The entire fourth season of AMC’s The Walking Dead has lead up to a much hyped finale at a location called Terminus. There were posts placed along the railroad tracks for all eight episodes. And The Walking Dead fan faithful are well aware of the trials and tribulations that haunted our protagonists since they were chased from their home within the prison walls that they had fought so hard for by the nefarious, and now deceased, Governor.
Much of the season was used to craft and hone the characters into individuals who will be able to survive the story arc from here on out. Those who would have been a liability in the events to come were eliminated. After spending most of season three in relative comfort behind fences and concrete, the season three finale saw them dispersed to the winds as they tried to relocate one another and decide what they were going to do next. Star-crossed lovers Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Laurie Cohen) spent much of the season risking life and limb to find one another. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is trying to raise a teenager and maintain his own sanity. Carl (Chandler Riggs) tries to grow into a man in an increasingly dangerous environment. While Daryl (Norman Reedus) is coming to grips with his own demons, and the samurai sword-wielding Michonne (Danai Gurira) is trying to maintain her humanity.
While traveling to Terminus, Rick, Michonne and Carl are accosted by a group of bandits led by a man named Joe. He accuses Rick of killing a friend of his and is looking for revenge. He threatens to rape Carl and Michonne before placing a bullet in all three of them. Daryl, who has been traveling with them, intervenes on Rick's behalf but is immediately attacked by Joe's followers. In the past, Rick would shy away from becoming too violent. He preferred instead to try to appeal to the sense of humanity of others. But that hadn't been working lately. He was devolving into a darker individual in the entire season and would snap, tearing out Joe's jugular with his teeth before killing the rest of the bandits.
Terminus was framed as a possible return to normality for the haggard travelers and it was clear the season finale would be a time of reckoning. Rick, Daryl, Carl and Michonne would meet up and travel to Terminus together. They sneak up on the compound to find a seemingly innocent staff going about their daily jobs. Part of the slogan of Terminus is "those who arrive survive." It’s this mantra that drove them forward. But Ricky and company have learned throughout the zombie apocalypse that things are seldom as they seem. Carl is offered a piece of meat that appears to be steak when the others notice some of the staff at Terminus are wearing clothing that belongs to some of their missing comrades.
A fight ensues as they try to escape. During the fire fight, Michonne comments that she didn't believe the Terminus staff was trying to kill them. As they attempt to flee, the camera panes past bloodied carcasses that the viewer can't quite make out but could easily speculate. The protagonists are defeated and placed into a boxcar where they discover their friends had been captured before them. The people of Terminus appear to be cannibals and our heroes end the season in yet another tight spot. After dealing with the Woodbury situation, as well as every other circumstance where their trust had been betrayed, season four ends with a battle-hardened group of survivors who are preparing to face yet another beast of a situation.