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The Walking Dead “A” Review (4×16)

31 Mar

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“They’re screwing with the wrong people.”

With that line (which admittedly, fell flat), another season of The Walking Dead has come to a close. This was certainly the most structurally ambitious season yet, and Scott Gimple’s first year as showrunner was dedicated to character development, to shading in relationships and interactions that were sorely lacking beforehand. The finale is no different, and although it’s deeply flawed, it’s fairly effective as a transition into season 5.

The most prominent aspect of the episode is the transformation of Rick Grimes; his arc certainly hasn’t been handled with the utmost elegance this season, but it’s nice to see him finally embrace a different side of him, to dispense with the farmer BS and the identity struggles. Like he says in the episode, that other side of him is the only reason he and Carl are still alive; when he’s placed into an impossible situation–in this case, Joe and the Claimers confronting him, Michonne, and Carl in the woods–he finally snaps. Just as a walker would, he rips out a chunk of Joe’s neck, killing the guy before he moves on to the stabbing of the next person. It’s an intense, unsettling sequence, all in all.

We also get some nice character work with Michonne, whose relationship with Carl has grown into one of the most endearing of the show. CARL. Wow, the writers did something right this season, eh? Anyway, we learn that her “pet” zombies were in fact those close to her, a revelation that conveys the fact that although this world forces people to adapt and mature, what happens in the past will always stick with them, sometimes molding them into better human beings. It also conveys an idea of entrapment, the idea that our past can haunt us.

The rest of the episode is devoted to the introduction of Terminus, and much like last year’s finale, this one serves mainly as a transition. We get a few hints here and there–bones in a pit, a lack of Beth, Hershel/Glenn’s watch–but all we know for sure is that the folks here want everyone alive. There’s something off about this group of people, and Rick and co. are in for a hell of a fight.

GRADE: B

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Michelle MacLaren directed this episode. She’s one of the best in the business, and I especially like her overhead shots at Terminus and her shots of the people emerging at the end

-Speaking of, it’s interesting that the rest of the group doesn’t really get much focus in this finale. It’s all about Carl, Rick, and Michonne, and I can get behind that; you don’t want too jumbled of an episode. Then again, I do wish we could’ve seen more.

-Bye, Beth. Are you eaten?

-What the hell? Apparently, you can show a guy biting into someone’s neck and someone getting his eye ripped out, but you can’t use the word “fuck”. Instead, we get “screw” at the end. OH, WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!

-Hannibal Lecter would make the Terminus residents look like a bunch of idiots.

-Predictions for next season? More Michael Cudlitz, please. He blows everyone in this cast out of the water. Go watch Southland, everyone.

Photo credit: AMC, The Walking Dead

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