The Walking Dead Review: Season 4, Episode 16 - 'A'
Posted by Josh Syvertsen on 03.30.2014
The group finally reaches Terminus, but what's waiting for them there? 411's Josh Syvertsen checks in with his review of the season finale, "A"...
Welcome back to your favorite little corner of the interwebs to read and talk about the latest episode of The Walking Dead (at least it better be your favorite. I don't take rejection well.) So here we are standing on the precipice of of our parting...and it is indeed as they say, such sweet sorrow. I just want to thank everyone out there, current readers...past readers...future readers...you get the point. I have no crystal ball, I don't know if the powers that be will have me back for the next season. But the ride has been great. Thank you again. So for the last time this season...lets fire up some Housekeeping!
Caveat #1:First, and most importantly for some of you I guess, I have not read the acclaimed graphic novel series on which the show is based. I have not done this for a myriad of reasons, the first being laziness. I'm a busy man people. But the second and most important, is that this column/review is about the television show The Walking Dead, not the graphic novel series. It would be unfair to the show and unfair to you, the reader, if I was constantly bitching about how the show is different than the source material (and believe me I would bitch). Think that's wrong? Hit me up on twitter some time and mention 'Under The Dome' - watch my head explode. I will make this promise to you who are ever so pissed about my lack of The Walking Dead graphic novel experience, that someday when the show has completed its run, I will check it out.
Caveat #2: Have fun. What's expressed here is one solitary, bitterly lonely mans opinion. If you believe something different, write about it! Let everyone out there know what you think, but don't be a dick. It's a television show - not life or death.
Reader Mail: Great comments last week folks. Some of you had some rather pointed comments regarding my concerns about the shows pacing. Just to clarify, my concern over the pacing of the season isn't an indictment over the content of the season, which I consider to be rather strong. Not as strong as Season 3, mostly due to the languid pace of the second half of this season. But a strong season nonetheless. I do think however that the writers have sort of painted themselves into a corner a bit heading into the season finale. There is still a lot of stuff to accomplish before we even get into the meat and potatoes of the episode. The remaining three groups need to arrive at Terminus. There are a whole slew of characters we need to meet, establish, and understand. Conflict needs to be initiated between Joe and Rick...if they both make it to Terminus. And if not we need to establish the threat and conflict at Terminus. It just seems like a lot to do in 45 minutes. That's where my concern stems from. It's the fear that because there is so much to do everything will be shortchanged in the end. Either way...by the time you read this we will know all the answers...
...and yes, Bub from Day of The Dead was in the tunnel. It was awesome.
Picture Pages...Picture Pages...fill your day with Picture Pages...:
"And we're glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife...come on hold on tight..."
Last Week On The Walking Dead: Glen and Maggie were reunited with a little help from Abraham and Co. The world let out a collective yawn. Daryl learned a new word and picked himself a strawberry. And Michonne, Carl, and Rick shared some two year old Kit Kats...good thing there seems to be no shortage of toilet paper during the zombie apocalypse because that cannot be good for ones stomach. Then again Carl held down 144 ounces of canned chocolate pudding so what do I know?
This Week On The Walking Dead: We start by flashing back to happier times. Everyone is at the prison. Herschel is alive. Carol and Rick get along...fast forward to what I assume is future time and Rick is bloody, shaking and leaning against a car. That leads us to a slightly remixed version of Bear McReadys opening credit sequence and a preview for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes! Hey is Paul Walker in Brick Mansions? I can't tell from the preview.
Carl is about a 28 on the 1 to 10 hunger scale, so Rick rounds everyone up to check the snares. They are going to hang the around the woods for a couple of more days so he can heal up a little bit more. Carl wants them to get their stories straight when they get to Terminus. Carl asks the important question "Who are we?" Which is really the overwhelming question of the last two seasons. Before he can answer a a walker attacks. After it's dispensed, they forget about the conversation and talk about knots. Then someone screams for help in the distance. Carl takes off running, they find a guy getting his face chewed off. They run off as the walkers attacking the guy get wind of them.
Flashback again...Hershel wakes Rick, who luckily is wearing pants. They discuss the time of day, which Hershel has no idea about because he gave Glenn his watch...and we are back in the present as Rick and Co. run like hell from the walkers. They find the truck that Rick was leaning against in the pre-credit sequence...so foreshadowing. They bring up the hunger factor once again...more foreshadowing? Rick has hope for Terminus. Michonne is not so sure. Just then Joe's group pops out of the woods and surprises Rick and Michonne. He holds a gun to Ricks head calls him an "asshole" and "tells him he screwed up." No sign of Daryl as Joe lays down the law. Apparently, it's new years eve. Joe starts the countdown...Daryl interrupts. He tells Joe that Rick is a good man and offers himself up instead. Joe calls him a liar, and his men begin to extract their pound of flesh from Daryl. Joe threatens to kill Daryl, then rape Michonne...then maybe rape Carl...then shoot Rick. Joe and Rick get into it. Rick manages to overwhelm Joe and bites his throat out. It's awesome. Michonne shoots one guy in the head after he misses shooting her at point blank range. Dumb guy, doesn't he know bad guys always have shitty aim? The fat dude tries to rape Carl, but Rick puts and end to that by destroying the guy...he must have stabbed him 20 times. Even Daryl and Carl are taken aback by Ricks vengeance.
Flashback time...Hershel lays out the farming plan to Rick. He wants to teach Rick how to farm. Rick begs off. Herschel insists. He insists Rick does it for Carl. He tries to show Rick there's another way...Present time, the next morning. Shaky Rick sit outside the car. Michonne coddles sleeping Carl inside. Daryl insists Rick clean himself up. Rick and Carl catch up. Daryl confesses he has no idea where Beth is. Daryl tells Rick he's sorry. Rick says it's water under the bridge and calls him his "brother." Rick confides to Daryl that he will do anything to keep Carl safe. They start moving. Rick and Michonne tell each other they are both okay - because the other one is okay. Rick wants to head through the woods to Terminus because the front door probably isn't the best idea given the current apocalyptic climate. Carl chooses to go with Michonne instead of his father. She volunteers info about her son Andre and how he died. Apparently, she went out on a run. Leaving Mike and Terry, her boyfriend and friend, to watch her child. They were apparently high, when the walkers attacked their camp. Out of vengeance, she made Mike and Terry her pets. Only late discovering they offered he protection. She was alone. But Andrea and Rick brought her back. Carl confesses to her that he may not be everything Rick thinks he is. He thinks he's just another monster. They hug.
Rick buries a cache of weapons just outside the fence. Then they jump said fence and move into the Terminus building proper. They interrupt the morning announcements and make their presence known. They introduce themselves to Gareth. He pawns them off on Alex, but not after having everyone drop their weapons. They get them back after some light frisking. Alex introduces them to Mary. Mary starts to give them food, but Rick notices Alex's watch. It's Glenns/Hershels watch. He pulls a gun and wants some answers.
Flashback time again...as Patrick puts some Legos together, Carl is cleaning his gun. Rick asks Carl for his help, he tells him to leave the gun behind...back to the present...and Rick still wants some time piece answers. They also have Maggie's poncho and Glenn's riot gear. Gareth has no real answers. So everyone starts shooting...none gets hit of course, which seems like it might be by design. There are cries of help from inside shipping containers, but no one seems to notice. Rick and Co. run through a room full of candles and names written on the floor. They make it back outside and realize that they are not really being shot at, only to look up and find the perimeter of the compound surrounded.
Left with no choice, Rick and Co. drop their weapons. They are forced to a train car. Rick is forced to open the train car door. Inside is almost completely black. "Rick" a voice calls. It's Glenn, with Maggie and the rest of their company. Glenn and Daryl declare they are all friends. Rick says no...Quick flashback to happier farming days...Flash to present. Rick declares that they "will feel really stupid when they find out that they are screwing with the wrong people." End Episode.
Reaction: Well, the last line was pretty damn weak, but despite that it was a pretty good season finale. Like I pointed out in the reader reaction spot above I was concerned that they would have too much to do in 45 minutes of screen time. Luckily they ignored the weakest parts of the story, namely Glenn and Maggie and spending it with Rick, who let's face it is the main driver of the show. Sure, every character has an arc, and it's something that the show has done pretty well with most of the characters. But Ricks character arc, which was full on display here, is clearly the main driving arc of the show. So it was a great decision to focus this episode on Rick. The call backs to Ricks turn from brutality to farmer made Ricks turn back to brutality even more pronounced and effective. Rick posed against the car, covered in blood is symbolic of his baptism back into the pre-farmer Rick. Baptism by blood, Walking Dead style.
The other great thing the show did was the dispensing of the thought that Terminus really was salvation rather quickly. I think everyone watching the show knew from the second they saw Denise Crosby on screen last week (by the way, if we don't get someone who's dieing screaming "Rachael!" at her at some point next season I will be extremely disappointed) that Terminus was not on the up and up. Thankfully, we didn't have to sit through the prolonged discovery of the true nature of Terminus. And I only bring that up, because the show at times, can take a while getting to where we all know it's going to go. So bravo for that.
Some danglers still out there from this season heading into next: Where are Tyreese, Carol and Judith? Did they make it to Terminus? Or are they still on their way? More importantly, when they are all reunited, despite Tyreeses forgiveness, will Rick feel the same way. There is also the lingering question of what happened to Glenn, Abraham and Co? It's pretty easy to extrapolate what happened, but are we going to see it? And how will Abraham and his mission to get Eugene to Washington clash with Ricks plans, now that he has re-embraced the leader role?
That's all I've got for this week/season. Please leave your comments below and as always thanks for reading. "Enjoy every sandwich."
Again, thank you for your support all season. I will still pop up occasionally on various Top 5 Countdowns and a Fact or Fiction here or there, but the bulk of my stuff will be up at DreadWorld.com. Stop on by, say hello, check out what I've been watching. For instance, this week you can check out a review for the 1986 classic Mountaintop Motel Massacre and some cool news about the new Phantasm film.
Also hit me up on the twittah machine @misterjoshua77, it's mostly about the Mets for the next six months or so, so I apologize in advance....and @dread_world, less sports, but just as self indulgent.
The 411: A very good season finale. Our gang is reunited, with some new friends, and trapped by a brand new enemy. It certainly set the stage for the next season to hit the ground running and that is really all you can ask for i a successful season finale.