The Walking Dead – E16 – S4 “A” A reviewcap by Sagebeth

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“Wonder if the whole thing is legit” -Michonne on Terminus

The season finale is here and with it brought a new juicy plotline, as well as a new and improved badass Rick Grimes who has firmly placed his farmer shoes in his back pocket. It was one of my favorite episodes ever produced by this show as well – still full of odd choices, poor CGI gunfire, and head shaking confusion but also packing some semi-quality story-telling, cliffhangers of fun, and most importantly real live human villains and guts. So lets just start right at the beginning:

THAT TIME RICK EXPLAINED THE NATURE OF A TRAP
We started someplace unexpected: Team Prison before their pretty little world ended. Everyone is clean (cleanish) and happy, Hershel lives, and Rick is entirely preoccupied with the violence he NEEDS to dole out everyday. Ahh the good ole days. Cut to the future; Rick’s hands are bloody and shaking as he sits next to a broken down truck. His face is also hugely blood stained. What happened? When is this? Well in my humble opinion it was one cold open too many this season – they really had a few amazing ones and this was not my favorite. It left us assuming whatever happens in Rick’s future will be VERY final and bloody and will leave him sitting alone on the side of the road covered in blood, drowning in melancholy. Unfortunately it sort of put an unneeded spin on what actually happens later but alas that is later and this is now.

After the opening credits we are back where we belong timewise: post-prison, and pre-bloody Rick. Running low on food, they go and check one of Rick’s snare traps together (So Carl can learn). During their walk, Carl wonders aloud at what they intend to share with people at Terminus: Everything that has happened to them? What they’ve done? Rick insists they will tell them who they are which leads to Carl being sort of awesome and wondering who they are exactly. At the trap, Rick places a small rabbit it caught in his pack, and begins to explain the trap to Carl – perfectly mirroring what the folks at Terminus as doing to people. Sweet gratification! Why can’t this show tickle my intellectual senses like this all the time? Of course my happiness is short-lived as they hear a man scream for help in the distance and effing Carl just takes off towards it with Rick and Michonne following. God damnit Carl. They find a man surrounded by walkers and Carl is seconds from emptying/wasting all his bullets at the horde before Rick pulls him away insisting they cannot do anything about it. While trying to escape, they run into more walkers on the train tracks and just as Rick begins to fight them we flashback to a peaceful time at the prison again.

THAT TIME RICK WAS A WALKING PIECE OF FECAL MATTER WITH TEETH
Hershel wakes up Rick, asking for help with something that he doesn’t need his gun for. Back in the future, Rick is holding his needed gun and his group stumbles upon the broken down truck from the opening. They decide to bunk there for the night. After dark, Rick and Michonne talk by a fire while Carl rests inside the truck. They discuss, food or lack there of, as well as Terminus. Michonne question if Terminus is really what it advertises itself to be reminding me that I love this smart samurai lady. Their conversation falters when they hear a branch break out in the woods but when nothing seems to come of it they woefully ignore it until Rick suddenly has a gun next to his head. Joe, and his awful gang of bikers, white trash, and violence have caught up with them and plan on doling out some powerful justice for Rick killing there buddy Lou way back when. Joe calls this entire debacle a reckoning or a balancing of the universe but it is just straight up a bunch of vicious violent men who want to see blood for no other reason other than entertainment. Daryl, arrives as a straggler just in time to interrupt Joe’s epic countdown to the killing/raping fun his men want to have with Rick, Michonne, and Carl. He plays his silly but true hero card, insisting they let them go because they are “good people” and offers himself as the sacrifice. Joe is disappointed in his new fave and appropriately cuts the umbilical cord with him insisting Daryl is lying about his ‘friends’ being good and so he must suffer for being a “liar”. Ha. Man I love a good villain. He caps it all off by laying down the plan: beating Daryl to death. Raping Michonne. Raping Carl and then killing Rick. Then he thinks they might be square… haha oh how horrible. I love it.

Another biker dude takes this as a go ahead to rape/sexual assault Carl as he pins him to the ground. It’s tense and horrific and very reminiscent of the comic. The image is so scaring that it literally pushes Rick into full on offensive mode. He headbutts Joe, knocking the shooting gun away enough only deafen him and not kill him. They fight, and Rick once again ends up on the ground getting beat on. Daryl is still getting his ass kicked too. Michonne is under guard of a gun and Carl is still helpless on the ground beneath a terror of a man looking totally ready to violate him in the worst way. Joe seemingly gets the upper hand in his fight with Rick, as he locks his arm and holds him up. “What are you gonna do now sport?” Joe quips seeing absolutely no way this could not go his way and in a move that actually made me cheer for Rick again he literally uses the only weapon he has: his teeth. He chomps into Joe’s neck and rips away the skin as if he was a walker looking for a meal. (Rick wins my GORE OF THE WEEK AWARD for this gem). Michonne jumps on the distraction and battles her attacker, knocking his gun away. Daryl manages to kill his attackers as well leaving only the hairy man holding down Carl. He panics, noting that EVERYBODY he was with is dead and pulls a knife on Carl. Michonne hangs back but Rick just grabs Joe’s knife off his body and proceeds to stab the rapist over and over again. It sort of awesome actually how Rick just walks up to him and ends it. Completely understandable. Michonne holds Carl and they watch the entire thing. Carl’s eyes never leaving his fathers actions and it is haunting. So this is why Rick ends up covered in blood in the opening. Shaking, but ultimately finding out exactly who he is. This is the real Rick to me not this farmer nonsense we keep flashing to: cue the flashback.

Hershel insists on turning Rick into the farmer we all met at the beginning of this season. Hershel insists Carl needs his father to show him the way to live, and the way Rick lives doesn’t seem appropriate to Hershel. Man, no one ever says this but fuck Hershel. I’d rather a sauced up drunken Hershel trying to succeed than this preachy footless man. It’s all his fault Rick even thought he could live a passive life. And he did try to teach Carl how to find that peace as a farmer but guess what? Carl never enjoyed that shit. He always knew it was temporary and that eventually he’d have to pick up his gun again. Why was it such a surprise to Rick? and Hershel? Because the writers theme this season was “Who are you” and truthfully I don’t think they knew who the hell they were writing for before all this even though its been four sad seasons of no character development. Anyway the whole farming sham is revealed as just that a sham when Rick shows Carl a new way to deal with life: Chew up someones throat if they are going to hurt you or someone you love. Good plan. So presently, Rick sits still a bit amazed at the night events alone and covered in blood while Michonne holds Carl inside the truck. I am actually a huge man of Mommy Michonne and Kiddo Carl. They make my heart melt a little. Another duo that I unexpectedly love is Daryl and Rick. In the street Daryl catches Rick up on where he’s been and also apologizes for the horrible group of man he was camping with insisting he didn’t know the extent of their evil. Rick, awesomely brushes off the whole thing, and assures him to not feel guilty and even calls him his brother. Sigh. Man, after everything they’ve been through how have they not already had this conversation? I sort overly love that they are letting Rick finally except his violent nature and not stew in the depravity of it. He is a violent brutal loving compassionate man and that is okay in this reality.

THAT TIME HUMAN INSTINCTS WERE BUNNY INSTINCTS
Back on the road again, we are treated to one of the reasons Rick is the ‘ringleader’. Once they reach Terminus he takes the group up and around into the forest to scout out the place instead of walking in like the last group did. They spread out the make sure it is safe and I’m thinking the reason the last group didn’t do this smartly wasn’t because they are all gullible asshats but because they were still so high on the Maggie/Glenn reunion of happiness/slowly starving to death. Anyway, Carl teams up with Michonne seemingly because of his new found fear of his father so Michonne decides to nip this in the bud. She gives her full origins story to Carl. Coming back from a run to her old camp she found the fences down and her baby boy Andre gone (dead). Her baby daddy and his friend were there but they were high and got bit by walkers. In a gust of self-proclaimed crazy Michonne doesn’t end their suffering but waits for her them to turn. Then she cut off their mouths and arms and they became her pet walkers. She had done it in a move to have a constant reminder of “what she deserved”. It wasn’t until later that she noticed they helped hide her from walkers, and in turn protected her. The other monsters just had began seeing her as another monster. Then she found Andrea, and Rick and Carl and they showed her the way she wanted to be. They brought her back. The reasoning for sharing this is to show Carl he doesn’t have to be afraid of his dad, or her. But, Michonne was wrong Carl isn’t afraid of them. He confesses that he also sees himself as a monster (Carl’s mind is dark huh?). Michonne holds him as Rick looks on from afar. He has come to terms with himself and who he is will he help Carl do the same next? Maybe next year.

After the perimeter check went well Rick buries a bag of guns “just in case” and the group decides to go into Terminus through the backdoor. They get into a warehouse of some kind and we spy citizens making more terminus signs and recording their radio recording live. What do you say when you break into someones safe house? Rick takes the simple road with a “Hello”. The people aren’t scared but rather surprised. A young man offers that some unfortunate dude named Albert must be in charge of watch because they got in. Exasperated but immediately friendly they man offers them his name, Gareth (from the comic?) and welcomes them. He basically repeats the same line Mary (pioneer lady hair) said to others the last episode. He has someone named Alex help him check their weapons and then take them to the beginning of the welcome wagon. Oddly this is back with that ominous grill again. Yikes. Can you feel the tension? Alex explains that Terminus has existed almost from the beginning, because people instinctively follow the train tracks Want to know what else follows their instincts? Rabbits into snare traps. Eep.

They meet Mary, grilling some meat, and while she prepares some plates for them Rick takes a look around the courtyard at the new others. Just some people during meal time? Yes. Then we look closer and see what Rick sees: a familiar orange backpack, riot gear, poncho, Before we can get our barrings Rick sees something that raises his alarm to its pinnacle: Alex has a super familiar pocket watch. Rick smacks the plate of meat out of Carl’s hands and puts his gun to Alex’s head. That is most certainly the same pocket watch Hershel gave to Glenn. Yip!

We flashback once more to a better time. Beth is the eternal babysitter, with Judith. Now dead, Patrick plays with legos which is something I do on a daily basis so no judging here and Carl cleans the loves of his life: guns. This is when Rick recruits his son to help him on the farm, copying Hershel’s line about not bringing his gun because it’ll get in the way. We cut back the present where Carl most definitely needs a gun. Rick questions his hostage about the watch, and he lies about finding it on the dead. Gareth appears and continues the clever lies. He finally asks Rick what he wants and when he doesn’t get an answer he has the sniper kill Alex the hostage. Everyone scrambles to safety as Rick, Carl, Michonne, Daryl try to get away. Sniper fire chases them, and herds them exactly where these Terminus villains want them to go – like rats in a maze. The push them toward destination ‘A’ and on the way they pass several interesting things: a warehouse, an already gunned down courtyard, a pile of human remains and tarps, cries for help from freight containers and most insanely a room filled with mementos and candles with name written all over the floor as well as phrases like “never forget”, “never trust”, and “We first, always”. Finally they are led to a last freight container labeled “A”. Now surrounded by all the residents, the gang drops their weapons and file into the container after some death threats to Carl. Gareth, hilariously, nicknames them all Ringleader, Archer, Samurai, and Kid. Surprisingly they find some other friends inside the container: Glenn, Maggie, Bob, Sasha, Tara, Eugene, Abraham, and Rosita. Personally I was wicked surprised that everyone still had all their limbs – comic reference.

Now stuck inside a cage like an animal, the groups hopes plunge except for Rick. Surprise surprise – Rick is here and he is a survivor. For once Rick focuses not on what he has lost but what he has gained: family and friends. “They’re going to feel very stupid when they find out” Rick teases his friends, “They’re screwing with the wrong people”. Here endith season four of The Walking Dead. This is officially one of my favorite episodes of this entire series and hopefully that means my excitement for next season isn’t too silly.
And scene.

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~ by ATOM on March 31, 2014.

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