‘The Walking Dead’ Season 4 Finale Review – Just Another Monster

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Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 16 The Walking Dead Season 4 Finale Review – Just Another Monster

[This is a review of The Walking Dead season 4, episode 16. There will be SPOILERS.]

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Remember when all Hershel wanted to do was plant some soy beans in the prison yard and maybe start transforming a truly dismal location into a place that people wanted to be and to stay and perhaps one day even prosper? And remember how that led to Rick becoming a farmer for about two weeks, before he had to sacrifice his pigs to get the walkers away from the fence; and it was harrowing to see a man willingly destroy something he’d worked so hard to obtain? Have you recalled that, in the end, it didn’t really matter because the pigs were the likely cause of the flu outbreak sweeping through the prison, turning the survivors’ supposed safe haven into an incubator for walkers and that was just before the Governor showed up and ruined what was turning into a pretty gloomy party anyway?

Well, if you forgot, The Walking Dead season 4 finale, ‘A’, would be happy to remember it for you, or at least give you a somewhat fresh take on a bleak situation, so as to better bridge the concept of sanctuary between the prison and now Terminus (which, as it turns out, is about as much as much of a safe haven as Darryl’s new buddies were traveling bible salesmen). At any rate, Terminus, as many had suspected, is full of well-armed, meat-loving cannibals. Yes, the people taking to the airwaves, promising shelter and plastering the train tracks with maps and signs leading right to them are – if the stacks of human bones are any indication – serving up hunks of human flesh like it’s comfort food, presumably stuffing newcomers’ stomachs and minds with the idea of plentiful fresh meat, before turning them into the next day’s lunch special.

This being the audience’s fourth go-round with The Walking Dead, the idea that a group of seemingly charitable, socially minded people would turn out to be sadistic people eaters probably didn’t come with any sense of real shock or even awe. And the same can probably be said for ‘A’ as a whole. That’s not saying the episode was a dud by any means; it’s just that serving up people when people are already on the menu – as is the conceit of the entire series – doesn’t fill one with a great sense of astonishment.

Denise Crosby in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 16 The Walking Dead Season 4 Finale Review – Just Another Monster

But it does help make the episode’s theme feel more resonant than it has during season finales in the past. And to his credit, Scott M. Gimple managed to get the message of just another monster and all the possible variations on that theme through with remarkable clarity. At this point in the particular zombie apocalypse of The Walking Dead, immorality is as much of an all-pervading infection as the virus (or whatever it is) that’s reanimating corpses all over the place. To a certain extent, everyone is carrying the same diseased integrity, and it’s turning seemingly healthy, living people into the kinds of monsters that plan, scheme, and lure their way to getting what they want, rather than shamble around aimlessly until some hapless individuals with heartbeats inadvertently rouse the innate need to feed within a rotting brain.

Time and again, Gimple goes back to the notion that, as a result of the current situation these characters are in, everyone, either living or dead, is in some way a monster – or is incredibly close to becoming one. Rick’s flashbacks to when Hershel was teaching him the way of the farmer aren’t there just as yet another reminder of what’s been lost since the series began; they also demonstrate how the circumstances of the world – as it is for Rick and the other survivors right now – dictates the manner in which people choose to survive, and to live. Michonne’s boyfriend and his buddy were responsible for their own deaths, and the death of her child, so she came as close as possible to becoming one of the monsters plaguing the world. Daryl’s temporary pack is just a group of thieves and killers, but they had a code; they had figured out a way to make the world function in a way that worked for them. Aside from the wanton killing, and the nightmarish things they were bound to inflict on Carl and Michonne, Joe and his wannabe biker gang were essentially just like every other group in The Walking Dead since the series premiere: just people trying to make it in a world turned upside down. And as the show has often attempted to prove, the easiest way to make it is to become the monster everyone fears. Perhaps unsurprisingly, ‘A’ also points out – or, Rick, Michonne, and Daryl do, rather – that sometimes, the only way to survive is to become exactly the same thing.

Whether that is the message the series needs to be working so hard to get across at this juncture in its sure-to-be-lengthy tenure is less certain. It is, after all, just a slightly different spin on the same old theme – which became the literal writing on the wall inside the Terminus compound: “Never again. Never trust. We First, Always.” That’s a terrifically simplified take on the world the show has shown very little of, but it works; primarily because it encapsulates all of the series’ major thematic arcs into a compact phrase that describes any story The Walking Dead is likely to tell – whether Scott M. Gimple is at the helm or not.

Chandler Riggs in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 16 The Walking Dead Season 4 Finale Review – Just Another Monster

Still, give credit to Gimple for being the showrunner to understand that the only real option the series has is to boil storylines down to the same base elements and then set them on repeat until the whole thing finally gives out. It’s the opposite of aiming for narrative intricacy, but that kind of expansion on concept isn’t really in the show’s wheelhouse. There’s even a meta moment toward the end of ‘A’ where the group’s captor, Gareth, boils down each character to a basic idea of a person, a simple identifier like “ringleader”, “archer” and “samurai” that robs them of their humanity, but at the same time, it demonstrates how easy it is for characters and situations on the show to be reduced to straightforward, simple components, and how much better off the show feels when it does precisely that.

There is a wonderful, entertaining simplicity to Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and Carl running through Terminus after Rick spots the pocket watch Hershel gave to Glenn not long ago. The unambiguousness of the cannibals herding food toward a train car presents the show with a clear delineation of character and intent that sometimes gets lost when episodes try to make certain individuals feel the weight of their decisions, rather than actually acting on them.

In the end, the survivors are in quite the pickle, but hearing Rick tell his crew their captors are “screwing with the wrong people,” feels like precisely the kind of action the show needs from its central characters. As far as the cliffhanger that ‘A’ leaves the season on, it too is relatively simple, but it produces a effortless, effective, and welcome feeling of excitement and anticipation that the series hasn’t had since the end of season 2.

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The Walking Dead will return for season 5 in the fall of 2014 on AMC.

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  1. It wasn’t a bad episode by any means. However it did confirm my ultimate fear that we had already seen the season finale 8 episodes ago.

    ‘Too Far Gone’ hit such a peak in terms of excitement and consequence that ‘A’ predictably was never going to match it. It again highlights the whole issue of mid-season finales to begin with. Whether you read the comics or not you pretty much knew Terminus was anything but a new safe haven, so there was no edge to it when the reveal happened.

    Some of the character centric episodes were good (whilst others were just pointless) and perhaps the change of pace was needed. But none of the events (or lack of them) had any bearing on the finale itself. I guess this is what frustrates viewers is that instead of spending entire episodes on Daryl and Beth arguing or Michonne and Carl bonding, more time could’ve been used to build up towards Terminus and making a more intense finale.

    Overall the season has been good but not great. There have been some truly outstanding episodes – perhaps the best of the entire series. There’s been considerable effort to humanize Michonne and Rick is becoming a much stronger presence again. And at least there is some sort of cliffhanger to make you wait for season 5.

    Walking Dead is a good show. It doesn’t nearly suffer from the ponderous and scattershot aimlessness of Game Of Thrones.

    The problem has always been with the actual concept itself and how there is seemingly no end game, just a never ending cycle of survival. Even if the group get out of this situation, where do they go from there? Get split up, find each other again in another sanctuary then split up again.

    In Falling Skies at least the heroes have a chance to overcome their situation. But here there is no set cure, no paradise land to journey towards. It’s just endless struggle which eventually gets repetitive and boring – despite the violence and intensity.

    Despite all this still looking towards next season.

    • The show seems to have pattern as far as story and flow at this point, and even though the comic has run for a long time I don’t know how long the show will keep the interest of a wide audience over the long haul.

      It has already been established that moving is problematic for the survivors and anywhere they settle will be compromised at some point by walkers or living enemies, so as you said there seems to be no end game and everything right now is just the middle without a goal.

      The character cycle is also starting to look repetitive. Dale was the elder voice of reason until he was killed off and replaced by Hershel, who was killed off. Carol’s daughter was a background player who was killed after she went missing and ended up in the barn, which provided shock value at the time. The two sisters this season were used along the same lines.

    • Not only that, what we saw 8 episodes ago was actually the season 3 finale, if they hadn’t dragged out the Governor story line like they do with absolutely everything.

      It took this season 8 episodes to get where the show should have been at the end of season 3. Then 8 more episodes to get to a place that is even remotely interesting.

  2. Here is my two cents.

    Maybe Scott got stuck with a pre-made script of an already idea that the show was suppose to go but did a few twitch here and there to make it more where HE really wants to go for season 5, this is just a big MAYBE.

    As far as the finale goes, I enjoyed it just for the fact that they didn’t drag the Terminus thing, it happened quick and now we don’t have to go through 8 episodes of them exploring what the terminus really is. I think season 5 will be a lot better (this is just me hoping) and since most of character developing has been process (with present cast) I believe season 5 is going to explode with a lot of feats.

  3. This might be my favorite episode of The Walking Dead. Ever!

    The acting, direction, everything. They adapted some of my favorite comic book moments, and also put their own spin on it (like the Hunters/Terminus thing). This was one of the most intense one hour of television I’ve seen since Breaking Bad.

    Yeah, this season has had it’s slow moments and some problems here and there, but the writing was never bad. I can’t think of one character this season that was absolutely stupid. Not having Andrea around was a glorious thing.

    This was my favorite season of The Walking Dead so far, I can’t wait to see what happens next season :D

    • Do you work for the studio,you must do, because you are the only fan who thinks this was anything close to good, never mind the best ep ever,

  4. Could someone tell me how the bikers knew that Rick killed there friend? or am I missing something?

    • When one of the bikers was being strangled in the house, he saw Rick under the bed. Before he could say anything he passed out. Rewatch Rick’s whole escape scene in Claimed.

  5. Rewatching the episode for the third time today, I finally caught why it was called “A”…when the Termites were herding the group all the doors and walls were labeled A along with the box car..this was a pre-designed herding route that hey had been using every time they got a group together…

    I really think the group sat outside that fence for a while and saw things like the boxcar and the meals being brought there..this is not the old Rick..I think that is one of the reasons he says they have messed with the wrong group..

    • Thanks for pointing that out. I need to watch the episode again, but I really had no idea why the episode was titled A. I heard a rumor that the first episode of season 5 will be titled B, so we’ll see what that relates to (another trap or another label. “Plan B” maybe?)

      • Cannibalism is also called anthropophagy so the A might also reference that as well.

      • I noticed the A part but now I have to go and rewatch the episode.

        Also… the episode prior was called “Us” + “A”? Hmmm
        I also agree that somewhere along the way of running through that camp they had to realize they were running into a trap.

        I enjoyed the episode. It was great. I dont see where people are saying it wasnt even remotely good were watching. It was an intense ride.

  6. IT.

    WAS.

    EPIC!

  7. Ahh thanks Robert W I actually though that guy died in that scene that’s why I was asking..thanks for clearing that up :)

    • No problem :D

      And to clarify that the guy was still alive, he’s the one in the finale pointing the gun at michonne, who she shot in the face.

  8. I’ve been here since the beginning, watched every episode and now I’ve read every issue of the comic book. I love this show but not nearly as much as I love Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad. Anyway, because I have read the comics and because the show generally follows the major plot beats of the comics. So I knew there would be a period of separation and wandering characters. However, it really began to piss me off. I love the little character moments like Carl defeating a walker then eating pudding on the roof or Beth trying to look for some alcohol and telling Daryl more about herself. They couldve really streamlined the story lines. I didnt need to know more about Daryl, the audience already knew he came from a troubled family etc. It really began to drag for me. If they couldve cut out some of the fat there wouldve been at least 1 more episode to explore Terminus other than 20 minutes at the end of the finale. Most of the audience was probably getting very frustrated and there wasnt very much of a reward at the end of the track. We got the group herded into a train car and a creepy room with candles. I think there shouldve been more answers given after the previous 7 episodes of walking around. Rick is my main man and he is the character I most want to see on the screen so therefore I was getting tired of spending the night with Beth or spending the night with Maggie and Glen. Another thing is how much the appearance of Abe and Rosita and Eugene were hyped up and it turns out they were in like 5 scenes. Idk, I loved the finale and I wont throw a tantrum and say I am gonna stop watching cause I wont. I just feel like giving a show 16 or 18 or 22 episodes creates filler episodes that dont really drive the plot. Game of Thrones is 10 episodes and is very tight and cant afford to put filler in. Any British drama like Sherlock or Line of Duty, they get 3 and 6 episodes respectively and something is always happening and I just wish TWD would cut dont some fat and streamline things more so we can have more big moments and characters that we care about over some of the others. On the other hand, for the most par, Scott Gimple did an awsome job this season

    • I really don’t see a great job done by Scott Gimple … not as a show runner. This season was just a downfall and sometimes it feels like a training camp for writers to prove and experiment their writing skills … but at the expense of a consistent group plot and the whole thing. So nope … not a good job, Mr. Gimple. Not as show runner.

  9. I really like it when the bikers die, but do not come back as zombies. Or all the automatic fire that cannot hit anyone, at all, even when it was impossible to miss them due to the recoil. Or Rick not being able to hit the cannibal 20 feet away, or Carl, or Daryl not even bothering to load the crossbow for the entire scene. What about the small army the cannibals had on the roofs AND outside the fence? So how exactly did Rick & Co. sneak in?

    Stop polishing the truth, it was just another episode. The mid-season finale was far better. Hell, that last line was destroyed by the retarded flash-backs that wasted so much of our time. AMC should really spin the wheel again and get another showrunner, this one is out of juice.

    • Agreed with the flashbacks (just a waste of time to repeat and make clear what should be clear without flashbacks). And also agreed that in this season many dumb and implausible things happened (just for show or to create a certain effect … despite its totally implausible) … but the automatic fire from the roof that didn’t hit them wasn’t that stupid, because it was pretty clear that it was a setup and they miss them on purpose to force them in a certain direction and in the end have them exactly where they wanted them.

  10. This season was terrible, and the finale was awful. It’s hard to understand how so many people can praise it the way they have. It’s almost as if 5 minutes of substance erases a season of nothing. It’s almost pathetic. It’s how shows like this, Dexter, Lost etc, all become so bad. People become so enamored with the idea of the show, that no matter what route the show takes, these people will love it… The ratings go up, and the show runners think they’re producing a hit. When in actuality the ideas are running dry, the execution is becoming half hearted, and the whole show becomes routine and formulaic. It’s at this point the show runners concentrate more on producing revenue, as opposed to creating a quality story.

    This show has been terrible since it returned for the second half of season 3.
    To start, they are forcing too many characters on the viewer, characters that if you’re not a fan of the source material, it’s really difficult to care about. (Tyreese, Sasha, Bob, the lesbian girl, the two kids, even beth) And giving them all standalone episodes really makes the show feel watered down. I understand that the characters needed to scatter. But instead of having a full hour dedicated to one group, where 75% of the episode is meaningless character back story, and forced character / relationship development, and the other 25% is dedicated to walking around. Why not consolidate all the stories into one or two episodes. This way you eliminate the fluff, and filler conversation.

    Second: The walkers have really become ho-hum. I understand that they’re intended to be in the background, and that the show focuses on how everyone becomes a monster in the post apocalyptic world. But they’ve taken some of the bite (pun intended) out of these monsters. The characters don’t seem to be in any real danger. In this world if you have a sharp object, a gun (which there seems to be an endless supply of…Which I’m sure upsets Obama supporters), or can walk faster than an old lady with a broken leg, you’re safe from the walkers. This to me takes away from the danger the group faces either with the Governor or the Cannibals etc. It’s as if the governor came in and inconvenienced the group rather than compromising their entire well being…

    It’s really not the underlining story arch that I have a problem with. It’s the execution. It’s the fact that 50% of every episode is filler (bad convos, walker head shots, or walking around) 25% is commercials, 20% is dedicated to the previously on, or on the next episode of the Walking Dead. And that last 5% is actual substance. The bottom line is AMC is looking to draw this out and milk it for as long as it can.
    They could have taken out 75% of the filler in this season and it could have been great. And I do mean great.

    1. 2-3 episodes MAX dealing with the flu outbreak (however stupid that part of the story was)
    2. 2 stand alone episodes following the Governor
    3. The prison battle

    – in 5 episodes you’ve told a story they needed 8 episodes to tell, instead we had to watch “Brian” pretend some strangers were his new family, or We had to watch council meetings talking about finding some Nyquil for the sick people. —

    With those remaining 3 episodes in the first half you can take the needed breather and have the scattered groups walking to find Terminus. You can cover the emotional toll and the bonds these people are forming just fine with those 3 episodes. Then you cap off the first half of season 4 with what happened at the end of “A”

    You come back from the break and resolve the terminus situation in 3-5 episodes, and you have to group move on to the next inevitable disaster. They don’t need to be in one location for more than a couple of episodes. That was the beauty of the unrest.

    This show to me seems well past it’s prime. and there really doesn’t seem to be any hope of a turn around. Since Frank Darabont left, you can tell things have started to slide downhill.

    I hope they turn it around, I really loved seasons 1-3.1

    • Totally agreed! Exactly what I’m thinking about the show … it lost direction somewhen in the second half of season 3 and season 4 is 95 % filler and stretching the plot and just 5% substantial character and plot development.

    • I’m a Obama supporter and I don’t have a problem with guns. All liberals want, is for there to be better regulations on guns. Obama is in his 6th year of his presidency and still hasn’t come for your guns. So, I think you’re safe. Jeez

      • I can’t believe you fell for political trollism and felt compelled to respond to it.

    • I’d love to see the formula used to attribute 20% to previously / next on when 1 minute (30 second previously on and 30 second next on) of an average 43 min only equals 2.3%.

      I do agree that 4.5 was abyssmal in the pacing department, but it would appear in Gimple that AMC finally got the show-runner they wanted: someone who would roll over and do whatever they wanted up to and including primarily indoor zombie-less scenes, entire episode focused on the smallest portion of the case, and stagnating the narrative to the point that it’s at a crawl and fosters the two previous desires.

      If you’ll recall, these were issues Darabont specifically pointed out was an issue between he and AMC and, though Mazarra never publicly stated the whys, I’m pretty sure it came down to the same.

  11. The whole cannibal thing is pretty interesting, I remember the same scenario in an apocalyse movie ( “The Road,” maybe ? ) a few years back. Only thing I’m wondering about is how much longer can this show go on ? I know tons and tons of fans love it, and I guess for that reason alone the series will have a long shelf life, but I for one feel the novelty is wearing off some. It just seems like it’ll always be group finding a haven (safe or not), group killing walkers, group fighting off bad people in other groups, etc.. I’ll be glued to the set until it all ends, but is it just me or perhaps things are getting just a bit redundant ?

    • Cannibalism was a very interesting aspect of the film ‘The Road’ because an environmental apocalypse was literally causing the earth to rot. The timeline in the road was somewhere 10-20 years after the cataclysmic event had occurred. As a result, there were no zombies wandering the landscape, nor animals, nor insects for that matter. The cannibalism that was depicted in the film was occurring because there was little to no food left to find.

      However, the act of Cannibalism carries severe heath risks. Even in the tribal societies in which it was once practiced, it would only occur during ceremonial or special occasions. Most cannibal situations in modern times have only occurred during extreme survival scenarios, or in the rare case of serial killers.

      That is why the concept of a community of cannibals is falling so flat on this show,

      1. You have an entire community of people who once functioned in normal society who now for whatever reasons love to eat humans evidently.

      2. Before you say ‘hey man it’s a show about zombies’ evidently not, because the zombies don’t seem to exist around Terminus, owing to their pristine zombie free fences.

      3. Food is still plentiful in this world as evidenced by the supplies the group is running across in addition to the animals they are still able to catch. So the concept of an entire community deciding to sustain themselves on resource; (human beings/ survivors) that would be dwindling exponentially is ridiculous.

      • The cannibal angle just seems to come up in these types of stories, I guess they just chalk it up to people going crazy. One of the funniest cannibal scenarios was in that British movie Doomsday where the people went all Road Warrior and ate people even though packs of cows were roaming around outside of where they lived.

        One of the issues that threw me off this season was the lack of sense how much time had passed and the proximity of the separated group members and the things they encountered. I cannot figure out how Ford and his group did not run across Jeff Kober and the Dreadnoks or how the latter group never wandered near Terminus. And we still don’t know what the deal was with that funeral home and who took Beth.

  12. With his new found canine choppers , I’m sure Rick wouldn’t put this talent to waste. You could only imagine what he would be capable of trying to lead his conglomerate out of this flesh eating compound called Terminus.
    http://www.bahalananurseblog.com/2014/04/theres-new-sheriff-in-town.html

  13. i found many of the episodes in part 2 of season 4 ponderous and labored they often lacked the correct ambiance with houses looking very new after 4 years and protection form walkers being a few cans tied to a tree. The script was strained also but the final episode has left me wanting to see season 5. I want to see these cannibals get it which they will. There aren’t to many directions the show can go so they should do what they do best over and over till it runs out of steam. It would be nice(nice?)if the walkers could speed up a bit which would add a bit of extra menace.

    • Hasn’t been 4 years, Joe. Probably bordering on 3 at this point. Show isn’t proceeding in real time. 4 seasons doesn’t constitute the passage of 4 years. It just doesn’t work that way in the passage of time in the storyline.

    • Indeed, as Robert stated, the story time is much more slowly than the real time. 4 seasons don’t mean 4 years … by far not!

      Season 1 and season 2 all happend witin one year … the outbreak started somewhen in spring or early summer, then Rick was in coma for some time (a month or so?) and then they moved on … in end summer or autumn they found Hershel’s farm and at the end of season 2 the first winter came!
      At the beginning of season 3 the group survived the first winter after the outbreak and then found the prison in spring. The whole season 3 and obviously also season 4 happened in spring, summer and autumn of the first year after the outbreak.

      Now it should be late autumn and winter forthcoming in my opinion. Obviously the group benefit from global warming since there are no signs of winter so far ;-)

      So overall, I guess, in story time just about 2 years passed.

  14. anthropophagy is another name for cannibalism, so the A title of the ep could be referencing that as well.

  15. Apparently nobody noticed Beth at Terminus apart from me. OK the camera was only on her for 2 or 3 seconds. It’s at around 30 minutes, when Rick and the others are just about to get a plate. The camera pans around the yard and Beth is sitting back to the camera at a table with an empty plate in front of her. The camera lingers there for a short while.

    It’s definately her I tell you!

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BkKgWpJCQAAuaK3.png:large

    • That was one of the Terminus people west ng one of the group members poncho. That’s how Rick caught on along with the watch & riot gear.

      • I don’t think so, I think it’s Beth. We’ll see in season 5!

      • You’re right Slayer. Not Beth. It was obvious too that Daryl would make it to Terminus when Maggie and group comes up on Terminus wearing his poncho. As if she had time to go get the poncho after the prison was attacked, and why would she grab the PONCHO??? With people binge watching these show, the writers have to be much more careful to make all those details believable. Also, if Maggie and crew showed up a day before and had been stripped of their personal belongings, why didn’t they do that with Rick’s crew before loading them into the train car? Daryl’s vest and Carl’s hat would be quite a prize for someone. Which reminds me, I thought that it was sloppy thinking of the Terminus crew, to wear their captured’s belongings so soon after their capture- just in case of what could happen, that did happen-Rick noticing.
        Anyone notice what they were making in that warehouse besides signs? They were doing something else too but I couldn’t figure it out.

        • I am not sure of the travel path of the poncho, but if my memory serves me Glenn might have gotten it from Judith’s car seat when he finally left the prison. I think Daryl initially used it to wrap Judith up and he has not had it for awhile.

          As for the Terminus group keeping trophies I doubt they thought about different groups of people that knew each other showing up. Besides it’s a plot point, it does not need to make complete sense ;)

  16. I hope rick and company will kick some terminus butt. I really liked the episode it was good the only thing I did not like was all the flashbacks from when they were at the prison. I wonder if they have beth

  17. yeah now lets wait almost a whole entire year before we get to see another episode, like anyone is going to give a s*** after waiting so long. At least we got to see character development this season something you don’t see a lot of when you only get 12 or 13 episodes and then wait almost another year just to see the next episode, thank god prime-time still gives me 22 episodes and I just have to wait through the summer, programming sucks especially in the UK!!!!!

  18. Referring back to previous posts, I think Rick knew what this place was. They had surveyed and hidden weapons.

    Let’s see how they mess with Rick’s gang.

  19. Just finished watching (twice!) Episode 8 “Too Far Gone” and have to say it was one of THEE BEST episodes of television I have ever seen. I was so thrilled with it, I had to post a comment somewhere! Though after reading some of the other posts here, maybe I should just stop here ’cause it probably won’t get any better than that…
    Na, I’m hooked & will probably cram the remainder of the season in over the next 2 days!

  20. I dont understand why everyone is saying cut out the filler. The filler is giving a more personal relationship to the characters. Say they are draw it out or milk it. We couldve done this in 3 episodes rather than 5, but why do that and leave out the feeling of getting to know characters. You dont go and read a book and think, oh man they couldve wrote that whole book on 1 page. Lol harry potter series in 5 pages. Voldenort is a realky bad wizard who kills harrys parents. Harry grows up and finds out he is a wizard at age 11 when he starts school at hogwarts. He meets ron and hermione and they are best friends. Harry befriends the school headmaster dumbledore who raises him to be killed by voldemort. Dumbledore knows that harry is a horcrux and when voldemort kills harry he unknowingly makes himself mortal. Harry finally kills voldemort in the final battle at hogwarts. Its a really crappy story without the filler and fluff and getting to know the characters. Who knew daryl was an a**hole when he drinks 2 sips of booze? In my opinion it is needed to make a great show and have great story.