In the post-apocalyptic wasteland known as Georgia, Rick Grimes and company have survived the zombie masses for another season. However, like with the previous seasons, zombies aren’t the real threat: people remain public enemy number one.
AMC’s hit-drama of the acclaimed comic series started on a fresh note at the beginning of the fourth season back in October when they brought on Scott M. Gimple as the new showrunner, taking over the position previously held by Glenn Mazzara (seasons two and three) and Frank Darabont (season one).
Almost immediately, fans of the show felt like the direction and storytelling of the fourth season was a breath of fresh air, no longer setting the show in one permanent place like in previous seasons.
While the first half of the season was set at the prison and focused on Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the survivors trying to start a simpler life consisting of farming while battling an airborne infection, the villain of season three known as the Governor (David Morrissey) returned with a new army to try and take over the prison.
The cliffhanger before the winter break focused on the prison being overrun by zombies, forcing Rick and company to scatter in different directions into the nearby woods to seek shelter.
From there the second half of season four took a page out of the “Game of Thrones” playbook and focused on different character storylines every episode, having them all reunite in the season finale.
Because of this strategy, the audience got a balanced helping of the major and minor characters and got to see some odd pairings.
Rick, Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) were all paired together, as were fan-favorite Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Beth (Emily Kinney).
Carol (Melissa McBride) and Tyreese (Chad Coleman) were certainly an odd couple, taking care of two girls and a baby from the prison, all while Carol carried a secret with her regarding Tyreese’s murdered sister.
One of the more touching storylines of the season consisted of separated lovers Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) trying to reunite, while picking up some new friends along the way.
Fans of the comic were especially thrilled to see the introduction of Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) as they met up with Glenn after the prison and promised to help him find Maggie before continuing on their top secret mission to Washington, D.C.
While every group was separated from each other, they all were bound for the same place: Terminus. “Those who arrive, survive,” according to the signs scattered along the different railway tracks.
The groups are a bit suspicious of a place offering salvation, because from their experiences with other large groups of survivors, not everyone is who they say they are.
Sure enough, the season finale definitely took viewers by surprise, leaving things in turmoil and more questions than answers. One thing is for certain though; season five (debuting in October) will definitely explore some more macabre and unnerving stories.
At the start of the season, Rick wanted to live a simpler life. By the end of the season, the savage, protective Rick has returned and will never let his guard down again.
Gory as it is gruesome, “The Walking Dead” is back to being the must-watch series under the new showrunner Gimple.
If he was able to make such a splash in his debut season, one can only imagine what surprises he has in store for fans in season five.