This column was written by a substitute because I had a surprise guest – my aunt from Texas – so I spent all the time I was able to with her and since I didn’t know she was coming I did not plan ahead. Since I do not work at the newspaper this prints in, I am not sure how the final version looks which is running in the paper but hopefully rather similar to the following which is written by Chris Haggit and edited a bit by me for my blog:
“The Walking Dead” has always done a phenomenal job of adding realistic human motives, drama and life into a post-apocalyptic zombie thriller and most people will agree as proved by the season four premier claiming the title of the most watched basic cable drama telecast of all time with 16.1 million viewers and the series has been nominated for various prestigious awards.
“The Walking Dead” Season 4 Episodes 401-08:
The following is a brief overview of the first half of season four and includes spoilers and assumes the reader knows the characters of the show.
The name of the first episode, “30 Days Without an Accident” is a wonderfully dark title, eluding to the inevitable, and may I add, guilty pleasure of mine, death by zombie.
Rick has been replaced by a council of peers as the decision-making powerhouse of the community after his subsequent mental collapse at the loss of his wife and the pressures of leadership. His mental state has vastly improved and has began to look at farming and ranching inside the prison walls as a way to maintain the security and productivity of the prison as a long-term home, although Carl doesn’t quite see it the same as Rick.
Everything has really quieted down since the overthrow of The Governor and destruction of Woodbury and the integration of his subjects into the primary cast. So quiet in fact some of the younger children don’t realize the threat just outside the fences and have even gotten to the point of looking at the zombies as pets almost, naming them, feeding them and giving them a back story. Carl and Carol find themselves mentoring and instilling the reality of the situation upon the younger, sheltered children. Because of the feeding of rats to the “walkers” they have converged on one section of fence and has begun to break down.
As the season continues, the group faces more radical adversity starting with a super influenza bug that quickly spreads through the median aged of the population, quickly killing and turning the victims. A big shock and interesting turn of events stems from these initial events as Carol attempts to snip the spread by murdering two infected characters, one of which is closely tied to one of the main group. This ripple makes waves later in the season.
Due to the lack of medical supplies at the prison, most of the healthy adults make a run to a medical school quite a distance away and having plenty of trouble themselves and end up being gone longer than expected. All the while this is happening the walker numbers on the parameter fence keep increasing nearly to the point of collapse.
These next episodes and this season as a whole have been a bit different than previous seasons, with more foreshadowing and if you pay attention to character development, you can start to see a pattern leading up to the death of the main characters. A couple of interesting interviews with two actors who are killed off during this season explain how their roles in the show changed just prior to the death of the character. Most pointedly, Hershel begins to have more lines and becomes much more proactive in his role prior to his execution.
The situation continues to deteriorate at the prison, more sick patients are dying. Glen has became sick and ends up with a breathing tube and the second doctor of the group has died. Because the situation has taken such a turn for the worse Carol and Rick are forced to go on a quick supply run in which Rick confronts Carol about her involvement in the murder at the prison. Carol admits it was her and Rick makes an executive decision and casts her out in the wild.
Rick returns to find the situation has worsened at the prison. Outside, the herd of walkers has continued to build in numbers and it’s quite clear things are going to climax. Which they do; in a quick, and violent way, the victims of the flu die off faster than can be managed by Herschel and as they turn they begin to overrun the makeshift hospital.
Maggie and Rick are on fence duty as the situation worsens inside and the sound of gunshots turns Maggie’s attention from the fence to the interior. The fence finally collapses and this leaves Rick with a tough choice, keep Carl in quarantine and face the horde of walkers on his own or enlist his son’s help and expose him to the danger. Rick decides the danger is too great and with Carl’s help and a stockpile of weapons the swarm of walkers is cut down. Quite predictably, the the group sent on the supply run returns just in time to save what’s left of the sick.
The next two episodes are based around The Governor and what he has been up to since the collapse of Woodbury. The Governor, after a period of aimless wandering has assumed the name of Brian and has been befriended by a small family that has survived by staying isolated inside of their small apartment. After choosing to move on as a group, The Governor and the family run into other survivors.
This is where The Governor begins to show his true colors as he murders opposition in the leadership of the group and brainwashes the remainders into attacking the prison while holding hostage Herschel and Michonne.
With the precarious situation at the prison the group isn’t prepared for the inevitable attack by the Governors and his goons. After a brief standoff The Governor decapitates Herschel and all hell breaks loose. The following gunfight leaves the prison in ruins and the groups scattered, ending here for the midseason break.