*Spoilers for tonight’s The Walking Dead season finale!*

This interesting New York Times article explores the possible ramifications of this week’s stunning, brutal, thought provoking episode of The Walking Dead. I have some ramifications to explore too. Even with a series about postapocalyptic zombie fighting horror world survivors, there are sometimes places in the metaphorical sense that you don’t expect them to go. Tonight they went there with Rick, and evoked unexpected sympathy. I mean, what’s a father to do when faced with a group of horrible, awful, terrible men about to go all Deliverance on his group, with his son as the prime target? I’m not sure, personally, but for that character, in that circumstance, in a brutal world of loss and pain and only rare bittersweet joy…it played out in the only honest way it could.

The episode also spotlighted the fact that as we watch young actor Chandler Riggs grow up on TV, we also watch him grow as an actor. He visibly advanced his craft tonight, right before our eyes. This seems to be a series that attracts a very high caliber of talent.

Case in point: Scott Wilson as Hershel. I really like that character and the actor who plays him. It’s so nice to be able to say that in present tense, after the Governor recently got through with
him. Tonight’s intercuts of what now seems bucolic life at the prison were a really nice gift for Hershel fans. The warm and optimistic sage leaving a legacy of self-sustainment and memories, juxtaposed with the brutal and terrifying reconnection of our favorite archer with his true family was genius. This show has a gift for creating heartwarming moments within the framework of a world gone shocking, awful, and relentless.

It also creates questions that will nag at fans until the next season comes. Are the people of Terminus some kind of cannibalistic cult? That would be my guess. Will we eventually see Mary (aka one time Tasha Yar) come after Michonne with a spatula? One can only hope! That Samurai sword vs Sponge Bob’s favorite kitchen utensil wielding catfight would win a place in the annals of pop culture history. Will Daryl be kabobbed with his own arrows? One can only hope not! Was the way our heroes were herded into a train car indicative of something more sinister than even potential cannibalism? I do not yet know. I wouldn’t be surprised. The Walking Dead can run surprisingly deep, especially for a series that came from “comic” books.

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