The Walking Dead premiered its fourth season on Sunday night, picking up six months following its April season three finale with the Woodbury residents settling into a communal life with Rick’s prison group.

Rick (Andrew Lincoln), after serving as the de facto leader for so long, has given his power over to a counsel in the hopes of hanging on to whatever humanity he has left. Since the Governor fled, the new peaceful community Rick spearheaded has become both cohesive and self-reliant. They’re growing crops and tending to livestock, while finding more effective ways of keeping the walkers on the other side of the prison fence.

When Daryl (Norman Reedus) returns from a hunt with a deer, courtesy of his precision shooting with his crossbow, the prison residents are exited to get some meat in their stomachs. Introduced during the meal are a new nerdy looking guy named Patrick, Tyrese’s (Chad L. Coleman) girlfriend Karen, a guy named Zach who’s dating Beth (Emily Kinney) and Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.), who’s an army vet. Together, the group has been on duty guarding the fence, using pointed objects to kill the walkers that are putting a dangerous amount of pressure on the prison fence.

Two of the new guys – Bob and Zach – get recruited by Daryl to go on a looting mission to the fictional equivalent of a Walmart called the Big Sp!t. Glenn (Steven Yeun) joins the group as well, but coaxes his better half Maggie (Lauren Cohan) into staying behind. The Big Sp!t is kind of a mess, complete with a wrecked helicopter on the roof. Bob has a battle of wills in the liquor aisle – walking past the temptation, then picking a bottle up, then placing it back down. When he places the booze back on the shelf, the entire shelving unit collapses onto his leg.


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Unfortunately for the supply run crew, the helicopter wasn’t the only thing on the roof. Walkers up above hear the commotion and become frenzied, somehow managing to break through the roof and descend upon the store. Despite Daryl and Glenn’s best efforts to thwart the attack of the undead, new guy Zach takes a gruesome bite to the leg and won’t be returning to his sweetheart Beth.

Back near the prison grounds, Rick is checking the snares for any catches. Out beyond the fence perimeter, he meets a haggard looking Irish woman, who asks him for help. She explains that she and her husband Eddie, who’s too ill to move, have done some awful things to survive thus far and just want some peace and shelter. Before Rick will provide them with those things, he says he needs to ask them both a series of three questions: 1) How many zombies have you killed? 2) How many people have you killed? 3) Why? But, before he can ask the questions of Eddie, he realizes he’s already been turned just as the wife tries to butcher Rick with a knife to feed to him. When Rick escapes her attack, she kills herself with the knife.

Inside the prison, Carol (Melissa McBride) reads to the children. However, when the last parent leaves, it’s revealed that storytime is just a cover for defense against the undead time. Carol, whose daughter was turned into a walker and subsequently shot by Rick in season 2, is teaching the young survivors how to wield knives. Carl (Chandler Riggs), who earlier was treated to some comics and some laughs by Michonne (Danai Gurira), is begged by Carol to not tell his father about their secret club.

When the Big Sp!t group returns, Glenn is greeted by the news that Maggie isn’t pregnant after all. Glenn seems to think that might be for the best, but Maggie admits she’d like to bring some more life into the world. Meanwhile, Daryl takes it upon himself to tell Beth that Zach didn’t make it, and she's surprisingly numb, not even shedding a tear. More emotional is Rick, who wonders aloud to Hershel (Scott Wilson) if his past ruthless actions will forever haunt him, making him destined to repeat them. Hershel, the resident father figure, reassures him that all will be well.

As the episode came to a close, Patrick’s shower ends with him falling to the floor in his own blood as his eyes explode and he turns into a walker. Paralleling Patrick’s shocking end, is Violet the pig. Is there a new way the virus is getting caught?

The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC at 9/8c.

– Chelsea Regan

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