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Walking Dead Finale Ends Without a Bang… And That’s Totally Fine With Me

Terminus

Last night was of course the Season 4 finale of The Walking Dead, the show that horror fans either love to love or, for whatever reason, love to hate. As I’ve mentioned in the past here on Halloween Love, I belong in the former category, and you’ll very rarely find me complaining about or hating on the show.

And last night’s polarizing finale is certainly no exception.

Despite claims from the haters that “nothing happened!,” Season 4’s finale was actually packed with a handful of reveals, can’t breathe moments and character revelations, capped off with the long-awaited reunion of the surviving members of the Governor’s attack on the prison.

The episode was kicked off with a flashback to the happier times at the prison, juxtaposed with a flash forward of a blood-covered Rick looking shaken, not stirred – which was a perfect summation of the entire episode as a whole. More than anything, the episode was about Rick fully embracing the animalistic side that he’s been trying to keep at bay for so long, and boy did he ever embrace it…

In one of the show’s most intense sequences to date, Rick, Michonne and Carl were attacked early on in the episode by Joe and his gang members, with Joe holding a gun to Rick’s head and telling him he’s going to make Rick watch Daryl, Michonne and Carl be murdered, before pulling the trigger. As we learned last week, the man that Rick strangled in the bathroom a few episodes back was a member of Joe’s group, and Joe doesn’t intend on letting it slide.

Tossing his inner Hershel aside and embracing his inner Shane, Rick went ape shit on Joe, heroically saving the day by sinking his teeth into his neck and doing his best imitation of a zombie. Gaining the upper hand, Michonne and Daryl were able to dispatch the rest of the gang, and Rick continued his savage attack by gutting the last remaining survivor, who was just about to rape Carl.

Yea. They went there.

After arriving at Terminus, Rick, Michonne, Carl and Daryl quickly realized that it wasn’t exactly a safe haven, as several of the people there were wearing clothing and trinkets that they recognized as belonging to their friends. A standoff quickly ensued, with the four of them being forced into a train car at the end of the episode, and reunited with Maggie, Glenn, Sasha, Bob and all of their new friends. “They’re gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out they’re screwing with the wrong people,” Rick exclaimed before the credits rolled, setting up for a fifth season that’s sure to be full of brutal savagery and badass Rick moments.

Was the finale a disappointing one? As compared to past season and mid-season finales, where major characters died and big things were revealed, I supposed I can see where you’re coming from, if you feel that it indeed was. But what the finale lacked in a big bang or an emotional punch to the gut it certainly made up for in progression of the story, and of the characters. If you’re asking me, that was the perfect way for the finale to go down, considering Season 4 was very much a character-heavy one.

From the beheading of Hershel to the murders of Mika and Lizzie, Season 4 was already jam packed with devastation and heartbreak, and so I find little reason to be disappointed that the finale ended on a bit of a happier note – if you can call it that. One of my favorite things about the show is that absolutely anything can happen to any of the characters, at any time, and I think it’s smart that those major shocks were spread throughout the season, rather than all being saved for the finale.

A season finale need not be shocking to be satisfying, and I’d have a hard time calling last night’s anything but satisfying. Not only has Rick transformed into the badass leader he was always meant to be but all of our favorite characters were finally reunited and readied to once again enter battle together, and I call that a pretty damn satisfying way of ending one season and heading into the next. If the job of a season finale is to make you excited about the next season, which it most definitely is, then The Walking Dead did everything it was supposed to do, last night.

Terminus

Oh and as for Terminus, which many fans were bummed to see that they didn’t quite reveal the secrets of… well, if you had been paying close attention, you’d realize that those secrets actually were revealed. As Rick, Carl, Michonne and Daryl were on the run from sniper fire, they ran past an area in Terminus surrounded by a cage, and littered with blood-covered skulls and bones (above). As most of us suspected, this all but confirms that Terminus is infested with cannibals, and I can only imagine that the train car Rick and the gang found themselves in is a sort of holding cell, where humans are kept before being consumed.

What happened to Beth? And where are Carol, Tyreese and Judith? Well, those questions will remain unanswered until next season, the first half of which will presumably take part inside the terrifying confines of Terminus. As show-runner Scott Gimple said on Talking Dead last night, the show will totally reinvent itself next season, as it does every eight episodes, and I for one am more excited about the return than I think I’ve ever been in the past.

Is it October yet?!

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If you don't get enough of me here on Halloween Love, you can also find me on Dread Central, iHorror and Shock Till You Drop. Contact me via john@halloweenlove.com.