The Walking Dead Season 4 finale, simply titled “A”, garnered record breaking ratings for AMC’s zombie hit. The post-apocalyptic series season finale, directed by Michelle MacLaren and written by Scott M. Gimple and Angela Kang, aired on AMC on March 30, 2014.
Based on the Nielsen ratings, The Walking Dead Terminus finale exceeded the show’s season average of 13.3 million viewers, coming in with 15.7 million eager zombie apocalypse fans who were lured in by the haunting promise of, “Those who arrive survive.”
The finale only nearly rivaled the season 4 opener back in October, which pulled in 16.1 million.
To our fans! pic.twitter.com/NAT6G1bUYD
— The Walking Dead on AMC (@WalkingDead_AMC) April 1, 2014
The LA Times reports this is the first time in “Walking Dead” history that a season finale has not topped the ratings for the season premiere.
For those who have yet to see the finale – there are spoilers ahead! As a devout fan of The Walking Dead, I gathered with my fellow undead-obsessed coterie, eager to see who would arrive and survive at Terminus.
The episode opens with a flashback of Rick conferring briefly with the now decapitated Herschel, back when they were at the prison during better times, before the Governor. This flashback continues to thread throughout the episode.
A quick flash forward later and we find ourselves in the present. We see Rick, disheveled and bloody, propped against the side of an SUV during daylight hours, appearing almost wild-eyed and silent.
It’s not until later that we discover what caused the exsanguinated mess – which is one of the most epic scenes in the entire episode. Even now I debate revealing it as I could not do the moment justice.
At the very least I’ll say Rick is in true survival form willing to do anything, and I mean anything to protect his loved ones to the very bitter bloody end. He goes to a very dark place in this finale.
During the night Rick, Carl, and Michonne are ambushed and descended upon by a gang of violent misfits; during which they are reunited with the crossbow-wielding redneck with a heart of gold, Daryl. You’ll have to watch to see how it played out.
Shortly after the bewildering opening scene of Rick in a seeming state of eerie calm and shock, we back up earlier into the day where the brief but telling explanation over a snare trap foreshadows (for the alert viewer) of what’s to come later at Terminus.
As Rick extracts a dead bunny from the tangle of rope, he describes to Carl and Michonne how the snare works, using the surrounding brush to funnel the rabbit into the trap.
Later we see this play out at the would-be haven of Terminus, as the supposed cannibalistic inhabitants use the maze of their compound and strategic gunfire to lead Rick, Carl, Daryl, and Michonne – funneling them further into their trap. Yeah, surprise surprise, Terminus is a trap.
I say cannibalistic as there is a brief flash of identifiable human, blood-stained skeletal remains piled in an open space – seen as the foursome are furrowed through, running from the hail of bullets. This leads the viewer to presume this is how the small clan of residents managed to survive this long and still have meat to cook on an outdoor grill.
Upon arrival, and already instinctively cautious, Rick and co sneak into the complex. At first all seems well even after they encounter the welcome wagon, but Rick is finally tipped off the people of Terminus are not quite what they seem when he notices that one of the men has Herschel’s pocket watch (given to Glenn, who we know arrived at Terminus not long before the others). Others don items belonging to his group, such as Daryl’s poncho (which Maggie had been wearing), the orange duffle bag they’d taken from the dead hitchhiker in “Clear,” Glenn’s officer riot gear, and Bob’s khaki cargo pants.
A hostage situation and subsequent shootout ensues.
In the end, under duress, the four are ushered into a large metal shipping container. Therein lies several other Walking Dead favorites – Glenn, Maggie, Bob, and Sasha, along with Abraham, Rosita, Eugene, and Tara – all alive, though not as well as they’d like to be. Sorry if you were taking bets on which one bought it this finale, you lost, for now.
As the scene comes to a close inside the shadowy container, Rick remarks that the Terminus group will “feel pretty stupid when they find out.” Abraham asks, “Find out what?” to which Rick coldly replies, “They’re screwing with the wrong people.”
While fan assumed this finale would be a bloodbath, none of the primary characters died. But there are a few still unaccounted for which we’ll hope to see in The Walking Dead’s season 5.
[Photo Credit: Nomadic Lass]