Aaah, fall is in the air. Starbucks’ feature flavor is pumpkin, school is back in session, and season four of The Walking Dead began on Sunday! Once more we can get our zombie-survivalist fix from the safety of our living rooms. Of course, I am still so consistently terrified by the unrelenting suspense and horror of this series that I watch each episode twice—first with the sound off, and then with the sound on, after I’ve had a chance to digest the latest deaths and tribulations of Ranger Rick’s thriving but constantly threatened colony. Naturally this recap contains spoilers galore, so if you are not caught up, go and watch it right now, you culturally deprived individual!
"30 Days Without an Accident" opens with Farmer Rick toiling away in the soil. As the undead plod against the prison fences, Rick cultivates more than tomatoes and arugula; he unearths a handgun! Not sure what type of fertilizer he’s using, but whatever it is, keep it up, Rick. Judging by the increasing number of walkers, you will need all the firepower you can find. Rick’s son Carl, the bad-ass in training, joins him and notes that a pig named Violet isn’t doing too hot. She’s laying on the ground and panting. The two muse what could me wrong with her.
Some of the camp is enjoying breakfast. We find out that certified crossbow- wielding bad-ass Daryl caught a deer yesterday. Daryl and Carol flirt over his allotted bowl of gruel. Carol hands the culinary reins over to a bespectacled young man we’ve never met before, Patrick. He effusively thanks Daryl for the tasty deer.
A select number of the group is preparing to make a run. When these are routine, we aren’t usually privy to the specific happenings therein, so the fact that much is made of who goes on the run and other details signify that things will go very badly indeed for all involved.
Meanwhile, Rick meets a zombie-like woman who is not a walker whilst traipsing through the forest. She implores him for help, revealing that she and her husband—who is not present—are starving. Rick offers her a bundle of food wrapped in foil, no doubt banana bread or a roasted chicken or whatnot. The ever-suspicious Rick frisks her before agreeing to accompany her back to her campsite. He discovers that she’s carrying a knife and admonishes her, saying no funny business or else he will smite her.
The intrepid group of Michonne, Daryl, Tyreese, new young guy (sorry, I forget his name, which is just as well because his role here is short-lived), Tyreese’s lady friend from season 3 with the puffy pretty hair and a bald black guy also new to the group venture to a big box store (think Costco or Walmart) to load up on Vitamixes, thigh masters, and other luxuries. Little do they know that a horde of the undead are aimlessly roaming around above their heads! The soon-to-collapse roof of the store also has a crashed helicopter on top of it. While bald black guy contemplates the vintage of a certain bottle of red, the entire shelf falls on him, pinning him to the floor. Where did he think he was, Total Wine and Liquor?? The implication is that he is a reformed drinker who should not be in the alcohol section of this store anyway OR that he is considering taking the wine on the sly without sharing it with the others. Anyhoo, this is decidedly NOT a good time to become immobilized. Also, the huge noise from the crash attracts the attention of the undead above, who start crashing through the ceiling into the store as Daryl and the others are trying to free BBG (bald black guy). They get distracted from this mini-mission by the zombies they have to kill, and BBG is stuck alone to fend for himself. Just in time, Daryl swoops in and saves BBG’s ass. You owe him big time, BBG! Things are not as sanguine—actually, they are, if you think about it—for young college guy who said “see you later” to his girlfriend Beth before the run. He gets bitten and eaten right before the entire store collapses in on itself. Luckily, everyone else makes it out in time. The question we are left with, would the mission have gone more smoothly if BBG hadn’t taken the wine and collapsed the shelving? The zombies, after all, were drawn to the noise and headed right for it, which happened to be situated under the weakest parts of the roof. He was warned right before they left that on a run you have to do what’s best for the group and not yourself, or else you put everyone at risk.
Rick continues to follow the not-zombie chick back to her lair. Like most chicks, she wants to talk: blah, blah, blah, I did things I never thought I’d do, my husband saved my life multiple times, etc. They walk for what feels like a really long time. When they reach her campsite, Rick comes the sick realization that not-zombie chick’s husband IS a very real zombie whom she is keeping alive with animal carcasses. Rick was supposed to end up as a tasty treat for said husband! Luckily he evades her attack and pulls a gun on her. Despondent and disappointed, not-zombie chick commits hari-kari to join her husband, who is living a fine life in a semi-underground holding pen. Rick feels just awful for her. Note that he doesn’t shoot her in the head after she passes away, which may mean he is letting her become a walker and join her husband per her final wish. My main feeling about this incident is that I kept wishing Carl was around; his “shoot first” approach would have gotten rid of this annoying woman a lot sooner than his dad’s attitude.
Young Patrick isn’t feeling well at children’s story time hour in the prison library. Carol leads a half story, half knife instruction class there for some of the kids in the camp. Young Patrick leaves just as the class gets interesting because he feels barfy. (Warning: OVERT FORESHADOWING!!!)
Beth doesn’t seem too upset that her boyfriend got killed on the run. It’s all par for the course in this new world where life is cheap and death is knocking on your door everyday. Speaking of death, Patrick wakes up in the middle of the night all feverish and sweaty. He goes to cool off in the showers and collapses, hemorrhaging on the tiled floor, where he dies. How do we know he is dead? Because his eyes turn all spooky-like. He’s ready to lurch around, but hopefully Carl will get to him first with that nifty gun of his with the homemade silencer.