The Walking Dead 4.16 – “A” Review

Finally. After 15 episodes and a long mid-season break, fans of The Walking Dead have finally reached the finish of season 4. Many fans have been split over the direction of this season from the character expansion of the Governor to the individual storylines leading to Terminus. But at last, we've finally reached the sanctuary and are about to find out what's really at the end of the line. As the episode kicks off, fans are greeted with another flashback, which have been used as strong story telling tools this season as this time we're taken back to the prison and we see Hershel. It's a return to a better time from earlier in the season but the episode then quickly jumps ahead to a bloodied Rick who appears to be visibly shaken up. The action then transitions to Rick, Carl and Michonne as they break camp and continue on their journey to Terminus as the three debate over what they're going to tell the Terminus community in regards to the events that they've all been through. Things pick up while Rick is giving tips on how to catch small game when the group suddenly hears someone screaming for help. In true Carl form, he runs off to investigate what the noise is when he comes across a stranger that is quickly overcome by the group of walkers. More flashbacks are then interwoven back to the prison with Hershel and the group on the run. As the group finds shelter on the road and debate the prospect of whether or not Terminus is safe, the encounter fans have been waiting for finally occurs when Joe and his group appear. Events get interesting as Joe begins a countdown prior to killing Rick when Daryl steps out of the shadows to intervene. He doesn't let it slip that he knows Rick and company but he offers himself up as sacrifice to try and save them. Everything goes crazy from there as Daryl gets romped on by two men and Carl is dragged from the safety of the truck he was hiding in. It's a twisted and uncomfortable scene until Rick goes into full on walker mode on Joe and literally chews his throat out. As a result of Rick's rage, he's clearly turned over a new page as he brutally murders one of the men that were trying to assault his son as Carl watches on in shock. The show then flashes back once again to a more domesticated Rick as Hershel mentors him on the steps to becoming a farmer and taking a step back from the heavier leader role that he had taken up prior to the events at the prison. Its refreshing to see how Rick took the steps that he did preceding this season and taking the position that he did to get away from putting himself into harms way. Rick's goal was to raise his son the best way that he could in a world that had gone to hell when all of that changed with the eventual return of the Governor.
As the group recovers from the encounter with Joe and his gang, Rick is visibly stunned from the fight. As Carl and Michonne rest inside of a truck, Daryl and Rick talk to one another about what has happened since the events at the prison. Rick is quick to clear Daryl's conscience and acknowledges that what happened isn't his fault and that he's one of them, dubbing him his brother in arms. The point is then reiterated once again that Rick will do anything to protect his son, even if that means biting a man's throat out! As the show moves forward, it has to be assumed that Rick will continue to do whatever it takes. When the group finally reaches a perimeter fence to Terminus, they decide to scout the place out and break up into pairs with Michonne and Carl sticking together. Michonne then tells Carl about what happened at a refugee camp and how she got her first two walker pals from when she was first introduced. Michonne explains to Carl her reasoning for doing this and that sometimes people have to do crazy things to survive and that it's those we care about that can bring us back from the darkest places. Carl then opens his soul to Michonne that he's struggling with his own kind of demons as well just like she was. Rick and company then make their way into a Terminus warehouse where they encounter a group of survivors apparently led by a man name Gareth. Things appear to be satisfactory as they are asked to surrender their weapons and are searched before being taken to another part of the camp. The group then meets up with barbeque pit master Mary when Rick takes notice of a number of clothing items that many of the Terminus survivors appear to be wearing that resembles his own group. Things get tense when Rick notices the watch that Hershel gave to Glenn and grabs Terminus resident Alex that has it in his pocket. After a tense standoff, Rick and company are herded through Terminus via gunfire by snipers and gunmen on the roofs of the buildings. As they are running through the compound, a bloody pen is seen with numerous remnants of bones and body parts and they hear the voices of survivors screaming for help inside of storage containers. The chase ends with the group being surrounded by gunmen both above them and beyond the perimeter fence of Terminus.
Tying everything up, the finale ends on fairly quiet terms. Rick and his group are forced into a train storage car where they reunite with everyone else from the prison minus Carol and Tyreese. There's another flashback sequence to the prison where we see the Rick from the start of the season and then jump back once again to the present. Rick has changed for good and is a much more brutal and dangerous man than the laid back farmer trying to make a safer world for his son to live in. He's a man in a dire situation with no hope but oozes a confidence that the Terminus residents are screwing with the wrong people. Season five is going to start off with a very dangerous Rick Grimes who is finally reunited with his group. Tonight's episode was not the stunner that fans wanted or expected. There was not a big reveal that the Terminus survivors would end up being cannibals as this writer and the Internet has been suspecting for weeks. We did not learn about the fate of Beth and we didn't see the introduction of Gabriel or the return of Morgan. Season four has been heavily divisive since its return from the mid-season finally with a much stronger focus on individual characterization than the hordes of zombies that now occupy this world. We will now have to wait until the Fall to witness the survivors once again facing off with another group of survivors that threaten their safety. The Walking Dead will return in Fall 2014. What did you think of the season four finale? Were you happy with how things wrapped up? Better yet, were you happy with the season as a whole? Let us know with your comments below! Follow @BrentDiNunzio on Twitter and keep the discussion going at #whatculturedeadtalk
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“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” - George Bernard Shaw