[WARNING: This Article Contains MAJOR SPOILERS for the first half of The Walking Dead Season 4 - AND the comic books!]
TV biggest hit, The Walking Dead, is currently on break for the holidays, but when it returns, it's going to be a picking up in a vastly different landscape - one that we arguably haven't seen since season 1 of the show. The mid-season finale episode saw The Governor (David Morrissey) stage an all-out blitzkrieg against sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his prison community, the end result of which was the Governor's demise, the prison being overrun with zombies, and Rick and Carl getting separated from the other survivors, with baby Judith seemingly dead as well.
That shake-up leaves the survivors once again displaced and wandering with little resources to their name - a situation that we haven't really seen since season 1, where the zompocalypse survivors were still green to the hell on earth they found themselves in. But how will a more experienced group of characters handle life on the road? Walking Dead showrunner Scott Gimple is dropping hints.
[FINAL WARNING - MILD Season 4.5 SPOILERS Ahead]
As Gimple told TV Guide:
"It's going to hit [Rick] in a way that we haven't seen before. If it's just the two of them, [Carl is] going to have to step up quite a bit because circumstances are wildly different and a lot will depend on him in terms of them just surviving. They don't have an awesome, dual-layer fence and brick buildings to hide behind. They're out in the world."
Fans of the comics know that the rhythm of the Walking Dead tends to be an oscillation between attempts at building civilization in doomed strongholds, or dark and savage odysseys across the open road, where other humans and lack of supplies are as dangerous as the zombies. After a lot of nesting storylines on the show, we're now back to that dark odyssey place - and despite extensive changes made by the TV version, there is still room for several of the more iconic (and disturbing) highlights from this volume of the comics to be presented onscreen.
One of those iconic elements will be a character. It's no SPOILER to say that during New York Comic-Con 2013, The Walking Dead showrunners introduced new cast member Michael Cudlitz (Southland), who will be playing fan-favorite character Sgt. Abraham Ford in season 4.5. In comic book continuity, we've reached the point where Rick and the remaining survivors must first re-unite (hence the initial Rick/Carl road saga) and eventually encounter new friends (like Abraham) and new horrors (like cannibals) as their modest convey tries to find a new home. That's all I'll say for now - but it looks like the show is headed in a similar direction.
Of course, there's the issue of repetitiveness. The comic book, as stated, begins to take on a circular pattern of storytelling; a TV show has much less leeway to do so. If the next road trip segment ends in a new locale for nesting, then farm and Woodbury and prison comparisons (and complaints) will be heard almost immediately. How Gimple and Co. plan to get around the shrinking resources offered by the source material is anyone's guess; Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter may ultimately be right in his claim that Walking Dead has a short shelf-life as a show.
But with an upcoming spinoff series potentially offering a new (and more purposed) storyline in the WD world, maybe the main show will finally leave the comic behind once and for all and evolve into its own story. We'll soon see. (Meanwhile, it wouldn't be too bad if the show went in a slightly more uplifting direction where Judith is concerned. Click HERE to see what I mean....)
The Walking Dead Season 4 Part 2 premieres February 9, 2014 on AMC.
Source: TV Guide