To cleanse the palate. At this point they could move to an all-child cast (“Bugsy Malone” with zombies?) and the juggernaut would likely still roll on:

I feel bound by tradition to accentuate the negative in my “Walking Dead” headline but, that one painful scene where the kids debate naming the zombies aside, last night’s opener was solid. Bringing in new cast members helped. The current core is a bunch of stiffs (no pun intended) and focusing on the same five or six people week to week unnecessarily shrinks the canvas of a worldwide zompocalypse. At the very least, adding a few people to play the equivalent of the red-shirted ensigns on “Star Trek” gives the writers some opportunities to kill characters off for funsies with little consequence to the story arc. Meanwhile, any “Walking Dead” episode that’s defined by an enjoyable action set piece rather than 58 minutes of dialogue is a triumph, and last night’s “it’s raining zombies” scene in the store was enjoyable — if goofy and video-game-ish. (Was the idea of monsters falling from the sky a nod to “Sharknado”? You’ll never convince this fanboy otherwise, my friends.) Even the scenes between Rick and the disturbed Irish girl were well acted and effective, despite the fact that (a) we all knew where it was going and (b) the show had already explored the idea of a human who can’t quite let go of a zombified loved one with the Governor and his daughter. (The make-up on Irish girl, who looked half-living and half-dead, was creepy and weirdly realistic in a way that nothing else on the show quite is.) They should aim for more one-off encounters like that between the main cast and characters on the periphery. Again, it broadens the canvas and adds an element of suspense that’s wanting when Glenn or Herschel or one of the predictable familiars is placed in a situation.

But yeah, child actors. Lots of coming-of-age-in-a-zombie-cannibal-world plot lines coming our way, I fear. Why, even little Carl appears to be on the cusp of puberty now. If we end up with a “first kiss” subplot at any point this season, I think I’m pulling the plug.