Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: Daryl Puts His Arm Around Carol in The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 1: “30 Days Without an Accident”

Isn’t it nice to see Pookie kicking butt again after all these months? Hopefully he doesn’t get sick.

The Walking Dead Season 4 premiere, “30 Days Without an Accident,” has now come and gone, setting the stage for an intriguing season with a mysterious illness, more zombies, tense action, so much death it’s starting to bore poor Beth Greene (Emily Kinney), and hopefully even more flirting between Carol “I Liked You First” Peletier (Melissa McBride) and Daryl “Detective Pookie” Dixon (Norman Reedus).

Six or seven months have passed since the events of Season 3, and in addition to the 50 or so people who came over from Woodbury, we now have this new guy, Bob Stookey (Larry Gilliard, Jr.), whom Daryl found out in the world and brought to the prison only about a week ago.

It’s probably not safe to get attached to the newbies. Two young men we just met are already gone (or, in Patrick’s case, on the way to gone), and some of the women have grown a little too used to this world. Beth basically yawns at her boyfriend Zack’s (Kyle Gallner) demise, little girls name the undead like pets, Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) is kinda ready to get pregnant, Carol is teaching knife classes to kids during storytime (!), Michonne (Danai Gurira) is hunting on horseback, and a crazy lady farmer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) meets in the woods becomes a walker to stay with her man. Hey, it’s the zombie apocalypse and we all adapt differently.

Because so much has changed since Season 3, most of Episode 1 just introduces us to the new prison setup and everyone’s place in it. However, they do find time for a cracker of an action sequence at Big Spot, and the episode ends with a nice little mystery to ride into Episode 2, “Infected.” What happened to young Patrick (Vincent Martella), the cute Harry Potter-ish nerd? He seemed to just have the flu, but now he’s dead and turning. This super-fast, super-deadly flu looks like our new big threat tied to Mother Nature. Or maybe Carl is the threat — first Sophia, now Patrick. It does not pay to befriend this kid!

Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: Glenn Hugs Maggie in The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 1: “30 Days Without an Accident”

Read on for a full recap of Episode 1:

FIRST SCENE

Birds chirping, Rick heads into his garden. It’s a peaceful opening, with Rick listening to country music — someone from Woodbury had an iPod? — as he digs around and discovers a gun buried there like a seed. With his earbuds out we hear the hungry decomposing walkers at the fence. He just zones them out and puts the gun in his wheelbarrow. Meet New Rick!

WILL WE GET A NEW INTRO?

Right now we still see the farm to prison intro but maybe as the season progresses and we leave the prison for new territories, they’ll adjust the intro.

CARL COMES TO CHAT

Carl was up all night reading comics with a flashlight? They have a library now? Carl was naming the pigs, but Rick said not to ‘cause they’re food. Come on, Rick, that’s a sign of humanity from Carl. Don’t crush it. The poor piggie, Violet, is sick. Foreshadowing…

FLIRTING!

Carol: “Just so you know, I liked you first.” Carol feeds Daryl and flirts. It looks like Daryl has his own fan base, including Patrick who calls him “Mr. Dixon” and “sir” for bringing a deer back. Patrick is our own Harry Potter.

Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: Hershel Tends to the Plants in The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 1: “30 Days Without an Accident”

WALKERS AT THE FENCE

It’s a dirty job, but someone has to stab these guys through the fence. If anyone needs earbuds, it’s this group. There are dozens of walkers out there. Carol tells Daryl they had a big buildup of walkers overnight. They don’t spread out anymore. She’s not sure they can spare people for Daryl’s run. “Sorry, Pookie.” Girrrrllllll, you gave him a nickname!

GLENN & MAGGIE IN BED

Glenn looks stressed. He doesn’t want Maggie to go with them. Why not, though? She’s just as badass as Glenn, when she wants to be. Remember her on the horse with the baseball bat on Season 2. Why does he keep telling her what to do?

MORE FLIRTING

This time between Tyreese and “beautiful” Karen, one of the Woodbury people. Tyrese is going on the run. He hates killing walkers on the fence, when they come at you out there it’s different. He doesn’t like staring at them face to face. At least he still has that piece of humanity. Walkers are people too! These two kiss, so they are already more advanced than Carol and Pookie.

MORE FLIRTING

OK, now it’s just getting ridiculous. One Life to Live. Beth kisses her boyfriend and they have a chat before he goes on his run. He says it’s dangerous going out there and she says she knows, and doesn’t say goodbye. “Dang romance novel,” as Daryl puts it. But Pookie is hardly one to talk. 


Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: Rick Wanders Through the Woods in The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 1: “30 Days Without an Accident”

MEET BOB

It’s only been a week since Bob showed up but he wants to earn his keep and go with them on the run. He was out on his own when Daryl found him. He was a medic in the Army. Sasha (Tyreese’s sister) is a tough sell but she lets him join them.

HERSHEL TEACHES RICK ABOUT FARMING

Hershel had that farm in his family for what, 160 years or something? He mentioned it on Season 2 when it was burning. Hershel teases Rick about needing some hayseed out of his mouth “and maybe a bigger ass.” OK, is Hershel now flirting? No one is safe! Rick plans to go outside the fences but he doesn’t want to take his gun. He’s literally gun-shy at this point.

MICHONNE RIDES BACK INTO TOWN

She does look cool on horseback with her katana behind her. When she rides into the prison, it’s like a zombie Western. Michonne, Rick and Carl are like a perfect mini family. She gives Carl a new comic book and gives Rick … a gun? They don’t flirt but they have chemistry. Just saying. Add them to the romance novel. She talks about not being able to “find him,” which is a pretty clear reference to The Governor. Carl’s voice is getting deeper. Do you hear it? He doesn’t want to go to storytime, since it’s "for kids." Carl does not see himself as a kid. He’d be a decent match for Sally Draper, if they could do a Mad Men crossover.

RICK HEADS INTO THE WOODS … AND MEETS A CRAZY LADY

The very first photo released for this season, many months ago, was from this scene. He stumbles on a very sick boar. There’s a sickness going around. Take note. Rick meets a woman. Oh she’s the “please, please, please help me” woman from the promos. She’s a dirty mess, she’s gone native. If Norman Reedus really does get upset when anyone is dirtier than him, he should be mad about her. She and her husband haven’t eaten in days? Rick hands her some food. She wants to go back to Rick’s camp. 

Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: Bob Stookey Is Introduced in The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 1: “30 Days Without an Accident”

THE KIDS NAME WALKERS

Some little girls wave at walkers and give them names. Hey, when there’s no more Justin Bieber, you have to fangirl for someone. Carl scolds the girls. “They’re not people and they’re not pets, don’t name them.” You’re not Rick, kid. Shut it. Patrick likes going to storytime. He’s such a cute, well-behaved nerd. Carl, why can’t you be more like your friend, Patrick?

BIG SPOT JOKES

Beth’s boyfriend chats up Daryl outside the Big Spot. He thinks Daryl was once a homicide cop which makes Michonne LOL. Michonne laughs. Out loud! Daryl talks about being an undercover officer. Oh, if only Merle was here. He’d have a blast with this kid. That said, a Daryl and Michonne detective show would rule.

IN THE WOODS WITH THE CRAZY LADY

What is her accent? Irish? Welsh? She looks like a walker who happens to still be alive. What things did she have to be willing to do? Animal carcases, rotting fruit, leaving people behind, hiding from people who needed her help. Unlike Rick. “It’s not charity. You have to have numbers. People are the best defense against walkers or people.”

INSIDE BIG SPOT

Michonne goes shopping and beheads a “monster savings” ad. It was pretty cheesy. Glenn sees an ad for child photos. Baby on the brain? New guy Bob goes by the liquor section. In the comics, his character has a drinking problem and and it appears that may have carried over. Oh but when he takes a bottle and tries to put it back … the dang shelf caves over on him. As it happens, there was a huge crash on the roof with walkers roaming around up there. The walkers crash through the roof into Big Spot. Yikes! Glenn cuts it close in there, but he's as badass as Daryl, if not more so. Remember him in the chair last season? More zombies keep falling through the ceiling. Sasha shows herself to be a great warrior too. Bob, on the other hand, seems to need help. Some amazing special effects work here. Zack is bit! Beth's boyfriend gets bitten. Oh, Beth, you should've said goodbye. The ceiling completely collapses. Wow.

Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: Tyreese Slings a Rifle Over His Back in The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 1: “30 Days Without an Accident”

BACK WITH CRAZY LADY

This feels like it’s going on for too long. She wants to know if Rick had to do things like she and her husband had to do. “Do you think you get to come back from them?” “I hope so.” She hopes she and her husband can answer Rick’s three questions to join the group. But, it turns out, she just wants to feed Rick to her husband ... who is just a head? He’s slowing, he needs something alive! “Let me be like him. Don’t stop it. Don’t end it after. Let me be with him.” Well, this is good foreshadowing for the idea of coming back from tough things. Let’s hope Rick never gets to this point … although he got close with Lori and the crazy phone calls and visions.

THREE QUESTIONS

Rick tells the dying lady the three questions you have to answer before you can join Team Prison:

• How many walkers have you killed?

• How many people have you killed?

• Why?

“No Rick” is apparently trending on Twitter as this airs. Classic. Point to ponder: Does Rick make more good calls than bad?

CAROL LEADS STORYTIME

She reads to the kid group … then secretly segues into knife talk. Patrick isn’t feeling well and wants to be dismissed. Carol wants him to fight through it. Carol, it’s great for you to be strong now, but he’s just a kid and it took you four seasons to be tough.

DARYL HAS TO BREAK THE BAD NEWS TO BETH

Maggie said she’d go see Beth. She’s not pregnant. Apparently she had a scare. “Thank God,” says Glenn. She didn’t want to, but they could’ve, she said. She doesn’t want to be afraid of being alive. Glenn said being afraid is what’s kept them alive. She says no, it’s how they keep breathing. Truth. Existence does not equal living. Back to Beth. She’s reading in her cell. Daryl just says, “Zack…” Beth: “Is he dead?” He doesn’t say anything. She just says “OK.” Beth is getting stone-cold Carl-ish! Daryl waits for her to react in some way. “I don’t cry anymore, Daryl. I’m just glad I got to know him.” She asks if Daryl is OK. “Just tired of losing people is all.” She hugs him. Moving on already? Beth is glad she didn’t say goodbye.

Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: Beth Writes on Her Bed in The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 1: “30 Days Without an Accident”

MICHONNE CHECKS A MAP

Ah. In the Comic-Con preview, we thought maybe she was looking for new places for the group to go, but she’s probably just searching for The Governor.

BABY JUDITH!

There she is, and Rick is holding her. He does remember his second child. That’s nice. Hershel plays Jiminy Cricket again to assure him he can come back, Carl came back, people can come back from bad things. Cue Bob in his cell. Having trouble?

PATRICK IS SICK

Harry Potter is dying. Accio medicine! The music gets spooky. Glasses on the ground. Patrick is dead. Aaaaand now he's turning. That's some "flu."

PREVIEW

There's a "this season" preview as opposed to a "next week" promo. Tyreese asks why they're still looking for The Governor. Good question?
 

Catch up on a ton of Walking Dead spoilers, promos, teases, speculation and other nifty stuff at Wetpaint.com/walking-dead.