I would caution that there are spoiler alerts but to be honest, I don’t know if spoilers count when you are completely frigging clueless as to what’s going on. Read at your own risk.
First and foremost, let me add my voice to the legions of The Walking Dead fans who want to bid a tearful farewell to Rick‘s shirt. The beige beast clad him through three seasons of zombie mayhem, but was done in by some pig’s blood at the start of season 4.
As to why it was covered in pig’s blood–Carrie remakes aside–all I can say is…uh…
*shrug* Seriously, your guess is as good as mine, but I’m going to try and make some sense of it all.
OK, so. What have we got here? (And people, I assume you know something about the show, so if you don’t…what are you waiting for? Start watching!)
~~Someone is feeding the zombies , in what looks like an attempt to get them to destroy the perimeter and take down the fencing that surrounds the prison in which our heroic band of survivors has taken refuge.
~~There’s some kind of mysterious superflu that’s sprung up from…somewhere…which causes pulmonary hemorrhaging-slash-death. And we don’t know who’s infected (is it everyone?), where it came from (the piggies?), if it’s airborne or ingested, and what the mortality rate is once symptoms have started to express. Though there were copious lingering shots of sick pigs (before Rick embarked on the piglet apocalypse) and worms. More on this later.
~~Someone burned two people who had been symptomatic of the superflu, though we don’t know if this was a preventative burning or if the people burned had died and turned zombie. We also don’t know if the person who burned the flu zombie people is the same person who’s been feeding the perimeter zombies (though I suspect not).
~~Carol looks like a sweet motherly type but has become hardcore, secretly teaching children how to fight, use knives, be little killing machines. She tells kids they’re weak if they can’t kill a soon-to-turn body, even if that body happens to be that of a child’s father. I suspect it’s compensation for the loss of her own daughter, Sophia, in Season 2. But. She’s gone kind of practical-ice-water-in-the-veins crazy. Which I understand.
~~Clearly, Michonne lost a baby, probably in the zombie apocalypse. Sad.
And then from the first episode…
~~Rick met that creepy lady Clara, who seemed at first like some flaky, deranged survivor. Then we realized she was keeping her zombified husband’s head in a burlap sack.
Which “deranged” can’t even touch, downspiraling Clara’s initial appearance as a pitiful survivor into some sort of madness that’s expressed as a so-low-you-got-to-look-up-to-see-bottom apologist zombie collaborator.
Anyway. There’s so much more: is Glenn finally starting to become depressed and paranoid? He’s more skittish than he’s ever been, and protective, and actively talking about being scared. What’s up with the new character Bob Stookey, and how is his struggle with alcohol going to play into the fate of the group? What else is there to do with Daryl Dixon, short of introducing a major schism into the group or–looming fan riots be damned–kill him, as Bob Kirkland has threatened. (And fans, NO, I don’t want to see it either so stop taunting the writers, OKAY???)
We need to take into consideration the literary device known as “Chekhov’s gun“, which states that as a writer you shouldn’t introduce an element in the beginning of a story (or at the start of a TV season) without intending to use it. Considering Chekhov’s gun, here’s what I think is happening:
I think the little kids in the prison are sneaking out at night and feeding the zombies. In the first episode they named their favorite zombies and jokingly said they considered them “pets”. While I don’t know if I, deep in my heart, truly “buy” that they don’t fully understand the potential repercussions of a breach in the external wall…innocence of youth and all that.
Worms. The camera lingered on those worms in episode 2 like Food Network cameras linger on Giada DeLaurentiis’s cleavage.
They’ve got to have some relevance. Rick was feeding slop + worms to pigs, one of the pigs inexplicably took sick and died. We already know everyone is infected with the zombie virus, and then they’re buried in the ground and become worm food. Are zombie-infected worms turbo-boosting the zombie virus and/or some other latent pig-to-human viral vector?
I think Carol burned the superflu people. Because she’s all about taking care of business, and she looks so nice and trustworthy so she could fairly easily get people to let their guards down, give ’em a quick ha-cha! with a knife and drag them out back to dispose of their flu-riddled bodies. Because you have to protect the group at the expense of the few, after all.
I’m still not sure how Clara and her husband’s head will figure into future The Walking Dead mayhem. But you don’t introduce a mouth-breathing sack of zombie without–perhaps literally–having it come back to bite you in the ass. Rick, in his episode 1- kinder gentler communing with the Earth-version of himself, didn’t give Clara and hubs a merciful final dispatch which makes NO sense, because all he did was leave a threat. It’s not like zombie Clara will remember past kindnesses and give Rick a pass. I say they’re going to be the end of Carl, making it the biggest mistake Rick could possibly have made in the entirety of the postapocalyptic zombie world.
And Michonne will end up having to walk through fire to protect baby Judith (or, baby Little Ass Kicker, as she’s also known).
Herein lies my take on season 4, episode 2. There will be more to come as the season unfolds! I’m happy for other perspectives; let me know what you think is happening.
And just because I haven’t posted nearly enough music by The Zombies, please enjoy “Time of the Season”.