The Walking Dead S4 Ep16 – A

Daryl, Rick, Michonne, and Carl run through a hail of bullets in Terminus.

If you’re looking for a TL;DR, here it is: I was mildly disappointed in the season finale. Check out the analysis below to find out why.


The cold open is more jarring than intriguing; Maggie, Rick, and Glenn return to the Prison, which is still standing, Hershel is still alive, and we’re confused. SURPRISE! It’s a flashback (???), and in real-time, Rick is sitting against a broken down truck in the woods, face bloodied, hands twitching, staring into space.

Earlier in the day, he, Michonne, and Carl had been camping out in the woods, running low on food as they near Terminus. While out checking their game trap (which is totally not a metaphor for Terminus, nope, what are you talking about?), they hear a shout for help, and Carl immediately dashes off to do so, but when they arrive, the guy is already surrounded. Rick holds Carl back as the man is torn to shreds, and then the zombies turn towards them. They make a run for it and are able to escape, taking advantage of an abandoned, but still working truck, along the way.

The Walking Dead - Rick and Michonne are ambushed by Joe's group.That night Michonne and Rick sit by the fire discussing Terminus, while Carl sleeps in the cab of the truck. They are miraculously ambushed by the gang of bandits. The leader Joe puts a gun to Rick’s temple, gloating, until Daryl comes into view and realizes that the man the bandits have been hunting is Rick. He pleads with Joe to let his friends go, claiming that they’re ‘good people,’ and offering himself in Rick’s place like a scruffy redneck sacrificial lamb, even though Joe’s group is likely to kill him.

Joe decides Daryl is lying, and instructs his men to ‘teach him all the way’, while taunting Rick about how they’re going to force him to watch as they torture Michonne and Carl before finally shooting him. One of the goons yanks Carl out of the truck and wrestles with him while Daryl is being beaten. Rick can only watch helplessly as this all goes down, as Joe laughs like he’s having a grand old time, until Rick jerks his head back, setting off Joe’s gun and momentarily stunning himself.

He struggles with Joe, but is too disoriented from the gunshot to even stand, while Michonne tries and fails to subdue the man pointing his gun at her. Daryl is being tossed around like a ragdoll, and Carl is putting up a good fight, but is too small compared to the big, fat, greaseball of a dude trying to get him on his stomach. Joe laughs and wraps Rick in a bear hug. “What the hell you gonna do now, sport?” he says.

Rick takes a page out of the walkers' book and rips his attacker's jugular out with his teeth.

I’m not sure how I feel about this…

Rick surprises everyone by sinking his teeth into Joe’s neck and ripping his jugular out oh my god what the flying flip flop wow. Joe goes down in a glorious spray of arterial blood as everyone stares in shock and awe, and someone is making choking, zombie noises, but no one is sure whether it’s Joe or Rick. Michonne takes advantage of the pause in the action to kill the man standing over her, then taking his gun and shooting one of the guys beating Daryl. Daryl kills the other one.

Rick takes care of the guy who was about to rape Carl, by personally stabbing him at least 30 times as Carl watches in relief… and fear.

In the morning, we find Rick back where we did at the beginning of the episode. Daryl, who is looking and moving spectacularly for someone having been beaten mercilessly by two guys just the night before, sits beside Rick and tells him what happened to him since the Prison: how Beth is ‘just gone’, how he fell in with Joe’s crew, and how Rick ripping out Joe’s throat with his teeth ‘wasn’t really him’. (Um, Daryl? I’m pretty sure it was.) Rick justifies his actions with his desire to keep his son safe, while Carl listens from inside the truck.

Side note: can no one in this entire show just tell it straight? Why tell him Beth is ‘just gone’, instead of saying ‘I saw her get kidnapped’? That’ll make it more confusing when Beth comes back later. (Or maybe I’m just hoping too much…)

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