"Damn! We're in a tight spot ..."
That's what Rick Grimes could have said at the conclusion of the season finale of "The Walking Dead" Sunday night, locked in a train car surrounded by malevolent characters, but he instead said: "They're screwing with the wrong people."
It seemed a little out of place to me, because I prefer the "actions speak louder than words" Rick to the "action movie hero catch line" Rick, but it definitely did not spoil what was one of the strongest episodes of the series.
We finally arrived at Terminus, the farm/prison group (minus Beth, Carol, Tyreese and Judith) reunited under duress, we were treated to a fleeting but sweet reunion with saintly Hershel, a Rick Moranis look-alike died and no one really cared, and ... can we talk about the neck-biting, ear-licking scene?
That whole situation was a little much to process.
We've become accustomed to rotting, reanimated corpses; murder; squirrels, rabbits and snakes being butchered; but I'm having a hard time even trying to come up with a way of describing what happened — or far more disturbing, what might have happened, if the situation went unchecked — between Joe and the band of marauders and Rick-Carl-Michonne.
Rough Joe and his vengeful crew finally catch up to their man, Rick, whose crime was murdering one of their white-trash friends.
Apparently their code calls for them to exact murderous revenge, and ravage adolescent boys.
The scene was either a direct or inferred reference to "Deliverance," which is the last time I can remember feeling so uncomfortable while watching something on television. What was great about "Deliverance" was that right when things were getting really bad for Ned "Purty Mouth" Beatty, this arrow of justice comes out of nowhere and pierces the savage's chest, and you're like "LET'S GO!!!"
The same thing happened on "The Walking Dead." When Rick bites Joe's neck, setting the fight sequence into action, you feel like YOU'RE being rescued.
When that commercial break hit, after Rick tenderized that fat pedophile's torso, the group that I was watching with all took a collective deep breath and was just like "WHAAAAAAATTTTTTT????"
It was lots of fun, and isn't that what it's all about?
It was definitely intentional — by the way — that the neck-feast maneuver made Rick look like a zombie. It's a fine line between zombie and non-zombie.
"Hunger and a lack of blood corpuscles take all the manhood from a man," H.G. Wells, "The Island of Dr. Moreau."
This whole episode, because it was a season finale, I was mentally steeling myself for Rick, or Carl, or some other essential character, to fall.
They didn't, and in some ways, I'm a little worried that the series is veering back to a more traditional set of rules.
We now pretty much know that, against all odds, "our team" is going to escape the train car, mostly intact, and either overcome or escape Terminus. Maybe a few of them will perish as collateral damage — Bob, Abraham, Rosita come to mind — but the "money" characters will live on.
One thing that makes "The Walking Dead" different is that Rick Grimes could just up and die at any moment. But now, I'm not so sure that he will. It's cool that he can eat necks like they're McDonald's Clubhouse sandwiches and kill everyone, but I think I'd rather see him crying in a corner because it would make the show scarier.
Is Rick Grimes Rambo? Is this "The A-Team"?