POSTING BY BIG ANGRY
When season 4 of The Walking Dead premiered back in October, I was uncertain as to how this season would progress. When more zombies were promised, I was concerned the plot would suffer in a quantity vs. quality format. As things went further, would the plot come together when the premiere, at times, seemed to go nowhere and simply tread water? It was, in my opinion, the weakest premiere of the four seasons. However, first impressions shouldn’t always be the only impression and first impressions can be wrong. Which, in this case, turned out to be very true.
The first half season four took a slower approach than the previous season, letting the story unfold and develop at a steady pace. Yet, unlike the lumbering, preachiness we had to endure during first half of season 2, this season progressed well. Yes, there were more zombies, but it was done without appearing over-compensating or as a plot filler. As the infection story line started to seem drag on a little long, it was wrapped up neatly without it becoming a drawn out “the search for Sophia part 2.”
This season addressed Rick’ s struggle in dealing with his and Carl’s foray into their dark, violent sides that emerged in the previous season. Unfortunately, “farmer Rick” didn’t work out so well. Personally, I found it made him weak. His focus on being a farmer left him blinded to the realities of what the group faced and needed. Carol’ s insight into teaching the children how to defend themselves was needed and proved correct in tonight’s finale. Granted, maybe her decision to kill the first two infected wasn’t the greatest, however, it was a tough call and Rick seemed too concerned with weeding than what was going on around him. On tonight’s mid-season finale we hear Rick tell The Governor that he doesn’t make decisions, yet a moment before we see him justifying his decision to oust Carol to Daryl. Ultimately, Rick tries his best, however, his waffling cost lives.
Let’s face it, it’s not easy to admit, but it’s the truth: Carl was born to kill zombies. He does it and does it well. Another failure of Rick’ s was completely isolating Carl from this nature. Instead, Rick needed to be a guiding force teaching Carl how to control himself and know when killing is appropriate. Much in the manner we saw Herschel guide Carl in the woods when he wanted to take out the incapacitated “tree zombie”. This is the kind of guidance Carl needs, not gardening tips while ignoring what this world gone to hell has made you. If anything, tonight’s finale solidified that with the proper guidance, Carl has what it takes to survive and perhaps one day, lead.
Ah, The Governor. He’s back and with a vengeance. What I liked about the re-introduction of The Governor, and something I wish they would have exploited a little more, was initially making people root for him. Making him, in some ways, a likeable character. In a similar manner we saw Rick dealing with his demons, we saw The Governor attempting to distance himself from his Woodbury past. Of course, like Rick, his demons cannot be ignored. His uncompromising desire to keep his new family safe brought out his old, psychotic self. Personally, I would have preferred to drag out that likability a little longer than one episode. That way, when the scale tipped and he went batshit crazy, it felt like a greater betrayal.
Ultimately, what we see through Rick and The Governor’s struggle is that we are who we are. If we try to ignore or repress certain aspects of our personality, it will emerge stronger than it was before. This could be a disheartening thought. However, I think the real lesson here is that we need to acknowledge that darker side and learn how to control it, use it when it’s needed, then tuck it away when it’s over. This way, that dark but sometimes useful side doesn’t thrust us over the edge. This inability to keep demons in check, ultimately, lead The Governor to his demise.
Tonight’s finale brought us to an emotional head. It was a heart-felt, action packed end that was more what you would expect from a season finale and not simply a break in the season. We are always told that no one is safe and The Walking Dead proves it time and time again. The other thing The Walking Dead also proves is that it doesn’t pay to be both the elder member and the social conscience of the group.
That being said, so long Herschel. While your death wasn’t as heart-wrenching as watching Dale’ s unexpected passing, your presence and guidance will be missed.
I’m holding out a farewell for “Little Ass Kicker.” I’m not entirely sure she’s gone. An empty car seat and blood doesn’t mean she’s left the earthly plane.
At the conclusion of tonight’s fiery and emotionally stirring episode, we are left wondering what comes next. Similar to season two, the group is now scattered and their safe haven in ruins. However, unlike season two, we are provided with no resolution as far as the group reuniting or any indication as to what awaits us in the second half of season four.
Damn, February can’t come soon enough.