Aside from that extended trailer that came out of San Diego Comic-Con back in July, and a few behind the scenes looks, most of what we’ve seen building up to season four of AMC’s The Walking Dead has come in small, few-second bursts. On one hand this is maddening because you don’t get much aside from an ominous atmosphere, but on the other, it totally works because I want to tune in to find out what the hell is going on. And that’s says something, because The Walking Dead and I have had a rather rocky relationship over the years. This latest teaser does exactly what its predecessors have done, creates a menacing feel while revealing as little as possible.
As far as the zombie drama is concerned, the enemy has always been at the proverbial gate. Most often it takes the form of swarms of undead walkers trying to get through the fences surrounding the survivor’s prison stronghold. Occasionally it also takes looks suspiciously human, like when the Governor (David Morrissey) stops by to cause a ruckus. The whole purpose of taking up in the prison is because it is the most secure option available. With the tall fences and all of the other security measures in place, this is as good a place as any to keep out the zombies, fight off assholes like the Governor, and create a new place to call home. But, as Hershel (Scott Wilson) says in this clip, “Everything we’ve been working so hard to keep out…just found its way in.”
What exactly this statement means remains to be seen. It could very well mean that walkers have breached the perimeter and are pouring through the open wound, but it doesn’t sound this simple. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say that what Hershel is talking about is more abstract and evil, and most likely human. There have been hints that the survivors will face a new threat, and that threat is human in nature. From the look of this clip, there appears to be a killer lurking in their midst, picking off the survivors one at a time. There are a ton of new additions to the pack this season, so it could be one of many potential faces. Then again, I could be completely wrong in my assessment of the situation.
It’ll be curious to see how this all shakes out, but, despite my misgivings about The Walking Dead as a whole, I’m approaching this upcoming season with a weird sense of optimism. Plagued by inconsistencies and prone to entire episodes of meandering filler, when season four kicks off on Sunday, October 13, it will be under the guidance of new showrunner Scott M. Gimple. As a writer Gimple is responsible for two of the best episodes in the entire franchise, “Clear” and “Pretty Much Dead Already,” and he has come out and said that they’ll be doing some of the fan favorite storylines from Robert Kirkman’s comic books, which serve as the source material. While that can be a mixed bag—their attempts to pull this off have been less than stellar—it sounds like they’re going about it in a way that could deliver strong results.