Last week’s episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead was pretty grim, so it was no surprise that the show lightened the tone considerably for season four’s penultimate hour. That’s not to say everything was all sunshine and kittens. Even a relatively pleasant and optimistic episode of The Walking Dead is expected to have Walker attacks, gruesome effects, and plot twists culled from the darkest side of the human condition. In the case of “Us”, the positive vibes stem from the cooperative teamwork of strangers and the reunion of lost loves. Hit the jump for my recap, and to learn why these groovy feelings aren’t likely to continue at the end of the line.
This week’s episode was split mainly between two groups of survivors, but we’ll touch on a third group briefly. Rick, Carl, and Michonne are navigating the rails toward Terminus, like everyone else on the show. This trio got some love early in this half of the season, but we’ve only seen snippets of them since then. The same goes for this episode, as we see Carl win a bet with Michonne that results in him sharing a candy bar with her as Rick looks on with a goofy grin. It was actually a nice moment for the trio, that is to say until a reveal later in the episode cast a pall over the whole thing.
When last we left Daryl, he had been conscripted into a rather rough band of thugs led by the mysterious “Joe”. Joe comes with a particular set of rules that basically boil down to these: don’t lie, and make sure to claim anything as yours by saying, “Claim!” Pretty simple, right? A very Lord of the Flies kinda thing going on here, with a bit of the Judgment of Solomon thrown in to boot. Joe doesn’t seem like a nice guy by any means, but there’s no doubt that he knows how to survive and how to lead. This is a big test for Daryl as to whether he’ll decide to keep searching for his friends (and Beth) or go back to being a follower like he did with Merle. I’m leaning toward the latter since he thought about covering up Len’s body with a shroud but decided not to, and later joined in on the gang’s rule of claiming things. The big reveal of this segment came via Joe, who not only told Daryl that this mysterious Terminus was a lie, since a place like that would never take in men like them, but also that the group was headed to Terminus in search of someone who was responsible for the death of their friends (ie Rick!). That’s going to be a tricky situation to say the least.
The bulk of this episode centered on Glenn and his quest to find Maggie. Along for the ride are Abraham Ford, Eugene, Rosita, and Tara, who feels a strong responsibility to see Glenn and Maggie reunited. Ford’s only desire is to keep Eugene safe until they can find transportation, but he’s stymied along the way by Glenn’s myopic goal and Eugene’s stubbornness. This sequence also played up the hopeful angle as the opener had Glenn smiling from ear to ear upon seeing a message from Maggie, Sasha and Bob encouraging him to head to Terminus. The only problem in their way? A long dark tunnel full of Walkers (pretty much my worst nightmare). Ford, Eugene and Rosita parted ways here rather than risk Eugene’s safety, but Glenn and Tara pushed on, only to find a collapsed portion of tunnel that trapped a bunch of writhing Walkers. No biggy, right? Well, on the other side of that collapse lay another horde of a dozen or so Walkers just waiting to give Glenn a big ol’ hug. While distracting the Walkers with his flashlight and sneaking ahead into the tunnel wasn’t really the brightest of ideas, it all worked out in the end. Eugene’s stubbornness (and logical foresight) brought Ford and his crew to the rescue, along with Maggie, Bob and Sasha. The reunion of Glenn and Maggie was one of the sweeter moments of this season, even if her burning of Glenn’s picture of her was a bit odd (and perhaps foreshadowy).
Now, how about that Terminus? It didn’t look anything like I had expected. The gates were unlocked, the streets and lanes were well organized but free of people, and flowers bloomed everywhere. It rang with similar warning tones of Woodbury, as something so pristine and undisturbed is so out of place in this post-apocalyptic world. Signs welcomed the gang to Terminus and ordered them to lower their weapons (which they did, for some reason) and they were all welcomed by the mysterious Mary. Will this end well? Of course not. Not if common sense (and next week’s promo) are to be believed. Something’s very wrong here at Terminus, and something very bad is about to go down, but just what that will be will have to wait until next Sunday when season four comes to a close. While I enjoyed this episode’s positivity, it makes me even more nervous for the fate of the survivors in the finale.
Walker kills: ~25
Casualties: Len, but who’s going to miss him?
Best Kill: Tunnel Massacre
Best Effect: Tie between Tower Walker Splat and Tunnel Walkers
Odds & Entrails:
How do we feel about Eugene? I’m on the fence as he’s pretty irritating, but he does seem to have the best interests of the group in mind. I don’t particularly think he’s going to be very useful in saving the world, but what do I know. At least he can make a battery (eventually).
Eugene: “That there is a video game worth a pre-order.”
Abraham: “I saw you staring down Rosita’s shirt when she was serving you dinner. Hell, the things are damn near hypnotic.”
Joe: “Ass end is still an end.”
How do we feel about Joe? He’s an ass (end) but he gets things done. Methinks he’s going to end up as just a generic bad guy at the end of the day, unfortunately.
Joe: “People don’t have to be nice. They don’t have to be friendly, don’t have to be brothers in arms. You just have to follow the rules.”
Joe: “When men like us follow rules, the world becomes ours.”
Joe: “Ain’t nothin’ sadder than an outdoor cat who thinks he’s an indoor cat.”
Ford: “That there is a long dark tunnel full of reanimated corpses. And I don’t have a guaranteed certainty that I can get Eugene through there alive.”
Ford’s got common sense while Eugene can think a few steps ahead … and Rosita has hypnotic breasts. Perfect team!
“Let Momma Be”
Eugene: “After I save the world, I still have to live with myself.”
Joe: “Teach him a lesson, gents. Teach him all the way.”
Did I hear Maggie right? Did she cause the tunnel collapse by … shooting the ceiling?
“Hi. I’m Mary. Looks like you’ve been on the road a while. Let’s get you settled and we’ll make you a plate. Welcome to Terminus.”
Check out a sneak peek at next week’s final episode of season four of The Walking Dead, mysteriously titled “A”: