The Walking Dead Season Four Finale: We Have Met the Zombies and They Are Us

So apparently a lot of people watched the season finale of The Walking Dead last Sunday:

AMC's wildly popular zombie thriller's episode Sunday night was the most-watched finale in the show's history, bringing in 15.7 million viewers and 10.2 million adults ages 18-49, the network announced today.
"The Walking Dead" season 4 also set a new high for average viewership, with 13.3 million live/same day viewers tuning in.

If those numbers (15.7 million) hold up, that's probably the largest TV audience that ever watched a (non-vampire) guy tear out a dude's throat with his teeth. It's huge, like, Two and a Half Men huge. And that's Two and a Half Men *before* Charlie Sheen left.

All the more impressive considering what an uneven episode it was and what a frustrating show The Walking Dead has become.

I'm as much to blame as anyone, having slavishly watched every episode of the show from the series debut. It's a love-hate thing, or maybe more of a love-I'm not angry just disappointed thing, because as much as I love getting together every Sunday night with my "Zombros" and a) watching the show, b) making fun of the Comic Book Men promos, and c) trying to figure out who's going to die next.

Because really, what other reason do you have to watch? Do you really believe Doctor Mullet when he says he can fix everything? Or that there's anybody left in Washington who can help? Are you that eager for the parade of screw you-topias where the Scooby Gang gets hosed yet again? Maybe you're just keeping score of the number of times Rick makes hilariously tragic tactical errors that endanger every one of his friends.

"Hey, let's all hop this fence together and not leave anyone (like, say, Daryl?) in reserve in case anything goes tits up."

So after a half season's worth of wandering, the prison group finds themselves ... prisoners of what are pretty obviously cannibals (we're all in agreement about that, right? I mean, what do you think Tasha Yar was grilling?). I'm unsure how they'll escape, though expect Tyrese and Carol to figure prominently, and Rick's "Wait'll they get a load of me!" or whatever that was at the end means he's probably going to bite at least, let's say, five more people before all is said and done.

We now have a little over six months to contemplate what deaths the coming season will bring. Here's some suggestions for when you're bored of Game of Thrones, baseball, and Malaysian 370 conspiracy theories (I blame giant Australian pterodactyls).

Rick Grimes While He Should Die: In addition to the aforementioned Terminus related blunders, he's still clearly uncomfortable with the ... unpleasant realities necessary for survival in the land of rape gangs and cannibals. Why He Won't: Like it or not, Rick's the protagonist of the entire series. There might not be open viewer mutiny if he were killed (see below), but I can't see it happening before the final season.

Carl Grimes While He Should Die: Because nobody likes him, and nobody ever has. Now that Lori and Shane are gone, the focus of audience hated has rested squarely on his pudding eating shoulders. Why He Won't: They're teasing out something between him and Michonne. This new family unit has some development to go before any of that triumvirate gets murdered, I'm guessing.

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Daryl Dixon While He Should Die: Letting Beth get abducted, maybe? That terrible haircut? Help me out here. Why He Won't: Are you kidding? Gimple and company led us to believe Baby Judith died in the mid-season finale, and the reaction was a universal "wow, bummer." But just try that shit with Daryl. Americans didn't protest when Wall Street plundered us into recession or our government lied our way into a way that's claimed almost 4,500 U.S. lives, but mark my words: if Daryl ever gets killed, there will be riots in the streets the likes of which haven't been seen since the last time the Lakers won the championship.

Carol Peletier While She Should Die: She killed Karen and David. Sure, it was for the "greater good," but still. Why She Won't: Eh, I'm not convinced she's out of the woods at all (no pun intended). She's achieved closure with Tyreese for her crimes, and come full circle -- if you want to call it that -- on that surrogate mom thing by killing Lizzie. I figure she's going to buy it early in season 5, probably while freeing the others from Terminus.

Michonne While She Should Die: Well, if we're going by the show's not so illustrious history (RIP, T-Dog), there are currently way too many African-American characters. Why She Won't: As I said earlier, they need resolution to her and Carl's relationship.

Glenn & Maggie Why They Should Die: Because who cares? If leaving them both alive means we have to endure more episodes of their tortured longing for each other, better to put them out of their misery. Why They Won't: I have no answer for this.

Beth Why She Should Die: Because she's second only to Rick in poor decision-making. And because it would send Daryl into a thoroughly satisfying berserker rage. Why She Won't: I've noticed a distinct shortage of blondes among survivors in the zombie apocalypse. Plus, we have to see what happens with her and the undertaker.

No, not that Undertaker.

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