Welcome to Prison 2.0!
It has everything one could ever need to fulfill his or her post-apocalyptic desires: Working showers, booby-trapped gates, even free lessons at the public library in knifing zombies.
Need a job? Puncturing the brains of the undead through a chain-link fence is a full-time position. Just don’t mind the mysterious disease that might be circulating within Prison 2.0’s walls.
That was the setting of the Season 4 premiere of “The Walking Dead” Sunday night on AMC.
The show last left off with buses of Woodbury refugees — the weak and ill ones who weren’t fit to fight and/or be massacred by the Governor — unloading at the battle-scarred prison. That, of course, presented a challenge for the old gang, now a democratic council, and immediately, we saw in Sunday’s season premiere that they have come up with some pretty nifty solutions for keeping everyone fed and happy.
Sheriff Rick was now Farmer Rick, planting crops amid buried guns and who knows what else, and tending to cute little doomed piglets, and to his two children.
Carl, who grew up way too fast last season, was struggling with Rick’s wishes for him to be a normal kid. He scoffed — in a newly deepened voice — at story time. But he perked up when Michonne returned to camp on horseback, from a Governor-hunting expedition, with a stack of comic books. Hey, do you think she managed to get a copy of “The Walking Dead”?
Prison now had an outdoor canteen, where Carol may have (finally?) found some purpose as a server. No, no, Carol’s real new calling was as librarian/militia trainer. She lead story time, and when the adults vacated the curiously well-stocked library, she opened up a trunk full of knives and proceeded to teach the children “how to stab and slash and what to aim for.” Her “pookie” Daryl would be proud, if he wasn’t so busy still brushing off her flirtations. Face it, Daryl. It’s gonna happen.
At the café, we met a new kid, who somehow made it through the apocalypse, holding onto a sweet pair of Harry Potter glasses. But he won’t need them much longer. By the end of the episode, the inexplicably ill pre-teen had collapsed onto the shower floor and turned glassy-eyed and hungry for human brains. Why? Dunno! But I’m guessing this will be something the prisoners will have to deal with for the next several episodes or maybe forever until they all die.
A group headed out on a run for supplies to a previously untapped store. I love how in this world of small-town Georgia there is an endless supply of unlooted department stores just waiting for alcoholics to have their day of reckoning with a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit filled with wine.
Enter Bob, an ex-military guy Daryl scooped up from the outside, who was on his first mission as a prison newbie. Bob wanted the wine. But Bob put it back, and the shelves came crashing down. Way to go, newbie.
The rest of the group — Tyrese and Sasha, Glenn, Daryl, Michonne and another newbie, Beth’s kind-of boyfriend Zach — was shopping and weirdly avoiding stacked cases of beer too. What kind of shopping trip was this? Glenn noticed a baby-picture display. But as they rushed to Bob’s aid, Walkers start falling through the ceiling, which was precariously holding up lots of them, plus a downed chopper.
It was an especially bloody segment for “The Walking Dead,” as sunbaked and gooey Walkers went splat onto the floor. Everybody employed whatever weapons they knew how to use best.
Sasha, a Michonne-in-training, now had a sword. Bob, defenseless, pulled apart the brain of an oncoming Walker with just his fingers. Unfortunately, Zach was repeatedly bitten, so he’s basically been eaten. Sorry, Beth.
Everyone else, even responsibly sober Bob, got out just as the chopper came crashing through the roof.down. It was one less store for small-town Georgia.
Also outside the gates was Rick, who was not only a farmer, but also a gatherer. He went out to retrieve a deer that landed in a trap the prisoners set for forest animals, and what does Rick come across, but a lady — an extremely emaciated lady, easily mistaken for a Walker. She killed a boar, and begged Rick to help her bring it back to her husband. Instead, he offered her a foil-wrapped sandwich.
The lady had an accent — I’m thinking French Canadian? She told Rick that she and her hubby Eddie were on their way to Puerto Vallarta with a stopover at the Atlanta airport when the epidemic began. Damn layovers.
She asked if she and her husband could join Rick’s group. Normally, that would be an instant no, but Rick has evidently turned over a new leaf since the Woodbury crew arrived.
So he told her he has to interview her husband with three questions. They walked back to her camp, where — surprise! — Eddie was just a pile of hungry former human underneath some burlap. Then Lady tried to kill Rick and turn him into food for Eddie.
Did she forget the sandwich? She then turned the knife on herself, and asked Rick to let her go full Walker so she and Eddie can be frolicking wood creatures together.
Before she went, we heard the three questions. (1) How many Walkers have you killed? (2) How many people have you killed? And (3) Why? That was apparently the new citizenship test for Prison 2.0. She failed.
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