The Season 4 finale of ‘The Walking Dead’ was as filled with as much gore, heartbreak, and overconfident Rick as you’d expect — and it was amazing.
The Season 4 finale of The Walking Dead resolved a number of questions viewers have had for a while, such as, what was up with Michonne’s pet Walkers, anyway? Has Daryl gone over to the dark side? Is Terminus all that it’s cracked up to be? And finally, will Team Prison ever reunite? The March 30 finale was packed with a fair bit of resolution, an insane amount of gore, and left us hanging with several more questions to tide us over until the Season 5 premiere in October. Read on for our full recap!
‘The Walking Dead’ Finale Recap — Carl: ‘Who Are We?’
The March 30 finale, “A,” opens at the prison in a flashback which sees Hershel (Scott Wilson) alive. Rude, show. Rude.
Present. Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira), and Carl (Chandler Riggs) walk through the forest on their way to Terminus. “When we get there, are we gonna tell ’em?” Carl asks. “Tell them what?” Michonne asks. “Everything that’s happened to us. All the stuff we’ve done. Are we gonna tell them the truth?” “We’re gonna tell them who we are,” Rick answers. Carl persists, asking, “but how do you say that? Who are we?” Just then, a Walker comes out of the bush and Carl’s question is answered: they’re Walker-killers. And regular killers. That’s who everybody is, now.
As Rick teaches Carl how to tie a slipknot, they hear cries for help. Carl, our youngest Walking Dead character with a death wish, takes off into a clearing to help out a man surrounded by Walkers. About to shoot, Carl is dragged away by Rick who tells him that they can’t help him. They watch the man get eaten alive.
Flashback to the prison, to happier, more alive times. Rick is getting ready for the day and Hershel tells him he’s not going to need his gun holster. Oh, Hershel. The prison flashbacks are a sharp contrast from the present timeline, and it hurts.
Present. It’s nighttime. Carl and Michonne are suddenly ambushed during a quiet conversation by Joe (Jeff Kober) and his merry band of murderers. “You screwed up, a**hole,” Joe tells Rick while pointing his gun at Rick’s temple. Well, yep, Rick is probably reconsidering a lot of things right now.
‘The Walking Dead’ Finale Recap — Rick Rips Out Joe’s Throat With His Teeth; Carl Almost Gets Raped
“Today’s the day of reckoning, sir. Restitution. A balancing of the whole damn universe,” Joe announces to the group at large. For a guy who’s really into murder, he’s also super into karma. Carl is watching from the truck, silent, horrified. All of a sudden, Daryl (Norman Reedus) appears. Daryl tries to tell Joe that Carl and Michonne are good people, but Joe is not a listening kind of guy. Joe’s men start to beat the crap out of Daryl, somebody pulls Carl from the truck with a knife to his neck, and Joe tells Carl “first, we’re gonna beat Daryl to death. Then we’ll have the girl. Then the boy.” Surely that can’t mean what we think it means.
Rick manages to get the upper hand on Joe, they tussle for a while, and just when it looks like Joe is going to take Rick down, Rick rips out Joe’s throat with his teeth. Looks like Rick has been taking lessons from the Walkers! Super horrifying lessons! Couldn’t be more glad about this turn of events because one of Joe’s men was about to rape Carl. Yep, we just typed those words. Someone was about to rape 14-year-old Carl. This finale is going super well so far!
In their surprise, Michonne and Daryl manage to overtake their captors as well, and Rick guts Carl’s attacker like a fish as Carl looks on with dead, dead eyes.
‘The Walking Dead’ Finale Recap — Michonne Reveals The Identity Of Her Original Pet Walkers
Flashback. Prison. Hershel is telling Rick that it’s time they start planting, bringing in and domesticating feral pigs and horses, and it’s all quite sad. The dichotomy between the Farmer Rick we’re seeing in the flashbacks and the Throat-Ripping Rick in the present is pretty heartbreaking. “He needs his father to show him the way. What way are you going to show him? What’s his life going to be? What’s yours?” Hershel asks Rick.
Present. Rick is leaning against the truck, bloodied, staring off into the middle distance. Daryl tries to explain, to tell Rick that he didn’t know who Joe and his men were. We can’t tell you how glad we are that Daryl is back on the side of the light.
Daryl appears to be a bit overcome with guilt, but Rick tells him that it wasn’t his fault, and that Daryl is his brother. Daryl looks at Rick with such open surprise and gratitude, in his own Daryl way, that it made us equal parts happy and sad. Daryl tries to tell Rick that what he did “back there” wasn’t him, but Rick is like, no, it definitely is.This is what his life is.
Michonne and Carl walk through the woods and she reveals the identity of the original pet Walkers that she used to drag around with her. Turns out, they were her boyfriend and his friend — it was their fault that her son Andre died, and Michonne is only slightly more intense than Rick when it comes to protecting her kin. She explains that she had them with her as her own sort of punishment, as a reminder.
Michonne tries to tell Carl not to be afraid of her, or of Rick, but she’s got it wrong: Carl is not afraid of Rick. He’s afraid of himself, of disappointing his father, because he’s a “monster,” too.
‘The Walking Dead’ Finale Recap — Team Rick Find Terminus
Instead of opting for the front entrance, Team Rick break into a warehouse at Terminus and Gareth (Andrew J. West) introduces himself, asking them to lay down their weapons. They side-eye each other for a million years before doing so. Letting go is hard to do. Everybody in this warehouse looks like they work at a Starbucks in Portland. Gareth is pretty cute — too bad he is almost definitely evil. We can feel it in the air.
The gang meet Mary (Denise Crosby), and Rick, Michonne, and Daryl are looking mighty suspicious of their surroundings. Eagle-eyed viewers will note that there were Terminus citizens wearing Maggie’s (Lauren Cohan‘s) poncho, Glenn’s (Steven Yeun‘s) armor, and when Rick spots Hershel’s pocket watch, he pulls out his gun and holds it to the guy’s head, demanding that he tell Rick where he got it.
In the prison flashback, a boy Carl’s age is playing a childish, lighthearted game. Carl is assembling a gun. Oh, Carl.
Back to the tense present, there’s a shoot-out after Gareth tries — and fails — to convince Team Rick that they came by their swag honestly. Team Rick begin to run like hell throughout the compound, and the camera pans past a pile of bones. OK, these guys are definitely cannibals, right? There were cannibals in the comics and in the video games, and now in the TV show. Cannibals. Our heroes are being corralled by the assault rifle-toting men on various rooftops.
They enter a room filled with more candles than a Catholic church, with “never again,” “never trust,” and tellingly, “we first, always,” written on the walls. Maybe they light a candle for every person they eat? Who knows! They try to leave by one entrance, but are corralled once more by their pursuers to another one.
‘The Walking Dead’ Finale Recap — Team Prison Reunite
Out in the open again, Team Rick are totally surrounded. Gareth commands Rick to get into the nearby train car marked “A”; if he doesn’t, Carl will die. Daryl is also urged toward the car. Michonne next. Carl goes last, and then they’re all in a dark train car together.
And then Glenn comes out of the darkness! Sweet, sweet Glenn. Maggie, Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Sgt. Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Rosita (Christian Serratos) are all there — even Tara (Alanna Masterson), whom a lot of fans thought was not long for this world after entering what looks to be cannibal country as a lame horse.
Maggie assures Team Rick that Rosita, Tara, Eugene and Sgt. Abraham are friends of theirs. “Now they’re friends of ours,” Daryl replies. Rick, kind of hilariously, says, “they’re gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out.” “Find out what?” “They’re screwing with the wrong people.” Episode over. Whoa — that’s it? Also, Rick, super sorry, but y’all are trapped in a darkened train car with no weapons. Not everybody has the stomach to rip a throat out with their teeth.
A couple of questions:
-Why is Rick so confident?
-What are Carol and Tyreese up to? Would love to see Carol barreling in like a warrior and saving all of their hides.
-In what way exactly will Carl finally go off the deep end?
What did you think of the Season 4 finale, HollywoodLifers? Were you satisfied? Can we please talk about how insane Rick was to say “they’re screwing with the wrong people?” And how horrifying was it that Carl almost got raped? (Or was he actually raped?!) Geez. That kid is not going to be OK. Vote and sound off below with your thoughts on this tense finale, and check out why I think this was the perfect end to Season 4 and tell me if you agree (or disagree)!
— Amanda Michelle Steiner