Season whatever of The Walking Dead has begun. I’ll admit to being a fan of the zombie apocalypse series. In fact, I’ve never missed an episode. That won’t stop me from poking fun at the show. As my wife will attest, I’m not against mocking the things I love. Episode 1 of this season’s TWD is no exception.
We rejoin our merry band of survivors in their happy prison home. The original group’s numbers were expanded at the end of last season by a bunch of refugees from the compound of the evil governor. Despite the paranoid screening process the survivors typically enforced, they let the whole busload of people in, without even checking them for references or bite marks.
The troop has decided to grow their own produce and raise hogs. While the population has tripled, only one person, Farmer Rick (formerly known as Sheriff Rick), appears to be doing all the weeding or hoeing or whatever it is that farmers do. Rick deals with the drudgery of tilling the good earth by wearing earbuds and listening to some vintage hillbilly music. I realize the ghouls are on the other side of the fence, but I personally would prefer to keep from compromising my sense of hearing in a world filled with growling brain eaters. Lord only knows where one goes to charge an iPod or download Boxcar Willy’s Greatest Hits in a low tech world overrun with zombies.
While it only takes one guy to farm, it looks like it takes quite a few more to patrol the inside of the perimeter fence, killing zombies by poking them through the fence with sharp sticks and in one case, a cane. The zombies just stand there and take it, almost eager to have their egg-shell thin foreheads pierced. The chain link posse members dance around looking for the opportunity to shish-kabob zombie heads, as if they require a perfect shot.
There appears to be a budding romance between Hershel’s pretty younger daughter and some young Romeo. I had always thought that she and Carl would hook up, but that goofy kid is still too wrapped up in wearing Daddy’s cowboy hat and killing things. I paused the DVR playback and asked my wife who the hell this new young buck was. She shrugged at me.
Young Romeo joins Crossbow Daryl and a few others to go scout out a grocery store for supplies. The store had been taken over and fenced off by the military in the early days of the zombie infestation. As the gang of survivors go inside, the camera pans upward, and we discover there is a wrecked helicopter and tons of walkers randomly staggering around all over the roof. The usually doglike hearing of the zombies was conveniently absent this time. None of the roof-toppers heard Daryl and Young Romeo’s five minutes of witty dialogue outside the front doors of the store. I was going to pause the DVR again and ask my wife how a hundred or so zombies got up on top of a supermarket in first place, but before I could, the camera showed the decomposing roof. TV foreshadowing experts like myself know this can only mean one thing.
Despite their constant, random stumbling all around the roof, none of the zombies had thus far managed to fall through the weak spots. That history changed once the guy inside drew the zombies’ attention by putting a bottle back on a shelf and causing a massive set of shelves of liquor to fall over on him. True to movies and television, he wasn’t hurt, but his leg was “caught”. I’ve never pulled a set of shelves over on myself, so I guess it’s possible.
I often wonder how I would manage myself if the world as I knew it ended and the streets were filled with flesh eating zombies. I don’t know if I’d be able to figure out how to use a crossbow, but I can guarantee those shelves of liquor would not be quite so well stocked. Before I could make a wise-assed comment to my wife about the overabundance of alcohol, the zombies started falling through the roof.
Despite their paper-thin skulls and lack of any sort of balance reactions, most of the falling zombies survived the twenty foot drop onto the concrete floor and came up chomping. Crossbow Daryl killed one by stomping his head like an over-ripe melon. Even with craniums like fine china, the zombies manage to have unreal biting power. One of them caught Young Romeo’s leg and tore a big chunk out of his calf, right through the leg of his blue jeans. In the spirit of audience participation, readers are encouraged to pause for a minute and go find a pair of Levi’s. I defy you to bite through the material.
On some less plot-critical points;
It was fabulous luck that the survivors managed to pick a prison with an extensive children’s book selection in their library.
In previous episodes, we’ve watched as survivors go foraging for food anywhere they can find it, but there are one or two cast members who’s anatomy suggests that they are at least partially responsible for the lack of food. These folks aren’t missing any meals. They know who they are, enough said.
Some may wonder why I waste my time fussing about a successful TV show. Who cares, right? A whine-fest I wrote long ago on The Walking Dead, complained about the lack of untied shoes on zombie feet may have reached the right people. Camera shots of shuffling feet nearing the rotten parts of the roof, showed zombies wearing untied shoes or missing shoes altogether. I can only assume that someone in a position of power read my words and made sure to make corrections. If only they’d conferred with me about the rest of this year’s premier.