The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 1 – “30 Days Without an Accident”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott Gimple
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, and Scott Wilson
Air date: October 13, 2013
The Walking Dead is a mixed-bag of television at its best. The show, (which premiered its fourth season to a record-shattering 16.1 million viewers last night) has never had a problem providing a promising start – it’s what happens after that normally makes me fall through a ceiling, break a leg, and limp away from the show for the remainder of the season.
“30 Days Without an Accident” executes on giving the audience a changed environment, plot threads to drive the new season forward, and a great action setpiece, but all of these things have been done well in seasons past. Can Scott Gimple (who is the third showrunner in four seasons), finally provide us with a show that’s able to give some much needed development to its new and established characters?
The short answer to that question is a solid ‘maybe.’ There’s hints and flashes of perhaps finally being able to see our characters grow and develop, but each of them are painted with such a broad brush that now, even four seasons in, characters are often as binary as they come. Daryl (Norman Reedus) has a wallet that probably says BAMF on it. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) wants to believe there’s still good in the world/people, but is constantly proven wrong. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) are the semi-star crossed lovers who definitely won’t have something heart-breaking happen to them ever, etc, etc.
And that is what is continually frustrating about the show: the action and zombie killing is great, but the character work needs improvement. I know there’s potential to evolve these characters into multi-layered people, but those attempts are few and far between and often don’t amount to much, especially when I know there’s a great show lying in wait.
Gimple has provided a decent foundation to turn this show into the show I so desperately want it to become (Look at how much life Danai Gurira was able to breathe into Michonne in her first scene). Yet I’ve fallen for that same trick time and time again.
Here’s to hoping I finally get to see that change happen.
– I’ll be watching this season, but I won’t be doing weekly reviews of the show unless I’m particularly struck by an episode. However, if there is a demand for my thoughts on a weekly basis, I may give it another thought.
– Again, I feel like this show is a franchise that has to serve a lot of masters, especially considering how great those premiere numbers are. To put that into context, those 16.1 million viewers made the series outdo itself from last season’s finale by 3.5 million viewers and is bigger than any network show this fall. With a spinoff on the way, that sound you hear is AMC executives and Walking Dead creator Robert KirkmanScrooge McDuck’ing through piles of sweet, sweet cash. This indicates (to me at least) that there’s little hesitation to mess with the established formula. Sadly, I think this means The Walking Dead will continue to exist as a decent-to-good show, never quite being able to take that step fully into the realm of something special.
– Man, who would have thought that Greg Nicotero would have turned into one of the show’s finest directors? The supermarket sequence was handled so well, and Nicotero certainly went out of his way to make the zombie deaths as gruesome as possible. That entire scene stands out as one of the show’s best setpeices and comes across strong, coherent, and terrifying. Great work by Nicotero.
– We’re in agreement that between the two deaths in the episode that all the new Woodbury residents are there to be glorified red shirts until we get down to our regular cast members, right? Right.
– One thing I am excited for is the inevitable return of David Morrissey‘s Governor. Smart move on behalf of the writers to have the threat exist in the world somewhere, biding his time to return (at the worst possible moment, I’m sure).