1 Apr 2014

TV Review - The Walking Dead 4.16 "A" Season Finale

Those Who Arrive...Survive

Rick and the others begin to reunite at Terminus, soon realizing that the marauders are closing in, and that the so-called sanctuary is not exactly what it seems to be. So here we are, at the end of a fantastic season sobbing at the fact that our next dose of The Walking Dead won't be for another 7 months! It had to end sometime, but was the final we were give a worthy season ender?

Did you prepare yourself for one of the most explosive episodes ever on The Walking Dead? Yeah well stupidly I did and it only left me disappointed when the end credits began to roll. In saying this, it doesn't mean the season finale "A" wasn't a worthy one, because believe me it really was; but it just wasn't what I had in mind and it wasn't how I wanted it to end.

The episode follows Rick, Carl and Michonne as they make their way to Terminus, but of course they encounter more than a few bumpy rides along the way; Joe and The Gang come into play (wow, that rhymed). This was something to be expected, but damn they really know how to throw a welcome party. Things get a little too heated as The Grimes, Michonne and Daryl get severely assaulted by the group as each of their lives are put in jeopardy. Although the episode failed to deliver anything spectacular, this scene proved to be the strongest of the episode, and contained one of the most brutal moments the show has ever seen. While Rick is held against his will, he has to sit and watch as Daryl gets beaten and Carl is held down, about to be raped; you don't see anything but it is presented through struggle and movement. That alone was horrifying to watch regardless of it showing the bare minimum, but it's what comes after that shocks. Rick, defenseless and enraged at the taunting that his son is going through headbutts Joe from behind, then digs his teeth into this neck and takes a chunk from this throat. After of course he finishes the rest of, gutting the rapist from stomach to neck. This is a Rick that we have never seen before, and it was something so dark and brutal that it completely shifted the tone of the characters and the show. We have never seen the show get this dark, but judging by Rick's ruthlessness it will only get darker from here.

The episode battles with characters, and no one more so than Carl. He seen his father savagely kill two men, and although he knows it was to protect him, he admits to being scared of him, and it shows which makes for a nerving viewing. It almost hints at the fact that something dark is hiding beneath Carl as well as Rick, and hopefully, that is themes that Season 5 will battle. Yes Rick will loose it from here on in but will Carl? Is he starting to become a little relentless? As seen with one of the flashbacks, while Bobby sits and plays with Lego's that Rick got Carl, Carl sits over coldly fixing up a handgun, emotionless and blood hungry (slight over-exaggeration there). This immediately establishes just what Carl has become, and this season, there hasn't been a more interesting character arc than Carl Grimes. The scenes between him and Michonne are fantastic, the chemistry between the characters is something worth appreciating; although, does anyone else feel like them getting close is a way for the writers to push Rick out so it would be easier to kill him off? Let's hope they don't but I wouldn't rule it out either.

"A" was a pretty strong episode, but a lot of it felt too much like fillers; from the Hershel flashbacks to the frequent heart-to-hearts, the episode just feels as if Gimple ran out of things to move the story from the outdoors to Terminus, and to move on action sequence to the other. Sure, the flashbacks were nostalgic and it reminded us of how much Hershel has left a gap in the group, but in the end up there was really no need for it all. Sure it was to contrast the brutality of Rick now against his old farmer life, but it was practically ineffective and the episode would have been just as good, if not better without it.

The group finally reach Terminus, and when they do they are greeted with noting but bright welcomes. Things don't turn out as they should as Rick starts to notice other Terminus folk wearing clothing items that were last seen on the backs of Glenn, Maggie and co. which only gets the ball rolling and the tension increasing. We all knew that those in Terminus had nothing but bad things up their sleeves, but the tension established in that moment was enough to have me firmly on the edge of my seat. What happened to the others? Were they killed? Eaten? Those were the questions we battled with, but in the end up they were all stashed in a storage unit without any of them harmed; and soon after Rick and co. are forced to join them as they are locked away. This all came after an intense chase scene were the Termites (what I call the Terminus guys) chase them around backing them into a corner like mice. Intelligently, the show never actually tells us what the Termites want, but a few quick hints here and there introduce us to darker things (skeletons of people laying in a heap in a cage etc.).

We all know The Hunters are going to be introduced sooner or later, and whether or not the Termites have a fetish for human flesh is another story, but what I do know is that big things are going to happen is season 5 and those in Terminus folk are going to suffer. "They don't know who they're messing with" says a threatening Rick just before the credits hit. There you have it, one of the biggest and most annoying cliffhangers the show has ever delivered; and there we too many unanswered question for a 7 month break. Where is Tyreese, Carol, Beth and Judith? Who else was trapped in the other storage units? Who are the people at Terminus? What will the group do when they do when they find out about Tara? What will Rick do when he see's Carol? How are they going to get out? YOU SEE! TOO MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS!! I don't think my emotions can take anymore of this torment; I have never looked forward to October as much in my life.

So what did you think of the Season Finale? Did you like it? 

This Season 4 Finale didn't deliver to its true potential, but with its clever mix of brutality, unnerving intensity and looming questions, "A" proved to finish of the season with a bang, and open Season 5 with nothing but optimism and promise.

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