At least we know where Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is — back in the zone. On Episode 16, Rick bit Joe (Jeff Kober) in the neck, killing him, then skewered the Marauder who tried to rape Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs). All the bandits had their tushes claimed tonight. The experience showcased Rick’s journey from Farmer Rick to Beast Mode Rick, complete with those curls that tend to fall in his eyes when he loses his poop. Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) switched over to the “good” side — "you're my brother"! — just in time to follow one bad situation with another.
So now what?
It’s not like the signs lied — they arrived at Terminus and they are still alive. But we met Gareth (Andrew J. West) and Rick played cop again. He saw someone wearing Maggie Greene’s (Lauren Cohan) poncho, and Glenn Rhee’s (Steven Yeun) prison riot gear, and wearing the watch … and our hearts stopped at home. If you had money on Terminus being a trap, tell whoever thought it was a good place to pay up.
Is it the home of The Hunters? Looks that way. We got more hints to cannibalism in the finale, including Mary back at her BBQ; the idea that the snipers were aiming to herd maim, not kill them; and even Rick's final line, which was said with an f-bomb in Issue #64 of the comics, in reference to The Hunters.
Where is our remaining Team Prison group, the ones with Rick's daughter? And where’s Beth? Does she have any connection to this place, or is she being kept somewhere else? We're supposed to see her "eventually," so apparently that's being held over until Season 5.
Comic book writer Robert Kirkman said we’d have a major cliffhanger and that’s pretty fair. There is no Terminus in the comic books, although a good chunk of the ep followed Issue #57 and the final line was tied to #64. Still, it’s hard to know what’s next. It’s pretty safe to say Season 5 will pick up at Terminus and hopefully there isn’t a several-month time jump, although the fall/spring seasons will be different; they shot the Season 4 finale in November and start shooting Season 5 in April/May. It's going to get sweaty in that train car!
At some point we’ll probably hit the road for Washington, D.C., but first the whole gang has to get back together. Beth? Carol? Ty? Hunters? How are they going to get free? Should we riot over this six month wait for answers?
Another flashback opening. No complaints! The first scene is a flashback to the opening of the prison gates. A car drives in. Rick, Maggie and Glenn are in the car. Maggie hugs her dad. HERSHEL! Missed you, big guy! When was this, the previous winter? They have their coats on. Hershel gives a long look. Rick kills walkers at the fence.
RICK IS SHAKING
This is later. We see his hands shaking and he has that faraway look that he gets when he’s come back from Hulking out. Like when he was Crazy Rick and punched Glenn after Lori died. And when he went after Tyreese earlier in the season, after Ty punched him. Rick has a darkness to him.
IN THE WOODS
Rick, Michonne and Carl are camping. How hungry are you on a scale of one to 10? Carl says 15. Michonne says 28. What’s your number, Rick? Rick decides to give snaring lessons. They have a camp similar to Beth and Daryl’s camp from “Still.” Rick says they’ll stay another day or two. Carl says they’re close now. He wants to know what they’ll tell people at Terminus, about all the things they’ve done. (This was a sneak peek scene.) Rick says they’ll tell the people who they are. Carl wonders how he can say that. “Who are we?” Again, you’re Team Richonne. And when you are with Rick and Michonne, you are less annoying. Remember this, Carl. They bring out the best in you. A walker shows up, but just one and it’s no big deal. We head into the next sneak peek, with Rick showing how to make a slip knot and trap an animal. Then they hear a scream.
Carl wants to help a man who is swarmed, but Rick holds him back, saying they can’t help him. Guess you have to pick your battles. The walkers follow the trio onto the tracks.
It’s so good to see Hershel again. They never told us he was coming back! It’s good to see the prison again too. Beth comes in to take Judith, as she usually does.
BACK TO REAL TIME
The trio fight walkers on the train tracks and outrun the mob of walkers. Michonne hopes there is a store up ahead and some kind of food. They spot a car. Uh oh. They were ambushed in a car in the comics. Issue #57. It’s happening. There’s a cool walker on the ground, kind of built into the leaves. Michonne slices it. Rick and Michonne talk at a campfire at night. They say all they talk about anymore is food. It’s like they’re competing on Survivor. Rick said the folks that are taking people in at Terminus have to be strong. They must have a system. Michonne wonders if the thing is even legit. Is that the first time they’ve wondered about it? Rick asks if she let people in. She said she did, but so did The Governor. Rick said maybe this place isn’t even there…
AMBUSHED BY THE MARAUDERS!
Joe and his group are there. Joe puts a gun to Rick’s head. Ish is about to hit the fan. “Today’s the day of reckoning, sir. Restitution. The balancing of the whole damn universe.” It’s New Year’s Eve, apparently. Happy New Year? Joe does a countdown from 10, with a gun to Rick’s head. Daryl stops him. “Hold up.” “You’re stopping me on 8, Daryl.” This is the guy that killed Lou. Daryl is allowed to speak up. Daryl says they’re good people. Joe says Lou would disagree. Daryl says he wants blood, he gets it. “Take it from me, man.” So selfless.
DARYL GETS HIS BUTT KICKED
“This man killed our friend. You say he’s good people. You know that right there is a lie. It’s a lie!" You know how much they hate lies. They beat the crap out of Daryl. Rick says it was him, just him. He wants to help his bromance buddy. Joe: “First we’re going to beat Daryl to death. Then we’ll have the girl. Then the boy. Then we shoot you and then we’ll be square.” Oh, is that all?
THE RICKTATOR IS NOT AMUSED
A Marauder guy tries to rape Carl. Tells him to stop squirming.. Rick watches … and loses it. Tony fights Michonne. Joe sticks with Rick. Rick bites his neck! Yes! Straight out of the comics. That’s his big weapon - using his teeth to kill. Michonne shoots two of the Marauders. One of the guys holds Carl at knifepoint to try and save himself. Rick growls “he’s mine.” He stabs the guy in the stomach and rips him all the way up his chest? We don’t see it all, we just see Carl and Daryl’s and Michonne’s reactions and hear all the stabbing sounds.
THE MARAUDERS' LIVES HAVE BEEN CLAIMED
All what, five or six of them? So they're dead, plus the guy who got swarmed. No major deaths yet.
Hershel takes Rick outside, in another flashback. Those feral pigs in the forest, it doesn’t take much to domesticate them. This is Hershel trying to create Farmer Rick. It’s time we started planting. Hershel wants help from Rick. Rick said they need him in the prison. Hershel said he’ll teach him and he can teach Carl. They’ve been there two months. Carl needs his father to show him the way. Show the Young Padawan! We know Carl can shoot, but what’s his life going to be? What’s Rick’s? Hershel is saying this because he owes Rick. They all owe Rick. “We can make this better now.” Hershel wants to pull Rick away from the violence. And yet …
RICK & DARYL BOND
Back to real time. Rick looking shell-shocked, blood on his face by the car. Michonne and Carl are in the car. Carl has blood on his cheek. He has a nightmare. He’s sleeping in Mama Michonne’s lap. Why can’t these poor characters catch a break? At least Daryl is with them. Daryl gives Rick a cloth to wipe his face. They sit together on the ground. Daryl says “I didn’t know what they were.” Daryl says he got out with Beth and was with her for a while. Is she dead? Good question. “She’s just gone.” It’s good to see these two together, but it’s a shame the circumstances are so bad. Daryl said they were looking for some guy, he was hanging back, he was going to leave but he stayed. Then he saw it was that three. “I didn’t know what they could do.” Rick: “It’s not on you, Daryl. Hey, it’s not on you.” Aww. Bonding. Him coming back with them now, “that’s everything.” “You’re my brother.” Cutest couple on this show. Daryl said what Rick did last night, anyone would’ve done that. Rick says no, not that. Carl and Michonne hear Rick talking about how keeping Carl safe is all that matters to him.
WALKING TO TERMINUS
Michonne gives him a look. Is she eye-f*cking him? Can’t blame her. They are walking together with Carl and Daryl in the back. Usually Michonne and Carl walk together but maybe Michonne has new respect for Rick. They detour through the woods, away from the train tracks, and come upon a fence. Apparently they want to check out Terminus before just walking into the place, ala the last group. Rick says to spread out and just watch for a while.
IS CARL GOING TO BLAME HIS DAD?
Just when Carl starts to get less annoying, he's a jerk to his dad again. He’d rather walk with Michonne.
Michonne said, when Carl asked about her son Andre, he never asked how he died. They went to a refugee camp. Andre and her boyfriend Mike, Andre’s father, and their friend Terry. The camp got worse and worse. People were leaving (Sam and Ana?) but she didn’t. She was coming back from a run … Mike and Terry were high when it happened. They were bit. She could’ve stopped it. Could’ve killed them. “But I let them turn. I made it so they couldn’t bite.” She’s talking about the creation of her pets. “It was insane, it was sick.” It felt like what she deserved, dragging them around. She found out that they kept her safe. They hid her. She was another monster. She was gone for a long time, then Andrea brought her back, Rick brought her back, Carl brought her back. Michonne knows how Carl has been looking at his dad. He doesn’t have to be afraid of Rick or Michonne. Carl said the other day Rick said he was proud of him, that he’s a good man. Carl says he’s not. Carl still has these thoughts. “I’m not what he thinks I am. I’m just another monster too.” Emotional scene. Is Carl a monster? Maybe he's the monster under Eminem and Rihanna’s beds?
Daryl sees him do it, outside the fences. “Just in case.” Remember that!
BREAKING INTO TERMINUS
Daryl sees the room where they leave the radio message and make maps. The four of them face the room. Albert is on perimeter watch. Guy asks “You here to rob us?” Rick says they wanted to see him before he saw them. Gareth is the guy. He says normally they do this outside at the fence, but he welcomes them to Terminus. Alex is going to be their tour guide. First, they need to see everyone’s weapons. Lay them down in front of you. The place echoes, which makes it sound extra creepy. They lay down their weapons. Alex says he’d hate to see the other guy, looking at Daryl's face. Rick says he would. Gareth says they’re not those kinds of people, but they’re not stupid either. They all came there for sanctuary. There’s a bad vibe. This place could use some music.
This place has been there almost since the start of the apocalypse. Some were headed for the coast or up north, they ended up here. Why do they take people in? When people become part of them, it makes them stronger. (Because you eat them?!) Mary sees them. She’s making them BBQ. WHO IS IN THE BBQ? A guy sits down with a familiar-looking backpack. Another guy has Glenn’s riot gear and Maggie’s poncho. Rick recognizes their clothes. The watch.
TAKING OVER TERMINUS
Rick puts a gun to Alex’s head, asks where the hell he got the watch. So we know Rick's group is getting there after Maggie and Glenn's groups. Uh oh. What else might it mean?
Rick talks to Patrick. Patrick thanks Mr. Grimes for giving them some toys. They were for Carl. Patrick isn’t ashamed that they’re for ages 4-12. Patrick, we miss you. Carl is busy cleaning his gun. He hates kid stuff. This is why Rick had to step back, to keep Carl closer to a kid. Carl can be so Carl-ish sometimes. Rick tells Carl he needs his help with something. Leave the gun behind. It’ll just get in the way. Hershel on repeat.
There’s a sniper on the roof. Where’d they get the watch? He got it off of a dead one? NO! He got the riot gear off a dead cop, found the poncho on a clothesline. What? No. Gareth knows he’s lost Rick’s trust. He asks what Rick wants. “Where are our people?” He didn’t answer the question. Shots are fired from the roof. Holy crap. There are only 10 minutes left. The four Team Prisoners are shot at and they run through Terminus. Are they trapped? How are these snipers so terrible at shooting? They have the worst aim, especially when our four are right in the center of the place.
They hear the screams of people needing help? Rick also runs by ... what is that, a bunch of meat on the ground? Meat and bones? They run into a candle room. Words on the wall say Never Again. Never Trust. We First, Always. It’s like a shrine. There are names on the ground. Locations like Decatur, GA, others. People they've lost or people they've killed? Michonne said the people aren’t trying to kill them. They were aiming at their feet. They're herding them in a particular direction. Explains the bad shots. They see more shooters outside the fences. They are surrounded. Uh oh. We see the "A" of the title is the name of an area in this factory.
All these commercials are torturing us! Enough!
Now what? The four of them are told to drop their weapons. They finally drop them. “Ringleader,” go to your left to the train car. Gareth says to do what they say, "the boy" goes with them. Why can’t these people EVER catch a break. Now "the archer" goes. Now "the samurai." Love the stink eye she gives them. Carl is left alone. Uh oh. They are told to line up outside the train car. Rick sees crushed powdered milk and crushed bowls by the door to the train car. So they are trying to keep them alive in there (to be eaten later?). Are we supposed to tie the powdered milk to baby Judith or is that misdirection? Rick is told to go in. He doesn’t want to go in without Carl. Oh God. What’s in the train car? He opens it and we see it’s dark inside. They all go in. Can they see what’s in there? Carl is the last to go in the car. They are … alone in there? No. Glenn is there. Glenn and Maggie. Bob. Tara. Sasha. The others. They are all there (not Carol, Tyreese or Judith, though). They’re all friends now. Not that happy reunion we were hoping for, but it's a start. "A" is posted on their train car. It's definitely not a Safe-Zone!
Carl is farming. Beth is outside with baby Judith. They joke around and when Carl's/Rick's hat falls, Rick picks it up and gives it to Beth. "There's a new sheriff in town." Foreshadowing? Maybe she and whoever took her (version of Father Gabriel Stokes?) will swoop in and save the day in Season 5? Hershel tells Rick it can be like that all the time. It’s like that now, Rick says. That’s enough.
BACK TO THE TRAIN CAR
They’re going to feel pretty stupid when they find out. Find out what? Long pause. “They’re screwing with the wrong people.” Effing right! Maybe Ty and Carol can save them? Unless Ty, Carol and Judith are already there. ... It's up to you, Beth!
At least no one died. Yet. But no Carol. No Ty. No Judith. No Beth. The hour flew by, but what did you think?
Wait, don’t leave us yet! We’ll be lonely without you in the long summer ahead, so check out our Season 5 spoilers update and keep it handy to learn what’s coming next.