After the bitterly disappointing season 3 finale of The Walking Dead which had 12.4m viewers, I thought it was quite surprising that even with their intriguing “look what’s going to happen” teasers they managed 16.1m viewers for the season 4 premiere and a record breaking 16.7m for the season finale, of which they had 10.2m of the highly sought after 18-49 age demographic.
Season 3 was a huge let down because it lacked interest, intrigue and even innovation frankly the entire season was a waste of time the only good part being The Governor, the season was all too uncharacteristic of what we have come to know about our group, I digress let’s discuss season 4, the first half of season 4 of The Walking Dead I thought was really good it was fast paced it was tense and action packed and was highly creative, then the latter half of season 4 after the mid-season break was slowed down a great deal as they wanted to work on character development and tie up lose ends, to find out more about the reasons people are the way they are, I feel this should have been the case much sooner in the show maybe season 2 definitely by season 3, I did like that we got to see a different side of people like Daryl, The Governor and Michonne and even Beth to some extent as well as Tara’s redemption for her part in what The Governor did to Hershel.
The Walking Dead finale was written by Scott Gimple and Angela Kang, Directed by Michelle MacLaren who was the EP on Breaking Bad (Another AMC show), the episode uses foreshadowing, which for me is quite the risk when you consider The Walking Dead’s reputation for bluntness and lack of subtlety, it’s either a choice of here are some little clues to see if you can guess what’s going to happen OR here you go this episode will be us holding your hand and guiding you to what you need to know, unfortunately they did the latter and basically said “I’ll just spell it out for you because we don’t think you’re smart enough to get it on your own”.
I am not saying the episode was terrible by any means, the first half was interesting and tense leading up to the first confrontation between Rick, Carl, Michonne and the gang of men Daryl had recently been travelling with, who were tracking Rick to exact revenge for him killing one of their men in a bathroom a few episodes back, the episode prior we had seen Daryl being taught by Joe the leader that this gang of his had a little code where he liked honesty and order and you claim what you want and it’s yours,
It was a bit odd that when Rick said “you don’t have to hurt them it was just me who killed your man me alone” you’d think okay then really they should just kill him and call it even, but no he wanted to beat Daryl to death for trying to save them and then rape Carl and Michonne thus ensued the rage of Rick, who after trying to fight back got a beat down by Joe was then in a sort of bear hug by the leader as a man was about to rape his son Rick snaps and tears the man’s throat out with his teeth. with that distraction Daryl and Michonne combat their attackers and shoot them in the head, Carl is being held at knife point by his would be rapist, Rick gets a knife and walks over to him and stabs him in the stomach and raises the knife inside him up to his chest and then stabs him repeatedly.
This scene for me was fantastically done the tension, suspense, pace, camera work and the effects I really liked, the fact that all four of the prison group couldn’t do anything but all tried and were left with no options, and then out of nowhere Rick just snaps it looked brilliant when he ripped out his throat. This is answering a question many fans have had since season 1-3, what happened to Rick? He was a survivalist to then being a leader to being a farmer to then basically becoming a bit of a hindrance, Rick answers the question himself Rick is “whoever he needs to be to keep his son safe” so hopefully this will be a bit of an end to his inner turmoil,
But then we have problems again, after this it gets a little boring again and timid with them making their way to Terminus (Arrive and survive) in hopes they find some of their old group and a safe haven, they decide to sneak in the back as they have been burned before by The Governor and his town, after they have made their way inside they are greeted by a man named Gareth who seems to be the leader of Terminus, an uneasiness is evident from Rick and the group and as a viewer it wasn’t a secret something was off about this place.
They are led to get some food from a woman who has a BBQ on the go yet we have seen no animals and they don’t seem to have a lot of security to stop people just walking in. I have often imagined they’d be running low on food and what not by now or soon since it’s rare to see animals yet they had a BBQ on the go, and as I said earlier the show is hardly subtle so I had already suspected they’d probably be cannibals, a theory yet to be proven but as we see a gunfight break out after Rick realises members of Terminus have the belongings of his prison group, as they make a break for it we see a great shot of them running past a lot of bones and into some sort of candle shrine room, here they realise that the Terminus people are shooting at their feet, once they realise they are outgunned they proceed to surrender to then be frog marched into a standalone train car (I don’t really understand why they had to go in the car in a certain order or in single file) once inside they see 4 members of their prison group and 4 new members.
Overall I thought The Walking Dead finale had a good start to it but I feel it could have been better thereafter, they could have given the viewer a little more credit to figure things out instead of leading them, they could spend less time with things that aren’t important to character development and pivotal plot moments, because otherwise it’s a little boring, I am glad they have finalised Rick’s character arc and will hopefully leave that alone, they have done enough character development on the other main cast members too so they can move on with some more in depth storylines hopefully, I am intrigued as to how next season will pan out especially on the line we were left with from Rick “They don’t know who they are screwing with” a comic book quote which we can all hope is appropriate.
31st March 2014 (UK)
Andrew Lincoln, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Steven Yeun