The last thing I watched before AoS 1 was a scary and engrossing show that the rest of you watched while it was on the air and you already know all about what happens next, but I don't, which is why I'm buckling down to pay for new episodes of AoS, but I digress. (Oh wait, one more - did you hear General Adama was cast in AoS? That is so cool.)
You may remember my obnoxious habit of making frequent references to the Walking Dead comics, making me seem like the one who knew all about what happened next, but I slowed it down when the divergence got bigger, and now, finally, I'm past the point in the show where I've read in the comics so I'll never do it again after this entry. I have no intentions of continuing with the comics. When I reached the end of the material that my local library had at the time, I was discouraged enough by the brutality of the fourth volume's climax that I saw it as a convenient point to sever whatever attachment and curiosity I had for the series. I still admire it a great deal, but I'm not putting myself through that anymore.
Yes, the show is brutal too, and I can't necessarily explain why I experience it differently. But that fourth volume climax? It's hard enough to see the tank tearing into the group's shelter and last hope for their future. We don't need Rick and Carl watching Lori and the baby shot to death right before their eyes on top of it. Or Carol? Her descent to madness and suicide was utterly fascinating, but rooting for her as she wins at post-apocalyptic survival is so much more gratifying. Ordinarily I object to plots being sanitized for adaptation, but I'm also not a zombie nut and I'm not here for the gore or the despair. The little rays of hope are the whole point, and if they're not, they should be.
To that end, one of the things I had really been looking forward to was the establishment of the prison as a permanent home. It seemed to take forever to get there, but then there was farming and kids teasing walkers and I was all happy and of course it didn't last, but there's this sense of time progressing that you can't really depict except through downtime. A lot of shows and movies in my favorite genres don't seem to understand the value of downtime, and that's probably why we write so much fanfiction for them. Let the characters stop fearing for their lives for a few minutes and who knows what they'll tell you.
But since this is the end of the innocence and all, it's more fun to focus now on how gradually everyone's efficiency at making the hard calls is developing. One scene that really stuck with me, I think it was in the third season, happened when a few characters were driving somewhere and encountered a man on foot begging for their help. They ignore him, and by the time they drive back later in the episode, he's dead and they only stop to pick up the backpack he was wearing. The whole sequence was just shot beautifully and timed perfectly - if it had happened with the same characters earlier in the series, it would have had much more of a dramatic effect, but by the time we get there, you can almost sympathize with the pragmatism.
Bummer about Terminus. The only theory I have is cannibalism, but it doesn't entirely seem like a few human meals are worth all the effort they're putting into it. Plot hole? Doesn't matter too much; I'm happy that we've got that many key members of the group back together to kick some ass. And maybe Terminus will be the new prison! I mean, home!
While I'm at it, the Governor kind of seemed like a plot hole, too. Just at the end, I mean, rallying all those relatively innocent people into being his thugs. It was more believable when he was transparently batshit and all of his followers were actual thugs. Who's seriously going to listen to the negotiations and not side with Rick after he points out that the prison's no good without a fence? How is Gov still charismatic enough to make new friends if he's that psychotic on the inside? ....Okay, there's probably some kind of real world psychology answer for that one, but I still think he was a weak Big Bad and his arc was drawn out too long.
I think that's all I've got for now. No ships except for Glenn and Maggie. Glenn/Maggie forever! Do no harm to Glenn and/or Maggie or to Glenn/Maggie (Glaggie?)! See, this is another one - ray of hope makes all the difference and everyone should embrace it. I don't even know if they break up in the comics but I think I heard they did and that makes me mad. Here's hoping this is one show that can keep finding ways to improve on the original.