It’s been a long road (track?), but we’re finally here, the end of Season 4! I think the two halves of Season 4 are the most disparate of all the seasons—they could literally be two separate seasons. The only through-lines are the lessons learned from Hershel and the stark contrast of peaceful life at the prison versus the harsh reality of the open road. We’ll see both of these themes featured prominently tonight, as well as an answer as to whether the people of Terminus are friendly or not.
So speaking of Hershel, we start with a flashback to old times. The gang’s all together after a supply run. Rick goes to cull the herd at the gates and we cut to the near future. Rick is sitting against a truck, alone and covered in blood with a thousand-yard stare.
In the present, Rick, Carl, and Michonne are breaking camp on the way to Terminus. Rick takes Carl and Michonne to check on their traps and teach them how to make their own. As they walk, Carl asks if they’ll be honest about what they’ve done when they get to Terminus. Rick says that they won’t hide who they are. When a walker approaches, they dispatch it calmly and quickly. This is a world full of monsters.
As Rick teaches them about trapping, they hear screams. A man is being devoured by walkers and Rick has to stop Carl from trying to help. Yet another lesson in harsh apocalypse living. They move on and run into a herd.
We flashback again to Hershel. It’s morning in the Prison. He wakes Rick up for something and tells him that he won’t need his gun.
Back in the present, Rick, Carl, and Michonne find a truck and make camp. That night, Carl sleeps while Rick and Michonne talk about how they’re hungry all the time, and they forgot what it was like to not be that way. They don’t talk long before Joe and his gang get the drop on them. They surround Rick and Michonne, and one of the gang finds Carl in the car. Joe counts down to Rick’s execution until Daryl arrives. “These people, you’re gonna let ‘em go, these are good people.” Joe points out that Rick killed one of them in a bathroom. Daryl drops his crossbow and offers himself up instead.
Joe doesn’t like that Daryl is vouching for the person that killed a member of their group. They start beating Rick while the creepy pedophile pulls Carl out of the car. Joe tells Rick what’s going to happen: “First we’re gonna beat Daryl to death. Then we’ll have the girl. Then the boy. Then I’m gonna shoot you and then we’ll be square.”
Rick pleads for them to let Carl go as the creepy one pins him to the ground. Rick head butts Joe and they start to fight. Joe fights him off. The creepy pedophile is laughing while Carl struggles. Rick fights off unconsciousness but is unsteady on his feet. Joe grabs him in a bear hug and asks “What are you gonna do now, sport?” Rick rips Joe’s throat out with his teeth, that’s what.
The group is shocked. Michonne and Daryl use the moment to their advantage. Michonne grabs her captor’s gun and kills him with it, then kills one of Daryl’s attackers. Daryl knocks the other guy to the ground and then curb stomps him. Now it’s the three of them against the creepy pedophile, who tries to use Carl as a shield. “He’s mine,” Rick says.
The pedophile tries to push Carl away and surrender. It doesn’t work. Rick stabs him the stomach and we hear him cutting his way up his torso as the man screams. Carl watches the whole thing. With the man dying on the ground Rick continues to stab him over and over.
Back to the Prison. Hershel is selling Rick on learning how to farm. Rick resists, but Hershel is convincing. He tells him that Rick needs to show him that they can live a peaceful life. Rick says there’s a run soon, and he has to go. “No you don’t,” says Hershel.
When we cut back to the present, we see it’s the glimpse we got Rick sitting against the truck, bloody. Michonne is inside with a sleeping Carl. Daryl comes back from the woods and sits with Rick. He gives Rick a wet bandana to clean his face off so Carl won’t have to look at it. Daryl tells Rick how he came to be with the gang and how he lost Beth. “Is she dead?” “She’s just gone.” Daryl says he knew they weren’t good guys but they had a code. When the guys said they had spotted the guy they were after Daryl thought about leaving but stayed and then saw how it was they were going to kill. Rick doesn’t blame him at all. “You’re my brother” he says. Daryl tells him that what he did to the attackers, anybody would have done. Rick disagrees. Daryl says that it wasn’t him. Rick again disagrees. “You saw what I did to Tyreese.” Michonne listens from inside the car as Rick says that keeping Carl safe is all that matters. The camera pans down and we see that Carl, too, is listening.
Later that day they approach Terminus. Rick decides that they’ll go through the woods and get the drop on the people inside Terminus in case it’s not safe (um, hello, why didn’t Abraham try this?). First, though, they’ll spread and out and observe. When Rick invites Carl to come with him, he declines and goes with Michonne. Michonne ends up having to explain Rick’s mental state by way of her experience with losing her son Andre and how that affected her. Mike and Terry were high when their camp was overrun and Andre was killed. They got bit. Michonne cut off their jaws and arms and chained them as punishment. Their ability to mask her was just an unintended bonus. Michonne was mentally gone until she met Andrea, Rick, and Carl. She tells Carl that he doesn’t have to be scared of her or Rick. Unexpectedly, Carl says that he think he is a monster too, just like them.
Not seeing anything suspicious, the group buries the duffel bag of guns (including Rick’s hand cannon) and hop the fence.
When they enter through the back, the first thing they see is the woman on the radio that they heard oh so many episodes ago in the car. She repeats her message over and over. As they enter the room, community leader Gareth sees them. “Are you here to rob us?” “No, we wanted to see you before you saw us.” Gareth welcomes them and asks them to set down their weapons so they can check them but then they let them hold on to them. He asks Alex to show them to the front.
They meet Mary, who apparently grills 24 hours a day. He asks her to fix them plates. Rick starts to notice that the people at Terminus all have possessions belonging to his group: Daryl’s poncho (that Maggie had), riot gear (Eugene’s), the dead hitchhiker’s orange back pack (Glenn’s), Hershel’s pocket watch (the last straw). He pulls his gun on Alex and demands to know where he got the watch.
We flashback to the Prison again. Carl’s older friend Patrick is playing with the Legos that Rick got for Carl while Carl strips and cleans his gun. Rick asks Carl to come with him and tells him to leave his gun. Rick leaves his as well.
Back to the showdown. All weapons drawn. A sniper on the roof has his gun on Rick. Alex convinces the sniper to set his gun down. He says he got the watch from a dead person. Gareth says that they found the rest. Alex starts to beg Gareth to help him. Gareth tells him repeatedly to shut up. While Gareth and Rick try and talk, Gareth makes a hand signal. Rick spins to find Mary behind him with a gun. She shoots but hits Alex and everyone opens fire.
Our group runs through the compound, being corralled by gun fire and locked doors. They run past a fenced off area full of human bones and past some cargo containers that sounds like they might possibly have people inside…? The last building they run through is a strange kind of memorial, full of candles, names, and personal belongings. Written on the wall:
NEVER AGAIN | NEVER TRUST | WE FIRST, ALWAYS.
When they exit, they’re surrounded. They’ve been led to a loading dock. Gareth has them lay down their weapons and forces them to enter a shipping container, one-by-one in a very specific order. When the door closes they find Glenn, Maggie, Bob, Sasha, Tara, Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita. Rick looks at the people he doesn’t recognize.
Maggie: They’re our friends. They helped save us.
Daryl: Now they’re friends of ours.
Abraham: For however long that’ll be.
Final flashback. Rick and Carl are farming, Beth is with Judith, Hershel is helping out. They’re happy. Hershel says “It can be like this all the time.” Rick says, “It’s like this now. That’s enough.”
Back to the present. The music starts to swell.
Rick: They’re gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out.
Abraham: Find out what?
The group all looks to Rick, one by one.
Rick: They’re screwing with the wrong people.
WE GOT OURSELVES A BADASS HERE!
Holy S Balls! We have to wait until OCTOBER to find out how they’re getting out of this?!
Where the F is Beth?!
Where are Tyreese and Carol?!
What’s up with the crazy memorial chamber?!
Lizzy and I will pick our favorite comment to win this SUPER CRAZY FINALE PRIZE PACK! A signed 10th Anniversary book, two hardcover The Walking Dead compendiums, a signed Daryl motorcycle action figure, and, last but not least, a Walking Dead shirt!
We have a winner! It’s Josh! Josh says:
“This finale did so many things great….the BIG moment where Rick ‘turns,’ …and the cliffhanger ending with a confident leader giving us a line that had me cheering. The genius foreshadowing of Rick showing Carl how to create a trap by funneling in the prey…only to end up the prey themselves being funneled where the Termites wanted them to go…master storytelling! But, for me, the most important parts of this episode were the flashbacks. Bringing back Hershel from the dead (in a different way than we’re used to) in order to show us the exact moments that Rick made the decision to be the “farmer,” and then show us how far gone he has had to go in order to survive in this world…that really brought this entire season, and more importantly Rick’s story, full circle.”
Hershel is SO important to this season and to this group moving forward, and I think Josh summarized that really well. I know some people complained about those flashbacks but in my mind they were crucial. Good work, Josh.
Kudos to you guys on some awesome comments. LULZ were had over all the BBQ jokes.