The second half of the fourth season of The Walking Dead has been a mixed bag. On one hand, our core characters have been heading towards a goal (the Terminus promise land) with interesting groupings and jaw dropping reveals. Michonne, Carl, and Rick’s scenes have been particularly enjoyable, as their dynamic is refreshing and fun. The scenes with Carol, Tyrese, and their psychotic band of kids were filled with nail-biting anticipation. However, other groups were more of the same. Was anybody enjoying Daryl and Beth’s quest for hope? Did anybody think Maggie and Glenn weren’t going to meet up in a few episodes? These storylines were without much intrigue, which would be fine if they weren’t in completely isolated episodes from the fascinating groups.
The bulk of “A” follows Rick, Carl, and Michonne. It’s the perfect way to wrap up the season because they are essentially the heart of the show. This group began the second half of the season, it’s fitting they should end it too. They’re on the brink of starvation, each eating meager portions and only talking about food when they aren’t silently traipsing through the woods. The second leading cause of death in this world is probably starvation. Sadly, in the zombie apocalypse you can be desperate for food or become food.
It’s surprising that it took this long for food to become a big theme on the show. The main threats to our heroes are desperate to eat human flesh. Food production has been at a halt for the most part. In flashbacks, we see the origin of Rick’s prison farm. Hershel basically pestered him into starting a small garden. And now the major assumption of Terminus is that it’s a home for cannibals. (Although we don’t get a definitive answer.) Food is a constant thought on the mind of all of these characters. Even finding a safe place to stay is about food. If they don’t feel protected in their resting place, they can’t feel comfortable to really search for food.
Still, the threat of starvation isn’t the biggest issue our heroes have to deal with. Earlier in the season Rick killed a guy on the toilet and now has to deal with the consequences. The pack of bastards that picked up Daryl last week have finally caught up to Rick and are hell bent on making him pay. With a gun to Rick head, the main bastard informs him that his pack will rape Carl and Michonne, while beating Daryl to death, before killing Rick. It’s in this moment that we see Rick completely lose his sh!t. The last shred of sanity that Rick may have held onto disappears when Rick bites into the jugular of Joe, the Head Bastard.
The scene is almost straight from the comic book. If possible it’s even worse to see on screen. One of the disgusting bastards pushes Carl to the ground and the implication of what is about the happen is so sickening that it pushes the boundaries about what audiences could stand to watch. Even though I knew that Carl wasn’t going to be sexually assaulted and that Rick was going to destroy them, it was too tough to take. That’s why Rick’s rampage was so thrilling. He bites into Joe’s neck like he’s a walker. While Michonne and Daryl take care of the extras of the gang, Rick stabs Carl’s attacker so many times that he probably made minced meat of his internal organs. Hey, he said he was hungry.