Season four of The Walking Dead starts in two weeks. I’ve seen the first two episodes, and I don’t think fans will be disappointed. It doesn’t feel like new showrunner Scott Gimple has upset the balance of the show. It feels like a natural progression of where Glen Mazzara left it. Here are five things you can look forward to in season four. (Minor spoilers ahead: no specific details, but overarching ideas are discussed.)
There are lots of new faces to familiarize yourself with.
Season four picks up about 30 days after season three, and the prison has become a thriving community. The survivors have a vegetable farm and are raising pigs. There is a rudimentary “government” in place, called the council, that consists of Daryl, Carol, Sasha, Glenn, and Hershel. And there are dozens of new survivors in the camp. Some are just there as zombie food, but others have an actual purpose - and names. There are also several children in the camp now, which brings about new needs (like school) and new complications (like trying to educate the kids about living under zombie rule).
Rick is a changed man.
Rick has started to dig himself out of the pit he was in last season. As a sort of penance, he has taken on the role of farmer, under the tutelage of Hershel. He does not help with kill sweeps, and refuses to carry a gun. His fear of guns is deep and psychological, as if merely holding one would cause him to go ballistic. It seems that the weapon exile was agreed to by both Rick and the council, but by the time season four comes back, everyone is ready to have Rick return to the front lines. But is Rick ready?
Carl is a changed boy / man.
Carl faces consequences as a result of shooting that boy at the end of season three. Not only does he face consequences, he actually learns a lesson. Since being grounded isn’t really an option anymore (and that sure never worked as a punishment for me), Carl’s “punishment” is a similar fate to Rick’s. Carl is eager to take on more of a leadership role than just helping his father with the garden, but he understands why he is on restricted duty, and doesn’t fight his father too much on it. An event in episode two causes Carl to use a gun during an emergency. He is wracked with guilt, but used it responsibly and by the episode’s end is given back his gun. At the same time, Carl is still just a boy. I don’t know how old he is supposed to be in the show, but he still loves reading comic books, hates regular books, won’t sit in on storytime because it is for “babies,” and has to decide whether or not he wants to be a tattle-tale.
There are lots of new threats.
As seen in the poster for the season, that chain link fence won’t hold the walkers out forever - but new threats from inside the prison may mean that leaving is the safest option. I don’t want to give too much away, but there are two threats on the inside: one is organic, and the other may be a traitor.
The Governor does not show up in at least the first two episodes.
I don’t know where he is or when we will see him, but the one-eyed psychopath is nowhere to be seen, and no one mentions him. Either the prison community doesn’t see him as a threat anymore, or they have more important things to worry about.
The Walking Dead season four premieres on October 13th on AMC.