'The Walking Dead': Did the finale satisfy?

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Image Credit: Gene Page/AMC

This just in: Terminus is not exactly the swell, welcoming place it advertised itself to be. But before we get into what happened in Sunday’s Walking Dead finale, let’s issue our standard SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched Sunday’s season 4 finale of The Walking Dead.

“Those who arrive, survive,” read the radio signal being broadcast out of the alleged salvation known as Terminus. But they apparently left out the part about “Those who arrive get locked into a train car for possible future human consumption.” That’s where Rick, Carl, Michonne, and Daryl ended up after recognizing the items of their missing friends being used by the inhabitants of Terminus. They were reunited with those friends — Glenn, Maggie, Bob, and Sasha, along with Tara, Eugene, Abraham, and Rosita — in a locked train car as prisoners of Terminus. (Carol, Tyreese, Judith, and Beth all remain unaccounted for.)

While the gang’s fortunes appear precarious at best, the show actually ended on a somewhat triumphant note as Rick told the others, “They’re gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out.” “Find out what?” asked Abraham. Rick’s reply: “They’re screwing with the wrong people.” BAM! That moment crystalized that this episode — which included multiple flashbacks to life at the prison shortly after the fall of Woodbury as Hershel convinced Rick to lay down his gun and pick up his farming shovel — and really the entire season was all about Rick’s transformation away from shunner of violence back into a supreme badass ready to kick rear end and take names.

Oh, and rear ends were kicked this episode, most notably those of Joe and his marauder buddies, who tracked down Rick and looked to waste him, Carl, Michonne, and Daryl (who vouched for his friends) before Rick fought back — biting Joe in the neck and gutting the thug who had Carl pinned down.

He may have a tougher time getting out of this jam in season 5, however. The way the Terminus snipers took care to not shoot Rick and Co. might appear to confirm my earlier suspicion that they are an adaptation of the cannibals seen in The Walking Dead comic. So would that courtyard of human bones and blood they ran by. And so would the clear parallel of Rick showing Carl how to properly set a trap by creating a smooth lane to lead animals right to it — much in the same way they themselves were following the train tracks and were led by the sniper fire past all the “A” signs right to their own human trap of Terminus. But all we know for 100% sure is that these mystery folks have a lot of guns, a leader named Gareth who is apparently bummed out with Albert’s skills on perimeter patrol, and a really big grill.

Now we’ll have to wait over six months to find out how it all plays out. Almost as shocking as the cliffhanger ending was the fact that no characters (outside of the marauders and some poor guy surrounded in a field by walkers) actually died in the finale. However, contrary to last season’s offing of Andrea, The Walking Dead doesn’t tend to kill mains in the last episode, so maybe it’s not so shocking after all. I actually prefer it when they don’t kill people in finales because that’s exactly when you expect them to die. Deaths like Lori and T-Dog (which happened in episode 4 of season 3) end up being far more shocking in a way because of when they happen as much as how they happen. So I like how the producers didn’t feel the need to kill someone just because it was a season-ender. And I like how after going pretty Grimeless over the past month, the show all came back to Rick and his new don’t you dare mess with me and my crew attitude. It is a more than welcome return.

What did you think of the finale? Do you think the folks at Terminus are cannibals? Happy that nobody else bit the dust…yet? And what do make of Gareth? Hit the message boards and weigh in!

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