Thursday, October 17, 2013

Walking Dead, Season 4 Episode 1

Although there will be many spoliers ahead, we don’t think we’re ruining anything for anyone by saying that last year’s Walking Dead finale sucked hard. A season’s worth of tension between Woodbury and Rick’s band at the prison came to a head in a conflict that lasted minutes, ended with the Governor gunning down his own soldiers and taking off for parts unknown, and resulted in nothing more exciting than Rick taking in a busload Woodbury’s orphaned, elderly, and infirm. It’s as if the last season of Walking Dead was an elevator that we were all riding on, and the creators ripped ass right as they were stepping off of it. We fans have been stewing in that rank fartbox for the better part of a year now, pinching our noses closed and waiting to reach the next floor. The only question is, will we be greeted by a draft of cool, refreshing air when those doors open again on Season 4, or another gale of warm, eye-watering flatulence?
  • A dude engaging in agriculture doesn’t normally make for a riveting cold open, but they sort of carried it off this time. = +2pts 
  • Dorky kid in glasses reminds us all how cool Daryl is. Does the Daryl Dixon Fan Club really need to have representatives on the show itself? = -5pts 
  • Folks on “cleaning duty” around the perimeter fence help fill our quota of zombie splatter for the episode. = +8pts 
  • Michonne comes back to the compound on horseback with a stack of comics for Carl. = +3pts (That lady’s a keeper.) 
  • D’angelo Barksdale has returned from the dead, and he wants to accompany the gang on a supply run. = +6pts (Here’s hoping he’ll teach them a thing or two about chess.) 
  • Since when does Rick Grimes need to be reminded to carry a gun when he’s beyond the gates? = -3pts 
  • Rick stumbles across a random-encounter woman with an ambiguous accent (Is it Irish? Afrikaans? Your guess is as good as ours.). = -1pt 
  • D’angelo proves his usefulness to the group by getting himself pinned under a liquor shelf and drawing the attention of the heard of walkers previously standing dormant on the roof. = -4pts 
  • If the zombies were on the rooftop all along, we’re not sure why, all of a sudden, their movement would cause it to start collapsing. = -5pts 
  • But honestly, who cares? We could watch them tumble through holes in the ceiling and splatter on the concrete all day long. = +20pts 
  • Boyfriend of the Greene daughter whose name we never bothered to learn gets eaten. = +3pts 
  • Rick’s meeting with the twitchy, feral looking refugee woman and her “husband” ends about as well as you’d expect. = -2pts 
  • Carl discovers Carol giving self-defense lessons to the kids under the guise of “story time.” For some reason, this has to be kept secret from Rick. Rick Grimes, do we even know who you are anymore? = -4pts 
  • Patrick, the president of the Daryl Dixon Fan Club dies in the middle of the night from… we’ll say a cold? And he comes back as a zombie. = +2pts 
  • We still have no idea what the arc for this season is going to be. = -10pts
Total Score = +10pts
Season Score = +10pts

A decent opening gambit. The sight of an undead horde raining down on our heroes through holes in a decaying roof was atonement enough to cover all manner of sins. Still, we couldn’t quite shake off the feeling of general directionlessness that’s been plaguing the show ever since its second season. Frankly, WD has struggled for a long time with scattershot character development and aimless plotting, and four seasons in, it's probably futile to hold out hope that the show will ever live up to the audacity of its premise (or its excellent source material). Still, if there's one things nerds love more than having their socks knocked off by a show, it's having an excuse to bitch about it, so we know exactly where we'll be every Sunday for the next seven or eight weeks.

Score Technician: Joe Hemmerling

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