Warning: this is as much of a recap as it is a review, so here there be SPOILERS. You have been warned.
The new season of The Walking Dead kicked off last night with a nifty pilot. Before I get too excited, I'm going to remind myself that Season 3 also got off to a great start and did a wonderful job of building toward a truly lackluster finale that made the entire season seem like a grand waste of time. Yet there was a lot of promise on display in 30 Days Without An Accident, and there's too much talent involved in this show for another botched season, right? I think so, though it should be noted that while this was a nice pilot, it didn't have the same magic as the material in the first two seasons. Maybe I still miss Shane, but I've lamented enough. Let's recap, folks!
So, the opening served to show us that things are honky-dory at the prison. Rick's a farmer, the new guests dig Daryl (seriously, who doesn't?--although I can't be the only one wondering how he has managed to stash a stylist away somewhere during the zombie apocalypse), and Beth Greene has a boyfriend! Unfortunately, said boyfriend's introduction had me thinking he wasn't going to make it long and he didn't even survive the pilot. Some members of the group were gearing up for a supply run and Glenn didn't want Maggie to go. It's good to know that the Glen/Maggie soap opera is still in full-swing.
Michonne hit the scene on horseback, bearing comics for Carl and a razor for Rick, who doesn't need a shave any more than I do. Michonne notes that she didn't find "him" and I imagine that the "him" she's referring to is the lame-ass AMC Governor (who would last about ten seconds in a fight with the comic book version of his character) who will definitely show up at some point this season. Anyway, Rick heads out to check some traps and Michonne joins up with the group going out for supplies so she can hang with Daryl. I assume that everyone who signed up for that gig really just wanted to hang with Daryl.
In the woods, Rick meets a creepy girl that we instantly recognize as a threat while checking the traps. She tells him some sob story about bringing food back to her husband (this sob story raises obvious questions Rick doesn't bother to ask) and asks if he has a group nearby. He admits that he does and she asks if she and her man could join up. Rick says that she'll have take him to the dude and he'll ask them three questions (kind of like the guy on the bridge in Monty Python and the Holy Grail) to determine whether or not they're in.
The group looking for supplies hits up some kind of superstore. Glenn is among their ranks, and we realize he didn't want Maggie along because she may be pregnant. This new guy on the show, Bob, a former medic who has recently joined the camp, stops to salivate over some booze. He picks up a bottle, nearly takes it, and then slams it back down. He does this with enough force to topple the entire shelving unit, which pins him to the ground. Bob's worth to the group is obviously debatable. Zombies that are chilling on the rooftop along with a crashed helicopter hear the shelving unit collapse and make their way toward the center of the roof, which is apparently made of paper mache. Within seconds, it's raining walkers in the superstore and we finally get an action scene.
While the supply run group battle the undead, Rick and the creepy lady continue their trek through the woods. They talk as they go, and nothing she says makes her seem less creepy or more trustworthy. This is a situation Shane would have done a much better job with, but I digress. The supply run group wins the battle, but Beth Greene's boyfriend Bob doesn't make it. I'm guessing that no one else liked the dude, because no one bothered to put him out of his misery while he suffered a pretty brutal demise. Anyway, this was a gruesome action scene that was pretty damn exciting, though I didn't like seeing two chicks slice up walkers with swords. That's Michonne's bag.
Creepy girl finally leads Rick to her campsite and promptly tries to kill him. Her husband (what's left of him, at least) has been reduced to the contents of a sack that moves and she reveals that she was going to feed Rick to him before stabbing herself. As she's dying, she asks Rick what the 3 questions were. They were: How many walkers have you killed? How many people have you killed? Why?
Rick makes his way back to the prison. So do the people who went on the supply run. As the episode winds down, we see Michonne studying a map, focusing on Macon. Maybe that's where the lame-ass AMC Governor is. Rick and Hershel talk about the creepy girl and her woeful demise. Daryl and Beth share an awkward hug that would probably make Carol jealous. Newcomer Patrick, a goofy teen, stumbles into the shower and collapses. The camera pans around a bit and then returns to this unlucky fellow, who has died and re-awakened as a walker.
That's how the pilot ends. All things considered, it was entertaining, and there are definitely some new wrinkles. I liked the action and gore and it will be interesting to see where all of the new developments lead. I'm really tired of Rick being a dope, but that's apparently his character now. I don't think the quality of the program is on par with the first two seasons, and it has always been vastly inferior to the comic series, but this could be a strong season. Surely it will be better than Season 3, and truth be told, we're only one week in. Maybe AMC will really dazzle me and Season 4 will wind up being just as compelling as either of the first two seasons.
Agree? Disagree? Don't be afraid to chime in.