I’ve seen some fans talking about season 5 being a train wreck and dreadful compared to the wonderful season 4. And I just want to scream, were you watching season 4?! A lot of people put down Caryl fans’ dislike to shipping issues, but seriously that was the LEAST of my worries with season 4. So here is why, in my opinion, season 4 sucked.
1) Carol the killer of Karen and David - OH DEAR GOD I will never be over this. I understand the importance of having Carol in a situation to show she will kill to protect the others, before The Grove comes along. However, the execution (ha ha) of this story was so ridiculously poor writing and SO out of character for Carol as to be borderline hilarious. Again, I’m not saying her killing Karen and David was out of character but her killing them in these circumstances AND the actually manner were.
A women who we have been told has medical training (and we are shown her medical knowledge in Indifference) and is told TWICE on-screen that they have all been exposed to infection already and it’s too late, killing two people in futile hopes it will prevent the spread of the disease? A woman who cares SO MUCH about her family, covering up the killing in a clumsy, heartless way, burning the bodies and abandoning them for their loved ones to find? Instead of just telling others that Karen and David were dying so she euthanised them, or, you know, that they’d already died and she prevented them from turning? Meanwhile not getting a drop of blood or gasoline on her self? A woman so worried about an infection and her girls getting it, she exposes herself dramatically to the bodily fluids of the sick, and then returns to her new adopted daughter and embraces them whilst wearing the same clothes? A woman who cares most about honesty and speaking up, watches Tyrese, Rick and Daryl get into a brawl when she can prevent it?
UGH. Nothing. NO PART of that story sits well with me, or with who we have been and still are told Carol is as a person. It was clearly an end point they wanted to get to and they shoe-horned in the crappest story to get them to that point, hoping the shock factor would cover up for how bad the writing was.
2) Violet the pig is sick. Rick has no idea what to do or what’s wrong. Yet no one considers asking Hershel who is - you know - A VET!
3) Rick’s beat down on Tyrese. What was that about? To show us that Rick was still less stable than a three legged cow? And then in Indifference, he tells Carol Tyrese nearly killed HIM - when it was Rick who had to be pulled off of Tyrese. Carol saw that, so was he lying to her forgetting that? or lying to himself? Or was he meant to be truthful and the writer just fucked up? When it’s refenced in A, he doesn’t say he lied about it.
4) Okay, trying NOT to write all of Indifference, but this particular scene grates on me when Rick significantly looks at the knife roll and sees the missing knife. What exactly was the point of that scene? Carol had aleady confessed. He knew it was her. And a knife being gone isn’t exactly dramatic in that place, when knives are LITERALLY hanging from the fences around the prison and can be taken and used by anyone any time?
5) But Indifference, though. Look Rick isn’t the greatest man on earth, we all knew that from his issues with Lori but his beahviour in Indifference was pretty gross. His speech to Carol was so abusive, from locking her out of the car, to telling her he didn’t want her around his kids, to the lie that no-one would want her. It was HORRIBLE, and no wonder Andrew Lincoln was told this by viewers. Scenes where we could see Rick struggling emotionally with his decision, that he felt it was what he had to do but he remembered all Carol had done for their family, and more importantly his wife and his kids would have been far more powerful and in keeping with their relationship. And speaking of kids, what was that scene of Carol talking about her kids back at the prison about? What was Rick’s reaction? Was he stunned she didn’t mention Sophia? Stunned she’d claimed Lizzie and Mika were hers? Oh and have I mentioned him blaming Carol for not saying Sophia’s name, when we the viewers know she had? Again, rewriting history to fit the story.
6) Beth’s reaction to Zach’s death. What were the writer’s trying to tell us about Beth? It seemed as first that we were meant to see her as hardened - she didn’t like goodbyes, didn’t cry anymore (allegedly), didn’t take deaths hard. Yet, every time we see her for the rest of the season she’s crying. Crying when she talks to Maggie through the door, crying when Hershel dies, crying when she sees the kids bloody shoe… And this hardened, no crying, we have jobs to do person suddenly becomes Miss Optimistic AFTER her father is brutally murdered in front of her? But she’s also a moody teenager who just wants to get drunk in order to deal with it, because she wants to take advantage of the fact her murdered father isn’t there to stop her? RObert Kirkman was right when he said EK had to basically play a different character in every episode, because there was NO consistency in her characterization in season 4.
7) Daryl. *sigh* Oh Daryl. Daryl the greatest tracker, suddenly unable to track back to the prison or to follow the signs of life he finds and instead heads in the oppsotie direction. Daryl, the great resourceful man, who forgets to mention to Beth that he knows of a safe, secure cabin nearby where they could bed down, rather than sleeping rough in the woods. Daryl, the sensible man who takes care of the youths around him, agrees that instead of looking for their family, going to find booze and getting pissed is a GREAT idea. And when Beth finds, what most would consider a suitable drink for a teenager drinking her first adult drink, he smashes it and gives her a highly alcoholic beverage that could make her go blind? Then he weakens to her taunts and drinks it too. Daryl, who’s mother died when her house burnt down around her while she was drunk, decides it’s a good idea to set fire to their only shelter, whilst drunk, in the middle of the night. Because symbolism is more important than safety. And of course, Daryl who flinched at being touched a few days before is suddenly holding hands and carrying Beth in his arm.
8) Claimed. What an utter waste of an episode. All we need from that episode is that Michonne has told Carl about Andre, and Rick kills a Claimer ensuring they follow them. Literally that could have all happened in a handful of scenes shoved into Alone. All the stuff in the house with the paintings and the dead family was UTTERLY pointless, and added nothing to the episode or to the characters. NOTHINGGGGGG.
9) They’re screwing with the wrong people. And no, not just because he didn’t say “fucking” but because of BADLY shoe-horning (yes, again) a comic line into a scene it did not fit. In the comics, Rick says it in Gabriel’s church, surrounded by his family all weaponed up ready to come up with a plan to deal with the Hunters. It came off as utterly deluded and pathetic to say it when you and your crew are literally trapped in a box without your weapons or any means of escape. (As it turns out the “who” they didn’t know they were dealing with, was Carol, but we didn’t know that in A).
10) Beth saw Daryl’s reaction to that “girl” when she came out of the barn? No she didn’t, she was too busy seeing her mother as a walker and falling, sobbing over her body before becoming catatonic. And also she KNOWS the girl’s name is Sophia, she’d use the name when talking to Daryl.
11) The Governor eps. HA, look the Governor is actually nice, all he needs is the love of a good woman and a new surrogate daughter. Ha, fooled you, no he’s still a psychopath! Wow, what a fake out, I was so convinced. No, wait, I wasn’t in the slightest because you’d painted him so clearly as off his chump in season 3, willing to kill all his own people, that I didn’t for one minute buy that he would change. Utter waste of two episodes (except for the fact it gave us Tara).
12) The fact that in the space of a week - a deadly flu broke out (and then completely vanished, despite the fact it had reached the university miles away), Carol did her first human killing and the same day adopted a daughter who was a murderer, a helicopter fell through the roof of the Big Stop (though it had happily been there for months), the fences at the prison collapsed, a megaherd was wandering near by but is never seen again despite the fact the group is allegedly split over the county post prison fall, The Governor recoups after 7 months of silence and attacks, the Claimers are around killing people and what not, there’s a guy lopping off the head of sinners, someone is raiding camps, the Grady cops are picking up strays, and Terminus is inviting all-comers in to eat them. That’s beyond the unluckiest week ever. And all in one corner of Georgia. No wonder they went to DC, they’d used all all the disasters an evil-doers in their state.
13) Bob’s box.
14) Daryl the expert driver spends time looking for a CD for their roadtrip, and hasn’t noticed the several thousands walkers in front of them. Good lord.
15) They spent 7 months growing crops, sorting irrigation, forming a council but no one thinks of securing the fences or even just soaking all the walkers gathering there in gasoline and setting them alight?
Look I’m not saying this is comprehensive, this is only the things I noticed and remembered because honestly only 30 Days and The Grove are eps I really am inclined to watch again so I may have missed some. My point is that while season 5 is certainly lacking in some departments, nothing comes close to season 4’s ability to have characters forget their entire past and behavior, and ridiculous overloading of shocks and obstacles in the most poorly paced season of all time.
IMO we had a few characters who were developed and written well, mainly Michonne (I wish we had continued the focus on her growth this season but it seemed to get lost after Strangers), Tyrese, Bob and Sasha. And as we only have Michonne and Sasha left that’s not much good. I just hope season 6 manages some better balance and character developments that fit with their story, rather than ones which are glued on to them because of a story they want to tell.