Restarting the zombie accident calendar
Haunted by the death of his brother, a natural tracker and armed with a crossbow, Daryl Dixon is the last detective on Earth.
Or at least, that was what viewers got to fantasize about briefly during the season four premiere of "The Walking Dead," which aired on Sunday night.
Daryl and Carol = Darol MAKE IT HAPPEN
The most popular cable television show returned with a gentle calm, as all appears to be safe and calm at the prison, and ended with a mystery that could haunt the entire season. How did Patrick get infected? Why are walkers coming to the prison?? Will Carl ever make a move on Beth the farmer's daughter? Is newcomer Bob Stookey really a zombie because he died in a Maryland prison about 10 years ago???
Let's take those in reverse order.
Larry Gilliard Jr. joins this season's cast as a friendly face in the prison, but he appears to be hiding some secrets, which could include a drinking problem. His secretive nature indicates there is much more to him than we're initially seeing and it could be fatal for people living in the prison.
Gilliard is a veteran of HBO's "The Wire," where he played doomed D'Angelo Barksdale. He isn't the first castoff from the best television show ever to join the Walking Dead, as Chad Coleman, known forever as Cutty, joined the cast last season.
We have returned to find Coleman struggling to deal with life in the prison, as he doesn't like slaughtering zombies in safety and the fair fights with zombies in the wilderness don't float his boat either anymore.
The adorable/creeepy Beth has settled into her role as human resources/safety officer. She appears to be maintaining the group's accident calendar, which got rolled back to zero days from 30 days when her brief love interest (SPOILER ALERT: It wasn't Carl!) gets eaten alive during a trip to a big box retailer. But Beth takes the death in stride because her thing is to not feel anymore.
Rick makes a friend (briefly)
And while she doesn't want to feel, other characters are feelingly a lot of different things. Maggie is trying to feel alive, which is why she wants to have a baby with Glen, Carl wants to feel like an adult, Rick wants to feel a connection to people, Michonne needs to feel revenge by getting the Governor and Carol is celebrating her power trip in the prison by teaching kids about knives and sexually harassing Daryl.
The main thing occupying the inmates time during the premiere is maintaining the prison. This duty includes killing walkers that are up against the fence, a more demanding practice lately because they seem to be drawn to their. The attraction seems to go beyond sight, as one zombie appears to have no eyes.
The episode ends with a clearly infected newcomer going to the prison showers to cool off before being transformed into a zombie. There is no clear reason for the transition, but it could be an airborne issue now, which would make sense since all the people are infected already. Maybe the symptoms just presented before he died.
Or maybe the symptom could be in water that was shared with Violet, the pig that Carl names at the start of the episode and is dead by the end.
The oddest part of the episode comes from a talking walker played by Kerry Condon, who stumbles upon Rick in the woods. I call her a talking walker because her character Clara appears like a zombie, although she is actually just a surviving human who is barely surviving. In quickly appears that she is less than human, in fact she is the only human in her current relationship, which seems to consist of her and her husband's zombie head.
Clara's character is a reminder to Rick about his own struggles with reality and its a creepy way to take up some time in an episode that was otherwise devoid of creepy moments.
The season debut was a stark reminder about what the show is and what it isn't. It isn't part of television's golden age, which will end with AMC's "Mad Men." It is consistently delivering guts and gore. It isn't tasteful. It does know how to write Carol, Daryl and Herschel.
My fingers are crossed that this season will have an interesting mystery, because for me this show is all about the narrative. I don't care about any of the characters besides Daryl, Maggie and Carol (and Cutty doesn't count because that's a character from "The Wire"), so I don't care about how they all develop or struggle. While the death of Patrick remains a mystery, I will remain devoted to this show.
Prediction: We'll see the Governor again by the end of the season. It will set up the next story arc on the show.
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