by Ryan Rigley
In the wake of the climatic showdown that ended last week's "Walking Dead," it was revealed to us that a horde of zombies stood just beyond the grassy field in which Rick took a certain somebody's life. "Beside the Dying Fire" begins with a flashback, showing that horde's gradual rise in numbers and how they migrated all the way from Atlanta with the hopes of eating some delicious flesh. This opening scene also shows us that while a small group of zombies is no match for a wooden fence, an entire horde of zombies is virtually unstoppable. Something that is key to understand when dealing with such a huge and terrifying threat.
Unfortunately, Rick and the gang found this out the hard way. After leading the horde straight to the farm, Rick and Carl lure a handful of zombies into the barn and set the whole thing on fire. Meanwhile, the rest of the group makes a valiant effort to fight off the horde and retake the farm, before eventually realizing that this task is easier said than done. Subsequently, the survivors decide it's time to make a run for it — but escape doesn't come without casualties.
Click past the jump to find out who bit the big one! Also, spoilers!
Miraculously, every important person in the group survived. In fact the only two casualties this week were Jimmy and Patricia, both of whom I didn't know actually had names until last night. Patricia gets ripped apart by zombies right out of her sister's hands, while Jimmy gets ripped apart inside Dale's RV after having saved Rick and Carl's lives. Both of these poor souls were members of Hershel's family and will be missed dearly, mostly by Hershel's family. I guess I'm sort of relieved that no one I really cared about died last night. I mean, after Dale's untimely demise and Shane's just desserts it's no wonder that everyone else made it out alive. There's only so much shock the human heart can take.
Somehow the entire group manages to reconvene on the highway, moments before Rick and Carl are about to head out on their own. It's a beautiful scene that also shows us how in tune with each other everyone has become. The fact that they all instantly knew to meet on the highway without saying a word shows us the natural survival skills that the group has attained.This will undoubtedly play a very important part in the show from here on out. We also see how great everyone has become at killing zombies. During the horde's attack on the farm, everyone hops into their respective vehicles and effortlessly shoot multiple zombies right in the head. While back in Atlanta the group was nowhere near as organized, resulting in several unfortunate deaths. Clearly, the group has become one lean, mean, zombie-killing machine.
Speaking of lean, mean, zombie-killing machines, Andrea, who has gotten separated from the rest of the group, meets a mysterious, hooded, sword-wielding figure towards the end of the episode. Fans of the comic book will instantly recognize that that hooded figure is none other than Michonne, a brutally effective survivor with a katana as cold as her heart. Michonne plays a huge part in the comic books and will definitely become a major character in the next season. Hopefully, the two zombies that she had behind her are her boyfriend and his best friend, who she has chained up and escorted around in order to deter other walkers from attacking her.
We also find out what Dr. Jenner whispered to Rick during last season's finale. When questioned about Randal and Shane, Rick admits that everyone is infected and that he knew all along. This means that you don't need to be bitten in order to become a zombie. If you die, you will come back as one no matter what. This was made pretty clear by Randal and Shane's deaths in last week's episode. Am I the only one that was kind of disappointed to find out that that was the big secret? I mean, we kind of pieced that together on our own. Just saying.
The last scene in the episode reveals two very important things to us. When Rick admits to the group that he killed Shane and that he doesn't regret doing it, we get a glimpse of just how low Rick will sink in order to guarantee the safety of the others. This is what makes him such an effective leader. Although they might not realize it right now, the group will ultimately come to understand why Rick does what he has to do and eventually they will find it within themselves to do those things as well.
Finally, the very last shot pans up to reveal a massive prison off in the distance. Those of you who have read the comic books know that this will be the next place that the group decides to take shelter. When you think about it, a prison is the perfect shelter for a zombie apocalypse. First of all, there's a huge stone wall all around the perimeter of the facility. Secondly, there are several watch towers from which you can see for miles around. And last but not least, there are thousands of safe and very secure rooms. I, for one, can't wait to see what the next season of "Walking Dead" has in store for us. I'd say there's a good chance that we might even finally get to see this Governor that everyone's been buzzing about.
Here are some memorable quotes from this week's episode:
- "This is my farm. I'll die here."
- "Christ promised resurrection of the dead, I just thought he had something a little different in mind."
- "Whatever it is, we all carry it."
- "I just wanted it over. I wanted him dead. I killed him."
- "I didn't ask for this! I killed my best friend for you people for God's sake!"
- "If you're staying, this isn't a democracy anymore."
Tell us what you thought of the "Walking Dead" season finale in the comments and on Twitter!