WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS FROM THE SEASON FINALE AHEAD!!!!
Holy wow mother of god, what an episode! So much to love, and yet I’m torn because there was a little bit to hate as well; more on that in a bit. One thing I have loved about the second half of the season is the way that whole scenes have been ripped straight from the comic book. We’ve gotten story lines borrowed from the book in the past, but shaped into something new like the Governor or Herschel’s farm. We’ve gotten little bits such as Tyreese’s mad battle against a horde of walkers earlier in the second half is season 4, but I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some of my favorite TWD comic moments come to life this season.
First there was the moment when Carl thought Rick had a turned and in a heart breaking scene decided to forfeit his own life rather than end his father’s. In the finale the show delivered the moment that really defined who Rick Grimes is in the comics; a father who would do ANYTHING to save his son, including taking a major artery with his bare teeth. THIS is the Rick I have been waiting to see. That is the Rick who became my favorite comic hero ever. When all hope is lost that is when Rick is at his best, and disappoint he did not in that scene.
I especially loved the way it was handled after. Rick’s talk with Daryl was excellent, capped off with the emotional words about Daryl being mixed up with those guys as nothing, but being back together again, THAT was everything. It was so simple, yet such an elegant way to put it; really great writing there. The look on Daryl’s face when Rick proclaims they are brothers was great too. You could see that he felt conflicted as if he finally understood what family was all about. Not even Merle, his own flesh and blood, could have bonded with Daryl in this way.
And then there is Carl. You get this feeling that maybe he’s a bit afraid of his dad after what he had witnessed Rick do, but it’s the exact opposite. While talking with Michonne, Carl states that he is a monster too, just like Michonne was. He was never afraid of his father’s actions, he was afraid of himself because he was accepting of the fact that Rick had to rip a man’s neck out with his teeth. This becomes evident when asked at Terminus if the people they killed deserved it and Carl emphatically answers yes. I loved the way this gave Rick pause as he turned to look at Carl. This was just more insanely good writing.
This season delivered not only my favorite moment from the comic, but the end of the finale delivered my absolute favorite page from the comic as well. Comic Rick Grimes is also a master of delivering the most bad assed one liners in all of the industry and the one delivered in the finale was my favorite. That being said, I was really hoping they would’ve used the F bomb there and just bleeped it out. I think some of the impact of that line was lessened due to the choice of words, but I was still jumping up and cheering when he delivered the first part of it “They’re gonna feel really stupid when they find out…”. Having just about everyone reunited was also great to see, including Daryl’s quick acceptance of the new comers. They saved his family and that instantly made them family, loved it.
Now for the bad…the flashbacks; they did their job. They tied in with what was going on in this episode, I get that; BUT, if you include flashbacks that’s less room for original material. It works on a show like Arrow, but if that isn’t your every episode story telling device, and if this show isn’t coming back for another 190 something days, and the show is only an hour; you better cut the flashbacks and deliver more story. It honestly felt like a 30 minute show with filler rather than an hour long story. A friend of mine pointed out that it should’ve been 2 hours, and I whole heartedly agree. The flashbacks would’ve been more acceptable in that case. For god sakes we don’t even know where Tyreese and Carol are. A little update before we go would’ve been nice.
Overall, even with the flashbacks, this was one of the best and strongest episodes to date. Rick has made a lot of tough choices, and in the comics those choices only got harder. The show needs the ‘rip your neck out’ Rick Grimes if it plans on progressing in the same manner. I’m even more excited for season 5, not just to find out what happens with Terminus, but rather what the future holds for these characters beyond that. If not for the flashbacks, or the inclusion of a second hour, this would’ve been a perfect score. But as it stands I give it a
4.5 out of 5 nerds