This is the end, folks. The season finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead didn’t hold back. It was a very gruesome episode, particularly for the character of Rick Grimes. Starting in a dramatic fashion, viewers were immediately greeted by the image of Rick, covered in blood and shaking but without Michonne and Carl. This is a very ominous sign, hinting that the worst is yet to come.
Back in the past, Rick, Carl and Michonne are looking for food when Carl brings up the question about whether they’ll be honest with the people at Terminus and admit to them all the terrible things they’ve had to do to survive.
They hear a person in danger and Carl, being the teen that he is, storms off to save the man. Surrounded by walkers, Carl tries to help the man but Rick stops him, pleading with him that they can’t save him. This is just enough time for some of the walkers to see them and go after them though Michonne dispatches these walkers with ease.
The group finds an abandoned car and calls it a night. This is a mistake as Daryl’s group of bandits finds them, putting a gun to Rick’s head and telling him “You screwed up asshole.” The question fans are asking at this moment, will Daryl come to Rick’s rescue? Eventually Daryl steps in and offers himself to the bandits leader, but he isn’t hearing that.
The bandit leader threatens to kill Carl, Michonne and Daryl. Needing a solution fast, Rick does the unthinkable and literally bites out the bandit leader’s throat with his teeth. This is one of the more gruesome scenes ever seen on TV. The brutality doesn’t end there, Rick relentlessly stabs one of the men who was trying to hurt Carl long after he died. Carl’s eyes stay focused on this horrific sight, as his father absolutely destroys a grown man’s lifeless body.
Another flash back plays out where Hershel reminds Rick that his son needs a father. At face value this seems like the show is hinting at Rick abandoning Carl though at this point in the episode it would be impossible to predict where this was going.
After things cool down, Daryl confesses to Rick that he lost Beth and says that he didn’t know how evil the group of bandits were. Daryl says that he considered abandoning the bandits just before they captured Rick. Thankfully he didn’t as his momentary distraction saved Michonne, Rick and Carl.
Rick consoles Daryl about his mistakes with the bandits and tells him that he is his brother. He admits that “all the matters” is keeping Carl safe and that doing brutal things like he did to the bandits are what has kept them alive so long.
Michonne, Carl, Rick and Daryl finally arrive at Terminus. Carl opts to go with Michonne instead of his dad to inspect Terminus and its in this moment Michonne finally tells Carl how her son Andre died. One day, she left to scavenge for supplies and found her boyfriend and friend high and bitten by zombies. They were so high on drugs that they couldn’t protect Michonne’s son Andre, leading to his death.
She confesses that she was in the same place Rick is in now. She was so upset that the father of her child and her friend were irresponsible and on drugs in a time when her child needed help. As a result, she let them turn into zombies, cutting off their jaws and arms and used them as protection. These are the zombies Michonne was first seen with her back in the beginning of season 3.
Carl replies by telling Michonne that he desparetely wants his father to see him as a “man” but that he doesn’t want to be a “man” if that means doing horrible things like his father just did.
Eventually they infiltrate Terminus and meet several individuals who appear to be friendly. They search Rick’s group and even give them their weapons back after doing so. The Terminus group tries to feed them some mysterious looking food when Rick pulls a gun on them. Keen eyed viewers will undoubtedly notice that one of the Terminus people have Glenn’s watch and one of the cooks has Maggie’s riot gear. What exactly happened to the rest of the cast?
Before answering this, the show flashes back to a moment in the prison where Carl is teaching himself how to assemble a gun. Back to the tense moment in Terminus, Rick questions them until a shoot-out takes place. Its clear at this moment that the residents of Terminus aren’t what they seem to be and have stolen Glenn and Maggie’s supplies. While running away, the audience sees a pile of human bones, confirming suspicious that the people of Terminus are cannibals. They also hear a group of people trapped in a room pleading for help, hinting that this group is Glenn and the others.
Cornered, the Terminus group orders Rick and his friends to drop their weapons. They comply and order Rick, Daryl and Michonne to leave Carl alone and go to a nearby train car. They send Carl over and lock all four of them in the train car. It turns out that Glenn, Maggie, Sasha, Ford and Eugene are also prisoners and inhabiting the train car so at least half the cast hasn’t been eaten yet.
The episode ends with Rick telling his friends, “They’ll feel stupid when they find out that they’re screwing with the wrong people,” hinting at Rick going to some even darker places to save his friends.
The fourth season of The Walking Dead had its slow points but delivered an explosive conclusion. While there weren’t any huge character deaths this season aside from Hershel and the Governor, the back end of the season took a lot of risks by focusing on certain characters for entire episodes.
Several questions linger in the minds of fans. Where are Carol, Tyreese and baby Judith? They set out to find Terminus but hadn’t arrived yet. Will they be tricked by the Terminus residents or will Rick and friends tip them off beforehand? Beth is still missing too. It’s easy to assume she was already captured and eaten by the cannibals at Terminus but the more entertaining possibility is that another person has kidnapped her. Will Daryl search for her once the group breaks out of Terminus or will Beth re-appear suddenly like how Carol’s long forgotten daughter Sophia did in Season Two?
Sadly, fans have to wait six months before the fifth season of The Walking Dead hits AMC. The writers of the show must be given credit showing dark places, with never-before-seen on TV content that really pushed the envelope in edgy but tasteful ways. If season 5 is half as nerve-wracking and intense as this season, fans are in for another roller-coaster ride of emotions.