(Walking Dead finale spoilers ahead!) Wow. I hope you weren't eating, like, manicotti tonight, Walking Dead fans. Or maybe anything at all during that one scene early on. Later, I feel it would have been appropriate to savor a slow-cooked rib or two. With a nice Chianti, of course.
If you're caught up on tonight's final episode of the season, let's get to the recappin'.
We start with a flashback to the good old days at the prison, a relatively peaceful time that we sadly revisit throughout tonight's episode. We finally get the full backstory on Rick's focus on farming: Rick was trying to set Carl on a path away from violence, thanks to Hershel's kindly guidance. "It can be like this all the time," Hershel says, as everyone enjoys a lighthearted zombie-free moment in the fields. Well, not really, as it turned out.
*sob* I hope you get spaghetti Tuesdays every day in Heaven, Hershel.
Rick, Michonne, and Carl are on the road when they're set upon by Joe's gang. Things are looking pretty dire when Daryl suddenly shows up, but he doesn't make things much better when he tries to explain to Joe that Rick and Michonne are good people. "You say he’s good people. You know that right there is a lie," Joe says. Oh shit, Daryl done broke the code. Why didn't he just point at Rick and yell, "CLAIMED"?
Joe explains that they're going to beat Daryl to death, rape Michonne, rape Carl, then kill Rick, and then they'll be even. Um, I'm pretty bad at math but didn't Rick just kill the ONE guy from Joe's team? For a guy with a code, Joe's not very fair. While Rick's got the gun to his head, a seriously creepy guy is making some unpleasant moves on Carl, and after a brief exciting scuffle, Joe taunts Rick: "What the hell are you gonna do now, sport?”
He's going to RIP OUT YOUR CAROTID ARTERY WITH HIS BARE TEETH, that's what, sport. And then he's going to stab Creepy VonRaperstein about seven thousand billion times in the torso until the screen fades to black but not before we're treated to a series of wet squelching sounds I'll probably be hearing in my dreams for like a month.
This is a great crossover moment from the comics, and Andrew Lincoln does a bang-up job of looking legitimately shellshocked afterward. Carl is more than a little weirded out too, so much so that he clings to Michonne when their gang scopes out the Terminus perimeter (LOL at Rick's confusing command to both split up AND stick together while doing so. Reminded me of that line from Raising Arizona: "Well, which is it, young feller? You want I should freeze or get down on the ground?"). We learn more about Michonne's horrific background -- about how her son died, and how she came to be dragging around her boyfriend's zombified corpse like an albatross around her neck -- as she tells Carl she'd been "just another monster," but he doesn't need to be afraid of her, or his father. Carl says that his father had recently told him he was a good man. "I’m not what he thinks I am. I’m just another monster too," he says. This is maybe the first time I've ever NOT wanted to punch Carl in the face.
No time to wallow in sympathy, though, the gang has finally arrived at Terminus, having scaled the (unguarded, because this whole place is like Rick's rabbit trap) fence. We meet Gareth, who looks like a Portland barista, and some other folks. Gareth asks Rick's group to lay down their weapons, but then gives them back after a pat-down. Whew, maybe everything's going to be okay after all! Rick & Co are brought to Mary the BBQ cook, but before anyone can take a good hard look at what exactly is on the plate ("The more people become a part of us," says Alex from Terminus, "we get stronger" -- mmm-hmmm), Rick gets suspicious of all the gear he's spotting: a backpack, Glenn's riot gear, a poncho, a watch.
Rick puts a gun to Alex's head, there's a lot of yelling, Gareth announces that he knows he's lost Rick's trust. Shots ring out and Rick's gang goes scrambling on a mad dash around the train station. It seems like Terminus has deployed the worst snipers left on earth, but it turns out they're being herded -- past the area where we get a quick glimpse at a pile of human-looking ribcages and entrails, through a spooky candle-lit room with names written on the ground and "NEVER AGAIN. NEVER TRUST. WE FIRST, ALWAYS" on the walls, and into a common area where they're forced one by one into a dark train car.
Guess who else is in the car, looking raggedy as hell? Glenn, Maggie, Bob, Sasha, Abraham, Rosita, Eugene, and Tara. Yay, but also boo, are they all Terminus chow?
Not if this darkly savage new Rick has anything to say about it. “They’re gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out,” he says.
*Music swells, time passes, everyone leans toward the television and raises their eyebrows*
"They’re screwing with the wrong people."
I think that's a line directly from the comics so I'll reluctantly allow it, but after THAT long of a dramatic pause, I wanted him to say something so deeply and profoundly awesome we'd be slapping it on photos of cats and posting it on Facebook until next October. Oh well.
So! They said it would be a cliffhanger and that's exactly what it was. Lots of questions to ponder, like where are Carol, Tyreese, and the baby? What happened to Beth? Are they in one of the other railcars, where we heard screams for help? (Was Beth on the grill?) Who will eventually get their hands on Rick's buried weapons? What was going on with that random package of dried milk outside Rick's rail car?
Overall, I thought it was a solid finale. Legitimate OMG moment when Rick gnawed Joe open like a condom wrapper, and lots of character development for Rick that will presumably feed into next season's storyline. I'm sorry to leave them all holed up in that fetid train car until October, though. Hopefully someone put a Honey Bucket in there.
What were your reactions to tonight's season finale of The Walking Dead?
Image via AMC