The Walking Dead: A (4×16)
Synopsis: All roads lead to Terminus, but not without a few bumps first.
It’s not fair to tease us with Hershel, guys. In a flashback, we get a look at simpler times as Rick, Glenn, and Maggie return from a run of some kind and greet Hershel. They ran into a little bit of trouble Carl notices, but it is better than the hell they’re in now. A flash to Rick sitting, bloodied hands that are shaking, on the ground near a broken vehicle and we’re starting this season finale with a bang.
In the woods, in the present, Carl, Rick and Michonne are checking the snares that Rick set up. Carl asks if they’re going to tell everyone in Terminus about what they’ve done, who they are, but he’s still unclear about who they are himself. When they get to the traps, Rick explains how to set up a slipknot along the well-worn trail, forcing the prey to go through it and get caught. It’s a blatant metaphor for Terminus, so we’ll see how that turns out for them. Suddenly, they hear someone yelling for help and Carl goes running, forcing Michonne and Rick to follow him. Somehow, this guy manages to stand still while walkers close in around him and rip him to shreds. How did he survive this long with a technique like that? Who knows! Rick stops Carl from helping the man and they’re forced to run when a few of the straggling walkers notice them nearby.
Dispatched of the walkers, Michonne, Rick, and Carl come across the same abandoned vehicle Rick was sitting near at the beginning of the episode. Carl sleeps in the car while Michonne and Rick talk about their hardships in front of the fire. Michonne finally starts questioning how legit Terminus is, but Rick seems convinced they’re okay because Terminus has to have a system if they’re bringing people in. Michonne reminds him that The Governor brought people in too. Rick admits they don’t know until they know and at the same time, Joe’s gang comes out of the woods and puts a gun to his head.
Joe lets him know that today is the day of reckoning for them because he strangled Lou in the bathroom of that house they invaded. He begins a countdown as Carl and Michonne look on, only to have it interrupted by Daryl. He tries to reason with Joe, calling them good people, and then offering himself up as the blood instead. Joe dismisses him, saying that was a lie, signaling his group permission to beat Daryl. Joe informs Rick that they’re going to beat Daryl to death, then they’re going to have Michonne… and then Carl and then they’re going to shoot him. A man pulls Carl out of the car at knifepoint, and somewhere between Carl whimpering and Daryl getting beaten, Rick takes control of the situation.
He throws his head back into Joe’s, knocking him off balance and firing the gun near Rick’s ears so all they can hear is ringing. They get into a fist fight, Carl is out on the ground and struggling, Michonne gets smacked for trying to get the gun from another man. Joe gets Rick in something of a bear hug, asking him what he’s going to do now. The answer to that is… Rick rips out a chunk of his neck with his teeth… With Joe gone, the group seems a bit stunned and they get the upper hand until only the fat guy hiding behind Carl is left. Rick is having none of that, simply walking right up to him and stabbing him repeatedly as Carl watches.
Hershel is waking up Rick inside the prison in another flashback, asking him to help him with something that he won’t need his gun for. He takes Rick out to the field outside the prison, explaining the feral pigs and how they have seeds. Hershel thinks it’s time to start planting and asks what Rick is going to show to Carl about what his life will be. Rick still seems torn, unconvinced and sure that the prison still needs him to go out on runs. He says he has to go out on one soon, even though Hershel disagrees.
That brings us back to Rick sitting by the vehicle, but now we know Michonne and Carl are inside trying to sleep off the horrors of the night before. Daryl walks up and attempts to comfort Rick a little bit, giving him water to wipe the blood off of his face. He tells Rick about Beth, offering up that she’s just gone, and explains how he ended up with that group for a time. It was better than nothing, better than being alone. He didn’t know they were tracking Rick and Rick calls Daryl his brother. Carl and Michonne hear everything from the car.
After getting all cleaned up, they’re together and headed towards Terminus. They get close enough to go into the woods and make a surprise arrival. When they make it to the fence, they decide to spread out and observe for a little while, still unsure as to what kind of group Terminus will be. Rick asks if Carl wants to stick with him, but he goes with Michonne instead.
She shares how Andre died with Carl, which is what she thinks is the important part. When she, Andre, Mike, and their friend Terry, went to a refugee camp, things just kept getting worse. She was out on a run and when she came back, the fences were down and it was already over. Mike and Terry were high when it happened, so presumably they couldn’t protect Andre, but she didn’t kill them. She turned them into the pets we see her with when she was first introduced, the mutilated walkers on chains that kept her hidden from the rest. She says she was a monster, Andrea and Rick brought her back. Carl, in turn, shares that he’s just another monster too and they hug.
Rick buries his weapons in a hole outside of Terminus before they scale the fences. They sneak into a building to find a woman actually making the announcement as other people work in the room. They’re surprised by their appearance, but are friendly enough. Gareth welcomes them and Alex helps him frisk the group. Everything is calm and they get their weapons back before Alex takes them from the radio room to give them the grand tour. Daryl asks him how long Terminus has been around and he says almost since the beginning. He says it doesn’t matter what direction people have been headed in, everyone goes to Terminus eventually. Alex takes them to Mary, who begins getting them plates of food. Rick is hanging back slightly, observing his surroundings and suddenly knocks Alex’s plate from his hands. He pulls his gun on Alex and asks where he got his pocket watch from. It’s Glenn’s watch that he received from Hershel.
Rick demands to know where the watch, the poncho, and the riot gear all came from as he holds Alex hostage. Gareth is there to give reasonable explanations, but the situation escalates anyway. Everyone begins shooting, but instead of shooting to kill, they seem to be herding Rick’s group around. Running by a train car or shipping container of some sort, they can hear voices yelling help, but they have no time to stop. They run through a room full of lit candles and names all over the floor. Eventually, they find themselves trapped out in the open.
Gareth gives them the command to drop their weapons and they have no choice but to comply. He gives them great nicknames and sends the Ringleader, the Archer, the Samurai, and the kid to a train car and orders them inside. They file in and it’s dark, someone shuts the door behind them, and the group that made it to Terminus last episode files out of the shadows. Maggie tells Rick that Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene are their friends. Someone has to recognize Tara from the prison, seriously, anyone?
Patrick is playing with Legos in a flashback while Carl is sitting nearby, cleaning his gun. Rick witnesses this and asks Carl to help him with something, surprising Carl by telling him to leave his gun behind. They, along with Hershel, are outside working on planting the garden outside of the prison. Hershel tells him it can be safe and mellow like this all the time, to which Rick informs him that it’s like this now and that’s enough.
Back in the train car, Rick tells the reunited group that, “They’re going to feel pretty stupid when they find out.” Abraham asks him find out what? And in the lamest, most clichéd ending line ever, Rick tells him, “They’re screwing with the wrong people.”
All in all, I thought it was a bit of a let-down… no one died, there was no Carol or Tyreese, we got no confirmation on whether or not they were serving up Beth steaks. If it hadn’t been for Rick’s animalistic saving of the day, I’m not sure anything about this episode would have surprised me. It didn’t exactly leave me with that devastation of I have to know what happens next right now! The way a finale normally does and that last line… Solid enough effort, can we head to DC now after Carol comes in and saves the day because she’s more subtle than Rick?