“The Walking Dead” Season 4 premiered Sunday night on AMC, revealing a new sense of community and offering a couple of surprising — and creepy — twists.
There was a new sense of order at the prison with the Woodbury people and the prison gang, as well as stragglers Daryl Dixon and Rick Grimes found on the roads and the backwoods, coming together to create a society — one trying to work together to survive the zombie apocalypse. But, there was also a lot of trouble thanks to walkers, leaky roofs and one stranded Irish tourist.
Here’s the blow-by-blow account of how it all went down:
The Prison Vegetable Fields: Rick Grimes (Farmer Rick) is tending to the latest crop (“Precious Memories” from The Stanley Brothers playing on his headphones) when he finds a gun buried in the earth. Zombies claw toward him from outside the fence. Unfazed and safely inside the prison gates, Rick picks up the gun and tosses it away like trash.
The New Prison Pig Farm: Carl Grimes comes out to find his dad in the brand new Season 4 pig farm at the prison. Violet, the pig, doesn’t look well, Carl notes. “Don’t name them,” Rick tells his son. “They’re food.
The New Outdoor Prison Commissary: Daryl Dixon walks through the prison lot as a host of members of the new group shout “Hello.” Carol Peletier, who is cooking, tells her pal, “Just so you know, I liked you first.” She suggests Daryl is going to have to get used to the love that comes with bringing in various strangers they’ve found and brought into their group (since the end of Season 3). We meet one of them — Patrick — a youngster with glasses, who thanks Daryl for bringing them deer to eat the night before.
As Patrick takes over cooking duties, Carol tells Daryl they can’t spare many people for the day’s supply run, due to the buildup of walkers overnight around the prison fences. Flirting on “The Walking Dead”? “Sorry, Pookie,” she tells him before they part. Daryl nudges her back.
Glenn & Maggie’s Prison Cell: Glenn tells his girlfriend Maggie he doesn’t think she should go on the supply run. She’s not perfectly happy about it, but agrees.
Outside The Prison Walls: Since last we saw her, it appears Beth Greene has gotten herself a boyfriend named Zach. He’s headed on the supply run, and the two share a moment before parting. “You gonna say goodbye?” he asks her. “No,” she says.
As the supply run group forms up, a newcomer to the group — Bob — asks if he can help. Sasha (Tyreese’s sister) says she’s not sure he can play on a team, but Glenn vouches for Bob, noting he was a medic in the army.
Inside The Prison Gates: Michonne makes her Season 4 entrance atop a horse. She and Rick exchange pleasantries as she hands Carl a stack of comics. “And I found this,” she adds, handing Rick a razor. “Your face is losing the war,” she quips.
The supply run group rolls up. Michonne reveals she hasn’t found “him” (the assumption is “him” equals The Governor). She hopes to look for him in Macon, but in the meantime, she plans to help out on the run.
Rick announces he’ll be going out to check the animal traps, but not before suggesting his son, Carl, should hang out with newcomer Patrick and the other youngsters at another new Season 4 feature — “story time.” “That’s for kids!” Carl protests.
Before he heads off, Hershel tells Rick that the rest of the council (there’s a council now!) – Daryl, Carol, Sasha, Glenn, etc. — insist Rick takes his gun with him when he goes out beyond the prison walls. “Rick, we want you safe. Bring your gun.”
Out In The Backwoods: While checking traps, Rick runs into a woman, who sounds like she is from Ireland. Caked in dirt and mud, she asks for his help bringing a dead boar back to her husband. Rick gives her a sandwich instead. “Can we possibly come back with you? We’ve been doing very badly on our own,” she says. Rick tells her that if they can answer three questions, he will take her and her husband in.
Just Inside The Prison Gates: There are children at the prison now in Season 4 — including a trio of girls Carl’s age. They’re standing at the fence teasing the walkers and also giving them names. “They’re not people and they’re not pets,” Carl snaps. “Don’t name them.” The other kids (including Patrick) leave Carl for “story time.”
At A Local Superstore: While they wait for the walkers to move toward the door so they can take care of them, Daryl and Beth’s boyfriend, Zach, play a little game. Zach has been trying to guess for weeks what Daryl was before things changed. He guesses Daryl was a homicide cop. Michonne, who is present for the conversation, laughs. “Undercover,” Daryl confirms. “I don’t like to talk about it because it’s a lot of heavy sh**.” “Really?” Zach asks, realizing he’s failed again to guess correctly. “I’ll just keep asking.”
Out In The Backwoods: The Irish woman explains that she and her husband, Eddie, got stuck on a layover to Puerto Vallarta when things changed. Eddie got her through. She asks about Rick’s camp. He explains people are the “best defense against walkers, or people.” “You call them walkers,” she replies.
At A Local Superstore: Inside the store, Glenn pauses next to a sign advertising baby announcements and it becomes clear that the reason he didn’t want Maggie to go on the run is because she might be pregnant. Newcomer Bob stops on the booze aisle long enough for the audience to understand he struggles with alcohol issues. He picks up a bottle and decides to put it back. He slams the bottle on the shelf. The entire display crashes down around him, pinning him underneath. Walkers on the roof above hear the noise and head toward the center of the roof. It can’t take their weight. There’s a crash and it turns into a walker rain shower on the supply run gang.
Out In The Backwoods: “What Eddie and I had to do, did you have to do things like that? Do you think you get to come back from ‘em,” the Irish woman asks Rick. “I hope so,” he replies.
At A Local Superstore: The gang fends off zombies. Bob screams for help. Daryl uses a gun! Beth’s boyfriend helps free Bob, but ends up zombie meat.
The Irish Woman’s Camp In The Backwoods: Turns out, Eddie is no longer alive and the woman was hoping to turn Rick into her zombie hubby’s dinner (we never see him, but it appears he’s a head in a bag). Rick dodges her attack and she decides to stab herself instead. “I wanted to take the boar. I just knew I’d get you here so much quicker,” she says about trying to make Rick a zombie meal.
“What were the questions,” she asks Rick as she starts to die from the stab wound. “How many walkers have you killed?” was the first. “How many people have you killed?” was the second.
“Just me,” she tells Rick. “Why?” Rick asks. “You don’t get to come back from this,” she says before dying.
Rick leaves and takes the sandwich with him.
The Prison Library: “Story time” with Carol has a secret side. In between reading tales from the bountiful collection of books the gang seem to have discovered/collected since Season 3, she instructs the kids on survival tactics. “Today, we are talking about knives,” Carol notes. Patrick asks if he can be dismissed. He’s feeling sick. Carl sees the knife instruction and Carol begs the Grimes’ youngster not to tell his dad.
The New Prison Pig Farm: Rick is back at the prison. Violet, the pig, has died.
Glenn & Maggie’s Prison Cell: Glenn tells his girlfriend what happened to Zach on the run. She tells him some other news. “I’m not pregnant.” Maggie reveals she didn’t want a baby at this stage, but they could have had one. “We can have lives in here,” she says. “I don’t want to be afraid of being alive.”
Beth’s Prison Cell: Beth knows from Daryl’s face that Zach didn’t make it. She immediately gets up off her bunk and changes the, “The Workplace Has Gone 30 Days Without An Accident,” sign from “30” to “0.”
Michonne’s Prison Cell: Michonne surveys a map to Macon. She’s prepping to go after The Governor, it seems.
The Prison Common Area: Rick and Hershel discuss what happened with the Irish woman. Hershel says, “You get to come back. You do,” and points out Rick came back from the brink, baby Judith survived and his son Carl did too.
Patrick’s Prison Cell: Newcomer Patrick is sick and coughing. He heads to the showers, turns them on and collapses. As the water dries up, the camera pans through the prison and then to Patrick, who is now on the floor. There is blood caked outside of his nose. His eyes open. They are red, yellow and gray.
“The Walking Dead” Season 4 airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on AMC.
-- Jolie Lash