Rick Grimes has seen better days. The "Walking Dead" season four finale forced the man to fight for his son's life, in one of the most brutal displays of violence the show has ever seen. By the end of the hour, Rick and his friends were captured by flesh-hungry cannibals — a cruel twist on the man-eating world of the zombie apocalypse.
For fans of the "Walking Dead" comic books, the events of the finale weren't entirely unexpected. The Terminus twist, as well as the demise of Joe and the Claimers, come straight out of the comics, albeit under different circumstances — not unlike how Lizzie and Mika's deaths took place on the show versus what happened in the comics.
Let's start with Joe's Claimers catching up with Rick. In the comics, Rick is on the road with Carl and Abraham, not Michonne, when a group of thugs comes along.
Just like Joe's group, these killers have "claimed" this road, and they want something from Rick in return — namely, his young son, Carl.
Rick doesn't let Carl go without a fight. As he did in the finale, Rick head-butts the leader of the group...
And then he takes a bite out of crime, McGruff style.
His mouth full of flesh and his heart full of hate, Rick comes after Carl's would-be rapist, and takes vengeance into his own hands.
The following morning, Rick reflects on the night's events, sitting down for a calm chat with his new pal, Abraham. On the show, Daryl filled in for Abraham here.
Now, let's talk about Terminus and the cannibals. There is no Terminus in the "Walking Dead" comics, but the cannibals very much exist, operating as a pack of hunters that stay alive by hunting down and feasting on their fellow man. Many fans thought that Joe's Claimers would turn out to be the man-eating hunters; instead, that distinction belongs to the termites of Terminus.
On the show, the cannibals are led by a man named Gareth. In the comics, the leader's name is Chris.
Chris and the hunters stalk and harass Rick's group, going so far as to abduct Dale (still alive at this point in the comics; long deceased on the show). They remove one of his legs, and eat it for supper.
But there's a twist: Dale had been bitten and infected with the zombie virus before falling into the hunters' hands. In other words, the hunters were eating "tainted meat."
Eventually, Rick and his allies caught wind of what the hunters were up to. And once they figured it out, Rick made the same bold declaration that closed out the season four finale, albeit with a well-deployed F-bomb:
It's hard to know what will happen next on "The Walking Dead." The show has deviated from the comics at almost every turn, while still offering enough winks and nods to keep fans of the source material happy. Will the show's treatment of the cannibals end as it did in the comics?
We certainly hope so.
What did you think of the "Walking Dead" finale's shocking moments?