The walkers are back, and are on a successful sprint to the top. AMC’s The Walking Dead season four promises to amend the disappointment of the season three finale. The series’ previous season finale failed to impress due to the lack of any substantial plot movement. The season left its viewers with the governor gone (but still alive), the prison more populated and still predominant and the characters unchanged for the most part (those who survived season three that is). The finale was amped up, only to drag itself dully across the screen as slowly as the show’s dozens of “crawlers.”
However, season four has been making leaps and bounds to rebuild the storyline that became all too flat throughout season three. While the prison is still the dominant scene of the plot, the producers and directors have brought in plenty of new characters since the season premiere, including a Disney Channel favorite from “Phineas and Ferb”, Vincent Martella, who plays the naive and lovable Patrick. Unfortunately for Martella, Patrick was struck with a mysterious virus that had some unforeseen consequences. While we lost a spectacled, adorable teen, we gained something that The Walking Dead had been missing: a new threat.
The threats in seasons one and two were primarily zombie-related, while the primary threats in season three included both zombies and humans, including the notorious Governor (David Morissey, “Doctor Who”). Three seasons of humans against humans (of both the living and the living-dead varieties) became more of a dull burden for the viewer than an interesting motif, especially with the lack of conclusive action taken by the Governor. The success of season four (so far) is that the threats are no longer walker and governors, but inhuman and even abstract forces, such as illness, grief, alcoholism and perturbed moral discernment. The lines between good and bad, black and white and right and wrong have officially been obliterated, making for a stirring and disturbing season.
So far, season four is succeeding in introducing change after change and plot movement after plot movement. All that is required to continue this amending season is to keep the plot new, active, intense and, of course, infected.