Gina Vaynshteyn
April 01, 2014 7:00 am

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.

Meanwhile, every fifteen minutes, we were given a meaningful flashback to the prison days that paralleled Rick’s transformation to his current character status. It was such a spoon-fed and ridiculous waste of time, I considered getting up and making myself a bowl of popcorn while Rick, Hershel, Carl, and Beth hung out and laughed about getting Carl a new farming hat. Don’t get me wrong –I get why these flashbacks exist. They’re to show how much everyone has changed, and it was nice to hear Hershel’s calm Southern drawl again. But did we really need all of that?

The finale failed to inform us about Beth’s whereabouts. Daryl told Rick that she was “just gone.” More like kidnapped, but hey. Carol, Tyreese, and Baby Judith are probably on the road, still. I wouldn’t have minded at least one good thing to come out of the season finale: a reunion between Rick, Carl, and their happy and living bundle of Judith. Although, do we really want Judith around possible cannibals?

All in all, it wasn’t the worst finale I’ve seen. In fact, it was alright. We almost got what we wanted, and maybe that’s a sign of an adequate finale. Rick finally has his groove back, Carl confronts his demons, and everyone figures out that it’s truly a dog-eat-dog world. Or maybe a zombie-eat-human-eat-human world is more accurate. We’ll find out in six months, right?

What did you guys think of the season four finale of The Walking Dead?

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