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DVD review: 'The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season'

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'The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season'

Rating:
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If you have kept up with 'The Walking Dead' to this point, you will realize that the gang is fortified in a prison with danger looming.

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Let's see how this plays out in the fourth season.

Following the shakeup at the end of the third season, the survivors are all still holed up in their prison fortress. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) has stepped down from a leadership role so there is some uncertainty about who will guide the group. People who have escaped Woodbury have integrated themselves into the relative safety of the prison walls. The Governor (David Morrissey) has seemingly disappeared, so that solves that conflict for now. What emerges as a problem is a mysterious, deadly flu-like virus that runs rampant in the prison.

Is this what undoes our favorite group of non-zombified humans? Will there be any dischord among the survivors, now that they don't have a clear leader? Are there any outside forces that could pose a threat?

A ton happens in this season, so forgive the vague synopsis.

This season plays like two smaller seasons because there is an obvious shift around the halfway point. The second half of the season is drastically different from the first which continues a lot of the third season's momentum. It separates everyone into small groups amid some real chaos. This is a logical way to break up the relative safety of the large group that we had settled into. At the same time, each episode seems to focus on one group at a time. Some of these groups are far more interesting than others. The group of Rick, Michonne, and Carl (man, that kid really comes into his own this season) is the strongest and the Maggie/Glenn saga is reasonably compelling. Carol and Tyreese are involved in some really intense episodes/subject matter. Watch to find out about all that. The Daryl/Beth episodes are, mostly bores.

Given the disparate locations and dynamics within the groups, some of the latter half episodes are far more action-oriented while other are a little more deliberate. Ideally, the character development shouldn't have to come at the expense of an interesting sequence of events. These elements don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Perhaps more than many of the other seasons, this year provides opportunities for growth with many of the characters. We learn a lot more about Michonne's past, some other characters become more prominent and others fade into the background or die off. There are some big shifts.

A nice touch is that a particular destination is hinted at throughout the season and we get to catch a glimpse by the end, which is a nice payoff.

Special features include: Inside 'The Walking Dead', the making of 'The Walking Dead', Drawing Inspiration, Hershel, The Governor Is Back, Society, Science & Survival, Inside KNB EFX, A Journey Back to Brutality, Deleted Scenes and commentary.

'The Walking Dead: Season Four' provides a lot of resolution to some questions that have nagged us for quite some time while also paving the way for the future.

Add an extra half star to this review.

Not Rated 688 minutes 2014

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