Why ‘The Walking Dead' Season Finale Was Kind Of Disappointing Gina Vaynshteyn

A lot of people criticized this season of The Walking Dead, saying it was too dependent on character development, and there just weren’t enough zombies. It’s true – season four was primarily centered on the characters and their growth as people in a post-apocalyptic world (which, as we know, takes no prisoners. You have to be hard to survive). As we learned in Sunday night’s finale (SPOILER ALERT), it was Hershel who taught Rick how to farm the prison land and lead his group in an alternative, invisible kind of way. Hershel, who was the group’s moral compass, advocated for a more peaceful co-existence with the walkers and other people. However, as soon as The Governor’s borrowed blade made contact with his neck, that ideology shattered. Rick went nuts again (thank GOD, I missed the Ricktator). The prison collapsed. And a somewhat dull first half-season turned into a majorly boring latter season (except for “The Grove,” that episode was insane).

What I usually love about The Walking Dead’s finales, is that they tend to do a good job with wrapping things up. The writers don’t leave us with too many major cliffhangers, yet they still manage to leave us in suspense for the next season. The season four finale didn’t really tie up as many loose ends as I would have liked, and we were left with a major cliffhanger: what’s going to happen to Rick’s crew in Terminus?

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We all saw it coming: a place called “Terminus” can’t possibly be good (it literally means “end” in Latin). Plus, why would anything work out in The Walking Dead? But we waited a long time to discover what Terminus actually was, and for the show to not explicitly reveal who these people are or what happened to Glenn and Maggie’s group seems unfair. Clearly a scuffle went down and the Terminus people stole Glenn’s watch and riot gear, as well as Maggie’s poncho (I love that poncho) before stuffing them into a human trap. Is Terminus a cannibal camp? The human bones seem to point in that direction. What about all those candles and messages on the wall? Are there others who fell into the same trap?

Let’s talk about the other things that happened in the season finale. Rick teaches Carl how to trap rabbits, which we now know was foreshadowing Terminus. Honestly, I love that kind of plot device, so I have no complaints about that scene. Daryl’s new buddies finally catch up to Rick, Carl, and Michonne, and they almost get away with exacting revenge until Daryl interferes, and says they’re good people. Since Joe is crazy, he directs his boys to beat Daryl to death for “lying,” hold Michonne at gun point, and violate Carl. It was a really intense scene, especially when Rick takes a bite out of Joe’s neck, zombie-style. It was also really important because it indicates that Rick is back in the game. He’s officially done with his farmer life. Now, it’s all about throat biting and chest slitting to protect his family.

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This scene also leads us to Michonne and Carl’s talk, which TOTALLY glazed over Michonne’s backstory. I don’t know about you, but Michonne is my favorite character. She’s an elusive warrior, and we finally understand her more as a character. Carl is upset about not being the person his dad wants him to be (Carl, seriously? Your dad just chomped down on some guy’s neck for you), so Michonne finally reveals what happened to Andre, her baby. He got eaten by zombies because her boyfriend and mutual friend were high and let it happen. No flashback? Nothing? Not cool.

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  1. Howdy! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

  2. “The season four finale didn’t really tie up as many loose ends as I would have liked [and] the finale failed to inform us about Beth’s whereabouts.”

    Um…. hello, idiot, that’s the whole point of season five. Terrible article.

  3. Please, please tell me that you aren’t paid to write this crap? :)

  4. Episode 16 of Season 4 was a great way to prepare us for what is coming. In season 5. the group must escape the box car and Terminus, get the buried weapons, destroy Terminus and its inhabitants, reunite with others, share their fighting skills they learnt when alone, incorporate them into their repertoire, etc.
    I firmly believe that Rick believed (as did Daryl, Michonne and Carl) that Terminus was a potential trap… But they had to find the other members of the group.
    With members still missing, it is important that Terminus not capture them also.
    Only a nutcase would declare he was smarter then everyone else and try to get to Washington, D.C. when it no longer exists.

  5. I think the finale was great. Let’s all just be honest, the show is about Rick, Daryl, and Carl in that order. I could not care less about the majority of the rest. I’d rather see Rick go all badass and rip out a jugular like a zombie than give a crap what happened to Beth. For the first time maybe ever I actually had to rewind that whole scenario and watch it again. Sure, I want to see Rick and Carl meet up with Judith but really for a finale, I think that is filler for next season. I’ve grown to love Carol’s character but I pretty much forget everyone else’s name. It was nice to see Hershel again and he was an integral part of Rick’s development but that is now done and I don’t care to see him again. Regardless I think this article is amateur and opinionated because this finale made me want to not want to wait til next season. Terminus vs. Rick and Co. with Rick saying “They are messing with the wrong people”. I love how this isn’t just about Zombies vs. Humans, it’s now Humans vs. Humans vs. Zombies. As a side note, in the last few episodes I absolutely HATE that stupid nerd that supposedly knows how to cure the apocalypse and the idea of taking him to DC.

  6. NiAPWYuzVypAfIPUMk 6825

  7. Reading all these articles reminds me of a kid I know and how he plays video games. It doesn’t matter what game it is, and even if it’s the first time through the game, he ALWAYS skips through the story cut-scenes. Why? “Because I just want to get to the shooting…everything else is just boring talking.” That’s all I hear when people complain about the “slow” parts of the show. God forbid we actually learn something about the characters, watch them grow a little beyond sharpening their killing skills, or regress a little! The Walking Dead has always been more about the people than the walkers. The people that don’t get that, and think it’s all about the zombies, will always be disappointed with that aspect of the show and should probably just find something else to watch.

    The flashbacks were not “just filler” because the writers didn’t know what else to put in…that’s probably the most ridiculous thing I’ve read so far. They had a purpose. Because YOU missed it doesn’t mean it was just fluff.

    Lastly, all of these “articles” read very entitled to me. “The season should have been like this,” “the finale didn’t tie up that,” “I expected this to happen and now I’m disappointed.” Boo hoo. Guess what? They don’t owe you anything. You’re not entitled to having all the loose end tied up at the end of every season. You’re not promised 45 minutes of non-stop walker killing action. Get over it. It hasn’t happened in 4 seasons, it’s not going to happen in season 5 either. Get used to it and just enjoy the show, or go find something else to watch. Or better yet, write your own damn show and then you can do whatever you want. We’ll see how successful your formula is. What’s the point of a cliffhanger if some things aren’t left unanswered? If you want everything tied up in a neat bow and answered go watch something like True Detective where it’s one story arc per season then done. Neat and tidy.

    In the end, it just comes down to that old saying: You can’t please everyone.

    • Here, here Scott! This show is all about character development. Particularly how all of us would react and deal living in a zombie apocalypse. Yes there is the horror factor with the Zombies but that is just one aspect of what the show offers to its fans. And I think the writing is superb. Sure there are some episodes that are weaker than others but overall they have made us care about the core group. And because of that the show has succeeded. It is in my mind the best show that has ever been made for TV and I will continue watching as long as they keep making episodes. Long live The Walking Dead!

    • Thank you!!! My thoughts exactly!!

  8. Did anyone else notice that Rick looked down to the floor when he was getting into that box thing and saw empty boxes of powdered milk. Could that be like baby formula? Did Carol, Tyresse and Judith get there but something happen to them? I mean, if that fire they saw in ‘Grove’ was them, then they must have been pretty close. I suspect that they have already been there, or that they will come to Terminus and be the ones to break them out.

    • Powdered Milk is often used to fatten up animals before slaughter for eating. Think veal.

      • Did not know that… had to double check it to be sure, but now I have a whole other level of wondering going on. I was thinking the powdered milk just meant that there were others alive inside the car (since the rest of the information was simply handed to us this episode).

  9. A point of view definitely coming from someone that does NOT read the comics, In the comics we quickly realize the story isn’t about Zombies, it’s about the people. It’s about character development. It’s about how these charters cope, communally, personally, physically, and mentally. The Zombies are a backdrop to this new world Kirkman has created. Go read the Comics.

  10. I thought this season was enjoyable (except for losing Herschel), even though it kind of dragged. I like how we are guided into the characters’ past and given the chance to see how they manage without Rick as their leader. We we kept interested by wondering if or how they would find each other.

  11. For those of you who thought the flashbacks were just filler – you missed the point! Remember how insane Rick was after Lauri died and how cold and ruthless Carl had become? He shot a kid in the face and didn’t react at all! Hershell got them both into farming to save their souls. Now we see how they have recovered their humanity and can feel, but also understand that it’s a kill-or-be-killed world and sometimes you have to do terrible things to protect your family. Rick is back to where he can handle leading the group again. Carl has empathy and a concience again. They’re ready to take on Terminus!

    • While I agree with a lot of what you said, I have to defend Carl here. He didn’t shoot a kid, he shot a teenager who was old enough to understand the danger and seriousness of what was going on. He went to the prison understanding they were attacking and killing people- he shows up carrying a gun, meanwhile people all around are losing their ability to continue living…(like dead, forrealz, not a video game lol). This teen was old enough to know what “drop your weapon” means and Carl warned him more than once. Not only did he not drop his weapon, but this guy was bigger than Carl, he lunged and Carl shot him.

      I’ll be the first to admit that Carl annoyed the crap outta me that season, especially with his “wannabe bad boy” attitude, but I remember yelling at the TV and cheering when Carl shot that punk. The guy knew he was older and bigger than Carl, you can see the thought go across his face as he sizes the situation up… that slight move he made towards Carl was a result of him arrogantly thinking he could overpower a kid and an old man on crutches. Carl saved his and Hershel’s lives. And if you recall, he didn’t smile, or gloat about it, he wasn’t proud he had to kill someone, he knew it had to be done. He even mentions being upset about it later. Just because he held it in emotionally (he’s was a pre-teen boy) doesn’t mean he’s a psychopath. Rick and Shane were his male role models his entire life and both men dealt w emotions stoically, for the most part, of course he’s gonna digest his complicated emotions as “strong and silently” as he can manage.

      • That’s not what happened. The teenager was surrendering his weapon to Carl when Carl shot him.

        • I disagree, that kid was not giving Carl that gun. The producers made you almost think that, but I disagree and think it was a fantastic scene.

  12. As a fan of the comics, I knew what Terminus meant…I’m not going to spoil it for you guys who don’t know…but what the author of this article suggested is pretty accurate. I found that reading the comics helps when the television show is on hiatus.

  13. I thought they did a fine job with the episodes and a great job with the finale. It is a great show with subtleties. Next year will be top notch too. I don’t think I would like to see the Walkers seat Andre’. Not necessary. We know Michonne has a story and saw part of it. I can’t wait for October.

  14. The finale didn´t prove to be an explosive one, as promised by the writers. Same story last year too. I think these guys are a little bit carried away, promising more than they can deliver. Like the young kid next door who always needs to brad an exaggerate about everything, LOL. These flashbacks to the farming at the prison were a bit lame, I agree there should been less of those and more of what happened to Michonne´s child. These folks at Terminus…from the old lady at the radio, to Mary, to their leader Gareth, they just seemed very “ordinary” to me. I know they´re a crazy cult, sacrificing humans probably for both for food and religious reasons. And we will probably learn a lot more about them in season 5. I just got the feeling that they were´t anything near the league of Rick or The Governor. Rick seemed to think the same too, saying they have no idea who they´re messing with. Both Rick and The Governor would eat Gareth for lunch any day of the week. Just seemed odd that all those people would survive that long. And why were there no walkers around Terminus?? I get a feeling the fires that Tyrese and Carold saw, with those burning walkers they encountered, are from Terminus, meaning we saw Carol & co after Rick & co blew up Terminus. I didn´t mind the character development during the season. It can´t be a 45 minute slasher movie every episode. I like Abraham, a tough dude who is also a nice & honest. He, Rick and Daryl will easily dispose Gareth and the Terminus crew. We will probably be introduced to new characters from those other prisoners in those other train cars they ran past, as Rick will set them free

  15. Your commentary although thoughtful was entirely ill informed. Much like BREAKING BAD this WALKING DEAD is trying to be a cut above. Obviously you’re a little too obtuse to understand subtlety or shading. I notice that people of a certain generation have no aptitude towards letting a story be told. WALKING DEAD is taking a (graphic) novel approach to let its story unfold.
    Your attention deficit disorder is your own concern.
    But your premise is flawed. Your theorems are both flawed & based in your own prejudices.
    Because you are the definition of short attention span I’m gonna bullet point it for you. Debate club powers activated !
    • rick & Carl needed to regain their humanity through herschels ministrations. Herschel = Padawan trainer (Star Wars Jedi represent )
    • the teaching of how to trap game via the funnel in to the noose is indeed forshadosing what TERMINUS represents
    • I like that WALKING DEAD doesn’t tie up all it’s plot threads during every season finale. It’s lot like LIFE. Authors of snarky reviews : do all the threads of your so called life tie up neatly every six months. Mine never have
    • this is a book. Do you go read the ending before you begin? I prefer not too.

    So in summation. I find your premises hold no merit and who gave you a forum to spout gibberish. Obviously having read one of your misguided reviews. I never have to read another.

    I remain.

    • I realize you’re trying to come off as intelligent and belittling to a review you did not enjoy but all you’ve managed to do is sound like an asshole with his own brand of gibberish. Why attack the author? Is it because you don’t actually have the ability to add to a further conversation and instead have to resort to name calling and snobbery? It’s ironic that you call her obtuse, though. Also, your grammar and sentence structure is horrendous.

    • Bruce, here are my issues:
      First of all, the snarkiness is uncalled for. If you have to insult people in order to illustrate your point, your point is guaranteed to be lost in translation. Talking down to people is simply rude and flaming on the internet is childish.
      My biggest problem with the finale is that the writers treated the audience like morons. The foreshadowing was blatant in that other than the powdered milk bit, you didn’t have to think or work for any of it and that bit required inside knowledge. This finale was poorly written and in my opinion, that is the fault of either lazy writers or perhaps writing that painted itself into a corner and tried to do too many things at once, not realizing until it was too late that it wouldn’t have time to wrap things up. Not everything, but for the love of all things good and holy at least wrap up SOMETHING.
      One of the things I’ve loved about this show from episode one is that the writing is superb and that they don’t just hand you everything, you have to think things through. I’ve loved the character development and I love the fact that after a fashion the zombies simply become another apex predator in the world, not unlike wolves or sharks; yes, they’re dangerous, but they can be defeated and/or avoided once you’ve figured out their weaknesses, which at this point the survivors pretty much all have (strange lone guy in the field with a clear path of escape that he didn’t take for some reason notwithstanding).
      It’s not that the flashbacks were unnecessary, it’s that they were ill-timed and seemingly pointless to this episode, ie. Why did we need to see Hershel and Rick farming in the finale? It seemed out of place and like it would have been better suited in a regular season episode. Perhaps it’s just that I am not a fan of flashbacks in finales at all, especially not with the sheer volume of material that they needed to get through. I’m not upset about Beth not wrapping up, I didn’t expect that to. I think she’s going to be the Sophia of season 5.
      This false dichotomy that you and others are trying to build isn’t going to fly. It isn’t a matter of either you like the finale or you aren’t a true fan. The finale was lacking for a number of us. Why? Because we’re used to better from TWD. The writing team on this show is amazing. They are certainly better than what was demonstrated in this finale. They know it and we know it. It doesn’t make us lesser fans because we expect the best from people who are fully capable of giving it to us. I dislike this bickering back and forth about the finale that I’m seeing everywhere. If you loved it, great. State your case and listen to others. Perhaps others saw something that you didn’t.
      I am a voracious fan of this show and have been since day one. I will continue to be a fierce fan until the series wraps, even though I feel the finale could have been a lot better.

  16. Lets be truthful, if all loose ends were tied up, would you look forward to Season 5? No. The writers have us here waiting until October because we know its going to be explosive. Of course I wanted more, but I’m into the foreplay. The ones complaining are the ones who will be watching the episodes which they called boring during the off season. Now LOOKING AT THE FLOWERS.

  17. I think the largest complaint is that apart from the storylines a lot of promise was build to an explosive finale with shocks and lots of surprises. Apart from the Rick sequence where he finally puts possible doubts aside there was nothing special happening. It is obvious that Terminus is a bad place. After all the adventures the characters had you would think they would be far more cautious. But the whole flashback thing that lead to one of the cheesiest cliffhangers ever felt like a slap in the face.

  18. ”Yes we were left with a cliffhanger for Beth but honestly ghys come on don’t act like the show left us with a cliffhanger for Tyreese, Judith, and Carol we all know where they are headed. Llol

  19. I think you just like to bitch.

  20. I felt cheated. I was very disappointed with the finale. Not knowing where Beth is (I do know because of the comics) or Carol, Tyreese and Judith leaving these questions unanswered is not much of a cliffhanger it is just unfinished stories. I love the series. I didn’t hate the finale just felt cheated after all the hype about it. I think the flashbacks would have been fine in one of the episodes just not the finale. Seems to me the writers weren’t sure where to leave off so just filled in space with the flashbacks to use up airtime. We all know what Terminus is, but what I wanted to see is what happened when the first group arrived, Glenn, Maggie and crew, and under what circumstances they ended up in the train car. Cliffhangers should be exciting, this was not. It was just an episode at the end of the season, not finale material at all. IMHO. Will I still watch the show? of course. Just disappointed is all.

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