23 July 2014

Talking Out The Dead: "A"


Kelen Conley: So the gang’s all back together at Terminus but is it really the sanctuary that all those signs claimed it to be? Is Daryl running from his friends in the picture above or is he running with them? Who got told to look at the flowers in this Season 4 finale?

SPOILERS.

Remember how we’ve said a lot of people watch TWD for the wrong reasons, for action, zombies, and the killing of humans and zombies alike? These are the episodes that make them that way.

There was not a second to breathe after Rick’s Herschel flashback (which I loved, still a shame he had to go) as Rick, Michonne, and Carl had a herd of walkers to deal with almost immediately. I really loved that no one went out of their way to save the poor guy the walkers were attacking. After all they’ve been though, they’ve definitely come to know the fight or flight response very well. I think if the prison was still intact, Rick would’ve tried to save him though. But it was much better to deal with a few walkers compared to all of them.

I’m glad they didn’t put off the confrontation between Joe’s group and Rick for later in the show. It really allowed the rest of the episode to deal with Terminus’ introduction. I was super pumped for Rick and Daryl too; their precision taking down the Outcasts was scary and decidedly vicious. Rick went the walker route on Joe and Daryl curb stomped the other guy…awesome.

And this may sound weird but I’m surprised no one else has tried to rape Carl before this. All those Woodbury people they brought into the prison, none of them looked at Carl sideways? Sure, his dad is the de facto leader of the prison with Daryl as his right hand man but as proven by this moment, there are some sick people living in TWD world. Probably better that they saved this angle for now, with Carl’s safety being the prime reason he ripped out Joe’s throat.

I’m also glad that Rick didn’t waste time arguing with Daryl about why he was with Joe and the Outcasts. “We’re together again and let’s see what Terminus is about.” Done.

I completely understand why Rick and company got shuttled into that train car so easily when they go to Terminus, I do. Unfamiliar environment, new people, fear of the unknown, etc. But do any of those Terminus people really look like a threat? I think Carl could take them all down on a good day. I mean, when the Governor first walked onscreen, he didn’t look like a joke. Gareth looks like a pansy…who might be a cannibal.

As for Terminus itself, I’m starting to sense some misdirection now. They just reunited the whole group in that train car, and Rick’s parting words make me think that they’ll bust out in the Season 5 premiere and take revenge on their captors in some fashion. Gareth cannot be the leader. He may have been left in charge but there’ someone else pulling the strings here.

Also, did you notice the bones in one of the rooms Rick’s group ran through? The writers are toying with us. It was a solid season finale, but I can’t make heads or tails of the direction we’re headed to now.

Thomas Crawford: This was definitely one of those episodes that a lot of people expect week in and out from the series.  There was a lot of violence, blood, running and screaming.  I will totally agree with you on that.

I was actually pretty shocked at how the Outcasts met up with Rick, Michonne and Carl so early in the episode.  On one hand, I loved the confrontation.  It was gory, violent, and brought back together Rick and Daryl.  It was a great showcase of how bad ass these two men are in TWD world when they are on the same page and working together.

I will say the one let down was the fact that “Joe” will no longer be on the show.  I’m not sure if they could have worked it out a different way, but the character was just so entertaining on so many levels.

“Look we can settle this, we’re reasonable men. First we’re gonna beat Daryl to death, then we’ll have the girl, then the boy, then I’m gonna shoot you and then we’ll be square.”  The line made me cringe with the pure sadism blending with the conversational tone with which it was delivered.

Since the Governor was killed, the show needed a place holder until the “new” villain” comes to light.  I was hoping that Joe wouldn’t be that place holder.  Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be.  Hopefully the new villain will be just as entertaining in the upcoming season.

One thing that stood out this episode was the continued character development, even through all the action.  This is something that a lot of people forget when the show gets this action oriented.  However, these people are still trying to find their way and their new identities.

Carl had a great scene with Michonne telling her his feelings of being a monster, of not being a good man.  He was trying to explain that he was ashamed because he considered his father a good man.

The parallel to Rick during the episode was interesting.  Rick realized what he had to do to save himself and the group from the Outcasts was horrific.  He considers himself a monster.  While talking to Daryl, he shows the shame he feels about what kind of man he looks like to Carl.

The fact the show managed to continue to squeeze character development into a finale with so much going on remains impressive.  The dynamics between the father and son has been a foundation in TWD Universe.  Some have said they are tired of Rick and think it is time to go.  I can’t help but get drawn into watching these two try and survive, and maintain some form of relationship that resembles what we could consider normal.  At the same time, there is always that possibility that one of them might not make it through the next season.

This all happened before the small group even got to Terminus.  Again, kudos to the writers for building a story and drawing it out long enough to drive anticipation.  At the same time, it did not seem like it as drawn out as some episodes have seemed to be over the last season.

What will Terminus hold?  Is is cannibals?  The fact is at this point there have been a lot of teasers about it.  I personally would be surprised if it had nothing to do with cannibals.

I know my weird “walker worshiping” cult idea is not a favorite.  Yet I still feel like there is something of a cult going on at Terminus.  Remember the loudspeaker, the messages being put over in a loop?   If the group is not worshiping walkers, and they aren’t cannibals, there is definitely something along the lines of brainwashing going on.

I think that, then again who knows?  One thing this show has continued to do is prove me wrong.  Whether it is thoughts about a character, or an action that will take place, I think I’ve been wrong more then half the time.  At this point, I think it is up in the air as to the true nature of Terminus.  It wouldn’t surprise me if there is a swerve, and we learn that there are layers to the town.  Again, this is something we will have to wait for the upcoming season to reveal.

KC: I think Carl admitting his fears of being a monster is a nice 180 from the Carl we saw in the midseason premiere. In “After”. he started out saying he didn’t need his father, though he realized he did by episode’s end. Here we see him wishing he was more like him, even after Rick just ripped out a guy’s throat.

I think it’s really important that TWD maintain the Rick/Carl relationship. Without them, the show becomes about a bunch of random people who have banded together (other than Maggie and poor Beth). Not necessarily a bad thing, but is Lori’s death the same if Carl had shot some random lady in the head he only knew a few weeks after she gave birth? What about if Andrea and Amy were just acquaintances instead of sisters? Does their moment from Season 1 lose impact?

The stakes are higher when there’s family involved. Even though Rick is remorseful over killing Joe the way he did in front of Carl, he still saved his son in the end. I don’t think you get that response from Rick with anyone else from the group. He would’ve found a different way.

I definitely agree that a round of applause is due to everyone who works on the show for the character development this season. From watching Rick turn from a farmer back into a leader, Michonne’s softening, the Govenor’s attempts at regaining his sanity (and losing), and everything in between, a masterful job was done in this department.

As we talked about before, I really liked Joe too and it just goes to show you what different situations can do to a person in TWD universe. Had Joe stumbled upon the group instead of teaming with/forming the Outcasts, he could’ve been a valuable character who dispensed wisdom as well as occasional badassery. I really wanted to see him fill Herschel’s role but with the group on the road and Terminus looming, his time was cut short.

And once he talked about raping Carl, all love I had for him was immediately lost.

I regret not buying into your cult theory now. While walker worshipping still seems a bit…dull, maybe they make human sacrifices? Maybe they believe they’re being punished by God with these flesh eating monsters and think that by sacrificing their own kind they’ll be safe? Now this is an angle I would like to see and it would probably lead directly to Beth being killed or her body discovered.

I just really want to know where Beth is, they spend two episodes making her interesting and they take her away? Why cruel world?!

There’s so many little seeds that have been planted for Season 5. We still don’t know who attacked that camp that the Governor and company was scouting in “Dead Weight” (Probably Terminus, but we don’t know if they go on runs or not). We don’t know who has Beth (can all the answers be Terminus?). Carol, Tyreese, and Walker Bait are on their way to what we now know is not a friendly place. There’s a lot more to learn about Eugene, Abraham, and Rosita still.

I’m really looking forward to seeing that first idiot from Terminus stick their inside that train car. Someone else might get their throat ripped out. This is the first time the group has been backed into a corner like this. They lost the prison because of their delayed reactions. I don’t think they’ll make the same mistakes inside Terminus’ walls. It’s going to be good.

If they decide to drag them all out of there and give them a big speech about what Terminus is all about first though, wake me up when it’s over.

Kill Watch Predictions
Bob – I hate to keep putting him on here, but he’s black, he’s not shown much resolve, and this is an AMC show, not BET. I’ve come around to liking him but just have a feeling he won’t make it to S.5 E.2. 60%
Beth – She’s either going to be dead already, get killed, or will be the Queen of Terminus. 35%Walker Bait – Self-explanatory. 1% chance though.
Rosita – There’s currently 5 women alive on the show and Rosita has the least amount of baggage. 10%
And whatever Terminus residents are dumb enough to get in the group’s immediate way at show’s start. 85%

TC: I like that you are considering the cult theory as I’m leaning away from it.  I am in total agreement on one thing: I don’t want a ten minute speech about what Terminus is really about.  I would like to think that the writers of the show are better than that.  It has taken half a season just to get to Terminus.  It should take several episodes to really start peeling the layers of what the place is really about.

I am really excited to see how it is going to start.  I wonder if the Season 5 will start with a flashback, perhaps a flash forward, or perhaps right where they left off at the ending of Season 4.  There are so many ways that they can take it.  I have a feeling that a big speech by Gareth explaining Terminus would be a bad way to go.

On to other things, the fact that Carol, Tyreese, and Walker Bait are still out there, makes me wonder if they are going to be instrumental in what happens in the opening episodes of season 5.  They might not show up until several episodes in.  At this point, I’m not even going to take a guess.  Just remember, they are still out there.

The question of where in TWD universe is Beth also needs resolved.  Yes, many people didn’t like her.  Yes, many people thought she should have been killed off by now.  At the same time, she was starting to grow on me after her development with Daryl.  Then out of nowhere, she is abducted.  Not cool.  At the same time, very smart because that is one of the biggest mysteries from Season 4 not answered.

The character development of Rick and Carl is a big part of the show.  In a way, I do agree that the family ties make things more compelling for various reasons.  That being said, I wonder if Rick would have torn out Joe’s throat with his teeth if Carl hadn’t been in danger?

In a way, I think the show has created family like ties between many of the members.  I know you like to think of Michonne and Rick hooking up, but I still don’t see it.  In a way, I feel she is like a sister to Rick.  Even the way she treats Carl, almost like that hip aunt that Carl can talk to about certain things.  I may be wrong of course.  However, I think it is obvious that Rick sees her as family.

That goes double for Rick and Daryl.  They have had a rocky relationship throughout the entire show.  Daryl has hated Rick, been mistrusting, and even chafed at Rick being the leader.  However, the season finale showed something important.

When Daryl came back and saw Rick, Carl and Michonne being held by the Outcasts, he was willing to lay down his life.  At the time, it was overshadowed by the scenes that followed.  He said that they could kill him and take their vengeance that way instead of hurting them.

This was not a token gesture.  Daryl had been with the Outcasts for several days at least.  He knew that they were more than capable of killing without remorse.  He literally walked in and knew that he was going to die for making the offer.  However, if it meant Rick, Carl and Michonne being allowed to leave in peace, it was worth it.

It was the ultimate sacrifice, walked into willingly, so that people he cared about could be safe.  This was an act beyond friendship, it was the act of true family.  At this point, considering Daryl anything but a brother to Rick would be an insult.  It was not lost on Rick either.

The exchange after the mayhem was brief.  However, Daryl felt like ashamed for even walking with the Outcasts.  All Rick cared about was that he was safe, and back with the group.

Onto some final thoughts in regards to Rick and the group.  There are many schools of thoughts about human behavior.  However, two distinct things tend to be agreed upon by most if not all.

When a person or group has food, water, shelter, safety, and companionship, they tend to be more relaxed.  People don’t need a ton of luxuries to be civilized, regardless of what many modern people think.  Phones, TV, cable, and even electricity aren’t required.  Many people are happy as long as they are safe and have their basic needs met.

This represented the group while in the prison.  They had water and steady food.  They had basic medical care.  They didn’t have computers or air conditioners.  They may or may not have had hot water, but they had enough to drink and to clean themselves.  In a sense, they were safe from the walkers, even though it was an illusion.  (It should be noted that the illusion of safety is more important than actual safety, which sums up modern living.)

When a person does not have their basic needs met, and that includes companionship for most, then another side tends to take over.  This is the side that includes doing things that most people would consider barbaric.  This is where you find people doing anything to survive.  This includes hunting, scavenging, perhaps even stealing and killing without thinking.

It is not a nice thought to dwell on.  However, in every person there is that side, that under the right circumstances, it could and would come out.  This is where we go back to Rick and ripping out Joe’s throat with his teeth.  Anyone would have done it to protect their family.  I think it is possible that he reached that point where he would have done it to protect his life.  He wasn’t Farmer Rick, he wasn’t even Leader Rick, he was Survivor Rick.  This is where he was when he lost the safety of the prison, and was thrust back out into the realities of TWD.

There are plenty of other clues that allude to this shift.  The burying of many of the weapons before they went into Terminus.  He wanted a stash in case they had to make a hasty exit.  Note he wanted to scout out the area, and wasn’t being lulled into a false sense of security by the road signs.

Even the ending, how sharp was his sight?  He recognized the articles of members of his group.  His mind worked faster than the viewers even.  Did he hesitate?  No, he immediately acted with his gun drawn.

The final chase scene even alluded to Survivor Rick and even the group as a whole.  They were running and trying to stay safe, but recognized that they were being led like lambs to the slaughter.  Unfortunately, they couldn’t really do anything about it as the Terminus group has the high ground and the advantage.  The survivor instinct saw the only way to live was to drop their weapons and go into the box car.

There is a lot to look forward to in the upcoming season.  Many people don’t like the character development, but it is a staple and will continue.  There is the possibility that anyone at anytime will be taken out.  This has been shown since the first season.  Finally, Survivor Rick and his group are finally reunited.

It should be noted that all the members have been going through much of what Rick, Michonne and Carl were going through.  They have had their world shattered, and have become survivors.  Now, they are back together, and are more determined then ever to stay alive in TWD universe.

Nothing is more dangerous than an animal cornered.  Nothing is more dangerous than a man that has nothing to lose.  I think it is safe to say that the group itself is cornered, and have nothing left to lose.  Remember the faces of the entire group as Rick delivered the last line of the Season 4 finale, “They are going to feel pretty stupid when they find out they are screwing with the wrong people.”  The people of Terminus may have bit off more then they can chew.

2 comments:

  1. […] Talking Out The Dead: “A”2) B Hyphen – Soon You’ll Understand (The Definitive Collection)*   […]

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  2. […] you have been hiding under a rock, then you know that Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and Carl fell for the “Terminus” trap.  They are now locked in a boxcar with Maggie, Glenn, Bob, Sasha, Abraham, Rosita, Eugene… […]

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