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'The Walking Dead' finale: Terminus is not heaven

Rick Grimes survived the season finale, but he was one bloody former lawman.

'The Walking Dead's' brutal season 4 comes to an end
By Henry Hanks


(CNN) -- Season four of "The Walking Dead" has featured some of the most brutal scenes in the popular series' history. (Yes, that's a warning for those behind on the show. Spoilers ahead!)

There was the gut-wrenching death of Hershel in the midseason finale, but there was also the burning death of David and Karen early on. It was a mystery who killed them, but it soon came out that Carol (Melissa McBride) did it to stop them from spreading a deadly disease through the prison.

When Rick learned what happened, he banished Carol from the prison, but she reappeared in the second half of the season.

Young sisters Lizzie and Mika were left under Carol's care after their father died, but it became clear that Lizzie had a skewed sense of right and wrong, and she killed her younger sister to bring her back as a walker.

Then Carol decided yet again that another survivor was too dangerous to live and shot Lizzie in the back of the head.

The reaction to this episode was huge. With McBride at the center of some of this season's more memorable scenes, CNN spoke to her about Carol's evolution and the finale Sunday night.

CNN: What was your initial reaction when you learned what Carol was going to have to do this season?

McBride: It was surprising to me that Carol was going in this direction, absolutely. But it also made a great deal of sense to me that they would take her in this direction. First of all it's a very interesting arc for this character, considering that she's lost her daughter; she carries so much responsibility for that, and also (she's) trying to navigate this world.

CNN: Is this the most challenging acting role you've ever had?

McBride: By far. This has been by far the most difficult, and certainly the longest-running. The most challenging and rewarding, for all the same reasons.

CNN: There was a powerful response online to the deaths of Lizzie and Mika; did you follow that reaction at all?

McBride: Yeah, I was really happy about the responses that came from that episode. Shooting that episode was remarkable and such a great experience. It all just came together in such a wonderful way. People talk about how "it needs to be earned." I felt what was necessary in this episode was absolutely earned. The emotional and critical response has been wonderful. The fans have just been phenomenal in their appreciation for that episode. What ultimately happened in that episode was controversial, but I feel like it was handled with such a sensitive approach. The build-up to it was just handled so well.

CNN: Have you seen the memes that have cropped up about the scene? The line "Look at the flowers" has taken on a life of its own.

McBride: People are pasting people's faces over Lizzie's in the flower bed! (Laughs)

That's another thing I love about the fanbase: They have a great sense of humor. ... I'm a spoofy kind of person. I appreciate the humor, and it's a great way to offset the devastation that people on the show (are) going through -- it's sometimes very refreshing to see that stuff.

CNN: There's a segment of fans who like the idea of Daryl and Carol together. They haven't had too many scenes together this season, but is that something you might be pulling for?

McBride: I know that Carol and Daryl have a tremendous bond. Personally, I am living vicariously through the fans, I guess. I enjoy their passion. For some people, watching the show, it's a fun element for them. They're very passionate about their 'ships!

CNN: How do you react to the show's massive popularity?

McBride: I'm constantly amazed by the amount of different types of people that are aware of the show. After the episode with the girls, a gentleman who is 73 years old -- he said, "I've never written a piece of fan mail ever, but I had to write how much I enjoyed that episode." It touched me so much.

When I think of how far-reaching this show is, and how big it is, it's like trying to fathom the beginning of time, and I have to stop.

CNN: What's your favorite thing coming out of the show?

McBride: It certainly has to be the relationships within the cast and crew, and getting to work with the people I do. It's so tremendously fulfilling, and personally getting to play this character has been a dream.

CNN: What can fans expect from the season finale?

McBride: There's nothing I can say that hasn't already been said! Like every finale, (whispers) it's gonna be crazy!

Henry Hanks


Editor's note: Warning: Do not read any further if you have yet to watch the finale of "The Walking Dead's" fourth season.

(CNN) -- It wouldn't be a finale to "The Walking Dead" without at least a few moments that make you gasp, and Sunday night's season ender certainly delivered.

Last week, several survivors, including Glenn and Maggie, arrived at Terminus in what was promised to be a safe haven, but was it really?

We caught up this week with Rick, Carl and Michonne -- interspersed with flashbacks to the comparatively idyllic life back at the prison -- and they too had a rough road to Terminus.

Here are some of the big moments from this week's episode:

1. Joe meets Rick again

Just when it almost seemed like Rick's trio had it all figured out (he even created a new way to trap walkers), they were set upon by Joe and his up-to-no-good crew of "rule followers" with Daryl in tow.

Despite Daryl begging for mercy, Joe's men started to beat him to death, while others set upon Carl and Michonne.

2. Rick fights back, big time

When Rick saw his son in trouble, he moved his head back and injured Joe, whose gun went off. Rick -- well, there's no other way to put this -- then bit Joe on the neck and went after the rest of his crew, including the man who attacked Carl, repeatedly stabbing him to death.

The other survivors couldn't believe what they were seeing. Needless to say, don't mess with Carl.

On the bright side, Daryl is back. He and Rick are like brothers now, too.

3. Welcome to Terminus

Rick, Daryl, Michonne and Carl finally arrived at Terminus -- sneaking in through the back, of course.

The moment Rick noticed one of the denizens of Terminus wearing Hershel's watch (now owned by Glenn), he pulled a gun on someone -- and wait, isn't that woman wearing Maggie's poncho, too?

It just wouldn't be a finale without a shootout, and we certainly got one as Rick and crew fired against Gareth and the rest from Terminus.

4. What is this place?

Entrails seen in a courtyard? A room where the words "Never again" are painted on the walls? Something's just not right with Terminus. Unfortunately, we didn't find out too much more about this. ...

5. Reunited

Gareth finally gets the upper hand and orders Rick, Daryl and Michonne (the "ringleader, archer and samurai") to enter a train car. An enraged Rick asks about his son, and Gareth tells Carl to walk over to the car.

When they make their way in, they soon realize that Glenn, Maggie, Abraham and others in their group are alive.

Carol, Tyrese and Judith are still making their way to Terminus, as far as we know, but Beth's whereabouts remain unknown.

Rick delivers one of the best lines in the series' history when he tells Glenn, "They're going to feel really stupid when they find out ... they're screwing with the wrong people."

Rick certainly proved that with his actions this week. He's gone from a lawman to the "Ricktator" to something of a go-for-broke violent avenger over the years.


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