Season 4 really is a new beginning for Rick and the group. We start off the season with a slew of new characters, a new look to the same environment, and a whole new threat. The question is: have we been spoiled, over the previous three seasons, so much by great character development, great dialogue, and great conflict that we just can’t feel any interest in these new characters? Or are they really just not that interesting?
Let’s start with the main addition to Rick’s core group: Bob Stookey. In the comic series, his purpose was much different. At times you could equate Bob’s purpose to that of Merle’s in the TV series. At other times he seemed to be much more emotional, similar to how Bob is portrayed in the TV series. We knew more about Bob pre-apocalypse in the comic than we do in the TV series; however because that hasn’t been explored in the TV series, I don’t think we really care about his fate. His problems with Daryl and alcoholism make him seem weak and not fit to survive. While we know he is a good shot and useful for medical purposes, I can’t believe that he will be someone Rick can trust going forward, nor someone that Daryl could truly befriend. So what’s his purpose? I don’t think many fans would be heartbroken to see him leave at this time. Though I could be wrong.
The next biggest addition is that of the two girls: Lizzie and Mika. These two, particularly Lizzie, may be the most interesting characters added to the show. If Carol is taking the blame for killing Karen and David because Lizzie did it (as I assume), that would make her character very interesting. However, in a previous article I said how it would be so much more interesting if Sophia was the character they were doing this story for instead of Lizzie because we could see the progression from innocence to psychopathy. However, with Lizzie as she is, all we see in her is just one crazy girl. So how much are we really invested in this character?
As we know, many of the Woodbury survivors and random stragglers the group let in that died during the flu and the Governor’s last stand died during the first eight episodes. And we couldn’t care less about to be honest. For many of the first eight episodes we only cared about the safeties of Glenn, Hershel, and Sasha. Many times I found myself thinking “oh… that guy died. I think I saw him once in an earlier episode.”
Once we rejoined the Governor, we became even less interested in many of the newly introduced characters. For me, Lilly isn’t that interesting of a character. Tara is a decent character; they could do something with her. However, most of the new camp survivors were really just filler. Supposing any of them did survive, like Mitch for example, none of them would have been fleshed out as characters anyway.
While I absolutely loved the first eight episodes of Season 4, I do believe the feeling of caring about many of the new characters was sorely lacking. However, I think this will change significantly in the final eight episodes for a few reasons. One, we’re back down to the core group. Two, we’re adding on three to four interesting characters from the comic series. Finally, for those who have read the comic series, we’re getting closer and closer to the Alexandria Safe Zone and eventually Negan.