S4E16: ‘A’ Cross Section Season Finale

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I’ve commented, if you listen to the Walker Stalker Instant Reaction podcasts or seen the Walking Dead Support Group videocast, this season about how the writers often seemed lost and unable to bring the group from one major storyline to the next. I’ve also mentioned in the past that the tv show often takes too many liberties of the foundation premise of the comic book.  I love adaptations when done well and remain faithful to the source.  But I also understand that The Walking Dead is not meant to be 100% faithful to that foundation.  Episode 16 and Season 04 cured both and surprised me in unexpected ways.
At first thought I had thought that the first half of this episode would be the reunion of the group and the last half be the major battle in Terminus with an open ended conclusion for DC in Season 05.  While that was not the case, I was extremely happy with how this finale was handled and presented.  This easily ranks as one of the best episodes in the entire run aside from Days Gone Bye.  In the first half of the episode, Rick, Michonne and Carl are camping out by a broken down SUV when the “Claimers” catch everyone off guard and at gunpoint. Daryl tries to interject but ends up getting beaten for it.  Joe has Rick with a gun to Rick’s temple while one of the claimers get Carl out of the SUV at knife point with sinister intentions.  Once again the theme of morals and code of conduct come into play. What are the rules? Who follows them? And what do you do when people break them. Rick becomes unhinged and fights back.  Even biting Joe in the throat cutting  the jugular.  But that is nothing compared to what happened to Carl’s assailant. Though not shown on screen, we can hear Rick dicing up the attacker piece by piece.  If everyone is infected already then why not bite someone to get away or spare your life and fight back? What is there to lose? Who stated it is not ok to bite someone in the ZA?  What is there to be afraid of in doing so?  If it was done out of self defense does it still make you a cannibal as well?  The Walking Dead.com did a great job of showing what happened in the comics and how it was shown in the show.  Check out their Panel to Screen Here.
Speaking of cannibals, the group of four make their way to Terminus.  Along the way the theme of “Who are we?” is discussed.  Are the survivors no different  than the dead that walk?  Are the survivors still good people even though they have killed the living to survive or is everyone alive or dead just monsters 100%?  Once inside and welcomed by hippy hipster Gareth the four discover that the residents are wearing the other team’s clothing and gear.  The four try to escape but end up corralled through a maze of doors and large rooms.  You can hear cries for help in the background and in the foreground you can clearly see the remains of human bones and unused flesh.  One by one Rick, Michonne, Daryl and Carl are led into a freight rail car with a large “A” painted on the side. And a lot of dry milk packages by the door of the freight rail car.  Some suggest that the “A” is a piece of last week’s episode title of “US” making USA for another reference to D.C.  A few others think that the “A” means everyone is back to square one again. But I can’t agree with that entirely.  I believe the “A” is in reference to a saying and song called “Take the ‘A’ train”. Which symbolizes a shift and change.  An express from one existence to another.  While reunited with Bob, Sasha, Maggie, Glenn, Tara, Dr. Eugene, Rosita and Abraham we still have Beth, Carol, Tyreese and Judith not accounted for. Note: I never saw Judith in the backpack on Tyreeses’ back.  I don’t think the baby is still alive. At any rate for me the “A” rail car is a metaphor for leaving the area they know to Washington D.C. and people and places they do not know. It’s Dorothy’s house flying in the storm about to land in Oz only this time no one can go home. There are no glass slippers.
Interjected within the episode were flashbacks to the prison and Hershel guiding Rick and mentoring him.  And Rick passing down these teachings to Carl. Rick can be the vicious survivor and the calm politician and leader at the same time.   Everything from the writing, Gimple and Kang!!, to the wardrobes, Eulyn W.!! to the effects and execution for me was perfect.  While I stated about 4 episodes ago that things could not get much worse, Episode 16 is a great example of how things could not be much better.

Some of you asked if I would be doing podcasts while at Walker Stalker Con Chicago and I have decided to wipe off the cobwebs and take the challenge.
Here are the first 5 guests I have lined up (could change due to guest schedules):

  • April 17th: Melissa Hutchison #sheisClementine
  • April 24th: DieTrich Thrall and BITSuffering (new single and video will post with this!)
  • May 1st: Eulyn Womble top wardrobe specialist of The Walking Dead
  • May 8th: James and Eric – THE Walker Stalkers!!
  • May 15th: Laura Richter of Raising Spirits a charity that benefits St Jude Children’s Hospital

 

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