*Contains some spoilers*
The Walking Dead is back! Season 4's premiere picks up well after the events of the last finale with the Governor. Instead of enduring a rather boring meet and greet with all of the new characters who have moved into the prison, time fast-forwards and we only meet a handful of the new individuals who have decent to good connections with the pre-existing people we've come to know by now.
This episode does indeed plant the seeds for an all-new threat (which is currently subject to a whole lot of speculation), but it's primarily focused on how key characters have transformed while also trying to familiarize us with a few of the fresh faces. Truth be told, it's a bit of a jarring experience as we're abruptly hit with new relationships and people, so it's incredibly tough -- if not impossible -- to build an emotional attachment to them just yet. This is particularly noticeable twice as a couple of the people were clearly introduced just to benefit the greater picture instead of being fleshed out at all. One of them is solely there to illustrate how much another character has changed over time and to of course include some extra gore. The other seemingly exists just to help cement our interest in a new mystery. It's understandable the first episode has to get a lot of details out of the way since there's a massive amount of new characters, but as of right now, there really isn't a powerful hook with any of them.
Gore most certainly wasn't in short supply. There's a plethora of vicious kills as walkers who crowd the perimeter fence are poked in the face over and over and over and over. I love me some zombie kills, but it felt like the scene went on a tad too long. Thankfully, there's a huge action piece later on and it's packed with some moments that are truly cringeworthy (intestines as a safety line!). It's super frustrating when zombies are apparently useless around key characters ("I don't want to try and bite Glenn's legs, I simply want his braiiiiiins!"), but still, there was some superb makeup on display and some absolutely gruesome content thrown our way, too.
Naturally, Rick and his son take a good amount of the spotlight and rightfully so. The former leader's story this time around takes him on a relatively familiar path, but it still works thanks to Andrew Lincoln's engrossing performance. Even if the twist is pretty predictable, he's still able to reel me into the scene with his commendable acting and is always a reliable source for some heavy feels.
"30 Days Without an Accident" does a solid job showing the toll this story has taken on Carl as well. You'd think he could find happiness in meeting people who are roughly around his age, but instead, all it does is convey how much he's been forced to mature. While his father still needs to make him see the harsh reality at times ("sorry, son, those adorable piggies are for eating!"), Carl almost comes across as a father figure to the other kids, attempting to show them the brutal truth about the undead. Meanwhile, there's a serviceable limelight on Daryl, Carol and Tyreese as well. It's interesting to see Daryl opening up more and Carol becoming such a spirited character. Tyreese, on the other hand, is presenting the polar opposite of how this atrocious scenario could impact a person.
Season 4's premiere does an able job following-up on the big characters and paints an alright picture of how the situation has evolved since Season 3. The attention to new characters is definitely lacking, but Andrew Lincoln's strong acting, an interesting new hazard, and some impressive makeup compensates for that. If half-stars were an option, this episode would receive a 3.5. But since that's not possible, "30 Days Without an Accident" warrants a bump to 4-stars.
What did you think about the new episode, Viners? Give the comments section below a polite piece of your mind!