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The Walking Dead: 401 “30 Days Without An Accident” Review

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Reviewed by Rich Jepson.

Walkers in a bag, walkers in the shower and walkers falling from the sky? What’s not to like about the new season of The Walking Dead…alright maybe story time…until the knifes came out! Nice one Carol.

It’s baaaaack! As most like to say. It’s that time of year and for me it’s better than Christmas, New Year, Bonfire Night and Easter combined – Halloween. Of course since 2010 this for most of us TV fans means only one thing, it’s time for The Walking Dead. Now in it’s forth season and with a much-expanded cast, TWD doesn’t show signs of fatigue or lacking in new ideas. Quite the contrary in fact, this episode was watched by 16.1 million in the states (that’s 6 million more viewers than the series finale of AMC’s other hit show Breaking Bad) and was full of surprises to really get the new season going.

Following on from Rick’s decision to bring in the remaining Woodbury folks, albeit controversial and slightly defiant of the comic narrative, we find the group still based in the prison and looking a lot more permanent. The defenses have been fortified, the land has been used for farming and there is a sense of governance within the inflated population. Hershel mentioned a council during his conversation with Rick and I think this is an interesting area to explore.

What always interests me about this show, apart from the creative ways to exterminate walkers of course, is how the group deals with post-apocalyptic world and how they interact as a fragmented society. Similarly with shows like Lost in the past, I always find myself asking questions – what would I do in this situation? What role would I play – would I be a leader, an organizer, a hunter, a farmer? If we were stripped down to the basics of life, how would we organize ourselves to re-establish life as we knew it to be?

It’s these kinds of topics that Robert Kirkman addresses so well in the comics, he had a clear vision from the start that this is not a story about zombies, it’s about how a group of survivors deal with the world once it becomes infested with them. That’s what made the books so successful and that’s what makes the show so successful.

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Rick’s side story with the lone Irish woman was simple on the surface yet added another element to the new world that the characters find themselves a part of. She was suspicious from the start and given that we’ve seen the introduction of so many new characters I didn’t think we were going to be adding to that list straight away. When Rick asked her about the statues at the airport, I thought he was using it as a test to see if her back story was correct, It didn’t come to fruition but I like that the writers included this to keep us guessing until the moment she attacked Rick.

Outside of this, the main action in this episode took place inside a supermarket. Kicking things off with the notion that Daryl was an undercover cop was a bit of a shock but actually makes perfect sense. Although, why is this brought up now? Given the relationship Rick and Daryl have had, this is something that would have surely come up sooner, so it did seem like a bit of a cop out (no pun intended) but nonetheless I think it’s a cool back story and adds to the idea that Daryl’s a bad ass as well as a good guy.

The chaos in this scene was brilliant and as usual we got some creative and graphic deaths. First of all, the whole idea of walkers falling through the roof (which conveniently survived a military helicopter crashing into it but couldn’t withstand a slight gathering of corpse in particular spots) was fantastic as a concept. It’s something new that we haven’t seen in the series and was highly entertaining to watch.

What I didn’t enjoy about this part of the premiere was seeing Zack die, the actor playing him, Kyle Gallner, will be familiar to fans of The Shield as a young psychopath in the final season. He is without doubt a rising star and very promising talent so to see him used as zombie-fodder so early on was annoying, although it wasn’t expected so it’s worth commending the writers for.

A new addition to the group that did survive even after causing the rafts of undead to go ‘wild in the isles’ was Bob Stookey. Played by the brilliant Lawrence Gillard Jr (aka D’Angelo Barksdale from The Wire) this character is obviously a (recovering) alcoholic and former army medic. He’s from the comics so we know he’ll have some importance but his role will probably differ greatly.

The climax to the episode brings up all sorts of possibilities for next week’s edition of the show. There’s clearly some sort of infection that looks to have killed the pig and that McLovin lookalike in the shower. What could have caused this? Maybe it’s something in the water or perhaps it’s something more sinister within the group. He did make an obvious point about shaking Daryl’s hand at the start so maybe it was something he picked up from his greasy palm.

Either way there’s a walker on the inside and he’s probably going to give a few of the new guests an unwelcome visit…”what’s up gangstaaaaaaaaas?”

8.5/10

Scene of the Episode: “Chopper Shopper” – Part of me wishes that somehow one of the gang managed to hit the in-store music player and the song “It’s Raining Men” come on just for the comedy value.

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