The Walking Dead season 4 episode 1 review

By Max Maier | Oct 14, 2013

The Walking Dead is finally back!!!!  It seems like it has been forever since Season 3, but Rick and the gang are back. After a more than disappoint finale, the show had a lot of ground to make up for. Did they pull it off? Well, yes....

We rejoin the cast what is presumed to be several months after season 3. We get a very well-realized sense of community at the prison now, with returning characters and new ones abound. Characters have hooked up, and everybody seems to start living again, like a real community, and the atmosphere is great. After the set up, Daryl, Michonne and Tyreese take a group of survivors to gather supplies from an old grocery store, and Rick goes out to check their traps to see if any animals showed up. However, Daryl and friends find more zombies than they bargained for, and Rick finds a whole different kind of problem. How will our heroes get out of this one?!

 

This was a set up episode, which is to be expected of a premiere. So when I say that it was a little dull at times, it isn't that bad a slight against it, because it had a lot to set up, and it set up its environment quite well. The atmosphere that the prison community creates is a great one, and is ripe with storytelling potential, and I cannot wait to see where it goes from here.

The best part of the premiere was the character interactions. Our returning characters had great moments, both comedic and dramatic. Carol and Daryl, I think, are finally a couple, which is great to see because they have great chemistry. They are absolutely adorable together and I wish we got more of them. Rick was very strong this weak, looking like he is past his "stuff and things" mentality of season 3 and is successfully stepping up as a great leader. Michonne was awesome this week, killing plenty of zombies as always, but she has become a witty and sarcastic delight. I'm also getting a vibe between her and Rick... maybe something will come of that. Maggie and Glenn also have a small subplot about pregnancy, but that really didn't go anywhere. Hershel once again is a great sort of father to everybody, and is just such a lovable old man. He also has a new foot! No more one-legged Hershel! Beth also gets big props this week for havinga  couple of strong dramatic moments, especially with Daryl. Tyreese and Sasha are brother and sister, I'm glad we are finally clear on that. Glad to see them on Team Rick.

The new survivors that get attention were ok. Nothing standout yet. We have an army medic, who may have a screw loose up in his head, that could go anywhere. We also have a tough woman Tyreese is interested in, several kids, a nerdy boy and a boyfriend for Beth. No new character really blew me away, but they certainly weren't bad.

The zombie scene in the grocery store was intense. The special effects team is outdoing themselves every season, and these gross moments were their best ones yet. But, the scene was a little ridiculous. The zombies were falling from the ceiling through collapsing holes in the roof. Ok, yes I know we are in a fictional world with zombies, but that whole roof thing was nonsensical. How convenient that the ceiling went from fine to crap just in time for our crew to get there, and that it was in perfect holes for the zombies to fall through. That many holes and rotting would cause a whole collapse by that point. Plus, that helicopter would've fallen before all those zombies did. This is a big nitpick, but it was distracting.

Now for the bad. Carl. My God, how are they screwing this character up? He was a buzzkill this entire episode. Yes, it is probably because of an altercation Rick had with him early in the episode about a pig, but come on! Carl needs to nut up or leave. I haven't been fond of this character since season 2. In this premiere, he did nothing but be an jerk to younger kids, mope and dope, and act really weird and out of character in the library scene, then it went nowhere. Carol did nothing wrong wanting to show the kids how to defend themselves. What was Carl's problem? If he is becoming the next Andrea, then can we please kill him off now before he gets worse? Carl in the books is ten times better than this annoying kid, and I'm sorry, but I thought his acting was off, kind of annoying.

Also, and I hope I'm wrong on this next week, but it seems like Rick's subplot with this woman this week was a big waste of time, other than Rick's 40 second realization at the end of the episode. If that's all that will come out of it, then this was a big waste of time and emotion. Why were we supposed to give a care about this weird person? Yes, Rick is trying to care about people more and save lives, but this case was a little much. I don't really blame Rick, but I hope there is more payoff than this. They even hyped her in the season 4 previews, so I hope more is coming.

Overall, this was a good premiere and setting things up for an interesting season of The Walking Dead. Our favorite characters are back, and with a bigger cast of heroes to watch out for. The ending of this premiere was a very interesting one, and it is teasing something possibly bigger than anything the book has done yet. If they are going this direction, then I can't wait for more episodes. I'm already anxious to see the next episode, so this was icing on the cake. Hopefully now that we are set up, we can start knocking out of the park with the story. Here's hoping.

I give The Walking Dead season 4 episode 1 a free-fallin' 3.5 out of 5.

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