According to The Hollywood Reporter, the season premiere of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” attracted a series-high 16.1 million primetime viewers on Sunday night, second only to NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” which pulled in 19.65 million.
Although the zombie apocalypse show placed second in overall ratings, it beat the football broadcast in the 18-to-49 demographic ratings, 8.3 to 8.0.
Last night’s Season 4 premiere of “The Walking Dead” drew over 5 million more viewers than its Season 3 premiere – which attracted 10.9 million last October.
In case you missed it, last night’s “The Walking Dead” premiere takes place about six months after The Governor’s botched prison takeover and subsequent Woodbury resident massacre.
The premiere showed a happier side to the characters that have been through so much in the past three seasons.
We even got to see Rick, Carl, and Michonne smile!
With the addition of the Woodbury refugees, it looks like the apocalyptic survivors – in spite of a growing walker presence outside their gates – have carved out a relatively happy community in the prison environs.
However, as with any drama worth its weight in ratings, good times don’t stick around for long.
Here is a pair of theories born from last night’s episode.
Rick’s Adventure Theory
While on a routine hunting expedition, Rick comes across an odd woman in the woods who tells him that she and her husband need his help.
The woman, who looks a lot like a walker, leads him to her campground, although Rick never really seems to buy her story completely.
The woman speaks often about the horrible things she and her husband have done since the apocalypse began, expressing concern about “coming back” from these things.
Rick consoles her, telling her she can come back, though this viewer thinks the pair were speaking of different types of “coming back.”
Rick, on the one hand, speaks of coming back from the verge of a mental breakdown that nearly drove him off the deep end.
The crazed woman, on the other hand, could very well be speaking of “coming back” from being a zombie.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Think about it. Her overall appearance looked more like a recovering zombie than a survivor. Her thought pattern was all over the place and she seemed out of it most of the time. Even her walk seemed more like a zombie’s.
What if the horrible things she spoke of having done are the deeds of a zombie, not someone trying to survive—though survival is at the heart of both creatures’ essence.
This theory also gives weight to Milton’s belief that although they’re zombies, they retain something of who they were before turning.
Who knows? Maybe, if left alone long enough, a zombie’s immune system would eventually eradicate the virus and return the undead to its previous condition?
Besides, after the woman kills herself, we didn’t see or hear Rick put a bullet or knife in her head to prevent her from coming back.
Patrick’s Turn Theory
Patrick, the teen who enjoys story time more than hanging with Carl, was a short-lived character who we saw turning into a zombie on the shower floor at the end of the episode.
Because Patrick wasn’t bitten or scratched – that we know of – this turn of events seems to indicate that the virus has gone airborne.
While this seems to be the most logical conclusion, the thought has occurred that maybe, just maybe, The Governor has found a way to spread the disease at will and is the one who infected Patrick—and maybe others.
Okay, this theory is a bit more far fetched that the recovering zombie theory, but hey, anything is possible in “The Walking Dead” world.
Regardless of the theory, the fact is that “The Walking Dead” is back and we now have something to look forward to on Sunday nights.
“The Walking Dead” airs on AMC at 7 p.m. on Sundays in Provo.