Feb 10, 2014
Walking Dead Season Finale Recap: And Everything Comes Back To Throat Ripping
We mercifully came to the end of the tracks on “The Walking Dead” in this week’s season finale. Literally. Our cast has been reunited at Terminus and life is looking swell if you’re a fan of confined spaces and Georgia summers. Turns out the folks at Terminus aren’t the best people in the world, but just what their game is will have to wait until next season.
But before we got there, we got a quick and bloody resolution to the Claimer storyline, we got some nice flashback Hershel action, and we got a chance to marvel at just how worthless Carl truly is as a character. What we didn’t get was more pudding.
We will persevere though and make our way through this minefield they’re calling the season finale of ‘The Walking Dead.” Here’s episode 16, “A.”
It’s been two episodes since we saw Rick, Carl and Michonne and we get reintroduced to them discussing the finer points of traps. Rick explains how you can catch animals, which is some big time foreshadowing, we guess.
Off in the distance you hear the screams of someone in peril, forcing Carl to spring into action and run to help. Rick and Michonne give chase and stop Carl right as the poor sap screaming for help gets his eyes eaten by a pack of zombies. They then set their sights on Rick and company, forcing the trap lecture to end prematurely and sending them down the road away from danger.
If only they knew that danger was never more than a step away at any given time, but you can only expect so much from these folks in season four.
Of course the Claimers show up and they’ve brought psychopathic tendencies with them. Gone are the relatively simple and morally ambiguous men from the last episode. What they’ve been replaced with is a band of bloodthirsty lunatics. A group that killed their own guy last episode for lying, but see fit to go chase a guy they don’t even know because he choked their friend in the bathroom. They seem nice.
They surround Rick and Michonne, while a creepy ass fat Claimer sets his sights on Carl. Daryl must be off taking a piss because he’s late to the party as usual, but tries to give himself up when he realizes it is Rick that they are after. An act which head Claimer Joe feels is a lie, which of course is a death sentence for old Daryl.
Things look grim for old Rick and company until our small town sheriff turned dictator turned nutball gardener turned shitty fighter decides he’s not letting thing go down this way. He headbutts Joe and gets a slight beating for his trouble, all leading up to the most bad ass scene this season: Rick tears out Joe’s throat with his teeth. Damn.
Rick’s walker impression is enough to ruin the attention of the rest of the Claimers and Michonne dispatches each one with swift vengeance. The creepy fat one is the sole survivor, but still has Carl as a hostage. Not good because Rick springs into immediate action and stabs our portly creep well into the commercial break.
The morning after, Rick is covered in blood and reflects on his choices from the previous night. He forgives Daryl for hanging out with a pack of lunatics (who probably shouldn’t have been painted as lunatics) and refers to him as his brother.
The problem with all of this is that it feels like the Governor episodes from mid-season on a smaller scale. Last episode, we found out how the Claimers worked and how their whole group dynamic is based on trust and claiming what is yours. Are they bad in the evil sense? Probably not. But they’re outlaws if laws were in effect, which is bad enough.
What this episode does to them is it pisses away their whole search for Rick thing, a plot line that definitely could’ve played into next season in Terminus, and turns them into kid killing lunatics who will kill without hesitation. You knew they were bad news, but this bad? It’s very hard to buy. It also makes you wonder why you spent all that time getting to know them in the last episode if they were just going to get wasted this episode.
The good thing to come from their encounter with the Claimers and their saga with The Governor is that Rick trusts no one outside the group now. He’s not walking into the front gates of Terminus like Glenn and Maggie, he’s going to get a look at their new hosts before they get a look at them.
So Rick, Michonne, Daryl and Carl all hop a fence behind the trainyard and sneak their way into the main hub of Terminus, past all the flowers and barbecue and straight into the logistics portion.
It’s sort of like that scene in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade where the castle is on fire and Indy finds himself stuck on a spinning trap door with his father. They keep spinning into the oblivious intelligence center for the Nazis at this castle, but it isn’t until the second or third time that someone takes notice.
They’re finally greeted by someone and checked out, all seemingly normal practices they’d receive at the other end of the complex with Mary and the BBQ welcome party. It’s still an odd place, even without Mary’s goofy little Earth queen robes and smile, so you know something bad is going to happen.
Rick and crew are led the BBQ area where things keep getting stranger by the moment. Rick looks around and sees other survivors wearing riot gear or clothing that looks like it came from the prison. But what really gives it all away is the watch in the pocket of one of the Terminus greeting party. It’s Hershel’s watch, a note conveniently spelled out with flashbacks throughout the entire episode.
If the Claimers are truly bad people, then it’s looking like Terminus isn’t all roses and grilled meats either.
Rick takes the watch thief hostage and demands to know where “his people” are in the camp. The friendly greeter from before returns to calm the situation and talk down Rick before a sniper blows him away.
Luckily, Rick is having none of it and doesn’t believe a word they say now and a chase is on. Guns are blasting and we’re lead on a whirlwind tour of Terminus in a sort of taste for what we will get next season. Are they cannibals? Were they raided by the Governor or someone worse and left to die? Are they just a pack of assholes?
We will just have to wait. For now, they’re shooting at Rick and company, forcing them to make their way through Terminus and eventually into the arms of a trap. Just like the rabbits at the beginning of the episode. Just like the fucking rabbits.
So we spent an entire half season getting here, we have one explosive confrontation and where do we end up? Back in jail. Train jail to be more specific.
Rick is stripped of his weapons and forced to enter a darkened train car. Glenn, Maggie and the others from last episode are already cozy inside and we get the reunion we’ve been hinting at for days. Carol and Tyreese are nowhere to be found though, so there’s a cliffhanger for next season.
Rick talks about friends and then goes into some dramatic bull revolving around the Termites picking on the wrong group of survivors. And it reeks of bullshit. It’s the same kind of thing he said at the end of season 2 when he created the “Ricktatorship” and cleaned out the prison. It wasn’t a week of episodes later that he was talking to dead people on broken telephones.
And the prison survivors are now just bottled up yet again for next season. The escape from Terminus! But ask yourself this: where are they escaping to? We all knew Terminus was going to be bad news from the get go, but it removes hope at the same time. Everyone in this world is so shitty and the only good people we have keep getting ravaged.
The Termites don’t seem crazy, but they are certainly out for themselves and they don’t care for outsiders. The Claimers are dead and burned off. Where we go from here and will the audience put up with it? They better because this show is never going to end.
Will Rick ever be able to eat normal food again after tasting human flesh? Is Terminus really just a Sam’s Club and no one has a membership card? Will Carl ever just run off a cliff? Will Robert Kirkman ever say, “I need a break” in his life? Where the fuck is Beth? Find out all of this and a lot more, maybe, when the next season of “The Walking Dead” begins in October on AMC.