Season 4, Episode 16: “A” | Original air date: March 30, 2014
“The Walking Dead” final was the best episode of a weak fourth season. It was stronger in action and drama than the most of the previous 15 episodes. It didn’t make up for the dull, draining and repetitive march to get to this point, but it’s was a rare sign of life in this series about the zombie apocalypse.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) are surrounded by the gang of rednecks Daryl (Norman Reedus) has been hanging with since Beth (Emily Kinney) was kidnapped … or ran off … or whatever. Rick killed one of the rednecks’ guys while he and his gang were napping at a house early in the second half of the season.
The rednecks decide to go “Deliverance” on Carl and kill everybody else, including Daryl, who stuck up for his pals. Rick kills the lead redneck by biting him in the neck zombie-style. This weirds out Carl. Later Michonne confesses to having done gross things to her stoner friends who let her son get killed. Everybody is a monster these days. It’s a lot of exposition and not particularly revealing given what we’ve already seen on screen.
With Daryl in tow, the group arrive at Terminus. In the words of Admiral Ackbar, “It’s a trap!” Rick spies Glenn’s (Steven Yeun) pocketwatch, a gift from the beheaded Hershel (Scott Wilson), on one of the seemingly friendly types at Terminus, as well as riot gear and a panco that belonged to members of his survivors. They try to shoot their way out, but are led into a trap. They’re locked into a train care with Glenn, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and most of the rest of the gang.
Rick ends the season with an attempt at a tough guy line: “They’re gonna feel pretty stupid when they found out … they’re messin’ with the wrong people.”
Carol (Melissa McBride) and Tyreese (Chad Coleman), fresh from killing all the children in their care except baby Judith, Rick’s daughter, haven’t showed up at Terminus yet. And then, of course, there’s poor Beth, who disappeared in a car several episodes ago. Perhaps a big team up leads to another shootout with the people of Terminus.
This has not been a very good season of “The Walking Dead.” But this was a good episode and it was enough to sell me on watching the season premier next fall. So at a very basic level, the series did its job. But when it comes to level of entertainment, the series has seen a sharp decline. It will take more than catch phrases and a good cliffhanger to keep me watching.
Then again, maybe it doesn’t. The ratings are the best they’ve ever been and despite my displeasure, I watched every damned episode. Maybe it’s the show that can do no wrong and sets out to prove it.