The Walking Dead season finale recap: Wait 'Til They Get a Load of Rick Grimes

Rick, Carl, and Michonne reach Terminus, encountering faces new and old. The result is bloody.
Ep. 16 | Aired Mar 30, 2014

WHO AM I? | "Can I conceal myself for evermore?/ Pretend that I'm not the man I was before?" Lyrics to a song from Les Miserables may not seem like the most apropos reference for Rick Grimes, but in this case it fits. All season long, Rick has struggled with his identity. Riddled with guilt over his violent tendencies and then riddled with more guilt over his failure to survive as Farmer Rick, Rick Grimes has struggled to come to terms with his inner monster. After the confrontation with Joe and his gang, he now knows exactly who he is. "Who am I?/ Who am I?/ I am Jean Valjean Rick Grimes!"

Gene Page/AMC

Back in the past, Beth takes care of Judith, Patrick plays with Legos (No one at any age should ever be ashamed of playing with Legos), and Carl cleans his gun. I miss crazy kid-killing Carl. He reminded me of a young Todd from Breaking Bad — sociopathic but interesting. Rick recruits his son to join him at the burgeoning farm grounds — there, he won’t need his gun, for "it will only get in the way."

In the present, Carl definitely needs his gun. In a standoff with the well-armed Terminus residents, Rick holds Alex hostage, wanting to know how he got the watch. Alex, nervous, tells a nearby sniper to stand down and states he found it off of someone dead. Gareth reappears with more plausible (false) explanations for having the riot gear and poncho.

He asks Rick what he wants. But when he doesn’t immediately get a straight answer, Gareth signals to the sniper, who expertly shoots Alex in the head. The remaining Terminus residents scatter and hide as Rick, Michonne, Daryl, and Carl attempt to escape. More snipers fire at them and miss — on purpose. They corral the group to follow the “A” route as other Terminus residents block off any other exits outside of “A.” Like an absurdist game of Mouse Trap, the “A” route includes a warehouse garage, a courtyard that has already seen heavy gunfire (from a real gunfight or another corral?), a pile of human bones and torn plastic tarps, cries for help emanating from freight containers, and a room filled with candles, mementos, names written on the floor, and the phrases “NEVER AGAIN,” “NEVER TRUST,” and “WE, FIRST, ALWAYS” emblazoned on the walls. The route eventually leads them to another freight container/train car, labelled “A.” Finding themselves surrounded by armed Terminus residents, the group reluctantly yields and drops their weapons. 

Gareth orders Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and Carl — well, technically, Ringleader, Archer, Samurai, and Kid — into the compartment. Inside, they’re greeted by some familiar faces — it’s Glenn, Maggie, Sasha, and Bob along with Tara, Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene. Most of the gang is back together!

Cornered and imprisoned, Rick is at his most optimistic. Flashing back to the good times of starting the farm land at the Prison, Rick focuses not on what he's lost but what he's gained — his family. Enthused, Rick asserts, “They’re gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out.” “Find out what?” Abraham retorts.

Ringleader responds, “They’re screwin’ with the wrong people.” Gareth and the people of Terminus better watch out. Wait 'til they get a load of Rick Grimes and his family — not even cannibals can defeat/eat them all. With the close of season 4, it is on like Donkey Kong.

Walker of the week: Walkers were not the forefront of this season finale, which was more focused on the horrors of humans as opposed to the horrors of zombies. Nevertheless, the Walker horde surrounding the ill-fated bespectacled man is simultaneously frightening and frustrating. What makes such a situation even worse is the anger I would have towards myself for allowing that to happen, in addition to the fear of certain death.

Questions to consider:

Now that we've been introduced to Terminus and met Gareth, what is Terminus' history? How was it formed and maintained? What are the rules of Terminus?

Who is Gareth? Why is a young man the leader? Who is Mary? Is she related in any way to Gareth?

What's up with the creepy candle room with names inscribed on the floor? Do the names signify lost members, meals, or both?

Rick may be ready to Rick-Roll Terminus into oblivion, but how can he pull it off?

How will the new group work together? How will Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and Carl gel with Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene? Oh yeah, and Tara.

Are Gareth and the Terminus gang responsible for taking Beth? Have they eaten her? Was she taken as part of an entirely separate storyline to be explored next season? Or will it not be explored at all? Is she “just gone?!”

Where are Carol, Tyreese, and Judith? I still have a feeling the smoke they saw was not from Daryl and Beth's cabin, but from Terminus itself. Perhaps by the time they reach Terminus, it will be in flames. Or is that merely wishful thinking?

What do you want to happen in season 5? Will the conflict at Terminus last the entire season? Will season 5 include a journey to Washington, D.C.?

And how will you survive the wait? (For me, Game of Thrones couldn't have started on a better Sunday.)

Good luck this summer, Walking Dead Heads! May many a marathon tide you over until season 5's feasting.

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