Season 4 of The Walking Dead (originally airing Sunday, October 13, 2013) starts with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) coming out of the prison, walking down to some gardens and using a hoe to dig up some weeds. He is listening to music on some headphones as he works. His hoe hits an object. He digs it out and finds that it is a pistol that someone buried in the ground a while ago. He looks up and sees multiple zombies pressing against the fences. When he pulls his headphones out of his ears the noise they are making is loud. Rick looks at them, puts his headphones back in, tosses the gun in his wheelbarrow, and goes back to work.
Later, Carl (Chandler Riggs) comes down to visit his dad. Things are clearly pretty good for the group now. They have gardens and a pen that has some pigs in it. Carl, against his dad’s will has even named the pigs and he spent the night before reading comic books. In the prison they now have a small community with Carol (Melissa McBride) running what looks like a small cafeteria. She and Daryl (Norman Reedus) talk about how the zombies are accumulating outside the prison while on the fence others are using various weapons to stab the zombies in the head and kill them. Through a few short scenes we find out that the prison is now working like a small city. Everyone has a job and things are organized and people seem happy.
A group led by Daryl, Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) put together a team that is loading gear into some cars. Among them is a new guy Zach (Kyle Gallner) who appears to have sparked up a romance with Beth (Emily Kinney). As the two kiss each other Daryl comments that he feels like he is living in a romance novel (earlier Carol called Daryl “Pookie”). On the other side of the prison Rick, Carl and Hershel (Scott Wilson) are working in the field when Michonne (Danai Gurira) rides up on horseback. They open the gate and she rides in. She gives Carl some comic books she found and she gives Rick an electric razor. As Daryl and the group heading out pulls up they welcome Michonne. She has clearly been gone a while. She reports to them that she didn’t find “him,” but there is another place she is planning to look. Daryl wonders if it is worth it since this place is 70 miles away. Michonne tells him that she thinks it is.
Rick tells the group he is going out to check some snares he had set. He tells Carl to read comics and hang out with his friend Patrick and that he should go to story time. Carl says that stuff is for little kids which Rick explains is the point. He is trying to let Carl be a kid again. He and Hershel talk. Hershel tells him to stay close and that they want him to take his gun. Rick tells him that he has his knife and if he gets in trouble six bullets isn’t going to help much. Hershel insists he take his gun to be safe.
Outside the fence, Rick, now wearing his pistol, is walking through the forest. He finds a dead dear then he finds a pig lying on the ground dying. A zombie approaches the pig and starts to eat it. As Rick starts to walk away the zombie asks him to stop. He turns around and realizes she is a person, not a zombie. She is hoping Rick will help her get the pig to her husband because they haven’t eaten in days. Rick pulls some food from his pack and gives it to her. She is filthy and looks a little like a zombie. When she asks if he has a camp Rick tells her yes. She asks if she and her husband can come back with him. Rick says he would need to meet her husband and ask them some questions first.
Back at the prison, four kids are at the fence waving at the zombies and calling one of them by name. Carl tries to explain to them that they are not people or pets and they shouldn’t name them. The kids, three girls and a boy leave. Carl is with his friend Patrick who looks older than Carl, but speaks to him as if he is an adult.
The group led by Daryl and Glenn are now at an abandoned military camp that is set up outside a big store. Zach is trying to guess what Daryl did before the zombie infestation. He gets one guess per day. He guesses that he was a homicide cop. Daryl messes with him and lets him know that he is wrong. The group makes their way into the store. What they don’t know is that the entire roof is covered with zombies.
In the forest this new woman leads Rick through the woods. They discuss how hard it has been for her and Rick explains that it is a numbers game. People are the best defense against zombies. They also discuss the morality of some of the terrible things they have been forced to do.
Meanwhile, the group at the store does some shopping. Another of the new guys Bob (Lawrence Gillard Jr.) stops at the wine section. He considers taking a bottle and hiding it under his jacket. When he changes his mind and sets the bottle back on the shelf the entire thing collapses. It makes a hell of lot of noise as it falls on him and traps him underneath it. The noise causes the zombies on the roof to start walking around. The zombies hit a soft spot in the roof and fall through. It is literally raining zombies in the store and all hell breaks loose. The group fights for their lives as they try to escape from the store. Daryl and Zach lift the shelf off of Joe. As Daryl drags Joe to safety Zach gets attacked and bitten by a zombie. The group, minus Zach, retreats from the store as the roof fully collapses and destroys the store.
Rick arrives with the woman at her camp. She falls to her knees and tells Eddie that she brought help. It looks like she is talking to a rolled up blanket. Out of nowhere she attacks Rick with a knife. He knocks her to the ground and she tells him she knows keeping him (Eddie) was wrong, but she can’t live without him. She brought Rick there because Eddie needs something living to eat. When she realizes she can’t overpower Rick she tells him that she wants to be with Eddie. She then turns the knife on herself and drives it into her stomach. As she dies she wants to know what questions Rick wanted to ask them. Rick tells her the questions were: How many walkers have you killed? How many people have you killed? Why? She then dies. As Rick walks away we see Eddie is a small bag that is wiggling around. It appears she was keeping just a few parts of her former husband.
At the prison, Carl sneaks into the library that is now full of books as Carol reads to the children. After she finishes her story she pulls out a display of knives and is now going to teach the children how to safely use a knife. Patrick asks to be excused because he is feeling ill. As Carol beings giving the class on how to properly use and kill with a knife she sees Carl and asks him to not tell his father. Carl turns and runs away.
Rick is now back at the prison and he sees that their adult pig has died. It appears some kind of illness is now killing animals and it has him worried. Inside the prison, Maggie (Lauren Cohen) tells Glenn she is not pregnant. She also tells him that she didn’t want to be pregnant, but it would be okay if she were. They can have lives here now that they have built this community. Glenn disagrees and says that being scared is what has kept them alive. Daryl goes to tell Beth that Zach was killed. In a heartbreaking scene she gets up and walks over to sign on her wall that says, “This Workplace Has Gone 30 Days Without and Accident.” She changes the number from 30 to zero. It is her way of counting how often they lose someone. She then tells Daryl that she doesn’t cry anymore. She was just glad that she got to know Zach. She asks Daryl if he is okay and he tells her that he is just tired of losing people. She agrees as the two hug and comfort each other explaining that this is why they no longer say goodbye to people.
The incredible Season 4 premier episode of The Walking Dead ends with several flashes. We see Michonne looking at a map then Rick holding his baby while talking to Herschel about how he was going crazy and felt like he knew how the woman who killed herself felt and how he could have ended up like that. We also see Bob lying in his bunk then we see Carl’s friend Patrick coughing and sweating. He goes into the bathroom and pours water on himself in the shower then he collapses on the floor. The camera pans in on his face which is bloodied from his fall. His eyes open up and are cloudy like a zombies’.