The finale for The Walking Dead was always going to come back to Rick, Carl and Michonne because Rick is the main protagonist of the show, whether we like it or not. However, the Rick we see in “A” (back to the beginning, maybe?) is the one we have been looking for since season 2. Let’s go……
-We start off with a flashback of happier days of the prison, and we see Herschel. I miss Hersh Dogg. He was just trying to be a good person by the end of it. Then we head back to the present, where Rick is sitting outside of a truck with blood all over his face and no sign of Carl or Michonne, and he is shaking. Awwwwwwwwwwww yeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!
-After the credits, we get Rick, Carl and Michonne camped out, and they’re about to go and check on Rick’s snares; they’re pretty hungry and have been on the run since leaving that house. My question is, where are people getting all this barbed wire? It’s smart to put up around you so walkers can’t get at you while you sleep, but are mufuckas carrying this around? Are they already set up in the woods? Anyway, Carl is asking Rick if they’re going to tell the people at Terminus what they have been through when they get there, and who they even are at this point. That has been a theme of The Walking Dead for a couple of years now, hell, Rick wanted to be a damn farmer earlier in the season. But this show isn’t one to be subtle, so Carl throws it out there.
-As they continue through the woods, they hear a man screaming and for some reason, Carl just takes off. Has he not learned anything? It doesn’t even sound like someone they know. The trio finds a man surrounded by walkers and Carl goes to shoot them, but Rick stops him and says they can’t save him, which makes perfect sense. There are about 20-30 of these walkers, and they have limited ammo, which they need to save. So the walkers go HAM on this dude, start eating his eyes and whatnot and just converge on him. It was pretty good. But the trio gets noticed by a few walkers on the edge of the feeding frenzy anyway, so they have to start running.
-Flash back to the prison once again, and Herschel wakes up Rick to see something, telling him to leave his gun behind, saying it will just get in the way. Oh Hersh Dogg, you and your non-violent ways. Keep this in your mind.
-In the present, Rick and Michonne are sitting by a fire outside of the truck we saw earlier, and Carl is sleeping in there. They think they hear a noise in the woods, but think nothing of it. Then, Joe and his crew run up on them with guns to the temple. They want revenge for Rick killing their man at the house, even though that man would have killed Rick…hell, that crew would have. Sounds kinda hypocritical, but hey, everything goes in the zombie apocalypse.
-Daryl steps up and wants Joe to let the trio go, even offering himself up in exchange, but Joe is an asshole and just wants vengeance. He says they’re good people, and Joe says that is a lie, so he sics his crew on Daryl to beat him like they did to that cop. Joe’s moral sensibilities are hilarious, because he is planning to rape Michonne (which, if you read the comic, you’ll know, that shit is FUCKED) and then Carl, which is when I was like, “get the fuck outta here”. Damn, y’all already killed two little girls, now Carl is about to get a train run on him? Good grief.
-Rick has seen enough and headbutts Joe, which makes the gun go off. Here, I thought the bullet hit Carl, but it didn’t. Joe gets the better of the first fight and really, starts kicking Rick’s ass, while Daryl is REALLY gettin’ that work from Joe’s boys. But as Joe pulls Rick up to him, Rick snaps and bites his jugular….that’s right. I stood the fuck up and cheered. It was GREAT. Joe’s boys are so stunned that Daryl manages to get the upper hand on the dudes kickin’ his ass, while Michonne shoots another guy. The guy who was planning to rape Carl is holding him with a knife, but Rick gives no fucks about this, takes the knife and proceeds to stab the entire and complete dogshit outta this dude. The camera focuses on Carl, who is being held by Michonne now, and all you can hear is stabbing, more and more stabbing. It was incredible. We know Rick has this side to him, but we haven’t seen it in a while. It was a good change from him, you know, being a bitch for most of this season.
-Back to Herschel and Rick, and the former wants to teach the latter how to farm, saying that he needs to teach Carl so he can survive. But is Rick going to teach him the non-violent way, or the other? That is the question Herschel asks, and likely something Rick has been struggling with since that conversation. But you can do both and in the world of The Walking Dead, it’s best to be able to go between both.
-Now we get to the Rick we see in the opening, and he and Daryl catch up on what they’ve been doing. Rick calls Daryl his brother, and they have a moment, which is nice, they’ve been through a lot together. But Rick asks about Beth and Daryl is like, “she’s just gone”. What the hell? Gone? What kinda shit is that? They better address that at some point.
-The group of four, now, continue walking towards Terminus, and they find a sign, which means they have to be close. Rick buries more weapons, you know, just in case. Not a bad idea. They spread out a little, and Carl goes with Michonne, where she tells him her story and we learn that the walkers she had on a leash when we first met her, were indeed her boyfriend and her friend. They (not Michonne) were high when their camp was overrun, and Michonne let them turn instead of killing them, which made her feel guilty, so she kept them with her as not only protection from other walkers, but as a memory. She calls herself a monster, but as I said before, you have to be able to go between both in The Walking Dead. Carl is dealing with that as well.
-They jump a fence, which is funny when you remember that they could have just walked through the front door. They literally walk inside to a lady recording radio announcements, and a bunch of other people doing random things. They are approached by two men, Gareth and Alex, who pats them down and checks out their weapons while Gareth gives them a welcome speech. Gareth takes them outside and asks Mary, who we met when Glenn’s crew first got to Terminus, to fix them a plate. Mary just sits at the grill all day like it’s a cookout, I guess. But Rick notices that Alex has a watch….the watch that Herschel gave to Glenn and he jacks Alex, putting a gun to his head. I didn’t notice someone wearing the riot suit that Glenn traded to Eugene and Abraham, so that means the gang is all here.
-Flash back again to the old days, and Rick is trying to get Carl to help him with the farming stuff, but Carl is cleaning a gun and can’t be bothered to even talk to Rick, who throws out Herschel’s “you won’t need your gun”. I guess he wants to try Hersh Dogg’s way, but that won’t last long.
-In the present, the group is surrounded by the people of Terminus, who are armed to the tits. A sniper shoots Alex in the head, and Rick and his crew scatter. I have written down that the Terminus people are some of the worst shooters in the history of television as Rick and company are in the open, yet not getting it. However, this was on purpose as they were trying to lead the group to a freight car, which is labelled “A”, hence the name of the episode. Along the way, Rick and ’em go through a room filled with candles and a number of phrases on the wall: “NEVER AGAIN”, “NEVER TRUST”, “WE, FIRST, ALWAYS”. Who the hell are these people?
-Once they get to the car, the group is literally surrounded by shooters both inside and outside the fence. They drop their weapons and Gareth starts spitting instructions, telling Rick, Daryl, Michonne and eventually Carl, to walk up to the train car. For some reason, I had the strangest feeling that Carl was gon’ get it. What do they find inside the car? Glenn, Maggie, Sasha, Bob, Abraham, Rosita and Eugene are there, waiting. Maggie says something along the lines of, “they saved us”, and that leads me to believe that something is mad fishy about these people (like we didn’t know that already).
-Rick was like, “they’re gon’ feel pretty stupid when they find out”, and Abraham says, “find out what?”. There are a bunch of camera cuts on every single character before landing on Rick, who states, “they’re screwin’ with the wrong people”. I burst out laughing. All Rick needed to do was throw on Horatio’s shades from CSI: Miami. It was so good. I’m laughing just thinking about the corniness right now.
The three-episode arc to close out season 4 of The Walking Dead is why this show is so frustrating. When it’s good? It is fantastic. “A” was filled with action (YO……Rick bit a man’s whole fucking throat out, b!!!!), tension, new characters, old characters, flashbacks, a nod to the future, and enough questions to keep you interested for next season (seriously, where the hell is Beth?). I also realized that this episode was directed by Michelle McLaren, and while I don’t claim to be an expert on directing, I’d like to think that I know good directing when I see it and she was responsible for a slew of great episodes from The X-Files to Breaking Bad to Game Of Thrones (the first two are in my top five shows of all time, while GOT has a great chance to get in there by the time it is done). She is also Canadian, so shoutout to us. This episode packed a lot into 43 minutes, but it never seemed like it was too much. It was an excellent way to end season 4 of The Walking Dead, and I’m in with two feet for next season, when (and this is just my prediction) Killa Carol and Tyreese come through and crush the Terminus buildings.