** / ****
I couldn’t help but laugh as the episode, 30 Days Without an Accident concluded. Perhaps the idea that Beth would keep record of this was not such a good idea: as if doing so is just inviting disaster. I have learned to take character interaction and development in stride. Two characters introduced in this fourth season premiere episode die after getting some decent development: Zach (Kyle Gallner), seemingly a boyfriend for Beth, and Patrick (Vincent Martella), a teenage friend of Carl’s. Patrick seems to have been taken in to the prison, associating himself with cooking and such. Zach seems to have bonded with Daryl while doing supply runs, including a brief romance with Beth. Because all of the developments involving Zach and Patrick off-screen (off-season), what little time they get to build any personality is undermined by their quick departures. The norm of the series is to give characters some dialogue and establish their relationships with the significant principles and bump them off later. Zach does have an appealing banter with the rather docile Beth, working on autopilot, about goodbyes and leaving her (he is considerate in his feels for her while she just won’t acknowledge the danger of the supply run), and later (the one I preferred) with Daryl, trying to guess what he was before the world went to hell. Daryl’s response to Zach seeing him as a homicide detective while Michonne scoffs agreeably is a nice moment before the store raid is undermined by Bob’s clumsiness. Bob (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.) wants to go along on the supply run so he can prove his worth to the prison community, with Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) vouching for him. He sets his eyes on a shelf of wine (yes, breakable glass as the undead, rotting and hideously disintegrated, walk about on the roof of the building) and before long it tips over as the bottles shatter, stirring up the walking uglies who begin to fall through weak places of the ceiling! I particularly heartily giggled at a few of the more grotesquely embellished zombie gore bits including one of the undead hanging by his entrails while another splats on the floor in an immediate come-apart! While I personally never tire of a good head crush under foot, Bob (pinned under the shelf that tipped over on top of him) literally pokes his thumb in a split-headed zombie crawling on the floor towards him (with added bloody red meat being the zombie’s crawl resulting from a foot hanging to the leg by fleshy strands!), prying back the skull as the brain is made vulnerable. Never to fear, though, as Daryl arrives to usurp the zombie’s chances at a tasty Bob. Zach isn’t so lucky, though. In helping Bob, Zach puts his own self at risk, as another crawler takes a bit into his foot…before long Zach collapses and loses his neck to another gnarly bit of eventual zombie chum.