If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
For the second half of The Walking Dead Season 4, the survivors have been following the train tracks and converging on the offered sanctuary at Terminus.
The majority of those episodes tried focusing on character and inciting hope at the end of a long and tiring journey. And in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 15, Maggie, Glenn, Bob, Sasha, Abraham, Rosita and Eugene all arrived to find a welcoming committee that just seemed way too suspicious.
Would Terminus turn out to be another Woodbury?
The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 16 kept that question dangling in front of us for a good portion of the hour, but provided additional tension and danger before even getting to the answer that everyone had been contemplating.
Of course, starting things off in a relatively cheery way (and with that dark flash forward cold open) for Rick, Carl and Michonne set the tone of what was to come. Smiles would be gone, that explanation of the animal trap foreshadowed the characters’ own fate and the flashbacks of farming life provided the major contrast of the characters' lives then and now.
It was tough seeing that past Rick, who had finally settled down at the prison, listened to Hershel and wanted to help his son have that normal life without getting sucked into the dark world outside. And yet, ultimately, even if at that moment it worked, that world would be shattered.
It was certainly a super dark moment when Daryl and his new crew caught up to Rick, Carl and Michonne. There was a huge level of tension as to what was going to happen. Would Daryl sacrifice himself for them? Would someone die?
Turns out, that storyline was tied up after Rick took a massive chunk out of the ringleader’s neck. I was not prepared for that at all. Thank goodness that sketchy crew was dispatched, but even that final guy who was messing with Carl had a graphic ending to his life. You don’t mess with Rick’s people, especially not his son.
And I liked getting that quiet daytime moment of Daryl and Rick bonding. It’s become so dark for the characters, but there are still those moments that allow for them to those “brothers” and to persevere through all of the messed up stuff.
Even Michonne’s conversation with Carl was a nice touching moment in explaining the “monster” theory and revealing what happened to her own family. Yet, she showed that you can come back to the light and Rick is clearly going to do what he can to save his crew.
But there was still the question of Terminus, and I liked that Rick and the others were tactical about entering the location. They didn’t just run up to the front door; they remained super skeptical.
Which made meeting Gareth and the Terminus people even more scary. Sure, they seemed nice and precautionary. Wouldn’t Rick and his survivors do the same if someone showed up on their doorstep?
However, this The Walking Dead episode dragged that suspense along before revealing our other survivors’ belongings were no longer with their respective owners. That’s not your riot gear, watch or poncho, Terminus.
At first, I marveled at how horrible shots the Terminus people were, then realized Rick, Carl, Michonne and Daryl were being guided along a path. Did you see all those “A” markings?
But wouldn’t it have been crazy if the show killed off the other survivors? There was so much anticipation for how the finale was going to end things that I’m sure many viewers’ minds were going wild with various thoughts and predictions.
It even crossed my mind that maybe Carl would die. He can’t die, right? Still, there seemed a strong possibility that anything could happen.
For a show that sometimes makes it too easy to think nothing will happen to our main characters in dire situations, (you know, like predictably watching the random glasses guy get devoured), the hour kept a pretty fast pace of suspense and possibility of death for the characters.
As much as I feared for Rick, Carl, Michonne and Daryl getting put on the train, I enjoyed hearing their nicknames of ringleader, archer and samurai.
But we finally got the reunion we've all been waiting for, albeit all trapped in a train car under Terminus’ control. Still, seeing them together was exciting, as was Rick’s final words.
We may not know what Terminus actually is. We may not know where Beth is. And we may have no clue where the show and the characters are headed when it returns for The Walking Dead Season 5.
But that exciting hour kept me hooked down to the final minutes, caring about our band of survivors, giving us action, walkers and character moments and holding onto a little bit of mystery until next time.
What a great way to close out The Walking Dead Season 4.
Your turn, TV Fanatics! What did you think? What would you grade the season finale?
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.