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Walking Dead Speculation

— WARNING:  This post contains SPOILERS about season 4 of The Walking Dead —

The Walking Dead season 4 finale has aired.  Here’s what I think of what happened, and what may be to come in season 5.

Signs were everywhere along the train tracks: TERMINUS Sanctuary for all, community for all, those who arrive survive.  We see these through the majority of the second half of the season.  Everyone is scattered, but everyone sees the signs.  And so everyone starts making their way toward sanctuary.  Maggie leaves notes on the signs for Glenn until they can find one another.  In episode 15, Maggie and Glenn have a sweet reunion.  Then they and their joined groups decided to go ahead and finish their trek to Terminus to see what it was all about.  After that their plan was to head out to Washington because Eugene seems to think he knows something important about the virus.  When they arrive at Terminus the gates are unlocked, they are not met by any armed men, they are not frisked or questioned.  We see them arrive, walk past lots of garden space and clean ground, and get greeted by Mary, who offers them a big plate of grilled meat.
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Cut to the next episode – the finale.  Rick pulls some badass moves and rips Joe’s throat out with his teeth, totally destroying the Claim Gang.  From there Rick, Carl, Michonne, and Daryl make their way to Terminus.  They go in the back so as not to be noticed.  When they enter, the radio is being broadcast to draw in more survivors.  Rick’s crew is frisked for non-obvious weapons, and taken to the welcome area for food.  However, Rick becomes suspicious of their greeter and pulls a gun on him.  We then get to see all the armed snipers and the many members of the Terminus base.  This causes a huge stir and Rick’s clan is herded by snipers shooting at them to a specific area.  As they are running through the Terminus buildings, they come across a room full of candles set up like alters with names and locations of people we can only assume have either come through there, or have died elsewhere.  Another quick scene on their run through is that of a chained in area full of fresh, bloody human skeletons.  Another detail as they run through is that there are people screaming from the train cars that are placed throughout.  Once Rick’s crew has reached the location dictated by the snipers, they are asked to one at a time enter a train car.  When they enter, they are reunited with Glenn, Maggie, and their group.  So then they are a group of 12.

So what exactly is the motive here?  What is Terminus all about, and what are their intentions?  Here’s what I think: they are herding “cattle.”  By leaving signs and broadcasting over radio waves, they are drawing in hundreds if not thousands of people from all over.  They cannot possibly accommodate that many people, nor would many be friendly or trusting enough to be valuable members of a small survivor’s society.  As the little details showed, many people are locked away on the property, not allowed to escape their train car holding areas.  And also, humans are very obviously being butchered there, for there to be fresh and bloody human bones in an area, all neatly tucked away.  The signs, the broadcast, the protein-packed meal… they are herding people in for food.  Its really quite brilliant!  That way they get all the weapons and supplies people have been gathering as they travel.  They get more members when people cooperate to make their operation stronger.  And they get nearly unlimited food from the humans they are storing and slaughtering.

But like Rick said, they don’t know who they are messing with.  We have seen first hand throughout the show that this group of survivors is willing to do anything to survive.  Rick’s crew won’t put up with such immoral behavior, and I can see them eliminating this practice.  Terminus doesn’t stand a chance.

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