The Walking Thread

[Content Note: Violence; self-harm. Spoilers are lurching around undeadly herein.]

image of Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride)
A scene from my favorite show that doesn't exist: The Daryl and Carol Show.

When last we left our merry band of zombie bait, everything was terrible and Andrea was dead. RIP Andrea. In typical Walking Dead fashion, the entirely of last season's unfathomably slow incremental storytelling built up to a brief and resoundingly unfulfilling action sequence that is not even referenced in this season's opening episode. And 'round and 'round we go. Because this show itself is a lurching zombie with no brain or soul, ambling aimlessly in pursuit of just enough random sustenance to survive. I hope you are FASTENING YOUR SEATBELTS for another high-octane season of NOTHING leading up to some DISAPPOINTMENT!

The good news is: I still hate this show more than ever! So, in case you were worried I might NOT hate it and might RESIST writing deeply sarcastic recaps about how terrible it is, FEAR NOT! Let us begin.

When the premiere episode of Season Four opens, everything is sunny at Grimes Jail. Grimes is gardening, and either he buried his gun because he's Grimes and that's the kind of stupid shit he does, or he's growing revolvers by planting bullets and fertilizing the rich Georgia soil with shredded copies of the second amendment and the remains of Yankee socialists who were first to succumb to the zombiepocalypse after refusing to own guns in early twenty-first century America.

Clearly, some time has passed, presumably to help explain why Carl the Hat is now fully a middle-aged man with three children and a mortgage in real life. He is an angsty teen who stays up all night reading comics, but still a sweet kid who names the pigs that they're raising for food. Violet the Pig is sick, and it is at this point I say, "She is definitely going to give swine flu to all the new secondary characters!" WONDER IF I WAS RIGHT?!

Cut to: Let's meet all the new secondary characters! There's Patrick, the geeky teen who's overly impressed with Daryl. There's Karen, the pretty lady who hid under a dead body while Governor Cyclops mowed down all his peeps. There's Zach, who's Blonde Girl's boyfriend, and she refuses to tell him goodbye before he goes on a supply run, so HE'S DEFINITELY DEAD. And there's Bob, who was out on his own for a long time and used to be an Army medic, and he wants to be of help, even though he just got here, so HE'S DEFINITELY GOING TO BE A PROBLEM.

Also: Everyone is in love! Glenn ♥ Maggie. Tyreese ♥ Karen. Blonde Girl ♥ Zach. Grimes ♥ himself. I can't tell if Daryl ♥ Carol, but Carol still definitely ♥ Daryl. Daryl grouses that the whole place looks like a romance novel, and I laugh and agree. Ha ha, Daryl, you are LITERALLY the only reason to watch this show.

Michonne returns from who knows where, looking totally badass on horseback, and Grimes looks happy to see her. "Are you happy to see me, or is that just any one of about a dozen different possible weapons stuck down your pants?"—Michonne.

Everyone who's anyone goes on a supply run to Zombie Depot, except for Grimes, who OF COURSE has to go on some mission outside camp to collect rabbit carcasses on his own. Hershel shows up to say Meaningful Things, which I cannot hear over the sound of my own loudly dramatic yawning.

At Zombie Depot, there is a carefully orchestrated plan to get in and get out safely, but this plan does not take into account that there's a helicopter and a bunch of zombies on the roof, none of whom have concentrated in the same soggy area until Bob—GODDAMMIT, BOB!—dithers too long about whether to take a bottle of wine with him, and then knocks over a display case, and gets trapped under it as zombies rain through the ceiling like they're auditioning to play frogs in the final act of a film of magical realism written and directed by P.T. Anderson.

Zombies zombies zombies. Fight fight fight. Just as predictably as Bob causes trouble (although I will admit I did not predict that trouble would come in the form of what appeared to balancing the maintenance of one's hard-won sobriety against facing the zombiepocalypse sober, which is one of the most interesting potential storylines this show has ever even inadvertently and fleetingly explored, so naturally we will probably never revisit it), Zach gets caught by a zombie. RIP Zach. Rest well knowing your death will be used to justify the eleventy-twelfth scene of regret that people we care about (or don't!) die with some regularity during a zombiepocalypse.

Meanwhile, Grimes jerks around in the woods and meets a very dirty lady who asks him to follow her back to her camp because her husband is hungry. GRIMES, YOU DOPE, HER HUSBAND IS A ZOMBIE AND SHE WANTS TO FEED YOU TO HIM! I think to myself, very loudly, to no avail. That is precisely what happens, but instead of killing Grimes, she kills herself, and Grimes leaves and who cares. This fucking show.

At "storytime" for all the new camp kids (who all appear to be pretty little white girls, except for Patrick?), Carol reads some story (because SHE'S A LADY and thus still on BABYSITTING DUTY) and then pulls out a bunch of knives and begins to tell the children how to defend themselves. Patrick asks to leave because he's gonna throw up. Carl the Hat, who isn't wearing his dad's hat anymore, but he will always be Carl the Hat to me, so there, thinks storytime is for babies, but he spies on them and sees Carol doing knife-training. "Don't tell your father," she pleads. Because even though Grimes ostensibly isn't running everything on his own anymore, he would DEFINITELY FREAK THE FUCK OUT ABOUT A WOMAN TEACHING YOUNG GIRLS HOW TO PROTECT THEMSELVES BECAUSE THAT IS HOW GRIMES ROLLS, by which I mean Grimes would FOR SURE have some bullshit reason why children shouldn't be taught to protect themselves BECAUSE INNOCENCE, even though everyone is best served by everyone knowing how to protect themselves as best as possible, but HOW WILL MEN FEEL LIKE PATRIARCHS if even little girls can protect themselves?!

Let's all just be a little more sensitive to Grimes' delicate masculinity during the zombiepocalypse, OKAY CAROL?


Something something Blond Girl doesn't even cry anymore. No tears for you, Zach! Sad trombone. Something something Tyreese hates the zombiepocalypse. I don't blame you, Tyreese! It looks terrible! Something something Maggie isn't pregnant. Good. Something something Hershel and Grimes having a Special Man Moment, in which Hershel says something that contradicts what the dirty dying lady said about Grimes' ability to "come back" from bad deeds. Blah blah fart.

In the final scenes, the pig is dead, and Patrick is very sick. He stumbles to the shower and leaves sweaty footprints everywhere and coughs into the water supply and then he falls down dead. And he will not RIP because now he's a zombie.

Which would be super intense and terrifying if I gave a fuck about any of these characters, but I don't. I hope he kills everybody and that's the end of the show.

Scenes from the next episode reveal, however, it is not. Oh well. See you back here next week!

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