‘The Walking Dead’ Season Finale Recap: Ep. 16 — ‘A’

“The Walking Dead” delivered a heart-pounding Season 4 finale that brought terror, reunions and hinted at the terrible truth of Terminus.

Here’s our blow-by-blow recap of “The Walking Dead,” Season 4, Episode 416, “A”

Flashback, The Prison: “Hi daddy,” Maggie says, exiting the group’s car as they drive through the prison gates in this opening sequence flashback. “You’re a sight for sore eyes,” Hershel replies (as Scott Wilson makes a return cameo). Rick and Carl reconnect too, dad admitting he had trouble while he was out on a run. As father and son walk through the grounds to continue their daily activities, Hershel stares suspiciously at Carl.

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Flash-Forward, The Side Of A Car: Rick’s hands are coated in blood and shaking. Seated beside a broken down vehicle all alone, his face is also drenched.

The Present, The Woods: “How hungry are you? Scale of 1-10,” Rick asks Carl and Michonne as they grumble over their empty bellies. The trio heads out to check their traps and Rick notes he’s, “almost there,” regarding his health. With thoughts of Terminus on his mind, Carl asks if they’ll tell the people there the truth. “We’re gonna tell them who we are,” Rick tells his son. “Who are we?” Carl asks.

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Flashback, The Prison: Rick is sleeping in his prison bunk when Hershel steps in to wake him up. He needs help on something. Beth walks over and takes baby Judith. “What are we doing?” Rick asks. “You’ll see,” Hershel replies, telling Rick he won’t need his gun.

The Present, Train Tracks: After a walker scare, Rick, Michonne and Carl head down the road, deciding to camp near the broken down vehicle (the one seen in the opening sequence flash-forward).

Sitting by the fire, Rick and Michonne discuss Terminus. She wonders if it’s “legit.” They let people in when they were running the prison. “So did the Governor,” Michonne replies. Bam! Just when they thought they were safe, the cold steel of a gun meets Rick’s cheek. “Oh dearie me,” Joe says, emerging from the darkness with his men, ready to take their revenge on Rick for killing Lou in the house.

“Today’s the day of reckoning, sir, of restitution, of balancing the whole universe,” Joe says, as one of his men eyes up Carl in the car. “Joe,” Daryl Dixon says, emerging from the darkness. “Hold up!” Daryl tries to make a plea for his old friends, telling Joe to let them go. “These are good people,” he says, telling Joe if he wants blood to take him.

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Joe refuses Daryl’s offer, and considers Daryl’s statement – that Rick and his group are “good people,” a lie – something that breaks his code. “First, we’re gonna beat Daryl to death, then we’ll have the girl, then the boy. Then I’m gonna shoot you and we’ll be square,” Joe tells Rick, as one of his men throws young Carl on to the ground.

Like an animal, Rick knocks Joe’s gun back with his head. As it goes off, it disorients Joe long enough for Rick to jump up, and for all hell to break lose. Still weakened from the prison attack, Rick is no match for Joe. “What the hell are you gonna do now, sport,” Joe asks. Rick answers by biting into his neck and tearing it out with his teeth. Michonne grabs a gun and Daryl takes down the men beating him.

Running on adrenaline, Rick takes apart the man who was going to rape Carl, stabbing him again and again as Michonne holds Carl tight.

Flashback, The Prison Fields: “I teach you how to do this, you teach Carl. We’re going to be here a while,” Hershel tells Rick about farming and pig raising, and advising him to stay close to the prison. Hershel also brings up how he watched Carl shoot the kid from Woodbury. “He needs his father,” Hershel notes.

The Present, At The Car In The Road: The show returns to a bloodied Rick, seated on the dirt in front of the car. Inside the vehicle, Michonne strokes Carl’s head as he sleeps. Walking over to Rick, Daryl hands his friend a rag to clean up with, and apologizes for his association with Joe’s group. “I didn’t know what they were,” Daryl says. Rick doesn’t blame him. Daryl was hanging back, ready to flee Joe’s gang when he saw his old friends and had to step in. “It’s not on you, Daryl,” Rick says. “You’re my brother.” Feeling more confident thanks to Rick’s words, Daryl has comforting ones of his own. “What you did last night, anybody woulda done that,” Daryl says. “No, not that,” Rick replies, noting he’ll do what he has to, to keep Carl safe.

Hitting the road again, Rick suggests they approach Terminus from the woods.

Outside Terminus: Rick, Daryl, Carl and Michonne split up to scout out the area around Terminus. Carl teams up with Michonne, who reveals how her son, Andre, her boyfriend Mike, and his friend, Terry, died. It happened while she was on a run. She decided to make Mike and Terry into walker pets. “I made it so they couldn’t bite, couldn’t scratch. I tied chains around their necks,” she tells Carl. Michonne thought it would be a reminder of what she deserved, but they kept her safe. “The walkers didn’t see me anymore. I was just another monster,” she recounts to Carl, noting Andrea, Rick and Carl brought her back from that bleak time. Carl knows his father cares for him and is impressed by who he has become, but he doesn’t believe it himself. “I’m not what he thinks I am. I’m just another monster too,” Carl tells her.

The scouting mission completed, Rick buries weapons in the woods. “Just in case,” he tells Daryl.

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Inside Terminus: The group walks through the back, meeting a man named Gareth. “You here to rob us?” Gareth asks. “No,” Rick says. “We wanted to see you before you saw us.” Gareth motions to another man, Alex, to take them out front to where people are usually greeted at Terminus – after they are frisked first.

In the courtyard, Mary says hello as she fries up some meat. While looking around, Rick sees an item he recognizes, then another, and a third. He grabs Alex, aims his gun at his head and demands to know where the watch he has came from.

Flashback, The Prison: Patrick, the first victim of the Season 4 virus, is playing with toys for youngsters, while Carl nearby is working on loading a gun. Rick watches, and Hershel’s suggestions seem to set in.

Terminus: “Where’d you get the watch?” Rick demands. “I got it off the dead one, didn’t think he’d need it,” Alex tells him. Gareth says they got the poncho Rick spotted (the one Maggie was wearing last week) on a clothes line. The situation quickly escalates. “Where are our people?” Rick screams.

Shooting breaks out, and Rick, Carl, Michonne and Daryl run throughout Terminus looking for cover, and through an area that is marked “A.” (They even run past what looks like human bones, meat, and drying skins.) The bullets miss them, but seem to prompt them to run through an area that’s seen gun fire before. In the end, it’s no use for Rick, Carl, Michonne and Daryl. As they reach the fence, men spring out of the bushes, their weapons aimed at Rick’s group.

“Drop your weapons, now,” Gareth shouts. He orders them to line up in front of a train car on the premises, using the threat of killing Carl as a bargaining chip. “Stand at the door — ringleader, archer, samurai, in that order.” “My son,” Rick shouts, not wanting to leave Carl to the twisted Terminus group.

“Go, kid,” Gareth says, as Carl walks over to join his group. Gareth orders Rick to go inside or they’ll kill Carl. Rick opens the door and steps into the train car. Daryl and Michonne follow. Carl slowly walks up the steps behind them.

Terminus, Inside The Train Car: “Rick,” a man asks. It’s Glenn! Behind him is Sasha, a shirtless Bob, a poncho-free Maggie, as well as new faces to Rick’s group – Sgt. Abraham Ford, Dr. Eugene Porter, Rosita and Tara. Maggie introduces them as friends. “For however long that’ll be,” Sgt. Ford replies. “No,” Rick says.

Flashback, The Prison Farm: “It can be like this all the time,” Hershel tells Rick as the dad teaches his son how to plant. “It’s like this now. That’s enough,” Rick replies.

Terminus, Inside The Train Car: “They’re gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out,” Rick says to the newly reunited group. “Find out what?” Abraham says. “They’re screwing with the wrong people.”

-- Jolie Lash

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