‘Walking Dead’ Season Finale: The Unhappiest Ending of All

'Walking Dead' Season Finale: The Unhappiest Ending of All

Let's start by stating the obvious

(Spoiler alert: Don't read this if you haven't seen Sunday's “Walking Dead” Season 4 finale.)

First things first: These Terminus people are cannibals, right?

I was sure of it last week because of the woman grilling meat. And I'm even more sure after the shots Sunday of the Terminus sharpshooters bullet-herding Rick and friends to the rail car, past butchered human cadavers. This was the most legitimately scary “Walking Dead” in quite a while. (Also: Horribly icky Holocaust overtones with the rail car.)

Also read: ‘Walking Dead’ Season 4 Death Toll: 34 and Counting (Photos)

This season, “The Walking Dead” stopped gently hinting at the notion that the living are becoming just as zombie-like as the dead, and started stabbing it into our heads. First we had Lizzie noting that the only difference between humans and zombies, really, is that zombies are humans unlucky enough to die. This episode, Rick bit another man's jugular — and I'm sure everyone in the audience was on his side.

And now we see that some people are perfectly willing to eat other people.

Where again is the line between us and them?

Also read: ‘Walking Dead’ Shocker: Did They Have to Do That?

This was the most uneven season of TV's top-rated drama. I noted midway through that the “Walking Dead” is in “Lost” mode — a ragtag group of survivors wander around getting separated and reunited, and sometimes it feels like the writers are stalling as they try to decide where to go next.

But this was a good season finale. It sadly and successfully compared the optimism of the prison era to the desperation of Terminus. (One sign you're watching a grim show: The happiest moments occur in a prison.) But more importantly, it was truly scary.

Also read: ‘Walking Dead’ Is in ‘Lost’ Mode

What made the cannibals so frightening was their apparent decency, even kindness. They were as gentle with Rick, Carl, Michonne and Daryl as stockyard workers might be with the cows. No need to spook the cattle: Things here only go in one direction.

Gareth (a wonderfully nonthreatening name for a maneater) seemed more like a dot com CEO than a sociopath: He was effortlessly cool on the surface, and what lurked beneath seemed less like malice than condescension.

We get the sense from their calm and efficiency that Team Terminus is untroubled by its actions: They have a process, they believe in their process, and the only stress is in making it work better. They don't have moral dilemmas, they have engineering dilemmas.

That's pure evil. Evil so evil it doesn't even consider morality any more.

The question for Season 5 isn't whether the Terminus gang “screwed with the wrong people.” It's whether there are any of the right people left.

  • Dead2281

    I love the show but thought that after the mid-season finale that it got just a little lost ( although still better then pretty much anything else on tv) but the finale brought me right back in 110 %. Now just have to wait 7 months for more.

    • Jarich1972

      7 months… Let is soak in… Depressing.

  • Kimtche

    That's funny I keep hearing people complain about this season but it's been my favorite since the first. Each episode this season has been about learning about the characters. It's been meaningful and poignant. It's made my heart race, made me gasp and even made me cry. Before this season, I thought it was just good entertainment and fun. This season, I'd say it's good drama. So did I like the ending? Heck yeah!

    • Sithboy

      Some people are just never satisfied, it was a great season !

    • Blaine Hamamura

      Agree! It's because those people aren't true Walking Dead fans!

    • Jonas Grumby

      Same, same and same again.

    • Joy Sallegue

      I think it was the best season among all four. While it's still centered on Rick, the other characters were also developed and put on the spotlight so yes, it became more meaningful. And that ending? Cliffhanger! I don't know what I'd do for the next 7 months.

  • Matthew

    This episode was truly frightening because I expected to see Glenn and Maggie's corpses sun drying ready to be turned into jerky.

  • Cyclops

    Now I understand why Rick knocked Carl's food down! Totally missed the human meat thing; I'm going to have to rewatch this episode.

  • Cyclops

    Just one item: Did anyone else question the radio operator thing? Where was the power coming from?

    • Schatten

      they have a generator at the prison, I would assume there is one over there.

      • Cyclops

        Okay… But who, besides the military, has working radios?

        • utazdevl

          Anyone with a car or a battery supply.

          • crys

            They picked up this message earlier in the season, when they were headed to get me d's from the vet school.

  • Jonas Grumby

    I do wish there was a bit more for the finale. I am also not sure it was necessary to give us flashbacks to juxtapose. And I absolutely did NOT like Rick last's line. Trite like a common, and bad, action movie.

    However, these are picking nits of one of the truly great shows. And absent the flashbacks, this episode was truly fantastic.

    And, yeah … cannibals. My wife and I yelled that out at the same time when we saw the meat grilling.

    • TheDave1022

      Rick's last line came straight from the comics, but cleaned up to be shown on TV

  • utazdevl

    I definitely enjoyed the season overall, but feel it was undercut a bit by heavy handed writing. A couple weeks back, I felt like the emotional toll of Carol killing Lizzie was lacking because Lizzie was painted as such a massive crazy that Carol's character really had no choice but to put her down. With last night's finale, I felt like Joe's Claimer gang were made out to be so brutal (They even spelled out their evil intentions to beat Daryl to death, then rape Michonne and Carl, then kill Rick) that Rick's actions came across as less monsterous (though still viscerally bothersome) and more justified. I never felt Rick was anything other than a parent doing whatever it took to protect his child from evil people who deserved whatever they got. It was unambiguious and lacked subtlety.

    Can't help but think the scene would have been more powerful if the threat had been less extreme and we could have seen Rick as a bit more of the monster he feared he was revealing himself as.

  • Michael Wagschal

    The train car not the only holocaust reference. “never again” used by Holocaust museums and memorials as a mantra.

  • Bob61

    Don't bother with what Molloy says,he reads the Cliff Notes versions of the episodes then parrots what someone else wrote.
    He claims that Eugene has said that he “knows how to stop the zombie apocalypse.”
    All he said is that he knows how it started.
    Molloy is a hack.

    • lisa z

      I'm pretty sure they said he knows how to stop it somewhere along the line? Not positive, but pretty sure?

  • Upstatestruggler

    I swear there was a zoom in on a backpack made of human skin but am too freaked out to rewatch. Around the time they offer up the plate? Cannibals and skin hags!

  • Matt Hamilton

    There was nothing wrong with this season!!! I think they needed to slow down a bit after what happened at the and of last season. Why is everyone getting so upset about this!! Geez, give them a little time to let the group recover and regroup! Now they have something else to deal with, Cannibals!!

  • AaronE

    i have not liked this season at all except for the finale. It was a very slow, had a huge lack of main character dialog, had 2 episodes based on Beth and Daryl and had Rick in basically 2 episodes. Its falling victim to the classic “everyone has a story” issue. We dont need whole episodes based on each person left on the show, we need more content for the main characters and need the show to move more fluidly like it has in the previous seasons. It is also lacking a compassionate and smart character like Hershel and Dale before him. I really hope next season steps it up because i found myself loosing interest for the 1st time and im a die hard Walking Dead Fan