Editor’s note: this review will contain some spoilers. I will try to keep them to a minimum, but they’re be there nonetheless. You’ve been warned.
It’s been quite a season of AMC’s The Walking Dead. The prison is overrun, the governor is dead, and our remaining heroes are scattered to the winds. A lot of people were calling for a major shake-up like this, citing that they were getting frustrated with the prison as the predominate setting. I could have gone either way, and I’m pretty happy with the direction the season has taken, especially in the second half.
This week’s episode finally brought most of the remaining survivors together at Terminus, the town that’s been calling for survivors and setting off alarm bells with fans of the show for a few episodes now. But before we get there, we need to address the events of the first half of the episode.
Daryl’s gang finally catches up with Rick, Michonne, and Carl, and it’s absolutely brutal. Carl and Michonne are picked to get raped (and possibly murdered), and Rick gets to watch before he’s killed. Daryl, of course, tries to intervene, but the gang turns on him immediately, and sentences him to be beaten to death.
Unarmed and outnumbered, Rick uses the only thing left at his disposal: sheer brutality. He tears out the gang leader’s throat, and turns the tables on his attackers. Everyone is dispatched, but the man who attempted to rape Carl is given a particularly grisley – and well deserved – death. The fade out to the soundtrack of Rick stabbing the man over and over again was extremely affecting; kudos to the sound team there.
We get a couple of nice scenes with Carl coping with the brutality and Michonne helping him through it, but we’re quickly ushered off the the second half of the episode where our intrepid heroes finally check out Terminus.
They wisely choose to reconnoiter the town before making themselves known, but didn’t do a terribly thorough job of it. They introduce themselves to the people running Terminus, and everything seems fine for a few minutes, right up until Rick starts noticing townsfolk walking around with Glenn’s pocket watch and the prison’s riot gear. After that, things take a pretty serious turn. Guns are drawn, threats are made, and our survivors run through town, dodging bullets, and completely ignoring Rick’s trapping advice to Carl earlier in the episode.
That trapping thing, by the way, bugged me. Watching the scene at the beginning of the episode, I immediately knew it would come back at the end, most likely used against Rick and company. I hate heavy-handed symbolism like that.
At any rate, they’re quickly directed into a trap, surrounded, and forced to surrender. They’re put into a train car (flashes of the Holocaust here), where they finally reunite with Glenn, Maggie, and they’re new friends. While things look quite grim, Rick is far from cowed, and confidently states that the people running Terminus don’t know who they’re messing with.
All in all, I was very satisfied with the finale of The Walking Dead, although the way they were trapped and surrounded really bothered me. Despite that, I’m glad to see an exciting new set of dangers, and I’m really glad to see Rick giving up all pretenses of humanity, and just being a badass.