promo/poster pics which I used as a link image last year.

  4. I haven’t watched any of the episodes of this one but I’m not really into the zombie genre. I do like Andrew Lincoln though!

    • Yeah, Andrew Lincoln is very good. There are a number of British actors on the show doing believable Southern accents. Thanks so much for commenting, I know zombies aren’t your cup of tea. 🙂

    • Despite the zombie/horror universe Kirkman’s characters inhabit (and yes, there are some genre conventions involved) I was was very surprised how well the books translated to Television. Darabont, Hurd and crew really made this a relentless drama that is so much more about the humans and the choices they make throughout.

      There have been so many times that I found myself forgetting I’m even watching a show about about Zombies. Lincoln is very good in this program, Ruth. He is an important and vital part of the show. If you ever do watch it for Lincoln, I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed!

  5. Lil' Ass Kicker

    Previously in the Walking Dead :
    “[…] take this badge off of me
    I can’t use it anymore.
    It’s gettin’ dark, too dark to see
    I feel like I’m knock knock knockin’ on heaven’s door.
    […] put my guns in the ground
    I can’t shoot them anymore.
    That long black cloud is comin’ down
    I feel like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door.” – Rick “Freewheelin'” Grimes

    And then Rick met good ol’ one-legged Herschel.
    He learnt “herbalism” and went to 1-2 “spirit plant medicine” conferences.
    And now he’s pally-pally with the first oddly lonely girl he met in the woods…
    IT’S NOT DORA THE EXPLORER DUDE !! IT’S BLAIR WITCH PROJECT !!!
    COME ON !! Didn’t your parents told you to NEVER EVER follow Robert Smith ?!

    Talking about Cure,
    it looks like Milla Jovovich is gonna be needed in a very near future.. You know..
    Umbrella Corporation is definitely doing the whole deadly virus thing. Again.
    Sooooo… Remember that happy-go-lucky scientist back in the first season ?
    I mean, it’s not a breaking news for “Rick & associates & sons” that everyone is
    already infected..

    But hey, 30 days without fun already ? Time to rock the house ! Bring the helicopter !!!!
    Okay, seriously, forget about the raining zombies, let some random people enter the nest.
    First rule ? Don’t worry about blood check, just focus on eye-patchs. Only eye-patchs.
    Zombs are our friends. Pirates are pure evil.

    To conclude, the almighty “KOTW – Kill Of The Week”:
    And the prize goes to.. Disco-ball Zombie !! That one blowed the roof !! Litterally…
    Honorable mention: Yoko Ono playing charades with Rick in the woods.

    PS : After Quidditch, be ready for some new nerd fictive sport : Baskhead-ball.
    Didn’t you noticed how many Zombs heads ended in a basket since season 1 ?
    (And yes, fish tanks do counts).

    The Walking Dead season 4 premiere Ass Kicked !!
    Not a bad episode, fresh season premiere, good ideas,
    here comes the paranoid climax the readers awaited for a long time. We want more !

    • “That long black cloud is comin’ down
      I feel like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door.” – Rick “Freewheelin’” Grimes”
      – Haha, very funny. Maybe farmer Rick can do a duet with Beth? Death is knocking on their doors, it’s going to get bloody next episode.

      “IT’S BLAIR WITCH PROJECT !!!” – haha, all she needs is a broomstick. … to play Quidditch 😉

      “Talking about Cure” – I actually listened to them while I typed up the recap. 🙂

      “Umbrella Corporation is definitely doing the whole deadly virus thing” – The Walking Dead could use some zombie dogs lurking in corners. I thought the dead pig should come back to life??

      “let some random people enter the nest.
      First rule ? Don’t worry about blood check, just focus on eye-patchs.” – Anytime, a new character is introduced I don’t plan on getting too attached to them. I’m not sure when and how the Governor will return, but don’t worry we’ll get to see him again.

      “Disco-ball Zombie !! That one blowed the roof !!” – Also known as Yo-yo zombie. Yeah that was gross hanging by his guts.

      “Didn’t you noticed how many Zombs heads ended in a basket since season 1 ?” Crazy forest lady kept a head in a basket like it was her pet.

      “Not a bad episode, fresh season premiere, good ideas,” Very true, it felt fresh. Good to see the show is not repeating itself. Great to hear from you!

  1. Pingback: [TV] The Fall Roundup – HIT or MISS? (Part Deux) | The Verbal Spew Review

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