Warning Spoilers Ahead
In the season finale of The Walking Dead Rick and the others begin to reunite at Terminus, soon realizing that the marauders are closing in, and that the so-called sanctuary is not exactly what it seems to be.
The episode opens up in the past, with everyone back at the prison, it’s simpler times, a time of happiness. Quickly flash to Rick, alone, covered in blood, sitting on a road by himself, and shaking. We know to expect a tense episode, and we’re not even at the credits yet.
Post credits, we see Rick, Carl and Michonne, still in the woods and surviving, making their way to Terminus. After a quiet moment of teaching, the three are interrupted by the screams of an individual surrounded by walkers. Their quiet moment has gone bad as the three are now on the run, having to change their plans and now figure out where to go to survive the walkers. It leads them to a car, and things are calm again. But that’s not for long… Rick and crew are surrounded by the crew Daryl has joined. And the crew has issues with Rick, they know he killed a member of their crew. But, I don’t remember them ever seeing Rick and I have no idea how they know who did it. But, that’s a plot hole I guess I’ll need to go back and figure out myself.
Out of all of the moments this season, this battle, between Rick and the “bikers” is the scariest of them all. I had no idea how they’d all get out of it and what’s needed to be done to survive, what is done, is brutal, visceral, and frightening. This is Rick unchained, all his pent-up anger is loosened.
But, throughout the episode, we’re shown flashbacks. The flashbacks are mostly between Rick and Herschel. We’ve never seen how Rick became a farmer, a shepherd, and here’s that back story. The episode is clearly about Rick’s finding peace, then losing it due to man, not the walkers. It’s also about what world Rick is giving Carl. As Hershel says, Rick’s war is over, but from the fight we just saw, it’s clearly not. Rick won’t know peace in this world. But, they’re back with Daryl! So… yay?
Rick and Daryl discuss Daryl’s journey and what happened and it’s clear these four are family now. Rick explains his anger that unleashes is a reason they’re alive. We’ve just seen it, and saw it with Rick and Tyreese. Rick is a killer for survival, not because it’s part of some rule set, and he’ll do what he needs to so he and Carl survives. What’s also interesting is Michonne with Carl. It’s clear there’s a motherly/sisterly thing going on with Michonne watching over Carl. It’s a great relationship and is another example of the growth of these characters over this season and the series. It all leads to Michonne opening up to Carl about how she lost her child and boyfriend, an emotional moment for her as she explains her “pet” zombies and how she deserved to drag them around as a reminder. To her it made her a monster and gone. She’s found now, with a new family. But, the dynamic between the three, Rick, Michonne, and Carl is a weird one, but shows how things have changed in personal relationships, along with the new threats.
But, the four have gotten to Terminus and are smart by sneaking in. There they meet the members of this crew and are welcomed. Something isn’t right. Much like Rick and crew, we’re suspicious as viewers, wondering what the spin of it all is. Should we trust them? That answer is quickly provided.
Things quickly dissolve, and Rick and crew are under fire again, up against unknown forces who want something…. we don’t know what, we don’t know why. It’s tense, very tense, and I felt my stomach tighten as the action progressed. I expected the worst. But, through it all, there’s some good moments, as Rick and his team is reunited with Glenn and his. It’s a joining of forces we’ve been waiting for.
After all of that, we’re back in the past. Happier moments. Rick, Carl, Herschel, joined by Beth working on the farm. Cut though to the present, and Rick is about to lead another revolution, and take on Terminus. A hell of an ending as it looks like season five is starting off with war.
Next season can’t come soon enough…. I left the episode shaking, jaw dropped, and counting down the days.
Writer Credits: Frank Darabont, Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard
Overall Score: 8.75