‘The Walking Dead’ Comic-to-TV Comparison: Season 4 Finale “A”
‘The Walking Dead’ season 4 shambled out its 16th and final entry with Sunday’s season finale “A,” but how did it hold up to the comic book continuity? Rick reunites with Daryl and makes his way to the mysterious Terminus, quickly finding that all is not as friendly as it seems, so what’s next for ‘The Walking Dead’ as the fourth season continues?
As AMC’s incarnation weaves in and out of storylines from the books and adds its own original characters and developments, we’ve compiled an in-depth guide for fans of the comics as well as AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’ to enjoy! Check all the comparisons we found, and let us know your thoughts on ‘The Walking Dead’ season 4 episode 16, “A,” in the comments below!
AMC: While learning of the right way to build snares by his father, Carl rushes off to the sounds of a distressed man nearby pleading for help. Upon arriving, however, Rick, Carl and Michonne find themselves too late to help, and the man is torn apart by walkers in a field, including his eye.
THE COMICS: Almost precisely to the frame, this encounter with a mysterious man in the woods took place while Rick and Carl were hunting, still residing at the house after the prison’s fall. In that version, however, Rick and Carl shortly thereafter found the man’s fully-stocked car, and Rick deduced that the man had decided to kill himself in the woods by the walkers, ultimately changing his mind at the last moment.
AMC: Joe and his band of claimers finally catch up to Rick in the middle of the night, surprising him and Michonne with a gun to the head. The more lecherous of the men focuses on Carl, preparing to rape him while Rick and Michonne watch. Daryl finally sees the group’s quarry and attempts to bargain Joe into sparing Rick and the others by taking him instead, but Joe insists on his revenge, beginning a bloody conflict that ends with Rick, Michonne and Daryl fighting off the thugs, and brutally disposing of the last of them.
THE COMICS: Even down to the dialogue, this encounter took place in the books with three random toughs confronting Rick, Abraham and Carl on a return trip to Rick’s police station. Rick similarly managed to headbutt the thug pointing a gun at his head, taking a bite while Abraham took out the other thugs to protect Carl from a similar fate.
AMC: Rick begins to lose control during the fight, taking a bite out of Joe’s neck walker-style to finish the fight, before savagely turning on the man who attempted to rape Carl. Rick repeatedly stabs the man in retaliation, brutally attacking him past the point of death, while Carl watches with a grim satisfaction.
THE COMICS: Near of the exact same attack took place on the leaders of the highway gang, including the bite, though in that case Rick had less of an advantage in the fight on account of his missing hand. The final thug similarly saw Rick’s gruesome visage and gave up Carl in an attempt to back down, but Rick savagely murders him all the same, with Carl watching from Abraham’s arms rather than Michonne’s.
AMC: Following Rick’s violent meltdown, Rick sits with his back against the car for the majority of the night, cleaning the blood off his face at Daryl’s insistence. The two next catch one another up on Beth’s disappearance and Daryl’s time with Joe and his men, as Rick comes to grips with his savage nature.
THE COMICS: At least structurally, this conversation owes to a similar sequence in the books wherein Abraham comforted Rick on his savage actions with the highway rapists the night before. In that instance, however, the conversation shifted to Abraham as he told Rick how he’d lost his family and similarly gone savage on the men responsible. Carl too pipes up, remembering how he’d shot Shane to protect his father, and worrying that Rick thinks him a monster because of it.
AMC: Seeing the way Carl has begun eying his father, Michonne takes a private opportunity to explain how her boyfriend Mike and his friend Terry died, their camp having apparently been overrun while she went out searching for supplies. Given the pair had gotten high enough to be unable to protect their son Andre, Michonne allowed Mike and Terry to turn, removing their arms and limbs and chaining them up as monsters to keep her company. It was only after she’d done the deed that she learned the walkers had a way of camouflaging her.
THE COMICS: As discussed before, Michonne, her boyfriend Mike and his friend Terry had been holed up in their house in the initial days of the apocalypse. Mike sustained a bite and in turn infected Terry, before Michonne discovered the two could be used to hide her from other walkers. Despite having two daughters, we’ve never officially learned what became of Michonne’s children from her previous marriage.
AMC: Carl explains to Michonne that it isn’t necessarily the savage actions Rick took that frighten him, but rather that his father will recognize the boy’s own dark nature. Rick watches from a distance as the pair hug, assured that they aren’t solely the monsters they believe themselves.
THE COMICS: Down to the same “thoughts,” Carl shared this confession with Abraham and Rick the morning after the highway attack. There, he worried about the fact that he didn’t regret the necessity of killing Shane, and wished he could have killed those who killed Lori and Judith, even approving of his father’s savage attack the night before.
AMC: Once Rick, Michonne, Daryl and Carl finally arrive at Terminus, Rick buries a cache of weapons before they sneak in over the fences and confront the inhabitants in a radio room. The leader, Gareth, introduces himself, speaking with a deceptively friendly tone as he urges the survivors to feel safe, allowing them to keep their weapons after a brief pat down. Once Rick begins to notice his former group’s gear among the survivors, however, the situation quickly turns dire, as Gareth has his men lead Rick and the others to a train car for holding.
THE COMICS: Terminus has no direct equal in the comics (though more on that below), but Gareth himself seems to be a portmanteau of several characters, notably the cannibal Chris and Alexandria recruiter Aaron. Both men were seen to be somewhat charismatic, between Chris explaining to Dale the nature of their cannibalistic ways and Aaron explaining how he vetted Rick’s group for membership from a distance.
AMC: Though it isn’t explicitly stated, and executive producers Robert Kirkman and Scott Gimple refuse to outright confirm, it seems heavily implied that Gareth and the other Terminus residents practice cannibalism, luring in survivors for food with promises of sanctuary. Not only have we seen Mary grilling on two occasions now, but Rick and the others passed a courtyard littered with human bones, as well as a bizarre memorial room that acts as some kind of shrine to likely victims. In particular, we took note of the way Gareth’s men seemed to herd Rick and his group through the complex with deliberately leading gunfire, much as Rick explained the mechanics of his snare trap to Carl earlier in the episode.
THE COMICS: If indeed we are to take Terminus as a cannibal camp, worth noting is that the comic cannibal group was much smaller, as Chris and his band of hunters had only six members between them with no central base of operation. The group first made their presence known by capturing Dale after he wandered off to die of a bite wound hidden from Rick and the others. After consuming Dale’s remaining leg, the hunters returned Dale to the others holed up in Gabriel’s church. The conflict didn’t last particularly long, however, as Gabriel was able to help Rick, Abraham, Andrea and Michonne find the nearby house from which the cannibals had been attacking, before Rick quickly seized the upper hand and butchered the villains.
AMC: Finally reunited with Glenn and the others inside the “A” train car, Rick quickly notes that their Terminus captors will feel particularly stupid once they realize “they’re screwing with the wrong people.”
THE COMICS: Further evidence for cannibalism, near of this exact quote appeared in the book between Abraham and Rick in reference to the hunters. That said, the uncensored aspect of the comics allowed a bit more vulgarity in Rick’s ominous threat.