TWD, S4E16, “A”, by Dusty

What I’m drinking: Anchor Brewing’s Liberty Ale.  I love this beer.  Great flavor, with a little hop bite at the end.  It could almost be seen as a gateway IPA: a lot of the characteristics of an IPA, but not quite as in-your-face as most craft IPAs tend to be.  Dark enough for winter drinking, light enough for summer.

Six things that annoyed me:

1. Carl taking off running towards screams.  You’re in the woods.  There could be zombies anywhere.  Or it could be a trap.  Just be smarter.
Although, in my more honest moments, I can admit that I felt a little bad for the guy who had his face eaten off.  They couldn’t have done anything to help him (he was pretty much already in the grasp by the time they saw him), but that didn’t change the fact that a man’s face was chewed off, and they all watched.  If you watch this scene carefully, you’ll see Rick taking notes.  “Bite people.  That’s a good idea.”

2.  How did Joe know that Rick was the one who killed Fred?  Did he leave behind evidence?  They knew someone killed him, but they didn’t know who it was.  I’m pretty sure no one saw Rick while he was there.  I’ll admit that I could be wrong on this, but I don’t think I am.

3.  Daryl, for not even attempting to fight back.  He’s too smart to be completely blindsided by an attack from his new crew.  He knows what kind of people they are (he almost left for that exact reason).  He should have known that there was a possibility that they would turn on him.  But he wasn’t prepared, and he didn’t fight back until Rick made his move (by “made his move” I mean “ripped out a man’s throat like an animal”).  He just let a couple guys wail on him against a truck.

4.  The flashbacks.  Oh, how I hated the flashbacks.  In a season finale that left a lot of characters flapping in the wind, they took an unnecessary amount of time to show us how Edge-of-Sanity Rick became Farmer Rick.  It felt like filler.

5.  All the “who am I” talk.  They framed every conversation about it in the most obvious way possible.  Either prefacing discussions with, “I don’t know who I am” or saying things like, “That’s who I was/am.”  Every theme they try to bring up just seems so forced and obvious.  You can convey those thoughts and feelings without having every character vocalize them.

6.  Gareth (Garrett?).  I immediately hated that guy.  Fake friendly.  Obviously phony.  Just like Terminus, I suppose.  The second that guy stepped up and started talking, they should have known something was wrong.
Furthermore, why would you go through all the trouble of being cautious, only to make yourselves visible to the first old lady you came across?  Why not poke around a bit more and see what things look like?  Sneak around until you’re spotted.  Just a bad decision by a group that was pretty smart in their initial approach.

Six things I liked:

1. The fact that pretty much every group has the same camp strategy: tie a bunch of string around trees and attach cans to it.  It’s funny that it looks exactly the same, regardless of the group.  It begs the question of where all the string and cans come from, though.  With limited space in backpacks, it boggles the mind how everyone has room for cans.

2.  Michonne saying, “I wonder if the whole thing [Terminus] is legit.”  Too few people asking that question.
I also loved Rick approaching Terminus through the woods.  I appreciated the caution.  The other group walked through the front, completely blind.  Rick shielded his people.
Going along with that, I love that he hid weapons in the woods, “just in case.”  Why didn’t the other group do that?  In a world full of untrustworthy people, it’s shocking how many people immediately trust a group with shelter and an abundance of meat.
Or maybe it isn’t.  Maybe all these people want to believe so bad that they ignore all the obvious red flags.

3.  Rick, for taking a page out of the zombie handbook and tearing a chunk out of Joe’s neck to escape.  That’s a Walter Sobchak move, sir, and I respect it. Everyone in your vicinity may have thought you were bats, but all of your friends would have been dead if you didn’t do that.  Those people were animals.
It freaked everyone out.  It freaked Rick out.  But he did what he needed to do to keep his family safe.  You wanna freak out, come on.
I checked with a medical consultant about how hard it would be for a man to rip out a carotid artery with his teeth.  After explaining that, no, I did not plan on doing this myself, I was told that it would not be easy.  “There’s a lot of tissue and muscle in there.  It would be extremely hard to rip it out, but I suppose it’s possible.  You’d have to be really mad.”  I explained that one of the men said they would rape and kill his son.  “In that case, I’d say it’s possible.”


Click that picture.  Rumble, young man.  Rumble.

4.  Rick’s comment to Daryl: “You’re my brother.”  In another moment, I would’ve thought it was Rick trying to be manipulative to keep Daryl in the group.  But, in that moment, I know it was genuine.

5.  Rick reading the camp and finding that something was wrong.  Good awareness.  That’s what a good leader does.  Good to see him living up to the title bestowed upon him by others.  I haven’t seen a guy that good at picking out clues during a zombie apocalypse since Patrick Jane found himself in a Romero movie.

6.  The phrase, “Never Again. Never Trust. We First Always,” painted on the walls at Terminus.  It gives a good background into what happened at that place, and what made the people there the way they were.  I’m sure they’ll feel the need to explain it in pained detail later, but I liked the relative subtlety of that storytelling.

Final thoughts:

A pretty disappointing season finale.  It felt more like a midseason finale than a season finale (if they would have cut off the Governor storyline in season 3, this could have been a midseason finale).  Not much happened.  We found out that the people of Terminus aren’t the good-natured people they portrayed themselves to be, but we already knew that.  Most of the group was reunited, but we there was no sign of Carol, Tyreese or Beth.  I suppose I could have been happy that the rest of the group was alive, but I knew they would be.  If they were going to kill off a main character, they wouldn’t do it between episodes.
I’m not sure where season 5 opens.  They can’t stay in the box car for long (too boring), so we’ll likely see them break out pretty early.  Then what?  Try to take over Terminus?  Make a run for it?  The ending of this season does not make me excited for the next season, Rick’s proclamation of “They’re screwing with the wrong people,” be damned.  (I thought that line came across pretty flat.  He tried to sell it, but it didn’t come off as badass as I know they wanted it to.)

What I listened to while writing this: EMA – The Future’s Void.  I’m tempted to say that this album is more accessible than her first album (Past Life Martyred Saints), but that doesn’t mean this is a jangle-pop record.  It’s a dark, paranoid album, with beautiful soundscapes, intricate percussion and concentrated blasts of distortion and feedback.  There’s beauty and terror throughout this album.  When all is said and done, I may end up liking this more than her first one.  Her style isn’t for everyone, but I love her.

I can’t believe we’ve been doing this for an entire season now.  Horror-Writers is amazing for bringing me aboard and allowing me to hate on this show every week.  And, of course, I LOVE being able to work so closely with Lisa throughout all of this.  She’s amazing, and working with her has been tremendous.  We’re already talking about doing this with The Strain and/or Penny Dreadful, so I’m really excited about that.
And thanks to everyone who reads these.  It’s amazing to me that there are people out there who actually enjoy reading what I write.