Written by John Edward Betancourt
It was a season full of surprises. We thought there was peace at last at the prison until the flu arrived. We thought that the flu was the worst thing that could happen to our heroes until the Governor returned to wreak havoc and take Hershel's life and from there it was all downhill.
We learned that looking at the flowers will forever be synonymous with the darkest episode this show has offered up so far and that in the world of The Walking Dead, sanctuary is a word with pretty loose meaning.
Season Four of The Walking Dead was about as brutal as it gets, so let's take a look back at this wild year before the new season gets underway.
Episode One: "30 Days Without an Accident"
Life has changed for Rick Grimes and the survivors in the West Georgia Correctional Facility. Rick has stepped away from leadership, letting a committee of his friends and survivors from Woodbury decide the fate of the prison while he instead tends to a farm.
In fact, life has become completely peaceful in the prison, or so it seems. Rick finds a near feral woman with a secret in the woods surrounding the prison and a supply run goes horribly wrong when walkers literally fall from the sky.
To make matters worse, the prison itself has become a liability, for a sick pig in Rick's farm is a harbinger of doom. A new and frightening illness is already beginning to spread through the prison, and with this illness comes death...and reanimation.
Episode Two: "Infected"
Walkers have appeared in the prison following the death and reanimation of one of the Woodbury survivors. Many survivors are lost before the situation is brought under control, leading to the discovery of this new virus. Two of the people who helped clear the walkers are beginning to show signs of this fact acting flu leading to their isolation.
But when a sudden surge of walkers at the fences keeps everyone busy defending the safety of the prison, a heinous act occurs that is not discovered until later by Tyreese. Someone has murdered Karen and David, the two that showed signs of infection, and burned the bodies.
Episode Three: "Isolation"
Rick is on the case to discover who murdered Karen and David, but his investigation will be done on the fly, for the infection has now spread to more people in the prison, including Glenn, forcing them into quarantine in a different cell block. The threat of being wiped out forces a group to head toward a veterinary college in the hopes of finding antibiotics to save everyone in the prison.
But this "milk run", led by Daryl goes awry when they find a large herd of walkers near the college, forcing them to head toward the college on foot. As they struggle to survive, Rick resumes his investigation and discovers a potential suspect...Carol. And when he confronts her as to whether or not she killed Karen and David, Carol gives him the answer he hoped not to hear...yes.
Episode Four: "Indifference"
In desperate need of supplies, Rick and Carol set out into a nearby neighborhood to scavenge for what they need. While there they discover other survivors who wish to join the prison group. Rick and Carol put them to the test, asking them to help in gathering goods, giving Rick time to confront Carol about her decision to kill David and Karen.
As they gather and talk, Daryl and his group arrive at the college, finally getting the supplies they desperately need by the skin of their teeth. As they head back toward the prison, Rick and Carol discover their new friends have not fared so well. One has been torn apart by walkers and the other is missing and Rick informs Carol of an earth shattering decision...she is not to return to the prison for the crime she has committed. But before he sends her off into the desolate world, Rick is kind enough to give Carol supplies and vehicle before saying goodbye.
Episode Five: "Internment"
Rick returns from the prison and quickly informs Hershel and the others of his decision and his discovery regarding Carol before turning his attention to fortifying the prison fences as the walkers continue to weaken them.
As he does, Hershel, who has isolated himself in the cell block filled with infected people to care for them is racing against time to keep the sick from dying and turning into walkers. But it is a fight he is losing, and Rick is also losing the fight against the living dead as they finally breach the fences.
As Rick and Carl battle walking death, Hershel does as well, as the survivors fall one by one. Glenn however, survives and by dawn, there is hope again. The walkers at the fences are dead. Hershel has saved as many lives as he can, and Daryl and his group are back with much needed medication.
It seems like these people have survived the worst, but unbeknownst to them...there is something far worse than the living dead hiding in the shadows...The Governor is outside the prison walls, watching and waiting.
Episode Six: "Live Bait"
The Battle of Woodbury and the Battle of the Prison has taken its tolll on Philip "The Governor" Blake. After slaughtering his own army for their cowardice, he is abandoned on the road by his lieutenants. He drifts, waiting for death's embrace until he stumbles upon a few survivors, trying desperately to get by.
He stays with them briefly with the intent to move on, but the situation and a chance to reinvent himself compels him to stay and protect what could be his new family. Until circumstance puts him face to face with his old lieutenant...Martinez.
Episode Seven: "Dead Weight"
Reunited with his old partner in crime, Philip joins the small community Martinez is now in charge of. He helps out as best he can, still doing his best to shed the ugly monster that he used to be. But a scorpion always stings and when the opportunity arrives for The Governor to rise to power once again, he takes it and never hesitates to shed blood to gain it.
Once more he is in charge, and is doing his best to protect his new surrogate family, until he discovers more old friends at the West Georgia Correctional Facility...
Episode Eight: "Too Far Gone"
Opportunity is finally before the Governor. A chance at revenge and a chance at safety awaits him as he convinces his new community to head to the prison, and take it by force.
His arrival forces Rick back into a leadership role again, but in the most terrifying of fashion. For the Governor has brought with him bargaining chips...Hershel and Michonne. Rick does his best to finally make peace with the Governor, even going as far to invite him and his new group into the prison, but Philip wants blood and brutally murders Hershel before opening fire on the prison. In a bloody and brutal battle Rick's group is forced to evacuate in panicked fashion and Rick himself is beaten to a pulp before Michonne finally gets her blade into the Governor's tender flesh.
The wake of battle leaves the prison burning, the living dead everywhere and the group scattered to the wind and out in the world of the dead once again.
Episode Nine: "After"
Following the fall of the prison the show took on new life with some surprisingly specific episodes revolving around the rich cast and with the group scattered to the wind, Rick and Carl manage to find their way to an abandoned house to hold up for the time being. But Rick needs to heal and slips into a mini coma, leaving Carl to fend for himself. He has several close encounters with walkers, reunites with delicious pudding and finally lets dad have it by getting his feelings off his chest.
But as Carl comes to terms with the strange relationship he and his father will forever have at the end of the world, Michonne is trying to come to grips with being on her own once again and after being out there among the dead for so long, she finally decides that perhaps humanity deserves a second chance.
Episode Ten: "Inmates"
Tyreese is doing his best to keep Lizzie, Mika and Judith alive but is in no way qualified to handle an infant. As he does his best to keep the group going, a helping hand arrives when Tyreese is in in jam...Carol. Tyreese is more than happy to see her and the group begins to follow signs on the railroad tracks toward a sanctuary called "Terminus".
Elsewhere, Maggie, Bob and Sasha are trying to find Glenn but are coming up short at every turn. It turns out that there is a reason they cannot find him. Glenn is indeed alive, but has made new friends by way of Sgt. Abraham Ford and has hit the road with his newfound pals.
Episode Eleven: "Claimed"
Given a chance to catch their breath, Rick, Carl and Michonne continue to scavenge the neighborhood around them. But while Rick rests and his son and friend are out finding supplies, a group of bandits have laid claim to the house and everything within it as well and Rick will have to find a way to get out of the house and warn Carl and Michonne, at any cost.
As he deals with that situation, Glenn learns that Abraham is on a mission to protect the mysterious man known as Eugene, for it seems Eugene knows how to cure the plague of living death ravaging the world. But Glenn wants no part of this, he only wants to find Maggie.
Episode Twelve: "Still"
Still on the run from the hordes of walkers roaming the land, Daryl and Beth are doing their best to survive. But simply hanging on is not enough for Beth and she leads Daryl on a hunt for a sense of normalcy...a drink. Their quest takes them through a dangerous country club and eventually to an abandoned house complete with moonshine.
It is here that the two clear their consciences by airing what they feel are their failures in recent months and life in general before deciding to burn down the house in an effort to cleanse their souls.
Episode Thirteen: "Alone"
Maggie is struggling with the notion that she and Sasha and Bob should simply find a safe heaven to find refuge in. She instead believes that Glenn is waiting for her at the mysterious Terminus and she abandons her two friends in an effort to find him. Bob and Sasha head after her, which allows the debate of whether to start over or find their friends to continue.
Elsewhere Daryl and Beth appear to have found sanctuary in a funeral home that is stocked to the brim with supplies. That is until the walking dead arrive, forcing a hasty evacuation where a stranger in a car kidnaps Beth. It leaves Daryl at his breaking point, where is approached in the middle of nowhere by a group of scavengers who invite Daryl to join them. With no hope of finding Beth, he agrees.
Episode Fourteen: "The Grove"
While still on the road to Terminus, Carol and Tyreese and the girls discover an oasis in the woods, a tiny house nestled in a pecan grove. They take the opportunity to catch their breath here, but Lizzie's strange behavior begins to concern Carol and it is revealed that Lizzie was the one responsible for feeding the walkers at the prison, for she believes that the dead do not pose a threat and to prove her point, she murders her baby sister.
Faced with the fact that Lizzie is clearly broken in this new world, Carol makes two powerful decisions. One, to tell Tyreese that she was the one who murdered Karen and David and to be the one to end Lizzie's suffering, by putting a bullet in her brain.
Episode Fifteen: "Us"
Glenn discovers messages from Maggie that she is on her way to Terminus, forcing him to say goodbye to Abraham and his group in order to find the love of his life, but his search for Maggie will be a dangerous one.
As Glenn continues the search, Daryl continues to travel with his new group of "friends", who turn out to be savage men who live by twisted rules. They also reveal that they are on the hunt for a man they ran into an abandoned house who killed one of their own before escaping. Unfortunately for Daryl he has no idea that man...is Rick Grimes.
Glenn however is reunited with Maggie and convinces Abraham and his group to come with Glenn and his friends to Terminus, to which he agrees. They at last arrive at the mysterious sanctuary and are greeted by a woman named Mary with open arms and the offer of a hot meal.
Episode Sixteen: "A"
On the road to Terminus, Rick, Carl and Michonne are settling in for the night when the group that has been hunting for Rick, catches up to him. Overjoyed to find Rick, the group's leader Joe announces his intention to kill Michonne, Carl and now Daryl for pleading with Joe to end this vendetta against Rick. Faced with such brutality, Rick responds in kind, ripping Joe's throat out with his own teeth before killing the rest of Joe's group.
Following this terrifying rage, Rick does his best to keep the next day as normal as possible and the fact that the group has reached Terminus at last helps. But Rick is suspicious of the sanctuary, so the group buries their finest weapons on the outskirts of Terminus before entering the camp. They are greeted and taken to get a meal when Rick discovers clothing and items that he has seen before in the prison, including the watch that Hershel gave to Glenn.
Faced with the fact something has happened to his friends, Rick's demands for information lead to a shootout, except the people of Terminus are not shooting to kill, but to move Rick and his friends toward a specific destination, a train car that they are herded into and reunited with Glenn and his new friends.
Staring down a hopeless situation, outnumbered and trapped for reasons they don't understand, the hardened and grizzled Rick that saved his son a night before returns, giving hope to the group by letting them know the people of Terminus are going to feel pretty stupid when they realize, "they're screwing with the wrong people."