Walking Dead? More Like Shambling (A Season 4 Review)
About a year ago, I wrote a recap of the first three seasons of AMC’s The Walking Dead. My final words in said review were, “…I’ll be glued to my seat in my pitch-dark front room when the show returns in October.”
Fast forward to last October: there I was, glued to my seat in my pitch-dark front room as promised, eager to see how Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Carl (Chandler Riggs), Daryl (Norman Reedus), and the rest had been holding up. By episode’s end however, I was very much unglued, and by season’s end, I was only marginally interested. The infection-outbreak story arc in the season’s first half was just okay, but I think it dragged on too long. One of the better episodes was episode 6, “Live Bait” in which The Governor (David Morrissey) returns and is the main focus therein. For a minute there, I thought he just might have changed and had given up his ideas of revenge against Rick and Co. at the prison, but what fun would that be? Things come to, well, a head (see what I did there?) in the first-half finale, “Too Far Gone”. The final battle for the prison is waged and main characters fall. The prison in ruin, the survivors flee the chaos in different directions. What fate would befall them? Would they ever find one another again? Would I care enough to tune in?
The series resumed in February and I grudgingly took my usual seat to watch things unfold (or unravel). The main story arc for the season’s second half revolves around each splintered portion of the group from the prison trying to find a possible safe haven known as “Terminus”, where according to the signs, “Those who arrive survive”. Episode 10, “Inmates”, is our introduction to the improbably well-fed Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) and Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt), as well as the incredibly well-groomed, shaven-legged Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos). The finale, “A”, is a reunion of sorts; the majority of the group ending up together again, albeit not in the most optimal of circumstances.
To sum up: Most of the episodes in the season’s second half, as with the first half, were lack-luster, with too few gut-churning “holy shit!” moments. This was the first season I didn’t watch every episode on the night it premiered and the first time I found myself fast-forwarding through an episode. Not because it was too intense; because it was too boring. I’m also not a fan of starting and ending the show with the seemingly now-requisite ballad. I know it’s a current trend for shows in general, but come on. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not all bad. The effects were still on par with past seasons and the locations were as foreboding as ever, if maybe a little too clean on the inside. Maybe the undead maid had just come through. Overall season 4 just didn’t meet my expectations. Maybe I should have known better. You go into something with high expectations and you’ll usually be let down, and I definitely was. The Walking Dead is more popular than ever, with more and more viewers each season. However, just because something is popular, it isn’t always a direct correlation of how good it is. When it all shakes out, will this be known as the season where it all catapulted on water-skis over a certain large, voracious marine animal like so much Fonzie???
Time will tell amigos. Time will tell.
AMC’s The Walking Dead Season 4 limps into Terminus with a 2 1/2 out of 5.
Greg “The Well-Fed and Clean-Shaven Survivor” Randolph