The 2015 Christmas Special is on tonight!
RJ, I'm sorry the first episode you tried was an upsetting one. They usually have more of a balance between hope and despair, but that ep was a rough kickoff for the season.
Season 4 episode two was a lot more positive overall. (I realize I forgot to review it here. I happened to discuss that one in a PM, and I forgot to also discuss it here.
Anyway, episode two was a really excellent episode. Both by itself and as a follow up to episode one. More filled with bittersweet, happy-sad moments. More getting back in the swing of things, with the regular characters adjusting to changes, and settling into their new roles, getting used to newcomers and figuring out where they stand. Plus some touching personal moments for the regulars.
Since the first episode was rather more intense than usual, and the second was much more balanced, I was very glad that I happened to save it and watch both together. Two was a much better note to end on. I was so glad in fact to watch them together, that I decided to save the rest of the season to binge. And then I never got back to it.
So I won't be watching tonight's X-Mas special quite yet, until I finish binge watching season 4.
But for anyone who is interesting in giving the show (another) try, this might be a good time!
The Christmas special is usually fairly standalone, and with an extra emphasis on hope. That is, there are still struggles, but there is more of a focus on coming together, supporting each other, and overcoming them.
In fact I think the second Christmas special they made is one of the best episodes of the series.