I found an article on things that episode 4.13 Alone did right (and wrong). Most of them have been discussed here in one form or another, but one--strong female friendships--hasn't been discussed. So, I am posting an excerpt from the article to spark a discussion on the subject:
"Over the first three and a half seasons of The Walking Dead, we’ve gotten some awfully compelling platonic relationships between the male characters. Rick and Shane loved each other so much that they nearly destroyed themselves rather than give up on one another. Rick became the brother that Daryl had never had in Merle, and Daryl became the unfailingly loyal and trustworthy partner that Rick needed after Shane. Hershel became a pillar of morality for Rick and embraced Glenn as a son. Indeed, the men of The Walking Dead have developed some wonderful relationships with one another.
The women? Not so much. The farm was riddled with womanly squabbling, Maggie and Beth are forgettable as sisters, and most female characters only seem to receive attention via their relationships with the men. Andrea and Michonne were a step in the right direction in Season 3, but that…didn’t exactly end well. When surly loner Daryl has a more successful social life than any of the ladies who actually possess people skills, something is seriously wrong.
Fortunately, the camaraderie of Maggie and Sasha in Alone is a promising change. While Bob is present as he tries to romance Sasha and follow Maggie, the emphasis of the struggle remains on the women, and their dual kickass action sequence coupled with the maturity of their dialogue felt amazingly respectful. They discuss their plan as equals and hash out their emotional hang-ups like adults."
I will even go further than the article. Until the end of S3, TWD struggled when it came to creating positive, dare I say, likable female characters. Lori was a terrible Mom; Carol was a weak, abused widow; Andrea was an impulsive bitch; Beth was a sheltered, whiny teen; Michonne was a stoic enigma; and Sasha was just unknown having just been introduced. Aside from Maggie, the only strong, likable female characters--Amy and Jacqui--were killed off in the first season. And even Maggie being a positive female character even if a likable one, prior to the end of S3, can be debated because she practically fell into bed with Glenn upon meeting him.
However, prior to the end of S3 and, dare I say, the beginning of the reign of Gimple, we couldn't have strong female friendships because we didn't have positive, likable and strong, female characters. The article mentions strong male friendships between Rick, Shane, Daryl, Hershel, and Glenn. Each of these male characters, even Shane before killing Otis, were not only strong, but positive and likable.
So, I am happy to recognize and agree that Alone gave us strong female friendships, but I couldn't sleep that S4 has solidified the steps taken at the end of S3 in giving us strong, positive, and likable female character in general from which to build these strong female friendships. I look forward to seeing more of it and more of them.