By Thomas Cowley
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
Season 4 of AMC’s The Walking Dead concluded last night with the mysteriously titled episode, “A” and I have to say, that was one of the best episodes the show has produced since it started. Not only did this episode stay true to events in the comics, but it also incorporated original material that is unique to the show, and blends them into one, cohesive yet alternate storyline. This feels like the show has finally found its footing and now knows how to incorporate the comic storyline, while still bringing up fresh ideas of its own.
Those who have read the comics were probably eagerly awaiting Ricks feral reaction to the group who assaulted Carl, while those who were not no doubt could only think “Holy s@#*!” And while it was brutal, I cannot help but think many would agree with Rick’s reaction if they were in the same situation with children of their own. I may be alone on this one, but for a moment there I thought Daryl may end up biting the big one when the gang started beating him up. Despite being a fan favorite, Daryl is a completely new character created solely for the show, so his fate and what exactly will happen to him is anyone’s guess at all times. I was hoping they would not kill him, but this is a season finale after all which means almost anything can happen. Despite the slight changes to the scene, the fact that the show remained so close to the comic while still making it their own had to impress even the most dire-hard of fans.
Another thing that made this an outstanding episode was its foreshadowing and tiny details. The parallel between Rick telling Carl not to name the pigs because they were food and the Terminus leader not calling them by name was just the right amount of creepy. But the best had to be the rabbit. Forcing the creature down a specific pathway in order to trap it in the noose was a perfect warning to both the characters and the fans. We as viewers have no doubt been curious about Terminus, wondering what it is and simply wanting to get there as soon as possible, and as a result, blindly stumbling into a trap. And boy did I call it about Terminus, though I will admit it was not incredibly hard to figure out. Background details such as the bullet ridden streets should have told anyone that the gang was been herded like sheep right where the people of Terminus wanted, and that they were certainly not the first group to fall prey to the trap.
This was perhaps the most stressful episode I have experienced in a long time. Whether it was thinking Daryl might be done for, or believing little bits of Glenn were on that barbeque, there have been few episodes that caused that many heart palpitations as this one. With a nice blend of comic book story and originality, “The Walking Dead” finally seems like it has a clear direction and sure footing for the future. It is just too bad that we have to wait as long as we do in order to see what Rick has in store for this new batch of psychos. Maybe caging someone who already acted like an animal was not the best idea. Just throwing that out there.