As I travel on life’s pathway,
I know not what the years may hold.
As I ponder hope grows fonder,
Precious memories flood my soul.

Hey, we’re back! Seems like only yesterday it was March 31 and Rick was discharging a bus-load of Woodburians into their new home in the prison yard, much to Coral’s (Carl’s) apparent dismay.
(Hershel, on the other hand, was probably stoked at the sight of all those other old-timers getting off the bus. Bingo Night, everybody!) Six-and-a-half months later and the infamous West Georgia Correctional Facility has become Farmer Rick’s Happy Commune. It would have been epic if the opening music had been replaced with the Green Acres theme song:

Grime’s Acres is the place to stick!
Hog Farming is the life for Rick!
Walkers all along the chain link fence!
Keep Woodbury, it’s better than living in tents!

While season 3 began like a lion and ended like a lamb, season 4 of The Walking Dead began with a whisper and looks to quickly build to a scream…
you say, like a whisper? But it rained walkers inside the Big Spot!
Well, yeah…but besides that it was mostly quiet, this episode being used to ease us back into the madness and introduce us to new characters, most of whom I classify as “Love Interest” or “Semi-Anonymous” or “Dead Meat” or in the case of Beth’s short-lived beau: “Semi-Anonymous Dead Meat Love Interest”…ah Zach (or was it Justin? Or Cody?), we hardly knew ye!

Our hero Deputy R. Grimes seems to be adjusting to farm life, even if he did choose to use earphones to drown out the sound of walkers on the other side of the fence. (Wonder if he was listening on a Sony Walk(er)man…get it?) I will file this under “Normally-Smart Characters Doing Stupid Things”, more examples to come. Hey, at least Ricky was listening to some classic country instead of poop like Florida-Georgia Line or Nickelback (which is pretty much the same thing)…

Everybody seems to be contributing at Farmer Rick’s Happy Commune, including Coral (for new readers, this is how I reference Carl, the way his daddy says his name)…when we last saw Coral, he seemed on the edge of a very dark place, having killed a young Woodburian with absolutely no remorse. But I suppose we’ve moved on from that; look at the therapeutic power of raising piglets! He now seems like any other angst-ridden teen on network/cable TV, even being revealed to be a comic book fan in a clever but obvious nod to the show’s source material…

Hey, comics are cool! See, even the surly black ninja chick likes them!
And in what is no way a coincidence, we’d like to remind you to stay tuned to AMC for Kevin Smith’s Comic Book Men!
Or Low Winter Sun or Hell On Wheels or Talking Whatever, OMG just anything please don’t change the channel!

In fact, I suggest going all the way and making Coral a full-fledged Precocious But Angst-Ridden Sitcom Teen, firing clever one-liners, barbs and put-downs on a weekly basis…and since every sassy sitcom kid needs a catch-phrase (“What You Talkin’ ‘Bout?”, “Did I Do That?”, “Dyn-O-Mite”, etc), for TWD I’d suggest the obvious: “GET IN THE HOUSE, CORAL!”…Some examples:

RICK: “I told you not to name them…”
CORAL” “Yeah, well…you named ‘Judith’!”

CORAL: “What’s wrong with the pig?”
RICK: “I don’t know. No one knows. There’s literally no way of knowing…”
CORAL: “Uh, couldn’t we just ask Hershel? He IS a veterinarian, you know…”

And Smells Like Teen Coral could also wear a Misfits T-shirt and ride a skateboard…hey, why not? Couldn’t be any worse than RIDING A MOTORCYCLE OR A HORSE THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE! (see, I told you there would be more examples of “Normally-Smart Characters Doing Stupid Things”)
I know it looks cool, but seriously, Michonne…a horse? You want to ride something into battle that your enemies want to eat? DID SHE NOT SEE EPISODE ONE? And speaking of episode one, why doesn’t anyone think to use a tank for transportation? Seems much smarter than a horse or motorcycle or the Segway I’m sure that we will soon see Hershel zipping around on…

(Speaking of Michonne, I’m not sure how I feel about the awkward flirting between her and Rick. I mean, come on: she brought him a razor! Everybody knows that when a woman wants a guy to shave it’s because she wants to snuggle, am-I-right-ladies? Don’t get me wrong: I like Rick and I like Michonne, but I’m not sure I like Rick AND Michonne. It just seems a little forced and I hope the writers don’t push it just for the sake of having a love interest.)

And speaking of TWD characters becoming popular sitcom stereotypes: for all practical purposes Daryl Dixon is now Fonzie. Leather jacket? Check. Motorcycle? Check. An almost Chuck-Norris-like mystical sense of toughness and invulnerability? Check. Coolness to the point of being worshipped like a minor deity? And check. I was almost expecting him to stumble upon a jukebox at the Big Spot that he could rap with his fist to make “Blueberry Hill” begin playing (or maybe more fitting: “Freebird”). Like Fonzie was originally written as a side character who quickly took over “Happy Days”, the writers are certainly portraying Dreamboat Daryl quite differently from the angry squinty-eyed redneck of the first season.

From the Some Things Never Change Dept:
Hershel Claus is still alive and kicki…er, well, alive and still dispensing good ol’ country wisdom in a way that suggests Andy Griffith writing greeting cards for Hallmark. Hersh, or WMF (White Morgan Freeman) as I like to call him, somehow channels Yoda, Barnaby Jones and Cliff Clavin often in the same breath…and sometimes I get the feeling Rick isn’t sure whether he wants to hug him or punch him in his nub.

From the I Got It Wrong Dept:
Once again, I fully expected a grisly death for Beth and once again I was wrong. But I think I realized that SHE’s not the red shirt here, but is instead some sort of black widow who attracts the red shirts. First Jimmy and now Zach/Chuck/Frank/whatever his name was last night…there was a certain slow-motion sociopathic way she stoically turned the “30 Days Without An Accident” counter back to zer0 at the news that her sweetie had become walker chow, her dead-doll liquid blue eyes never registering a blink…”Oh, I don’t cry anymore…” she told Daryl and I TOTALLY BELIEVE HER…

(and you could once again practically hear the women of America squee when she and Daryl had their be-careful-she’s-only-17 hug…WATCH OUT FONZIE DIXON, HER TOUCH BRINGS DEATH!)

From the Odd Side Story Dept:
That would be the little ashy-grey Christian Ricci-lookalike girl with the big secret of her fella Eddie (apparently) doing his best Gwenyth Paltrow/Se7en impersonation. I’m usually a pretty good accent-guesser guy, but her Irish brogue befuddled me; I thought perhaps she was just another British actor on the show mangling a Southern accent. Given the way she had begun to annoy me in such a short time, I wondered if she might be a replacement for Lori. But Rick had 3 questions to ask her and surprisingly one of them wasn’t “Have you seen Coral?”

(to be continued)

Did you like this? Share it:
avatar J. Christopher Smith (10 Posts)

Chris is a lifelong fan of anything dark + macabre, beginning with the old classic black-and-white horror movies (that he had to sneak and stay up and watch) as well as campy TV fare such as The Addams Family, The Munsters, and The Night Stalker. That led at an early age to the writings of Stephen King and Peter Straub, then onward to the works of artists such as Edgar Allen Poe, Edward Gorey, Thomas Harris, Carl Hiaasen, Chuck Palahniuk, and of course, Dr Seuss. Chris was born + raised in Middle Tennessee, received his further education at Western Kentucky University, and currently lives among the moss-covered oaks of historic coastal Southeastern Georgia. In past lives he's been a long-haired bass player in college rock bands and an over-worked restaurant manager, but currently crunches numbers and curb-stomps spreadsheets for a Fortune 500 company. Chris enjoys spending time at his spooky marsh-front manor (dubbed the Monster Plantation or Monsta P) with his lovely wife Melanie, their dogs, and a monkey butler named Amos Moses.

Leave a Reply