When the season opens, things are going well at the prison. They've incorporated the stragglers from Woodbury into their society and Rick has taken on the role of the farmer, putting away his gun and teaching Carl (Chandler Riggs) how to work the land. It isn't long before the prison comes under attack, from the inside. Instead of walkers or infiltrators, this time they are battling an unknown virus, one that is incredibly deadly and threatens everyone's lives. In someone's effort to stop the spread of the virus, the first two infected people are murdered, which causes anger and fear to spread throughout the camp, and it doesn't stop the virus.
Meanwhile, it seems the Governor (David Morrissey) was abandoned by his remaining men after his crazy, murderous spree during last season's finale and he wanders about the countryside, aimless and a shell of a man; that is, until he meets a family in need - Tara (Alanna Masterson), her sister Lily (Audrey Marie Anderson), Lily's young daughter Meghan (Meyrick Murphy), and Tara and Lily's father, who is dying of cancer. The Governor calls himself Brian and helps the family, with he and Lily falling for one another. He believes he can redeem himself by protecting Meghan, but his thinking always was a bit twisted. He and the family join a group run by Martinez (Jose Pable Cantillo), one of his former men, and the Governor manages to convince them that their only hope of survival lies in taking the prison from Rick and company. When they show up at Rick's doorstep with a tank in tow, things come to blows, literally, and everything goes sideways. We lose a beloved cast member in the most brutal way imaginable and everyone suddenly is separated, frightened, on the run, and not sure of anyone else's survival.
As different small groups form from the remaining prison clan, they are all attempting to reunite with one another and simply survive. Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Tara end up with a group of people who are headed to Washington, D.C., one of whom is a scientist who supposedly knows why all of this walker business started in the first place. Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) is flanked by Sgt. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz, Southland) and Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos) as protection. While Glenn is determined to reunite with Maggie (Lauren Cohan, Chuck) and is convinced she survived, Maggie is teamed up with Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Bob (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.) searching for Glenn and Tyrese.
Tyrese (Chad L. Coleman) finds himself thrust together with Carol (Melissa McBride) and having to care for several young girls, two of which are sisters, both ill-equipped for this apocalypse. Mika (Kyla Kenedy) can't bring herself to harm anything, while Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) is deeply troubled and sees the walkers as simply another form of human. Their story is a heart-wrenching one and definitely a dark time for Carol.
Fan favorite Daryl (Norman Reedus) finds himself on the run with Beth (Emily Kinney) and the pair start to open up to one another, but when Emily disappears, Daryl finds himself having to join up with a brutal band of murderous raiders. Unfortunately, these are the same raiders that Rick ran into earlier and was forced to defend himself. These guys have a serious vendetta and will drive Rick to the breaking point, forcing the last remnant of "farmer" from his bones.
Most importantly, everyone keeps seeing these signs along the train tracks about a place called Terminus where all the tracks meet. A place for hope and survival, they call it. Each small group is convinced they'll find their far-flung friends here, but is Terminus what it appears or is it just another Woodbury... or worse. Either way, some folks will get reunited, only to face a new horror, but at least they are together. Having had their mettle tested by the Governor, they will be a force to be reckoned with next season.
One really nice aspect of this season was seeing a different Michonne (Danai Gurira), as we get to see a peek into her life before the turn. Up until now, Michonne has been this warrior woman, but as she and Carl grow closer and she opens up about her past, it's a breath of fresh air. Don't worry, she isn't going soft on us. She slices and dices more walkers in one pivotal scene than she does the rest of the season.
The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season is absolutely jam-packed with special features and for fans, this is terrific. Not only do you have making-of featurettes for every single episode, but you also have Inside the Episode, which delves into what occurred during the episode and how the cast reacted. There are audio commentaries on pivotal episodes (of which there are a few), plus extended episodes and deleted scenes. Finally, there are featurettes devoted to everyone's favorite Walking Dead villain, The Governor, and the moral compass of the show, Hershel (Scott Wilson). There's a featurette on the inspiration for the show; one taking us behind the closed doors of the studio responsible for the walker effects; one covering Rick's return from farmer status to official badass; one discussing a really cool online class at the University of Irvine CA where The Walking Dead is examined by different disciplines such as physics, sociology and math to see how the different types of individuals would handle the apocalypse. Very cool indeed. The only thing that I wished would have been included would have been the episodes of The Talking Dead for each episode. Then it would have been a perfect package. As it is, it's still pretty damn awesome.
In The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season, we met new people, lost people both new and old, and saw the group blown apart and searching to come back together. What will next season hold? No doubt more horror both at the hands (and teeth) of walkers and regular humans, but we'll find out in just a few short weeks when The Walking Dead returns on October 12th.