Warning. This review contains several spoilers about the fourth season of the TV show “The Walking Dead”!
On March 30 the fourth season of the show “The Walking Dead” ended.
After the third season, which set new record ratings, the fourth season was produced and broadcast in the same format: 16 episodes of which 8 were broadcast in October / December 2013 and the other 8 in February / March 2014, again with extraordinary results in ratings. The show has already been renewed and a spinoff was also announced, which is expected to debut in 2015.
The third season was built on the hostility growing between the group of Rick, who occupied the prison, and that of Woodbury, led by the ambitious and ruthless Governor. The fourth season starts after the fall of Woodbury and ends the prison story arc in the first half of the season then offers more introspective episodes in the second half.
“The Walking Dead” fourth season cast consists of:
- Andrew Lincoln (photo ©Angela George) as Rick Grimes
- David Morrissey as the Governor
- Danai Gurira as Michonne
- Steven Yeun as Glenn
- Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon
- Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon
- Chandler Riggs Carl Grimes in the role
- Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier
- Lauren Cohan (photo ©Gage Skidmore) as Maggie Greene
- Scott Wilson as Hershel Greene
- Emily Kinney as Beth Greene
- Chad L. Coleman as Tyreese
- Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha
- Lawrence Gilliard, Jr. as Bob Stookey
The fourth season starts several months after the Governor’s attempt to attack the prison. Rick has given up his leaderhip and decisions are made by a small group of people while for some time life continues almost normally. Obviously, this situation can’t go on for long.
This story arc shows all the strengths and weaknesses of “The Walking Dead”. Various characters keep on being developed showing their reactions to various adversities. In the case of the prison group, which includes several people who arrived from Woodbury, it’s not only the walkers but also a kind of a flu epidemic. In the case of the Governor, who survived the fall of Woodbury, it’s a journey that is also inner. The problem is in some plots, especially those related to the Governor.
After the fall of Woodbury, the Governor left along with two henchmen, who abandoned him after a while. A bit of introspection is OK, the problem is what happens next. While seeking shelter in a building, he runs in the Chambler family, who are such idiots that hadn’t even figured out how to kill a walker for good and yet survived. This is all the more unbelievable considering that the father is ill.
When at last the father dies, the rest of the family leaves with the Governor and after a while they meet one of his old henchmen, who in the meantime had become the leader of another group. Those are idiots more or less like the Chamblers as they’re sort of camping, with little protection against the walkers.
For the Governor becoming the new leader of the group and convincing everyone that the inhabitants of the prison are villains and it will be easy to conquer is a piece of cake, also thanks to the fact that they have a tank. Obviously, having a half-crazy gry leading a group of idiots, the result can only be death and destruction.
This first part of the season seems to be a reflection on human nature and on the intellectual level of the average human and the conclusions to be drawn are really negative. Or maybe the writers haven’t been able to come up with any more brilliant plots with characters a bit smarter.
Mind you, there were moments of intense action and other of tension, episodes in which theme of survival came into spotlight again. They dealt with some new topics such as the dangers of diseases and even everyday problems such as growing food. The problem is that sometimes the plots seemed to me really lame.
In any case, the mid-season cliffhanger consists in the escape from the prison of the survivors of the battle. The second half of the fourth season consists of episodes focused on small groups of people with a generally slow pace. Personally, I found them to be decent with just some strong moments.
Frankly, at times I had the impression that the writers took the audience for granted and just wrote anything to fill the time. “The Walking Dead” has become a media phenomenon and not just a television series so it’s possible that the producers they they don’t need to commit resources to the scripts.
In these stories often mediocre, the episode 4×14 “The Grove” shines out. Lizzie, a little girl from Woodbury, had already given some signs of mental instability and in this episode she shows it all. Now that’s a bold choice, especially when Carol is forced to kill Lizzie because she thinks they have no other choice, also to protect little Judith.
In the last episodes, the focus is in particular on Terminus, which is supposed to be a scantuary whose inhabitants advertise its existence with various signposts placed near the railroad. Another group of survivors also appears: its path crosses with Rick and Daryl but is eventually quickly got rid of.
Several of the protagonists reach Terminus which, not surprisingly, turns out to be a trap and there are various clues to the fact that its inhabitants are cannibals. The last episode leads to a great cliffhanger so it’s impossible to judge this story arc. In six months, with the beginning of the fifth season of “The Walking Dead”, we can understand if they have screwed with the wrong people.