The Walking Dead, What Lies Ahead

So last night was the premier of Season 4 of The Walking Dead… and I have to say… for a premier, it was a good episode BUT kind of felt like filler, except for a few key points, that I’ll address in this blog.

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

But first here’s part of why it felt like filler:

Walking-Dead-Daryl-Merle-DixonThere was actually very little excitement. The most exciting part of the episode at the “Big Spot!”, which I’ll admit elicited some gasps and exclamations of surprise at our TWD viewing party, in retrospect felt kind of underwhelming, as at no point was I worried about any main characters dying. Not to mention the episode opening with Carl naming the pig just felt slow. Though it was actually kind of cute.. Carl-Ages-By-Seasondespite the fact that I feel like he’s growing up right before our eyes… I mean look at how he’s progressed from Seasons 1-4 … though I guess if nothing but growing veggies and repaired relationships have occurred, then why waste screen time on it. And even Hershel teased Rick that The Council (can’t wait to learn more about them!) was making jokes about him behaving like a farmer. Also as a side note, I’m once again perfectly fine with the fact that they’ve jumped (as the EP Scott Gimple on Talking Dead pointed out) about 6-7 months in the future, because it would feel silly to make it seem like only about a month had passed and Chandler Riggs had gotten older, as show above.

The Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMCSpeaking of character growth and development… I’m pretty much in what I’ll refer to as “Beth-Mode”, and by this, I mean I’m not getting attached to any new characters. Beth’s reaction to what’s-his-name’s demise on a run was pretty typical, she wasn’t even that emotional when he left. I suspect Daryl is more her type, especially after that hug, but who can blame her, he’s the-walking-dead-glenn-maggiekind of a leader now, and he’s one of the few people in her short life who has lasted. I think it’s sad that Beth like Carl is adapting to this new world in a cold way, and I think it will definitely bring about some tension between her and Maggie. This is important considering the fact that Maggie wants some level of living, not just “breathing” to be a part of their lives, even if it means bringing a child into this world, instead of spending all of their time in fear, which is, at least in part how Beth is living. It’s a practical, yet fear driven outlook to not get attached to people that may not be there tomorrow.

 

Now on to those characters that we may not see much of, and let’s face it tonight’s casualties won’t be the only ones, during the Season 3 finale, as I saw the Woodbury folks arriving, all I could think was “gee, there’s a bunch of walker food”.

tyrese-the-walking-dead-539x720Anyway, Tyrese’s group will be around for awhile, and while I may sound merciless, I’m totally fine to have one of them go, instead of one of our favorites, but if the writers could weave Hershel in and Dale out as well as they did, and as Beth and Maggie look to be taking on some of the female drama story lines that were once reserved for Michonne and Andrea (shutting down vs. holding out hope for a better life) , well I suppose the writers would be able to work in Tyrese’s group. Though Tyrese complaining about the tasks that have to be done was disappointing, and I look forward to what Executive Producer Scott Gimple pofepbb0o4said about this season, it will have a lot to do with children, adults, and what it means to “grow up”… oh and in case you’re wondering, growing up in a zombie apocalypse DEFINITELY means providing BOTH story time, AND Weaponry 101!

SweetWater-Walking-Dead-Season-4I am a bit interested in the army medic who seems, based on his actions with the wine, to be a recovering alcoholic, and I applaud his action at putting the wine back… after all how could he know after crashing the shelf the roof would cave and it’d start raining men?!?! I figured though that when we saw him make that hard choice with the alcohol that we’d get more information on him… which means that he wouldn’t be going anywhere for awhile.

Episode-4-Amy-Walker-2-350I’m not trying to sound like a know-it-all, but to be completely honest the last time I remember being completely shocked that a character died, it was Amy, Andrea’s sister all the way back in season one, other deaths were sad or perhaps unexpected, but none caught me so off guard as that first one.

walking-dead-season-4-vincent-martellaI was a bit surprised though by the village nerd dying the way that he did, and I was a bit offended… they finally get someone on the show that likely would have attended SDCC, and he only lasts one episode… Though, I guess if the did away with BOTH the strapping young lad all ready to take on the world and go on supply runs AND the nerd… well I guess I shouldn’t be too offended… plus it looks like we’re going to get a revenge of the nerds as soon as the next episode opens… which probably also means that … (Skip Past Spoiler Warning at the bottom to finish section)

What’s also something to ponder is what made him sick… was it a scratch from a walker, or maybe something in the water supply, Violet the pig also got sick and died and the camera focused quite deliberately on the shower faucet.

walking-dead-season-4Now the sections of the episode with sweet Clara in the woods (thank goodness Hershel told Rick to take his gun!)… that’s where the episode felt like filler BUT as I put down my thoughts I do think about the fact that all stories have to start somewhere, and if the pointless stuff (like growing veggies and feeding pigs) is left out then the better for watching.This episode showed us where our characters were at and Rick’s experience with Clara (who, I’ll admit, I went back and forth the whole time trying to figure her out.. half of me kept thinking “No Rick, don’t trust her!” and the other half kept thinking “Aww this poor lady”) was definitely a catalyst and brought s to the surface the question of can you come back from the person you’ve had to become to survive in this world? Again I think of the kids, who may never come back, simply because this is the only life they’ve known. I also think of Rick’s three questions, “How many walkers have you killed”, “How many people have you killed?” and the 3rd, which mattered most “Why?”, after all it doesn’t even take a zombie apocalypse to draw a line between murder and self defense, it’s just all the more of a pressing issue.

So, after putting down all my thoughts, I take it back (but I won’t delete my previous notions.. because this, like surviving, is a process) this episode wasn’t filler. It gave us all the information we needed, slow though it may have seemed, and it pointed us towards what ever may lie ahead, and I can’t wait to watch it.

Thanks for reading, happy watching, and leave a comment about how you felt about the episode!

 

SPOILERS from the Talking Dead Sneak Peak

We will probably, for a while NOT find out who’s feeding rats to the walkers at the gates, or it may be that we the viewers find out, but our survivors won’t learn about it for a bit, because they’ll be too distracted by the walkers in the cell block. My money is on one of the adorable twerps that thought naming walkers was a good idea… ugh kids these days.

 

Michonne 1, Merle -3 TWD S3e6

So the episode opens  with 2 characters, making what are lousy choices, in my opinion. There’s Michonne, who left Woodbury, but didn’t go far, and Merle (sent by the Governor) with 3 guys out hunting her. Personally I think each party should have cut their losses and moved on. The only cuts made were Michonne’s and the losses Merle’s when she killed two of his guys and a couple of zombies. The surviving guy went on with Merle with a mere scratch. Everyone in the room was like: “Yay, he made it!”, and I was like “Seriously?!?! It doesn’t take the zombie guts and blood to make him a Red Shirt”. So it

Jim, I’m a dead man…not a magician!

came as no surprise when Merle shot him, for wanting to tell the Governor that Michonne was still alive. Merle thinks that “as good as dead” (because Michonne was running away from them into a zombie filled area) actually means you can say someone is “dead”. Yeah because that worked SO well for Shane, so I’m sure it’ll work well for Merle who lost any cool points he may have acquired. I was right about “Red Shirt”, I assume I’ll be right about the Governor being not so pleased when he finds out she’s still kicking.

Speaking of dead and right, I was dead right about there not being anyone living on the other end of Rick’s #BadConnection (thanks again #TalkingDead). And yes I know that was more punny than funny, but my editor made me put that in there, and by editor, I mean Martin, the guy who made my blog look like a blog, rather than a page of essays, muchas gracias!

I loved that Hershel could spot it too (the likelihood that there wasn’t really anyone on the other end), and I loved that he could also spot that like a sleepwalker, it would be best to hope that Rick would wake up on his own, rather than jerking him out of his dreams. Either way Rick spent some time walking around, not talking to anyone, not eating, and then sitting by the phone like a teenager who’d just been dumped for the first time (yes I’ll get to the important psycho-emotional stuff, no worries). The phone finally rang, and there was a man on the other end asking if he’s killed anyone, which he confesses to, including Shane. He doesn’t want to talk about how his wife died (an intuitive factoid for a random survivor to pull out of thin air), and the call ends.

Meanwhile, back in the sort-of real world, Andrea wants to contribute, and help protect the town, something the Governor is fine to let her do. That is until she’s paired with a newbie, who brags about her bow, that she apparently can’t actually aim with. Andrea hops off the wall and gets the job done, only to be scolded by the chick who probably hasn’t spent a day out of a community-ish setting. When she’s back in the Governor’s office, she admits to the Governor that she actually liked the staged fights, and it’s getting more and more obvious that she likes him too (in case he and the audience hadn’t gotten the hint yet).

Right about now Daryl, Carl and one of the prisoners (is it inconsiderate of me that I don’t care to get to know the prisoners? after all it’s a 3rd season of a drama, and they’re kind of the oft mentioned “Nikki and Paulo”.) are sweeping some area of the prison and Daryl and Carl connect when Carl confesses to shooting his mom before she turned, and Daryl is able to be somewhat relatable by explaining how he lost his mother (who liked to smoke in bed) to a house fire, and they were both with dead mothers with nothing left to bury or say goodbye to.

Somewhere nearby in the prison Rick’s getting another phone call, where he asks the voice on the other end how they knew he had a wife, and the conversation only goes on long enough for Rick to catch his name being used, and ask about that before the line going dead again.

Somewhere nearby in the great outdoors a zombie covered Michonne resurrects an age old debate from season one, can being covered in zombie guts keep you from being acknowledged as a human by zombies. I’m going to put in my two cents, then beg my readers for comments so we can argue…err discuss this disgusting tactic, that if viable, I’d use. So lets put together some zombie lore, specific to what’s been established in The Walking Dead. I am generally of the opinion that even though specific genre usually has rules (see Scream) that if a “universe” within that genre has modifications to those rule, and we are discussing just that “universe” that we stick to that universe. For example, Star Wars and Star Trek are both SciFi, but they don’t all follow the same rules. With those disclaimers out of the way, The Walking Dead has established in my opinion 2 concrete rules, and a possible inference. One, is that zombie goo can make you seem less human (don’t believe me re watch season 1). Two, is that zombies that have gone longer without eating humans are less crazed for it. Now we don’t know for sure, but the walkers Michonne encountered were not in a once people filled city, and it had been almost a year, rather than a couple of months-ish since they’d possibly turned. Now as several may point out, that Michonne was not as covered in guts as Rick and Glenn had been, she’s also the least human of any survivors we’ve met. Now that’s not to say that I dislike Michonne, far from it, in her own way she’s quite entertaining. However, she almost never speaks, and moves differently that most people, there’s nothing relaxed about her at all. Anyway, in my opinion, when required, use zombie guts to their full potential.

Sometime and somewhere about when and where this is all going on Glenn and Maggie have gone out for a formula run, when they run into Merle. Merle is seemingly happy to see Glenn and ask about his brother. Glenn, wisely does not trust Merle, which makes sense, considering Merle momentarily takes Maggie hostage and forces the two of them to drive to Woodbury. All the while being watched by Michonne, who spotted the basket full of formula that had just been retrieved. To bring up another debate (comments please) several folks seem to think that Glenn should have taken the shot when Merle had Maggie, because of how close he was, would you?

Remember when I said that Glenn WISELY did not trust Merle? Remember that? Just a paragraph ago? Well be prepared to be shocked my 4 readers (that’s right, there’s 4 of you now?)! Because I am finally going to criticize the Governor, and no it’s not for sleeping with Andrea (and no I’m not going to criticize Andrea either, she’s been duped and he’s the one that duped her into believing he was a normal guy and not the type that would keep dead family members around, it’s unfortunate but not that shocking folks). I think he was an idiot for trusting Merle, though his continued questions about Michonne’s head and sword, were along the same lines as Hershel’s phone questions, so maybe he’s smarter than I’m giving him credit for. I think trusting Merle is like trusting a stray dog, that isn’t house-broken, with a bayonet for a paw! But that’s just me. Either way, as I said above, things will not go well when the Governor finds out about Michonne.

Back at the prison, we have some nice moments before the credits roll. First, there’s a bitter Daryl, who found Carol’s knife in a walker’s neck. He sits brooding in front of a door someone/thing is trying to open, until he opens it in frustration ready to shoot a walker, and he sees a half-starved and dehydrated, but alive Carol. In another part of the prison, Rick gets one last phone call. This time it’s Lori. She tells him she loves him, he gets a chance to say he was sorry and that he always wanted to get them to a safe place and that he loved her. She tells him to take care of Carl and their baby. It was closure, both for Rick and Lori fans, and whether it was all in his head, or the whispers from LOST it was a necessary catharsis, and it was wrapped up in one ep which was nice. Who really wanted to see Rick be crazy for a while?
Stepping back out into the light Rick actually interacts with the others and holds the still unnamed “little asskicker” and sees Michonne with the basket of formula.

**Read no further if you avoid spoilers as one avoids a walker**
I’m glad we got happy moments this episode, because based on the previews, next week looks like it won’t be so happy for Glenn and Maggie in Woodbury.