Blu-ray Shopping Bag: The Walking Dead Season 4 (Mania.com)
By:Robert T. Trate
Date: Tuesday, August 26, 2014
The premiere for the fifth season of The Walking Dead (October 12th) is still weeks away. Thankfully, today, AMC and Anchor Bay Entertainment have given us the complete fourth season on Blu-ray. I found that a re-watching of the all the seasons is a great refresher for this series, not so much a reminder of who is who and where we are. I do it for the mindset. These people live on the edge and their crazy world is always trying to kill them. Re-watching from the beginning also satisfies my need for more of the best show on television.
The incredible thing about complete seasons on Blu-ray is that time, commercials, and sensors are no longer an issue. I decided to jump into the fourth season’s extended episodes. It sites on the back of the box that there are three, but, in fact, there are only two. Perhaps someone at Anchor Bay or AMC didn’t double check the menu to the printing, because there is a discrepancy. The season finale, episode 16, “A” had one subtle change. Many of you already know what that is.
First up, we have episode 9 titled “After”. This is after the huge battle at the prison between Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) group and the Governor's (David Morrissey) new gang. Literally, there are pages and panels pulled directly from the comic and put up on screen. One of the many great things contained here in “After” is Michonne’s (Danai Gurira) backstory. On this Blu-ray, Gurira also supplies the commentary for this episode. She is accompanied by episode director, Greg Nicotero. Together, they discuss the nuisances and smaller moments that were cut. Nicotero states that this was all due to timing. When one watches “After” you may not remember everything that originally aired, but you will appreciate Rick with a frying pan, Carl applying a wet rag to his father’s head, and Michonne gathering a herd as she tries to walk herself out of her own oblivion.
The commentary track really does help illustrate the differences contained in this episode. According to Nicotero, this is the first episode since the pilot to adhere as closely to the comic as possible. Storyboards for this episode were directly cut from the comic. Despite the story being slightly different, it was Nicotero’s wish to mirror that issue. Another great thing to look for is the American Werewolf in London “Jack Goodman” Walker. The extended scenes also allow us to see Michonne’s emotional turmoil after realizing she is just like the Walkers. In total, there are six more minutes here and and worth the re-tread
The episode, for this season, that got everyone talking was “The Grove” (episode 14). Yes, the one where Carol, again, had to make the tough decision. “The Grove” features Carol (Melissa McBride), Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman), Mika (Kyla Kenedy) and Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) coming across a home with food and supplies. With Judith Grimes in tow, they decide to rest there for a while and decide whether or not they should go to Terminus. The issue here is Lizzie. She is unstable in this world and cannot comprehend the difference between Walkers and the people that they used to be. It was she who was sacrificing the animals and feeding the Walkers back at the prison. She then does the unthinkable to her sister.
This is episode packs a huge punch and really gives everyone something to think and talk about. What really drives me crazy about this show is that most people like it for the zombie apocalypse motif. We all know someone who bitches that an episode like this doesn’t have enough killing or Daryl (Norman Reedus) in it. Those people just don’t understand what the creators of this show are reaching for. A fact that Nicotero and Andrew Lincoln speak of during their commentary.
The cool and weird part about that this particular commentary is that Lincoln has never seen a single episode of the show. I can understand why. As an actor, he probably only wants to know and experience this world through his character’s eyes. He doesn’t need to see that scene between Tyresse and Carol. Letting Carol go was one of the hardest things he had to do. Tyresse’s forgiveness should never weigh on Rick’s opinion of Carol, especially for a moment he never saw.
The big change for this episode is the ending. The camera changes angles and the frames are shot in an entirely different way. Did it effect my opinion on what transpired? No. It did leave me with that same hard feeling, that in this world, there was no other option.
The Walking Dead Season 4 is out today on Blu-ray and DVD. Look for Tim Janson’s review of the Special Edition this week.
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