Spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 4 premiere follow.
In the buildup to The Walking Dead Season 4 premiere, the buzz word that had often been repeated by the cast and crew of the zombie drama was "threats." More specifically, new threats that come from within.
After watching "30 Days Without an Accident" it's clear what that threat is: A deadly disease that is set to sweep through the prison.
The signs that something serious was about to go down were clear from the beginning. At the start of the episode we were introduced to a pig (she who shall not be named!) that was quite clearly very sick. We were also shown a zombie that had bled profusely from his eyes (props to the FX and makeup department for a doing a stomach-churningly good job). At the time it seemed insignificant, but these were small pieces of a deadly puzzle that when put together spell trouble for the community at the prison. A plague is set to be unleashed.
Newbie Patrick complains about feeling sick so asks to be excused from book club. At first it seems that talk of killing walkers is making him squeamish, but later we see him die a painful death on the shower room floor. Earlier he had complemented Daryl on bringing back a deer to eat. Could this be the source of the outbreak?
Here's what show creator Robert Kirkman had to say about the potential for a pandemic:
Mother Nature is rearing it’s ugly head at a time when we’re completely incapable of combating it. This new threat is this Spanish flu-type sickness that is ravaging these people. That’s really wrecking things for them. Aside from having The Governor (David Morrissey) looming on the horizon or any other kind of human threat that is out there, or zombies — which is something they’re always fighting — they've also got to deal with this thing, which is possibly more deadly than anything they've faced yet.
The community at the prison might have gone 30 days without an accident, but the bodycount is going to rise a lot in the coming weeks.