The Walking Dead season 4 season finale
After a season of mixed results, we finally have the finale. Walking Dead finales have set the tone for what's to come next season, like any good show should. Season 1 had the falling out with the CDC, season 2 ended the farm, season 3 disappointed fans, and now we have season 4. What has been set? What has happened? Who is coming back in season 5, and who isn't?
By the way MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR THE WALKING DEAD AHEAD.
We start off seeing Rick all bloodied and looks like he went through some stuff...and things. That comes later. Throughout the episode we get flashbacks to a series of conversations back at the prison between Hershel, Rick and Carl. These flashbacks are to show how peaceful things were between them, and how lovely life could've been at the prison if wasn't for The Governor. It also shows what Rick was before the end of this episode. Meanwhile in current time, after some kind of slow scenes between Rick, Michonne and Carl (who are finally the focus again of this episode), Joe and his men catch up to them!
Joe and the boys hold them at gunpoint and tells Rick what is going to go down. It is unpleasant. Then Daryl emerges and tells Joe he shouldn't hurt them, they are good people. Joe refuses to be swayed because Rick killed one of their men way back in episode during the middle of the season. So Joe says to beat Daryl to death, one of the men is going to have his way with Carl, then they will all die.
This, is very unsettling. Showing a child in harm has to be done carefully or you upset your audience. We have "seen" children die in this show, 2 episodes prior in fact, but the deaths were off screen, so it is passable. But what this man does to Carl, and attempts to do, is so close to the border of too much, it teetered. It was so uncomfortable, but this show doesn't hold back. Fortunately Carl is ok, he doesn't get harmed. Because Rick, in what may be one of the most badass moments in television, solves the problem, with some help from Daryl and Michonne of course, but Rick saved the day here. What he does is so intense, and so awesome, I was cheering. I even used the DVR to rewind it and watch it a couple of times. Fans of the comic books know what he does, and will be satisfied. So, now they are safe, and Daryl has reunited with Rick, and they carry on to Terminus.
The gang gets to Terminus, and scout the perimeter, to play it safe. Rick says he wants to observe them before revealing themselves. This is brilliant and great to see some tactical intelligence in this show. But then they barge in and reveal themselves before they observe them for a bit. The heck Rick? There we meet the leader of Terminus, Gareth. Things seem ok, but then every viewer's fear is realized quite predictably, Terminus is not what it advertises. It's a trap. While no one comes right out and says it, there are skeletons of humans scattered, some with organs near them, a sacrificial room and people in shipping containers. It adds up to a particular group of villains from the comic book. Rick, Carl, Michonne and Daryl are trapped by Gareth, who forces them into a container, where They are reunited with some familiar faces. Rick utters a censored line from the comics, roll credits.
This is probably one of my favorite episodes of this show, even with its flaws. Rick's dismantling of Joe's men, the action at Terminus, and the acting from our main gang was all very good this week (except Carl, better luck next season.) While the flashbacks showed a good point involving Rick's transformation, using the prison feels like such retreading. I feel this point would've had more effect if they showed Rick before the apocalypse to compare him to now. And they can do that, we have seen flashbacks before the apocalypse, so it's not forbidden, it can be done.
And yes, Beth is slightly mentioned by Daryl to Rick, but that's it. Are they just gonna write her off the show? It feels like it. I know they are just saving it for a big reveal next season, but seriously.
And having just gotten past the Governor 9 episodes ago, Gareth is not exactly an exciting introduction. The book didn't hark on these villains too much, even though Gareth is technically new in the show, he still represents a villain from the book. Hopefully the show matches that pace if not shortening it, because it feels a little too soon for another psychopath with a group of killers. I mean heck, they were only around for a few episodes, but we JUST lost Joe and his men.
The highlight of this week is Rick. Andrew Lincoln is a great actor, and his portrayal of Rick is one of my favorites in television (yes, I include the stuff and things Rick.) He portrays the leader, the murderer, the father and a light-hearted man all in one mixed bag of Grimes. It is a truly great character.
Overall, I enjoyed this episode, and it capped off a season of highs and lows. The action and tension was wonderful to see and the acting in its good spots was great. I am excited to see where season 5 goes, and hopefully the pace picks up then, I'd love a season that's consistently solid like this episode. Now the wait for October begins, because Gareth has screwed with the wrong people.
I give The Walking Dead season 4 season finale, 4 Rick takedowns out of 5