‘Walking Dead’ returns, now even more terrifying

If brain-hungry, rotting zombies weren’t enough to be considered apocalyptic, then imagine adding an extremely contagious flu virus to the mix. That creates one hell of a horrible world to live in. 

In season four of “The Walking Dead,” which debuted on Oct. 13, the story of survival in a zombie infested world continues and adds some new terrors as something even more threatening takes hold of the survivors. 

Season four starts off in the same fortified prison of last season where a much mellower main character, Rick, is seen farming and harvesting some crops. Any fan of the show will automatically know that this is out of character for Rick, who is usually seen shooting a gun and killing zombies rather than planting cucumbers. However, after last season when Rick had nothing short of a mental breakdown after all of the pressures of being the group leader, it is no surprise that leadership this season has seemed to be handed over to fan favorite Daryl Dixon and a small council of survivors. Still armed with his famous crossbow, Daryl is just as badass as ever this season and really seems to be the main link holding the group together. 

The population of inhabitants has grown in the prison due to the survivors of Woodbury coming to live with the main group of characters this season. With this new crop of people come many new dilemmas. A surprising amount of children have entered the group who clearly and understandably do not know how to defend themselves from the walkers. One of the regular characters, Carol, has taken it upon herself to look after the children and secretly has been training them on how to use weapons such as knives. 

With the new group have come new romances that have blossomed among the population of survivors. However, the running joke of the show to never be in a relationship in the apocalypse because one of you will always die, turns out to be quite true this season. Already in the span of two episodes, viewers witness quite a few deaths, all of them mainly involving people who were in relationships with another person in the group. 

The main concern of this season seems to be the introduction of an incredible threat, a potential airborne virus similar to the real life swine flu. The virus that takes hold of the survivors is deadly. All in the span of one day, what seems to be nothing but a harmless cough turns into be a raging flu that by night kills by basically causing all orifices of the body to implode and bleed out. After Rick notices a sickly pig in their farm, it is clear to see that this virus is somehow being passed through animals to humans and for once has nothing to do with the walking dead.

After one of Carl’s friends, Patrick, catches the flu and reanimates over night, an all-out zombie infestation takes place in cell block D causing about half of the population of the prison to die. Not only are there internal struggles among the group, the original problem at hand of the infestation of zombies is getting worse by the day. As their fences and fortifications began to fail, the horde seems almost impossible to contain which causes extreme amounts of anxiety for the characters and for the viewers as well. 

After the incident of countless people losing their loved ones and the looming threat of the zombies breaking through the barriers, Rick decides to abandon his short lived farmer’s life and return back to his old ways as leader and zombie killer. 

The producers of the show have said this season there will be a significantly larger amount of walkers and with the anticipation of a crazy good season four. Viewers of the show want as much blood, gore and zombies as possible. If anything is clear this season, it is that zombies are going to be just one of the many problems that face the survivors in “The Walking Dead.”