After season two’s occasional propensity to drag story lines out a little longer than they deserved (‘Where’s Sophia?! Where’s Sophia?! Where’s Sophia?! Where’s Sophia?! Where’s Sophia!? Where’s Sophia?! Oh shit, she’s dead’) season three was an absolute return to form for AMC’s flagship show, making season 4 the most hotly anticipated piece of television reality this year.
With new showrunner Scott Gimple, at the helm, season 4 is in the safe hands of the man responsible for some of the finest episodes so far and we’ve already had a glimpse or two at some tantalising new story lines. N3’s resident editor Robin White and writer Josh Kidding took a look at what kind of flesh gnawing treats we have in store this year.
Warning: There will be spoilers.
Scott Gimple is replacing Glen Mazarra who himself replaced the show’s creator Frank Darabont – do you take any stock in the notion that the changing of the guard is damaging to the show?
JK: Well it’s no news to any follower of the series that each season possessed a caliber of its own; the contributions made between the first, second and third generations of the show made huge aesthetic changes as production went on, the second season saw what was allegedly one of the most controversial plots on television at the time, surrounding Sophia’s absence and her ultimate death, which surprised many critics as they witnessed the rather clinical execution of her character in sharp detail.
The third series took a step in the right direction, although a dramatically different one with the sudden revival of conflict, documenting more hostility between settlements rather than the undead menace which stood as the key aspect at the start of the series.
I think we can all agree that any predictions made over the fourth season will be challenged by the habit of change AMC has constantly brought to the show, that being said having a new eye watching over the production can only lead the unfolding drama to broaden its potential and give viewers a new experience to see the coming season through a new perspective.
RW: Absolutely. A key component in the show’s success has been its adaptability over the course of the seasons as tensions have focused on a different antagonistic element, be that undead, living or as was the case with Sophia in season two, the effect of a missing child on the group dynamic, coupled with Shane’s borderline insanity and resentment of his friend. Gimple will steer things in the right direction.
How do you see Carl’s character developing after the events of last season’s finale? (Spoilers abound).
JK: Considering the distance growing between Carl and Rick, along with the relationship building with new found father-figure Daryl, there’s a strong possibility we may see Carl oppose his father’s leadership, and with the addition of Abraham Ford’s character in the new season, for those familiar with the comic, there’s a high chance Carl may take hand of “that there rifle” and sneak into the Saviors’ hideout to deliver his own judgment. I think we can safely assume this new generation will allow Chandler Riggs to bring forth a much more mature mindset to his constantly developing character and test himself with the “darker, grittier storylines” we have in store for us.
RW: Josh is apparently signifcantly more favourably dispositioned towards the character than I am – I’d have much preferred to see him, as opposed to Lori, bite the dust in season 3 to spark Rick’s descent into madness, but had to respect the showrunner’s decision to align themselves with the comic books as far as possible. I can imagine Carl may inadvertently end up being the death of a more compelling character this season (Daryl anyone?) in which case I’ll be more eager than ever for him to be written out of the story, one way or another.
The Governor – gone for good?
RW: Absolutely not. Him and Rick aren’t done doing battle yet. Storyline aside, the importance of the chemistry that David Morrisey shares with Andrew Lincoln cannot be underplayed, these are two sensational actors at the peak of their careers and the producers are far too wiley to deny us a continuation of that battle of wits (not to mention pistols.) That said, I imagine the resumption of battle may be a little further down the line – expect the Governor to show his face again somewhere around the midpoint of the season as opposed to straight off. Not to mention that David Morrisey’s contract has been renewed…
JK: Personally, I imagine any confrontation with a second round of David Morrissey is distant at the very least; whilst the results of season three were inconsistent when compared to the comic book franchise, I believe AMC did the right thing in censoring some of the graphic resolve the page-bound plot presented. With generally mixed views over Sophia’s demise, I can assume AMC is determined to avoid any unnecessary controversy which could potentially derail the prestigious role TWD has taken in their programming. Will we see The Governor return in the future? The thought is as much of a gamble as having him in the series to begin with. Despite my love for the flawless execution of The Governor’s sociopathic reckless nature carefully practiced by Morrissey throughout season three, I can’t see many people being too happy if Gimple strings him out too far.
A potential love interest for Rick? Daryl and Carol – are they going to get it on?
RW: I’d say yes to both. It’d be another interesting way stage in Rick’s potentially perpetual struggle to move on from the death of his wife last year and could create yet more conflict between him and Carl. Expect to hear the phrase ‘You’re not my mom!’ shouted at least once towards the end of the season.
JK: I think Rick deserves a little closure over the loss of not only his wife but one of the most iconic female leads in the past 3 seasons, as for “Darol”, I can’t personally see their chemistry progressing past the first few episodes of the coming generation with the burdens of change and demand in tow.
Death Watch – Odds on who’s going to get it first.
With the addition of another fifty or so characters to the group in the prison, we’re about to see the biggest group of survivors since season one outside Atlanta. And new characters mean room for change at the top – here is the official (actually totally unofficial) word on who’s going to get it in the neck this season.
Carl: 16% – As much as our venerable editor might want him dead, Carl’s demise would seem unlikely, this season at least.
Governor: 57% – Assuming he’s coming back, we don’t imagine he’ll make it to another season.
Glenn: 5% – Lasted a long time in the comic books. Too damn cunning for anyone to take him down.
Maggie: 45% – Her death would be a suitable catalyst for Glenn to do a Rick and, as it’s medically known, ‘lose his shit’.
Rick: 4% – Far too soon for the main man to go down. Perhaps in the show’s finale, many years from now.
Daryl: 90% – ‘If you kill Daryl we’ll burn the studio down’ read one shirt at Comic Con. Fate has been tempted. We’d miss him too.
Tyreese: 9% – Will survive until another black guy comes along as the show can’t have more than one at once.
Sasha: 24% – We’ll need to grow to love her first.
Carol: 9% – Potentially the cause of Daryl’s death?
Morgan: 7% – Low odds purely because we’re not sure if he comes back or not. Too good a guest star to kill.
Check back tomorrow for our review of Season 4, episode 1. It’ll be a beauty.