We might be fresh off the flight back from Emerald City Comic Con, but we are determined to watch The Walking Dead Season 4 finale and review it for all you lovely readers. The finale, “A,” is a thrilling and insightful ride from start to finish. We get a better look at Terminus and some closure between Rick and the band of merry assholes, but there’s way more questions asked than answered here. If you’re somebody who hates being left hanging on the edge of a cliff for a half-year, you’re going to be furious at the end of this episode – but the only thing you can get mad at is that “A” just isn’t long enough.
We start off with a Scott Wilson AKA Herschel Greene reappearance! The flashback that we get throughout the episode is a nod to Herschel’s attempt to domesticate Rick. And this wasn’t just for Rick’s sake, but for Carl’s, as well. At the time, Carl had just cold-heartedly terminated a scared young man without prejudice, and Herschel was needed to steer Rick towards setting a better example: “You have to show [Carl] the way. Which way are you going to show him?” While Herschel helped Rick regain his sanity after Lori’s death, I can’t help but feel that he hindered Rick by giving him the allusion that he doesn’t have to put his feet to the fire to make things work in this world.
It seems as though the can on a string security system is catching fire in the zombie apocalypse. Where are they getting all these cans and string? Who knows? Rick is trying to teach Carl how to trap a rabbit, which is painfully foreshadowing of what happens at Terminus. I’d also like to point out how awkwardly Rick stuffs the rabbit corpse in his messenger bag. Yeah, I get that it’s probably some plushy prop, but haven’t these people learned anything from “Infected?” You can’t just carry around rabbit carcasses in the same bag you keep your comic books! I digress.
The theme of this episode is identity; from the get-go, Carl asks “Who Are We?” It’s too bad that we didn’t see the same level of acting from Chandler Riggs in “After,” but he raises a question worth asking, as all characters are far cries from who they were before everything went down. We find out soon just who Rick and his lieutenants are. One of the biggest turning points of the entire series happens when Joe and his merry band of misfits catch up to Rick. From the way that Rick and Michonne were sitting around the fire and Carl was sleeping in the car, I was instantly reminded of a scene in issue #57 of the comics, where Carl is attacked and Rick pretty much loses his god-damned mind to save him. I swear, if the book wasn’t in black and white, Rick’s skin would have turned bright green.
The scene, and the few others following it, are borrowed directly from the issue. It’s the type of pay-off that fans of the comic book love to see in the show. Don’t let that discredit the commendable acting by all parties involved. The dynamic that Carl and Michonne have here is spectacular. We finally get to see that they’re all survivors, and to survive means becoming a monster. Michonne is able to open up to Carl in a way that she just can’t to anybody else. We get some insight as to how her armless, jawless pets came to be. It added some deserved depth to her character and it’s actually a better story than in the comic books. Then there’s Rick and Daryl – Rick’s declaration that he considers Daryl a brother is one of Stewart-McKellen proportions. Both have had previous considerations of brotherhood in the show – Rick with Shane and Daryl with Merle – but both were highly toxic relationships whose investments weren’t returned.
During the Daryl and Rick conversation, when Rick asks about Beth, Daryl tells Rick that “she’s just gone.” It’s really odd to me that Daryl doesn’t elaborate, and that Rick doesn’t ask him to. What really matters is that the Alpha group is back together. Daryl, Rick and Michonne (and Carl, I guess) just win at everything when they’re together. They really know better than to just stroll through the front door, for at least the first few minutes. They awkwardly stroll through the back, and right into the people of Terminus, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of being stealthy in the first place.Thanks a lot, Albert. Their initial travel guide is Alex, which might be an homage to the comic book version of Terminus, called Alexandria.
Terminus is, however, NOT Alexandria. It’s a TRAP! Just like Rick’s rabbit trap, Terminus was designed to herd: The Ringleader, The Archer and The Samurai into a big shipping crate. There is one set of freaks that we haven’t met in the comic books thus far, and that is the cannibals. The cannibals make their comic book appearance during Volume 11 of the trades (right around issue #62) and they are a scary group of people. However, just as in the comic books, Rick lets everybody know that these people are out of their league when they mess with Rick Grimes. In the book, this is one of the more gruesome scenes, so I’m excited to see how the show chooses to portray it – especially as Season 5 opens.
It might not be the finale that fans wanted, but it’s the one we deserve. Or something like that. Hush Comics gives “A” an… A (heh). The dynamic dialog and excellent cinematography throughout was a precise ode to the comic books and an inclusive wrap up for what has been quite the journey of a season. There’s way too much left unraveled for this to satisfy me for the season finale, but I’m sure, one day, we’ll look back at this one Netflix and laugh as we play the next episode. I hope you guys can put up with the seven month wait. The Walking Dead returns October 2014.
Thanks for catching our reviews! We’re looking to fill the gaps with another show (possibly Game of Thrones, but we’re not nearly as well-versed there)
All media credited to Image Comics and AMC Television