Well, at least Rick is still alive. And moderately sane.
True, he’s surrounded by flesh-eating zombies. But you can’t have everything.
Still, as the latest season of “The Walking Dead” arrives, some things have changed for former police officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), the hero of what is arguably the most popular narrative show on television.
For one thing, he’s put down his gun, as has his young son, Carl (Chandler Riggs). And he’s become a man of the soil, growing vegetables for the many folks who’ve joined him within an abandoned Georgia prison.
Fences keep the zombies at bay — mostly. And even though this show has an alarming capacity for killing off major players, many of Rick’s longtime companions are still around.
Glenn (Steven Yeun) is hanging in there with girlfriend Maggie (Lauren Cohan). Together they’re anticipating a blessed event that might not be quite so blessed, considering. And ace archer and all-around tough guy Daryl (Norman Reedus) is still sleeveless, although his lover, Carol (Melissa McBride), seems to be hardening.
Then again, hardening may be needed when hundreds of monsters are moaning for your flesh mere a few hundred yards away. So far, the zombies are the great threat from without; there are no new settlements of rival survivors.
But there are still threats from within. As Rick has shown, mental health is at serious risk in a zombie-dominant world. And if a common cold can wreak havoc on a closed population, imagine the potential of something more dire.
The gore factor remains high — squads of humans line up along the link fence and gouge out the brains of zombies on the other side — although a couple of turns in the opening episodes seem forced, as do certain line deliveries.
This show has faith that a river of red covers all. And it is hard to fault any series that literally offers zombies falling from the sky. “The Walking Dead” may be starting to walk in circles, but the scenery is still spectacular and spooky.
'The Walking Dead'
9 p.m. Sunday