'The Walking Dead' Recap: Rick’s Thrilling Rampage Highlights Season 4 Finale

March 31st, 2014 12:11pm EDT

'The Walking Dead' Recap: Rick’s Thrilling Rampage Highlights Se The second half of the fourth season of The Walking Dead has been a mixed bag. On one hand, our core characters have been heading towards a goal (the Terminus promise land) with interesting groupings and jaw dropping reveals. Michonne, Carl, and Rick’s scenes have been particularly enjoyable, as their dynamic is refreshing and fun. The scenes with Carol, Tyrese, and their psychotic band of kids were filled with nail-biting anticipation. However, other groups were more of the same. Was anybody enjoying Daryl and Beth’s quest for hope? Did anybody think Maggie and Glenn weren’t going to meet up in a few episodes? These storylines were without much intrigue, which would be fine if they weren’t in completely isolated episodes from the fascinating groups.

The bulk of “A” follows Rick, Carl, and Michonne. It’s the perfect way to wrap up the season because they are essentially the heart of the show. This group began the second half of the season, it’s fitting they should end it too. They’re on the brink of starvation, each eating meager portions and only talking about food when they aren’t silently traipsing through the woods. The second leading cause of death in this world is probably starvation. Sadly, in the zombie apocalypse you can be desperate for food or become food.

It’s surprising that it took this long for food to become a big theme on the show. The main threats to our heroes are desperate to eat human flesh. Food production has been at a halt for the most part. In flashbacks, we see the origin of Rick’s prison farm. Hershel basically pestered him into starting a small garden. And now the major assumption of Terminus is that it’s a home for cannibals. (Although we don’t get a definitive answer.) Food is a constant thought on the mind of all of these characters. Even finding a safe place to stay is about food. If they don’t feel protected in their resting place, they can’t feel comfortable to really search for food.

Still, the threat of starvation isn’t the biggest issue our heroes have to deal with. Earlier in the season Rick killed a guy on the toilet and now has to deal with the consequences. The pack of bastards that picked up Daryl last week have finally caught up to Rick and are hell bent on making him pay. With a gun to Rick head, the main bastard informs him that his pack will rape Carl and Michonne, while beating Daryl to death, before killing Rick. It’s in this moment that we see Rick completely lose his shit. The last shred of sanity that Rick may have held onto disappears when Rick bits into the jugular of Joe, the Head Bastard.

The scene is almost straight from the comic book. If possible it’s even worse to see on screen. One of the disgusting bastards pushes Carl to the ground and the implication of what is about the happen is so sickening that it pushes the boundaries about what audiences could stand to watch. Even though I knew that Carl wasn’t going to be sexually assaulted and that Rick was going to destroy them, it was too tough to take. That’s why Rick’s rampage was so thrilling. He bites into Joe’s neck like he’s a walker. While Michonne and Daryl take care of the extras of the gang, Rick stabs Carl’s attacker so many times that he probably made minced meat of his internal organs. Hey, he said he was hungry.

Although this harrowing scene gives us all the action we need out of the episode, it’s the following scenes that really puts the episode over the top in brilliance. Carl lays his head in Michonne’s lap in the car, like a child with his mother. Rick and Daryl have a sweet conversation that leads to Rick declaring his brotherly feelings for Daryl. Later, Michonne explains what happened to her son, Andre, to Carl and why she kept her boyfriend and his friend as pets. She turned into a monster, she tells him. And it took Andrea, Rick, and Carl to turn her into a human again. Carl admits to her that he feels like a monster most of the time. Then they hug. Beautiful.

This foursome is truly a family and it’d be great for the show to continue the focus on just them. I may be alone in that, but I don’t really care about characters outside of their relationships to this core group. I wasn’t even really anxious to see the group that already arrived at Terminus because I was willing to simply follow this group wherever they decide to go.

At Terminus, the survivors who greet them seem normal enough. For about five minutes. However, Rick’s senses are already keenly honed to see that something’s wrong. He notices Glenn’s watch (which was mentioned in the flashback too) on one of the Terminus survivors. After that the group is lead, by purposefully bad gun fire, into a train car. In the train car they see Maggie, Glenn, Sasha, Bob, and Abraham’s group. Everyone is alive and still possessing all their limbs, so we still don’t know exactly why the Terminus gang needs to lure people (okay, duh, it’s for food.) But we do know one thing: they’re screwed.

There are some hanging threads from the season that we have to look forward to in season 5. What happened to Beth? Will Carol and Tyrese head to Terminus too? How amazing is the reunion between the Grimes boys and Judith going to be? I’m also left wondering about the men from earlier in the season who told Tyreese that they never should have left Terminus. Were they part of the Terminus group who just got sick of eating human meat or is something else going on here?

Until next season!

Other Musings:

Michonne and Carl don’t know how to properly use the 1 to 10 scale.
This episode reminded me a little bit of a Jack-centric episode of Lost. There were flashbacks and flashforwards, as well as a less-than-lucid bearded man.
I love the twack sound effect of Michonne’s sword.
 “Is she dead?” “She’s just gone.” WHY WON’T DARYL TELL THE WHOLE STORY? This is Lost-level idiocy. They have nothing but time. Daryl can take a few seconds to explain that she was kidnapped.
Rick to Daryl: “You’re my brother.”
Carl about Rick: “I’m not what he thinks I am. I’m a monster too.”
Rick buries a bag of guns in the woods just in case. That’ll come into play next season.
Gareth is the leader of Terminus. He’s got a face worth punching.
Patrick shows up in the flashback, playing with the toys Rick got for Carl. He just wants his kid to be a kid.
At first the Terminus snipers look like they’ve got the Storm Trooper curse of being terrible shots. But really they’re using the gun fire to lead Rick’s group where they want them to be.
“They screwed with the wrong people.” Yep.

Related: The Walking Dead, Recaps, AMC

Photo Credits: AMC

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