Season 4, episode 01
30 Days Without An Accident
- Having ceded leadership to Hershel since the Woodbury War, Rick seeks to find out if he really can come back from the things he's done to survive.
It has been some time since the Governor tried to assault the prison, and Rick's group took in the Woodbury residents.
On a bright, sunny morning, Rick walks outside and listens to music as he tends a small farm located in the outer yard of the prison. As he works on the field, he discovers a handgun buried in the ground. Rick's attention to the hidden weapon is diverted when his earbud falls out and he hears the sounds of many walkers at the prison gates.
Later that morning, Carl visits him, grumpy that he hasn't been woken up. Rick and Carl then discuss a pig that the group has kept at the prison, which is lying on its side in a pen. Violet, as Carl calls it, has been sick for some time, but Rick warns Carl not to name it because it's only food.
Nearby, members of the prison group assemble for breakfast rounds. Carol is serving a boy named Patrick as Daryl comes up to see how things are going. Patrick, one of the Woodbury residents, praises Daryl for his hunting skills before Carol asks him to man the serving station. As Carol and Daryl walk away, she mentions that walkers are massing at several spots along the gate, and are not spread out like they were before.
Inside the prison, Glenn and Maggie wake up in their cell. Glenn says that she shouldn't come along on the supply run the group is making later in the day, because he's concerned for her safety. Though Maggie reassures him that she'll be fine, he remains adamant that she stay at the prison.
At the prison gates, a group of survivors use tools to kill the walkers amassing near the gate, and watch as they collapse in a pile on the other side. Tyreese walks up to them and talks to his girlfriend, Karen, telling her that he doesn't feel comfortable seeing her kill walkers. When Karen asks why he wanted to help clear the gates in the first place, Tyreese responds that he wanted to get to know her better, then explains that he will be going on the day's supply run. Karen gives him a kiss as he leaves.
Nearby, Rick is looking at the farm's crops as Hershel talks about further planting when Michonne arrives from a scouting trip. Michonne tells him that she hasn't seen much outside, and offers to check and see if any animals were snared in the nearby traps, but Rick offers to check himself. Hershel then advises Rick to take his gun for protection, as it was suggested by the recently-formed prison council - himself, Daryl, Glenn, Carol and Sasha.
Daryl, Glenn, Tyreese, Sasha and a Woodbury resident named Zach get ready to leave for the supply run when another man, Bob Stookey, asks to join them. Begrudgingly, Sasha allows it. Meanwhile, Beth gives Zach a kiss, but doesn't wish him goodbye because she wants him to return. The six members of the group set out.
The supply group arrives soon after at an abandoned army outpost, located beside a Big Spot shopping center. As they investigate the outpost, Daryl notes that he and others had previously used boomboxes to lure walkers away from the center. They reach the front of the center and pause while Daryl knocks on the window, hoping to draw more walkers away from their path. As they enter the store, it's revealed that a crashed military helicopter and a large pack of walkers are on the roof.
In the prison library, Carol is reading to a group of kids. Patrick complains of feeling sick and asks to be excused, but as soon as he's gone, Carol produces a box of knives and begins to teach the group about using the weapons for defense. Carl sneaks into the meeting and sees what is going on, then angrily walks off as Carol tries to justify it.
Outside the prison, Rick is looking at a trap with a captured deer when he spots what he thinks is a walker moving towards it. As he sneaks backwards, the "walker" speaks, and it's revealed that it's a very disheveled woman named Clara, who begs Rick to take her and her husband back with him. Rick tells her he will only do it if she answers some questions for him when they arrive at her camp.
Inside the Big Spot, the group begins stocking up on supplies. As they walk down the aisles, Bob pauses and contemplates taking a bottle of wine. Although he decides not to, the shelf collapses when he puts the bottle back on the shelf, which results in the entire cabinet falling over and trapping him. The walkers on the roof are alerted to the sound, and begin to move. Suddenly, the decaying roof begins to collapse as the walkers move over it, with several falling through and attacking the survivors. In the confusion of the attack, Daryl and Zach lift the cabinet off Bob. However, as Daryl and Bob move back, Zach is bit by a walker still hiding under the cabinet. The group is then forced to run as the ceiling completely collapses, and the helicopter falls on Zach and the walker.
Rick and Clara approach her campsite, and he walks in to investigate as she calls out for her husband. Suddenly, Clara attempts to attack him. However, Rick easily sidesteps her, and she falls to the ground. Clara then stabs herself in the stomach despite Rick's pleas, and tells him that she couldn't stand living without her husband and wanted to take him with her. She pleads with Rick not to kill her so she can reanimate and stay with her husband, and as Rick walks back to the prison, a nearby bundle no bigger than a head moves around.
After the supply group has returned, Daryl visits Beth's cell and tells her about Zach's death. Surprisingly, she doesn't cry or mourn him, but tells Daryl she was happy she didn't say goodbye, before moving to a tally board and resetting its counter back to 0.
Elsewhere, Patrick walks to the showers, coughing heavily along the way. He makes it to a shower stall and begins convulsing, coughing into a nearby barrel of water as he tries to stay conscious. However, he collapses on the floor, and soon reanimates as a walker with bleeding eyes...
- Action Girl: Sasha is quickly established as one, taking up a leadership role on the supply run and more than holding her own in the chaos that follows.
- The Alcoholic: Bob Stookey. He hesitates when passing the wine aisle in the store and has an internal debate over whether to take a bottle.
- And Then Patrick Was A Zombie
- Ax-Crazy: Clara, the girl that Rick meets wandering in the woods. She takes him to her husband, Eddie, who turns out to be a walker head that she has been feeding, and then stabs herself so that she can be with him, begging Rick to let her turn instead of shooting her.
- Badass Teacher: Carol is teaching the kids how to use knives and defend themselves behind Rick's back, under the guise of "storytime".
- Bait-and-Switch: Near the start of the episode, Glenn tells Maggie not to accompany the others on the supply run, and it's implied that she is pregnant. She later reveals that she isn't, although she hasn't ruled it out as a possibility someday.
- Bearer of Bad News: Daryl has to break the news to Beth that Zack didn't make it back from the supply run.
- Bland-Name Product: Big Sp!t = Big Lots! note
- Blood from Every Orifice: Patrick bleeds out from both the eyes and nose - and possibly other places - after collapsing in the shower. One of the walkers at the prison fence also seems to be displaying the same symptoms.
- Call-Back: Glenn references Lori's death by childbirth in the season 3 episode "Killer Within" as a reason why it would be a bad idea for he and Maggie to try for a baby.
- Michonne bringing back comics for Carl provides a nice callback to "Clear", where they bonded while procuring the last remaining photograph of Lori from Rick's hometown.
- Rick's "three questions" for Clara ("How many walkers have you killed? How many people have you killed? Why?") are reminiscent of the questions he faced from his hallucinations of Amy, Jacqui and Jim in the aftermath of Lori's death.
- Chekhov's Gun: One of the pigs kept for food, which Carl calls "Violet", appears to be sick. Some animals around the prison are dead but haven't been eaten by Walkers , there's a walker with a massive hemorrhage from the eyes and mouth, by the end of the episode Violet is dead, and Patrick also succumbs to some sickness, and is bleeding from eyes and mouth prior to reanimating.
- Cartwright Curse: Zack is the second of Beth's romantic interests to be Eaten Alive, following the unfortunate Jimmy in season two.
- Cliffhanger: The episode ends with Patrick collapsing in the shower while suffering from a mystery illness, hemorrhaging from his eyes and nose before reanimating as a walker.
- Combat Medic: Bob Stookey. Bonus points in that unlike Hershel or Carol, he's a trained army medic so this was actually his job prior to the Zombie Apocalypse.
- Combat Pragmatist: When Sasha's gun jams, she picks up a pool cue from the sporting goods aisle, breaks it in half and uses it to kill two walkers.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Zack is in the process of being Eaten Alive, and then a helicopter falls on top of him. Which may actually have been a blessing, provided it killed him instantly.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Michonne is noticeably more mellow and emotionally expressive than in the previous season, cracking several smiles at Carl and Rick and even bursting into laughter at Zack's attempts to guess Daryl's former profession.
- Disaster Democracy: Following the demise of the Ricktatorship at the end of the previous season, it's revealed that the prison is now overseen by a council comprising of Daryl, Hershel, Glenn, Carol and Sasha.
- Driven to Suicide: Clara kills herself to be with her zombified husband and because she believes there is no coming back from the things that she's done.
- Eaten Alive: Zack
- Emotionless Girl: Beth is starting to edge into this territory; when Daryl tells her that Zack is dead, she responds with a simple "okay" and tells him that she doesn't cry anymore.
- Famed In-Story: Much to his bemusement, Daryl has apparently become this for many of the newcomers, thanks to having personally rescued several of them.
- Foreshadowing: Patrick complains of feeling unwell during Carol's lesson, but it's implied that he's begging off because he doesn't want to learn how to kill. At the end of the episode, however, he's shown to be suffering from an ominous mystery disease.
- Hardboiled Detective: Zack guesses that this was Daryl's profession prior to the apocalypse, much to Michonne's amusement.
- Hates Being Touched: Daryl is quite obviously taken off-guard when Beth hugs him, though the fact that he not only allows it, but actually responds (albeit in an incredibly awkward, hesitant way) is a mark of how far he's come. He's also pretty touchy-feely with Carol toward the beginning of the episode, so there's that.
- Hero-Worshipper: Both Zack and Patrick towards Daryl, much to the latter's chagrin.
- Horseback Heroism: Michonne returns from hunting the Governor on horseback.
- Gentle Giant: Tyreese chooses to go on the supply run as he doesn't like lining up at the fence to kill the walkers face to face. He is also noticeably shaken up from the events that take place.
- The Glomp: Beth impulsively hugs Daryl on realizing that he is more affected by Zack's death than she is.
- Never Say Goodbye: Beth refuses to say goodbye to Zack before he goes on the supply run, despite him telling her that it could be dangerous. She later tells Daryl that she's glad she didn't say it even though he doesn't return.
- Never Trust a Trailer: Two examples in this episode:
- In the comic-con trailer, Glenn tries to convince Maggie to leave the prison. In the episode, he tries to convince her Not to leave the prison to go on a supply run, due to the fact they think she might be pregnant.
- In the trailer, Michonne tells Rick "You're losing the war." In the episode, what she says is "You're face is losing the war" after giving him a razor she found while searching for the Governor.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Bob Stookey accidentally brings a shelf crashing down on himself while debating whether or not to take some wine back to the prison, drawing the attention of the walkers on the roof and setting off the chain of events that ultimately leads to Zack's death.
- Official Couple: Tyreese/Karen and Beth/Zack both seem to have become this, although the latter doesn't last long.
- Oh, Crap!: The reaction of pretty much everybody when walkers start crashing through the roof of the supermarket.
- The Ophelia: Clara.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Melissa Mcbride (Carol Peletier) and Scott Wilson (Hershel Greene). Emily Kinney (Beth Greene), Chad Coleman (Tyreese) and Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha) have also been promoted to regular status from their recurring roles in previous seasons, but are not listed in the main opening sequence.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Michonne returns from hunting the Governor, presumably to exact justice for Andrea's death.
- Red Shirt: Zack and Patrick are both killed off in their introductory episode.
- Relationship Upgrade: Tyreese and Karen have progressed to Official Couple status during the time skip, along with Beth and newcomer Zack.
- Remember the New Guy?: Newcomers Bob, Zach, Patrick, Ryan, Lizzie, Mika, Luke, David, Dr. Subramanian. Justified because of the Time Skip between seasons
- Sacrificial Lion: Zack is killed after helping to save Bob and fighting off several walkers.
- Secret Keeper: Carol begs Carl not to tell Rick when he finds out what she's really been teaching the kids.
- Ship Tease: Between Carol and Daryl. They are quite openly flirtatious near the beginning of the episode, with Carol teasing Daryl over his newfound popularity in camp by pointing out that "she liked him first". She later jokingly calls him "Pookie", causing him to playfully nudge her in response.
- Also between Daryl and Beth, oddly enough. There was definitely some... lingering after that hug.
- Stepford Smiler: There are some hints that Beth may be on her way to becoming this. Her lack of reaction to Zack's death is at odds with her otherwise cheerful demeanor and indicates that she may be growing emotionally numb.
- Team Mom: Carol appears to be primarily responsible for taking care of the assorted children at the prison, many of whom are without their own parents. Takes a disturbing twist when it's revealed that she's teaching them how to use weapons and kill walkers.
- Technical Pacifist: Rick has taken a step back from the fighting after his Sanity Slippage last season, though it's taken to dangerous extremes when the rest of the council has to intervene just to get him to carry a gun for his own protection.
- Time Skip: Several months have passed since the end of season 3, during which a thriving community has been established in the prison.
- Title Drop: In a darkly humorous moment, Beth responds to the news of Zack's death by calmly walking over to a board in her cell that proclaims "This workplace has gone 30 days without an accident!" to reset it to zero.
- Trash the Set: The "Big Spot" store is completely obliterated, first by zombies and then a freaking helicopter crashing through the ceiling.
- The Virus: Another sickness appears. Patrick complains of a mystery illness before suffering a massive hemorrhage and reanimating as a walker.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Zack and Patrick.