THE WALKING DEAD – Season 4 Finale Review
The slow way in which the 2nd half of Season 4 started, with a more emotional inclination to things, made me wary of the Finale. I predicted a lot of doom and gloom, and after watching the Finale tonight, I’m glad I was wrong, well almost.
Last week’s episode reunited Glenn & Maggie, and even had them reach Terminus, with everyone else on the way. The Finale though, is all about Rick, and let’s face it, from Episode 1, the entire show has been about Rick. After spending, almost the entire Season in the backseat, Rick is back bitches!
This episode goes back and forth to the survivor’s time first few months in the Prison, and gives us a reminder and contrast to how everyone has spent their time during this part of the Season. It’s also great seeing Scott Wilson back as Hershel, even if it’s a flashback episode. There are also glimpses of everyone together, at a much happier time than now and it sets the tone for things to come, and allows us to truly let go of the peace and good times from the days in the prison. It’s also a way of showcasing Rick’s journey in the show up until now.
As Rick, Michonne & Carl make their way to Terminus, the Marauders that Darryl’s travelling with catches up to them. In one of the most intense scenes of this season, all hell breaks loose when Joe, leader of the Marauders shows his true colors by beating Darryl down, threatening to kill Rick & Michonne, while another of the group attempts to rape Carl. What ensues is one of the most emotionally brutal and visceral sequences featured in the show thus far, as Rick goes savage on this group of Marauders and takes them out.
This is a turning point for Rick. In a way, what happened was necessary. In the beginning of this Season, the loss of his wife & Andrea, dealing with the mistakes at Woodbury and the Governor, softened Rick. We saw a Rick who was a farmer, and refused to make decisions for the group. He was more content with planting than protecting the group, while still holding onto his anger and resentment. A stark contrast from the man from Seasons prior. Even in the 2nd half of Season 4, Rick’s presence in the show has been nonexistent. The flashbacks show us how it was Hershel, who convinced Rick to walk down a different path; to let his guard down and settle down, show his son an alternative to the violence and death, instead of always being vigilant. This fills in the blanks between Season 3 & the beginning of Season 4. This episode however, re-aligns Rick with the Rick from the pre-prison era; and just in time to deal with what’s coming.
There are also a lot of emotional loose ends being tied up in this episode, starting with Rick & Darryl, essentially the two leaders of the group. After his initial reluctance, Darryl eventually followed Rick’s lead, becoming his lieutenant through out the show, protecting, following orders and being a rock for the others. After an entire season of an emotional, then physical distance, Rick proclaims his bro-love for Darryl. It’s an emotional scene, but that’s been the theme of the last few episodes, and thank goodness. I really thought last week that Darryl would have a conflict of loyalty, but his importance is FINALLY acknowledged, and by Rick nonetheless. Awesome!
Throughout this 2nd half of Season 4, I’ve also been mentioning how weird it is seeing Michonne smile and dance and be jolly, even that gets references. After witnessing his father’s startling and vicious acts towards the men who attacked them, Carl is visibly shaken. Michonne opens up to him by revealing to him how her own toddler son was taken by Walkers, and how, in a fit of savagery, she allowed her boyfriend and friend to become Walkers and mutilated them for her own protection. Despite it all, Michonne attributed her return to normalcy and even happiness to Rick and Carl. It’s another emotionally significant moment, as Carl also admits that his own forced maturity is something he feels guilty about. Warm fuzzy feelings all around!
When the group reaches Terminus though, everything takes a dramatically confusing turn. With no security or safeguards, eerily casual people who barely react to their presence, greet the group. They speak of sanctuary and peace and hand holding, all the while seeming too good to be true. This is confirmed when Rick sees other members of this Terminus populace with items belonging to Glenn and the others who reached Terminus last week. After a showdown, shooting ensues and the group are herded with gunshots at their feet to a specific place, then are surrounded. After another disturbingly organized disarming of Rick, Carl, Michonne & Darryl, they are asked to enter a train car, also containing Glenn and the others. Seemingly out of hope and captured, all seems lost… right before Rick utters the last lines of the Finale… “They’re screwing with the wrong people.”
Boom! It’s a feeling of confusion, irritation, and frustration, followed by anxious anticipation of Season 5, because you know that it is going to be kickass! Rick has returned! This was probably one of the best cliffhangers of any show, as it doesn’t end on a note of suspense, confusion, shock or even awe. Instead, it culminates an entire Season’s worth of a story arc for Rick, and explodes it in our faces with one sentence signifying the badassery that the character has become so beloved for, and setting the tone for Season 5.
Looking ahead to Season 5: WTF is Terminus? While Rick and crew were being rounded up before their eventual incarceration, we’re treated to many glimpses of the Compound, and it’s disturbing to say the least. Cargo containers full of people screaming for help. A fenced off area littered in cleaned out human bones. A room built as a shrine full of candles and writing all over the walls and floor; most notable of which say “Never Again”, “Never Trust”, and “We, First Always.” Obviously these are shrines of loved ones lost, due to some bitter experience that turned these people into the kind to do, whatever it is that they’re doing. The people seem organized, coordinated… military even. Throughout the shootout scene, there is radio chatter, informing others of the Rick and Co.’s movements, almost like a coordinated Military operation.
The bones are a little creepy, maybe implying cannibalism? The shootout scene is also severely symbolic of an earlier scene where Rick shows Carl how to trap forest animals for food. Rick tells Carl how create a noose for the animal, how to change the environment to force the animal to walk through that specific area, and be caught in the trap. The signs and the radio messages being broadcasting, inviting everyone to Terminus in search of community and sanctuary… could it all just be an elaborate trap for food in this post-Apocalyptic world?
More to Come
At least our worst nightmares about Terminus have been confirmed, but some others haven’t. The finale failed to show us the fate of Carol, Tyreese & baby Judith. Last seen, they were very close to Terminus after dealing with crazy Lizzie and Carol’s confession. I suspected that they were in the train car with Glenn and everyone, especially after Rick saw powdered milk packets on the ground by the Train Car, but it’s unlikely that they are just sitting in the back of the car behind everyone and haven’t revealed themselves to Rick yet. I shudder to think what will happen is an infant shows up in Terminus.
Also: Where the living balls is BETH?! I’ll have to wait until Season 5 Premier to find out. In the meantime… Welcome back Rick!