(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)
I will just preface this post with this: the Season 4 premiere episode of The Walking Dead, “30 Days Without an Accident,” was watched by 16.1 million viewers, with over 10 million of those viewers being in the coveted 18-49 yr old demographic, outperforming all other programs showing at that time, including NFL football. Awesome!
Opening scene: it’s night, and some psycho with a flashlight is feeding the walkers rats through the prison fence. (Later on Talking Dead, mental mastermind Greg Nicotero explained how they achieved the effect of the walker eating the rat…they used actual rats and “fed” them into an automated prosthetic robot mouth. While no rats were actually hurt during the shooting of this effect, I don’t know if any of us who watched it will ever be the same!)
Now, I know that in my last post, I was leaning pretty heavily towards Bob being the bringer of walker snacks…while Bob is still on my short list of prime suspects, I am also wondering if the walker-feeder may be Lizzy, the cute/spooky tween girl who has a penchant for naming the walkers outside of the fence. She hangs out by the fence a lot, actually, looking out towards the walkers as they hiss and snarl and bare their teeth back at her. By her own sister’s admission, Lizzy’s “messed up…not weak.”
I imagine we will learn about Lizzy, Bob, and everyone a little more as the season progresses.
While the night walkers are enjoying their midnight snack outside, inside the prison, Tyrese is making out with his hot girlfriend, Karen. He’s got the cell all cozy and shit…and then, being the male unicorn of sweetness and sexiness that he is, Tyrese actually sings to her: “I got you under my skin .” Our man is busting out all the love moves.
But maybe it’s all just a little too much, too soon for Karen, because she has decided not to sleep over and is going back to her cell.
I was watching this, thinking, “Ummm, wait…whut?” I was thinking, Girl, you should stay with that big sexy man… and now, you are in the darkest bathroom ever, and that is not great for you!
Of course, the scene is shot amazingly as Karen moves through the bathroom and showers, all dark and inky and shadowy, like a horror movie…and we know who is in there..oh God, here he is, sitting up. Yes, people, Patrick Walker is about to go nucking futs on Cell Block D.
Karen makes it out of the bathroom and retires to her cell, not knowing that Patrick Walker is lurching about a half cell-block behind her. She pulls aside her flimsy curtain and settles down for the night…alone (for some reason I still do not understand).
Damn, I thought they had doors on those cells… I would be like, “Um, can I get one of the cells with the locking doors and bars, please? Thank you!”
Here’s what happens when you go with the curtain option in zombie prison-dorm life…Patrick Walker is gonna come knocking on your curtain (or, at least until he hears a cough a couple of cells down and goes to investigate):
Shot of my tv…sorry for the amateur technique…I cannot seem to find the images I want to use online…I thought there was a whole world of computer-obsessed insomniacs out there posting all the pictures and clips I want to use in my blog, but apparently not!
So, I tried to shoot some video of it all going down on my phone…it took about 45 minutes of retakes and rewinds to film Patrick Walker’s first neck chomp on the Red-Shirt guy to Red-Shirt Walker’s roll-over-and-spill-his-guts-out scene. I then finally got it so it didn’t play upside down on the computer., and then, my blog wouldn’t let me insert it into my post…damn fickle technology! (My brilliant friend just suggested we try to download the episodes, then use images and videos from that to use for the blog..genius…and probably not legal.).
I did get one shot of Patrick Walker chewing meditatively on some of Red-Shirt guy’s innards:
Patrick Walker is by far my favorite walker yet…maybe it’s because he is so creepy yet cuddly at the same time. Maybe it’s because he can really bring the mayhem. Maybe it’s just because that Phineas actor kid plays a really great zombie. He was probably valedictorian in Greg Nicotero’s famed Zombie School. Check out the link about Zombie School on the AMC website:
I thought the whole Red-Shirt wifebeater guy getting chomped and spilling his guts on the floor was pretty believable at first, but my best WD buddy wasn’t having it. She texted me, That guy didn’t even move! to which I texted back, Patrick Walker chomped him good right in the front of the neck. She replied, Yeah, but no arm reaction at all?
Excellent point. I answered back, Maybe he had an instant heart attack. Pretty weak, I know, but I really didn’t have anything else. It was kind of not believable, once she pointed that out. (Ha ha, later on Talking Dead, they refer to the red shirt dude as “Deep Sleeper” in their In Memoriam segment, when they honor the fallen, live and undead alike.)
Meanwhile, the sun’s come up and it’s time to rise and shine at the prison. Glenn wakes Maggie up taking a Polaroid of her sleeping…and who can blame him? I mean, we all have a crush on Maggie, don’t we? I am a happily married woman, and even I am a little lady-gay for Maggie. Lauren Cohan is stupid hot. Steven Yeun plays Glenn perfectly as the geek guy who can’t believe he landed a stone fox like Maggie. You gotta love Glenn and Maggie. They’re so cute and flirty with each other. They manage to keep the zombie apocalypse sexy.
Out in the garden, Michonne is on her horse, ready to ride off on another weird solo adventure…Rick and Carl are seeing her off before starting work on the garden. Before she rides off, Michonne asks Carl why he doesn’t wear his (Rick’s) hat anymore…Carl answers that it’s “not a farming hat”…awww, snap! That’s gotta sting a little, but Rick plays it cool, even when Carl hints at going with Daryl on a run…and then after apologizing to Rick for his resistance to Rick’s new farmer lifestyle, Carl outright asks Rick when he can stop being gun-grounded and get his gun back. Rick doesn’t reply directly, just suggests that Carl add some worms to the slop to give the pigs more protein…I really liked the communication between Rick and Carl throughout the whole episode…by the episode’s end, you see how far they have come in their father/son relationship.
Then the gun alarm goes off, and all epidemic hell is breaking loose at the prison. It’s another wild, great scene…last week, it was raining walkers in the store, and now this week, it’s a walker prison riot. Season 4 is not fucking around, people! In one hot and gratifying instant, Rick drops the farmer act and becomes Rick In Charge, ordering Carl to the tower with Maggie and assessing the situation (Cell Block C is clear, Cell Block D is fucked) before running in to battle the walkers in Cell Block D.
The mayhem is so fast, with major carnage. Rick hands off his shotgun to someone else and turns his energies to helping get the panicked masses to safety. Glenn pulls off some major ninja-style knife kills, and Daryl saves the little curly-haired boy from Red-Shirt Walker, then saves Glenn from getting chomped by Patrick Walker by ordering Glenn down and shooting a crossbow into Patrick’s brain. “Awww, it’s Patrick,” laments Daryl as they stand over his rekilled form…yes, Daryl, your young fanboy is super dead.
The scene with Michonne and Carl at the gate is great….Two walkers on top of Michonne, and Carl blows the top walker guy’s brains in with one shot…you can see the joy in his face. My buddy texted me, Carl’s still got it ..Yes, he does, just like his dad!
Greg Nicotero said later in Talking Dead that the prison attack casualties totaled 14 civilians…men, women, and at least one child. That is a major theme in this episode, a mother losing her child in the zombie apocalypse.
In one telling scene, Beth is wrapping Michonne’s ankle in her cell while little Judith is seated on the floor, playing with red plastic kegger cups…Beth asks Michonne if there were any children killed in the attack. Michonne nods. Beth wonders aloud what someone who loses a child would be called, “We see all these widows and orphans, but what do you call someone who lost a child?” Baby Judith starts to cry at that moment, and Michonne flinches, gets a pained look on her face, like the sound of a baby crying is unbearable to her. “She always cry?” she manages, her voice tight.
Later, when Beth asks Michonne to hold Judith for a moment, Michonne hesitates before reluctantly taking the baby. She holds Judith at arm’s length at first, unable to look at Judith.
Judith begins to cry, and Danai Gurira plays it so beautifully as she slowly turns her head to look at the baby, then smiles at her and pulls Baby Judith closer to her chest. Michonne’s face lights up as she holds the baby, smiling, then dissolves into silent tears. Beth watches from a distance, realizing (as we do) that Michonne has probably lost a child herself, before walking away to leave Michonne and Judith in their moment together.
My heart felt like it had been torn from my chest watching those scenes…it’s a parent’s worst nightmare.
Daryl and Rick have to go around and rekill all the bitten people…Rick continues to show more and more edge, mixed with his beautiful look of sadness and regret…sigh….sorry, getting totally derailed by Andrew Lincoln…again.
Anyway, Rick and Daryl find a young walker teen shut in his cell…the kid that sleepwalked… Charlie…he wasn’t bitten or scratched, just the bloom of blood around the mouth and streaming from the eyes. Hershel and some young med student guy come look at the body and agree that there is a virus or aggressive flu in the works…a fast-acting flu that basically makes people’s faces explode blood out the eyes, nose, mouth and ears.
Wow, just when you think shit couldn’t get any more fucked up than it already was in zombie apocalypse. Now people can die from some Explodey Flu and turn into a walker literally overnight! Remember Ol’ Bloody Eye, the first walker featured last episode? He had the streaming blood from his eyes…Greg Nicotero said that this flu has changed the overall look for the walkers in Season 4. Deliciously gruesome, Greg Nicotero.
Outside, digging graves, Daryl thanks Rick for his help in the prison and asks if maybe Rick is ready to come back to being in a leader role in their community…Rick hems and haws, brings up all his mistakes from before…Daryl is having none of it, reminding Rick that he is always there and always solid when the shit goes down…then Maggie comes running, yelling for Rick and Daryl to come help…the walkers are rushing the outside ring of prison fencing, and it’s starting to tip over. Rick, Daryl, Maggie, Sasha, Tyrese, Glenn are stabbing the horde of walkers furiously (“culling the walkers,” Greg Nicotero calls it…love it!) and pushing back desperately as the fence continues to give. Maggie and Sasha see the dead rats on the ground and realize that someone from the inside has been feeding the walkers.
The fence keeps coming down…and Rick looks wistfully at his garden…he tells Daryl to get the truck…he gathers up the piglets, and they drive outside the prison gates into the mass of walkers. This scene is so symbolic and sad, with Rick’s face a study of loss and determination as he slashes each piglet that he raised in the hind leg to draw blood and disable it before tossing it towards the walkers. My friend had such a hard time with this scene…she texted me that the pig scene really messed her up. The music, another work of genius by Bear McCreary, was really haunting and added to the feeling of grief at the loss of Rick’s dream to rebuild a simple and peaceful life at the prison.
Honestly, I am a little on the fence about Carol right now. I totally get that after taking years of abuse by her shitty husband Ed and losing Sophia, she would feel the urgency of needing to teach the kids at the prison how to defend themselves, but I think she’s being a little weird about it, like not telling the parents and telling Carl, “Don’t tell your father!” All she’s gotta do is assemble a prison-PTA meeting and tell the Woodbury parents something like, “Look, I know at Woodbury you had Do-Art and Dunkin’ Donuts and shit, but around here, kids need to know how to defend themselves!”
And I’m sorry, but she was totally creepy to let Lizzy try to rekill her own dad…that girl was so not ready for that…she almost unhinged Lizzy, and then later was all like, “You’re weak, Lizzy!” I mean, I’m glad she gets to be a mom again and all, and I know she’s out of practice a little, and now it seems she and Lizzy made up, and Lizzy has a knife now…and I really don’t know how I feel about that.
Love the last scene with Rick and Carl, when Carl tells his dad about Carol teaching the kids the art of the knife kill. Rick listens, dismantling the pig pen and pouring gasoline over it and setting it on fire. He thanks Carl for telling him and assures him that he won’t tell on Carol. He then opens up a tackle box, takes out Carl’s gun, wrapped in cloth. He unwraps the gun and hands it to Carl. Then he takes his shirt off and tosses it into the fire…yes! Shirtless Andrew Lincoln, like a panacea for the soul after such a burly episode.
But, for poor Tyrese, the episode is not quite over. He goes with flowers to visit his sick girlfriend, and instead finds her cell splattered with blood and a big smeary blood trail meeting with another blood trail…he follows the blood trails down the hall and discovers two charred and smoking bodies, a man’s and a woman’s..sitting next to the bodies is a gas can. As he stares down at the bodies, Tyrese recognizes with horror the bracelet that Karen wore on her right wrist.
So, there it is, and here’s a playlist to wrap it all up tight like Carl’s gun. And this last song is for you, Tyrese…so sorry about your beautiful lady friend!
Submarines “1940” (Amplive remix)
Rise Against “Death Blossoms”
Those Darlins “Waste Away”