It’s the season finale and we have come back to the same question that always threads through this story. If this happened to you, who would you be? Would you become what you needed to be to survive? If you couldn’t, would that mean the end of you? How would you deal with the monsters both outside and within? It seems impossible to tell who is a ‘good’ person anymore.
If Terminus is any indication, it is only the people in your tribe. Everyone else is fair game -- literally. I think what is different in our group is that they still want to be good people. Rick is shocked at his own behaviour and Daryl is upset that he was even associated with Joe and his gang. Maggie and Glenn's group just walked into Terminus, happy to be fed and looking for others like them. It's a good bet that the food was drugged and from the skeletons heaped behind the fence our group ran past, it was probably people they were eating.
The flashbacks to the prison were painful. The opening scene with Glenn and Maggie so relaxed and happy was heartbreaking. Hershel was there, a ghost trying to bring peace to Rick and Carl. It was so sad to watch them all hope while you knew that it would all come crashing down. The Rick and Carl from before the attempt at farming have returned and have kept them alive. As Rick says, it is his monster that has protected himself and Carl. It was interesting to watch him accept that part of himself. Perhaps by doing that he will have more control over it. Does that mean that all survivors must also be monsters? Is that why Terminus is still there? Frankly, I prefer the violent monster of Rick to the cool cunning of Gareth. Even with monsters, there is a line. Joe and his crew were all monster and probably were before the apocalypse.
There was a lot of foreshadowing and clues in this episode. The snare for the rabbit was a metaphor for the trap that Terminus set. The constant chatter about food also spoke to possible shortages that might call for desperate measures. There was also a lot of talk about, and illustration of, human monsters. It is interesting that the threat is shifting from walkers to other survivors. I know that there was a lot of conjecture that the people at Terminus were cannibals. The skeletons seem to prove that and the train cars with people in them seem to support it but I’m not sure how you would get an entire village to agree to it and be so calm when people arrive. If Rick and the group were just meat, it would have made sense to kill them. It would be less trouble although maybe they needed fattening up. But why would you take people’s things if you were going to incorporate them into your group? I still haven’t bought the cannibal thing completely, but that might just be because I find it abhorrent.
So where are the lines of monstrous behaviour now? Raping women and young boys is obviously over the line. Killing humans is not anymore, or even letting them die to save yourself. As time goes on, the line slides. Is eating humans over the line? If they are bad? If there is no more food? Maybe it is okay if you only do it until the first crops come in or you find some livestock.
Finally, as predicted, our whole group is still not together. We have no Tyreese, Carol, Judith or Beth. They may be at Terminus in another car or they may be still to come in various ways. While I didn’t find this the best of the season finales, at least there is quite a set-up for next fall. We probably need the Terminus people to be monsters if our group is going to destroy them, but it would be so much more interesting if they are actually good people and our group, albeit unintentionally, are the monsters this time.
Bits and Pieces
I wasn’t fond of the explanation for Michonne’s actions. It would have been enough that her partner insisted on staying at the camp even when she had argued it was dangerous.
I enjoyed the reunion of Rick and Daryl. I found it unusual that Rick didn't ask any questions when Daryl said that Beth was just gone.
Carl cleaning his gun on a colouring book was a nice metaphor. Not to mention Patrick playing with Legos. Patrick was doing what Rick hoped Carl would do, but Carl is alive and Patrick is dead.
The Ringleader, the Archer and the Samurai. They sound like comic book heroes.
Things I could live without: The poor guy being ripped apart by walkers as Carl watched. Rick stabbing the guy over and over again after taking a chunk out of Joe’s throat.
Hershel: "Ever since I gave Glenn my watch, it's right now to me."
Rick: "Yeah, it's always the same, isn't it? We don’t get to know until we know."
Joe: "Shit and I was thinking of turning in early on New Year's Eve."
Daryl: "You want blood, I get it. Take it from me, man." (Have I mentioned that I love Daryl?)
Rick: "He's mine."
Rick: "You being back with us here, now, that's everything. You're my brother."
Michonne: "I was gone for a long time."
Carl: "I'm just another monster, too."
Written on the wall in the room full of candles: "We first, always." (That seems to be the motto of any group of survivors).
Rick: "They're gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out."
Ford: "Find out what?"
Rick: "They’re screwing with the wrong people."