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

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?


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.


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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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=595346267 Ricky Vargas

    I thought it was a great finale for this season. That being said, I have been reading the comics for 3-4 years now, it’s based on an ongoing comic series for those who didn’t know, and i can see Robert Kirkman, creator of TWD, bringing more of his story-telling style to the TV. That style is one of a continuous story, without happy endings and tidy cleanups. I see each season being more of a story arc, with the first and last couple episodes transitioning to/from another arc. The return of Rick and the gathering of the “core” group (minus Carol) is enough to hold me to next season.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002408674149 Ana Lugo

    I loved it! And I in fact loved this entire season… The show can’t just be about zombies, you guys… There HAS to be character development, or else we won’t care when someone gets killed.

    It’s a really brutal reality, and we need good moments and slow plot developments to balance out all the gore. I loved that they left the end so open-ended. I love that they don’t tie up loose ends with a little bow… ‘cuz in real life one rarely gets that kind of closure. Sometimes you don’t get to know what happened to someone who was kidnapped (ie Beth)… I love the massive cliff-hanger they left us with, and personally I cannot wait for the Fall!!!
    =D Best Show on TV!!
    –I spent the entire episode yelling at the TV, “Where’s BETH!!!” and I loved it! No other TV show can elicit such emotional reactions from me…. That’s called good writing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1012757847 Christie Johnson

      I could not agree with you more, nor could I have said it any better. This season was amazing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001542993354 Claudia Ulery

      Ya what happen to Beth, also what happen to Carol and that black dude shes with and Lilth. I can’t wait until fall. Good show this season just wish it was on longer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1435426590 Gabrielle G Plaster

    Amen. What a great season. I’m a chump for some tastes character development. :) I like that Michonne didn’t have a flash back when telling her story. We got to see both her and Carls reaction. I’m just waiting for her and Rick to do it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=602096931 Cat Thomas

      I agree, personally I really didn’t want to see a flashback of her gorgeous little one being eaten by Zombies. I don’t think it was needed as it would have interrupted the emotion of the re-telling and the moment between her and Carl.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1424521756 Andrea Sampedro

    Mmmm, to me, the flashbacks to the prision interrupted the story, they could have showed us that in the begining so we could have seen the character development since then and not untill the last episode.

    And I’m not a big fan of Carl’s philosophical problems (I’m not a big fan of Carl), but I liked to hear what happened to Michonne.

    But I guess it was a good season finale, just because I REALLY want to know what is going to happen next! And where are the others.

    That doesn’t mean I’m happy with the writers. Sometimes I feel like I’m watching the show just because I love some characters (Daryl) and not because of a great story (and a great show has both characters and story).

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1424521756 Andrea Sampedro

      And I miss Carol :(

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=586731879 Sonya Maree Wolf

        I agree with the sentiment here. The flashbacks made no sense where they were shoved in and the “character development” they showcased was unnecessary.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1392309421 Darla Steele Ferguson

      I feel the same way you said you feel in your last paragraph. Also, I think the flashbacks were used in order to waste as much time as possible. Like you said, they just served to interrupt the story. They made no sense, where they were inserted into the show. It was random. I think this could be due to the fact that the writers didn’t know how to fill the time for this episode. This entire season has been different. It seems like way too much drama now; not enough substance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=503046023 Rachel Holmberg

    It was a perfect season finale. Since when did character development become a bad thing? I think they built each and every person up because next season is going to be a blood bath. I appreciate that they built the characters up and didnt destroy them all in the last 43 minutes. Like on HIMYM, they built up that wedding and character development all to destroy it in the first 10 minutes.
    Walking Dead, even when its focused purely on the characters, still has this amazingsense of dread and suspense. Its the best Drama on tv right now, hands down.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=573365665 Alice Crackers Cracknell

      AGREED ! i will be crying when/ if they kill off certain characters all because of their stories

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1750307380 Lin Stanley

      Agreed we need stories to make us care. Remember the story line with darryl and beth. Then she goes missing. Remember the stories of the girls. Then look what happened. We need stories to care. So we can cry and scream when they die.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001542993354 Claudia Ulery

        I agree, that what makes the show too!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=606497655 Tina Alley

      There was character development the whole season. We didn’t need it in the finale. To me finale’s should be exciting with cliffhangers to make want you to watch the next season. I couldn’t care any less who taught Rick to farm, Since Hershel was a farmer I already figured it was he to showed Rick the ropes. Shoving it down my throat with the flashbacks pissed me off more than anything and insulted my intelligence I don’t need to be hand fed what we should already know. I felt there was no cliffhanger, just a hint at what is next was about but not a major cliffhanger and too many loose ends that should have been answered. Love the show, just felt this was an episode and not a finale at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1400167076 Heidi Mitchell

    It was enjoyable and disappointing together. Think about it, were you all like myself; finding myself so irritated with the monotony of the plot that I didn’t want to watch anymore..but then no! I HAD to watch no matter what. I am so invested in trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel for this group that I’ll keep watching. I love this show even if it bores me, I gotta know how it will end and what’s to come, I know you all feel it too.

    • Gina Vaynshteyn

      Totally, Heidi. I’m a WD fangirl through and through, but the finale was just kind of lackluster. I’m still excited for next season! ~gv

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1051170034 Hannah Hocking

    I feel like the flashback scene where Rick gives Beth the sheriffs hat is foreshadowing that Beth will come to their aid next season. Beth is much stronger than many give her credit for, and I hope next season we get to see that side of her.
    I’ve loved this season’s character development, if it was all slaying zombies constantly we wouldn’t care as much about the group. I’m glad the old Rick is back, he was rather infuriating for a while, as was Carl. I love how Michonne has opened up, she is such an amazing character in many ways!
    I thought the finale was pretty good, though of course I wish we could have seen where Carol, Tyreese and Judith are, even if just for a minute. And I am wondering if Glenn and Maggie’s group had done something to provoke the Termites to herd them into the train car the way Rick had? The bloody human ribcage we see as the snipers were herding Rick’s group to the train car really has me excited and nervous for next season.
    October is way too far away!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=573365665 Alice Crackers Cracknell

    I thought it was great with character development and moved me more because of this tbh i don’t think they could do too much wrong for me – just don’t kill off daryl 😛

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=540147992 Jenny Iverson

    I agree with the comments what’s wrong with character development? It’s what makes you FEEL for the characters and makes you think, without any attachment to the characters you wouldn’t be sitting on the edge of your seat crossing your fingers that one of your favorites won’t be the next to die. I think like the WD crew, viewers at home are getting too used/desensitized to the “new way of life” and zombie kills, or “shockers”. There have been many What the?!!! Crazy moments this season, I don’t think it was lackluster at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1522042106 Brett Grossmann

    why are all the comments from chicks? Character development is what the story is about. It is not a story about zombies. Anybody that wants that should stop watching. THis season had the best pacing yet. Look forward to 5.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000182461245 Peter Gokey

    I was thrilled to see Herschel again, loved the character development, loved the cliffhanger it set up for next year, and felt there was plenty of suspense and horror. I’m actually not sure we saw the same episode. I loved it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9341350 Mallory Dee

    This is a show about characters NOT about random action. If that’s what people are looking for then they should just watch whatever Hollywood decides to “reboot”. This show is amazing, they have a varied and complicated set of characters that are constantly evolving with their environment. I can’t wait for next season(I really hope Beth is not on that grill).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=506264502 Alicia Gringhuis

    Did anyone else notice the baby formula all over the ground by the train car?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001542993354 Claudia Ulery

      Yes I notice the baby formula all over the ground by the train car!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1813946834 Wanda R Scott

        That was not baby formula. It was powdered milk. It is often used to fatten animals for slaughter.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1430163296 Jeff Rupp

      it was powered milk, not baby formula.. powdered milk can be used to fatten up animals for slaughter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001542993354 Claudia Ulery

    I agree Michonne and Rick together would make a good couple!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004045135218 Kellie Elmore

    The Walking Dead is NOT a show about zombies. It’s sophisticated…and definitely has more brains (pun intended) than your silly zombie flicks.


    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1313321618 Angel Rodrigues

      That’s what people forget and get all upset about. They are missing the point.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=586731879 Sonya Maree Wolf

        Have you asked if that’s what people are upset about or are you assuming?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1624652351 Paula Gillespie Guerrero

      Totally agree. It’s far more than a cheap zombie horror flick. So annoyed with people who complain about that.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=568818737 Jan Chilton

      I agree. The zombie stuff is gross enough and should just be used sparingly for shock value. I don’t want to sit for an hour and see almost nothing except blood and gore. I love the characters and character development more than anything.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=562536268 Steve Talkowski

    People forget this is EPISODIC TV. By it’s very nature, you build up to a cliffhanger. Plus – and this is key – the actual comic itself hasn’t ended, so the story continues. I thought this was a pretty strong finale, with all that character development over the 2nd half of the season paying off in dividends.

    We all knew that everything was leading up to them arriving at Terminus, and now we get a new venue and start of another chapter next season. What more do you want?

    Again, it’s EPISODIC TV. Deal with it and enjoy the fact that we’re gonna get to watch this series play out for many more years to come.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000635373813 Boone Shelton

      The comic definitely has not ended. Volume 21: All Out War – Part Two will be released probably around the end of this month.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=720204555 Rodrigo MG

    in 6 words, I can describe TWD “The best serie of all time”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=521558667 Dexter Ball

    I couldn’t have said it better. That is exactly how I felt about the season and the finale.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1237209751 Doug Miller

    Love the show and I thought this season the best so far.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=631681854 Karen McClintock

    Loved the season finale and loved the character development this season. Keep it up TWD, because this show is and should be more about the survivors than the animated corpses. Thanks for a wonderful show!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001634104559 Uhm Yeah

      TOTALLY agree with you. For me, regardless of gore, it’s all about the people so frankly, I found the back 8 to be pretty action-packed. There is source material for the series so many of us literally knew what Terminus was going to be. The front 8 of Season 5 is going to be heart-breaking. I don’t imagine they’ll all get out alive.

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