May 7, 2015

[TV] The Walking Dead: Season 4

The Walking Dead is feeling more and more like an RPG campaign that's going on for a little too long. Sure, there are still interesting encounters here and there and moments of awesome for each of the characters, but overall the story doesn't seem to be going anywhere significant. And that's not too unexpected since it's the tragic fate of almost all zombie stories.

The show is a survival piece and every episode tries to focus on situations of various difficulty that the survivors need to get through. There was a bit of a goal in the first season with eventually trying to get to the CDC in the hopes of finding information about a possible cure. But things like that have disappeared and now it's just a lot of character drama and zombies.

And the zombies are still pretty good, don't get me wrong. But you can only watch so many scenes of zombie squishing and CGI head explosions. We need a bit more than that and I'm not sure if the show is going to get around to that.

Synopsis: The Walking Dead is a US television drama series created by Frank Darabont based on the Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard comic book series of the same name. Melissa McBride remains to be one of the cast members that gets the most notice by various award-giving bodies given her Critics' Choice Television Awards nomination and her Saturn Award.

After the whole siege of the prison at the end of the third season, this fourth season begins with everyone still at the prison. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) has walked away from the leadership role and is now dedicating his life to farming on the prison grounds. The other survivors of Woodbury have been integrated into the community and for the most part the prison is a relatively secure little enclave for our band of survivors. But despite all that had happened last season, they're still pretty determined to live in this prison.

Michonne (Danai Gurira) continues to search for the Governor (David Morrissey), who had managed to escape the events of the last season finale. And of course having the survivors all gathered together leads to them sharing an infection of some sort - something that kills pretty quickly. And of course if someone dies regardless of the cause, they pretty much automatically turn into zombies, something that had been established since the very first season.

I cannot get over how long the survivors stay at the prison. Despite the increasing dangers and complications of living together in this facility and all the tragedies that have happened here as well, they still think it's important to keep this hope. To be fair, it's hard to live a life on the road and no one wants to go through that sort of nomadic existence. But at the same time, there's just something about the prison that clearly cries "NO LONGER SAFE" and yet they remain.

The second half of this season deals with Terminus, a place that has been referenced in passing here and there as another possible refuge. They even send out radio broadcasts calling for survivors to join them at Terminus and build a life. Given the Governor's community and their own experiences at the prison, it's not surprising the group remained pretty suspicious of where this was going. But hey, we have a story that needs to go forward.

Carol (Melissa McBride) remains to be the best part of this show. Given how she's the most badass member of the team next to Daryl (Norman Reedus), her character has grown quite tremendously over the seasons. And now we see how intense and focused on the greater good she can be given the lengths she'll go. She teaches kids some pretty harsh lessons about survival and she knows when it's time to cut their losses and make necessary sacrifices to get things done.

I wasn't a bit fan of the side-arc of the Governor traveling around. He has never been all that charismatic on-screen in terms of how the character was written, and so he's not all that fun to follow. And his arc just felt like a very long pretense to eventually go back and try to siege the prison once again. The Governor is a dick. That's pretty much the core of his character arc.

Rick Grimes also appears to be becoming more and more of a depressing emo loser with every passing season. I understand he needs to deal with a lot of emotional trauma and all that jazz, but man, he's getting really hard to watch. Yes, maybe this is a very realistic depiction of a man going through something akin to PTSD or something of that nature, but other folks don't seem to be quite as defeated. So maybe he shouldn't have been positioned as a lead character given his current fall?

The Walking Dead is okay but nothing amazing and this season had the prison playing the same narrative role as Hershel's farm. It just sucks the characters into a black hole of no progress and keeps the story in place as well. Thus the season can only really get 3 sad zombie jump scares out of a possible 5.


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