Rick’s hoeing in a vegetable garden in the bucolic opening scene of series four; if it weren’t for those darned zombies wailing on t’other side of the fence this could almost be classic smalltown America. Oh, but then there’s that small matter of Lori, T-Dog, Andrea, and Merle having been killed in that brutal series three finale, so how to build the story from there?
With new characters of course, including Bob Stookey, a former army medic played by Larry Gilliard Jr, better known to US drama fans as D’Angelo Barksdale from ‘The Wire’. It’s a slow, thoughtful opener with melancholy undertows as Rick, Darryl, Carol, Michonne et al consolidate their growing new society in the prison with a stab at self-sufficiency, stability and a sense of near-normality – if you ignore the hundreds of daily walker stabbings at those fences.
Further down the line we’re promised meaner, nastier zombies, but for now, Rick’s internal struggles with the inherent brutality of his life are uppermost in his mind. And a moving scene outside the camp with a lone young woman only serves to make things worse.