THE WALKING DEAD Recap: “Us”

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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.

the-walking-dead-season-4-episode-15This 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 peoplethe-walking-dead-season-4-episode-15-norman-reedus, 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.

Grade: A-

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.”

he-walking-dead-terminus-posterWhy is Tara’s sexuality a thing? If it’s just a character-defining thing, okay, but we don’t need to keep bringing it up.

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”:




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  • Tritium3H

    Okay, I am calling it now. That preview of next weeks episode, where Rick is showing Carl the rabbit trap…is an obvious “Chekhov’s Gun”. My guess is that Carl is going to scale that up, and use it against some bad guy, in an upcoming episode.

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  • Daniel O’Reilly

    Note how Mary at Terminus was tending flames while offering our group someo̶n̶e̶thing to eat. After a string of generally dull episodes, we’ve finally got some of that queasy dread back in the show. This is how it should feel all the time.

    Not that I think it’s going to happen, but It’d be a pretty crappy move to kill off either Glenn or Maggie next week.

    The thing about Eugene is he’s actually supposed to be irritating, not just accidentally like Andrea or Lori.

    • LEM

      Mary said she’d make them a plate…nothing strange about that.

      I don’t think Maggie or Glenn will die but I have a feeling Tara may meet a fate similar to someone in the first Telltale game.

      I agree that Eugene is doing exactly whats best for Eugene but for the others to be taking him at his word and not asking never ending questions is unrealistic.

      • Dan

        “I’ll make you a plate” sounds like it has the same wink wink attitude as the last line of Silence of the Lambs, “I’m having an old friend for dinner.”

      • Daniel O’Reilly

        Exactly what I was thinking.

      • LEM

        Exactly.

      • Daniel O’Reilly

        Call her Bloody Mary, or Mary Todd for those meat pies she appeared to be making.

        I could be wrong, but I don’t see Tara going yet. For one thing, she’s suffered enough this season, and for another, I don’t see the writers killing off the show’s only gay character without first replacing her with another.

        This is what Josh McDermitt said to the Hollywood Reporter about people (Abraham in particular) asking Eugene questions about his so-called mission:

        “When Glenn asks what’s going on with their trip to D.C., Eugene replies that it’s classified. That’s government speak. Abraham was a soldier and he gets that there are people above him who have more knowledge than he does. Eugene steps away and says, “I need to discuss this with the people back in Washington,” and he just hopes that Abraham doesn’t walk over and have to hear him. Eugene is trying to keep everyone at bay with the military speak. There’s a definite hierarchy in the military and Eugene is definitely playing that up with Abraham.”

        Hopefully next season we’ll get a character who will grill him more (just not in the Mary Todd way).

      • LEM

        I think Tara is a goner in the finale though I’m not sure they have some gay quota but after the backlash they had about killing off the black characters they added a few and seem to be keeping them around.

    • doctor_robot

      how do you like your beth? medium rare?

      • Oolie zool

        raw and wriggling.

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  • Avenging World

    Better than average episode, but the stupidity factor is on full display when it is once again stated that mullet-boy knows why dead tissue is re-animating itself and what to do about it, and no-one says,” Oh yeah ? So what’s doing this and what can we do about it ?”
    Has he got anything or is he just a lunatic with a bad haircut ?
    No-one seems to think it’s important.

    • LEM

      Glen didn’t seem convinced when Sasha brought it up he said “Yeah” but looked pretty dismissive. I’m still amazed that Maggie hasn’t once brought up her sister or even struggled with her choice of trying to find Glen over her own flesh and blood.

    • utazdevl

      While I agree that not questioning Eugene is a big leap of faith, I think their willingness to believe he has answers is supposed to speak to the survivors sense of hope, and desperation to believe in some kind of future after a world of walkers. They want to believe that someone has answers and can make things normal again, even if rationally they doubt it is possible.

  • Astr

    My take of Daryl is that he didn’t cover the dead body because Len didn’t deserve it after what he tried to do. Not so much that it’s a sign he’s going to follow Joe.

  • LEM

    What if Joe and his band of misfit boys end up saving the others at Terminus only to then attempt to kill Rick. I’m really looking forward to this finale.

  • herpderp

    Terminus must be the biggest spider in the area if they are able to put a giant bullseye on their back with the signs everywhere and not have been destroyed by bands of raiders. I wonder if the governor never knew of the place either.

  • Thal Sinestro

    For some reason when I saw Mary, it reminded me of Brenda St. John from the video game. She was part of a family of cannibals that ended up eating their guests.

    • LEM

      I think we’re going to get a very similar situation happening.

  • Tim

    I wish they wouldn’t shove homosexuality into your face. It’s a show about zombies and the end of the world. Come on now…

    • the king of comedy

      I guess gay people aren`t supossed to survive the end of the world

    • doctor_robot

      uh… you’ve got some issues there, dude.

  • Matthew Whalen

    My guess is that terminus is full of Cannibals and like a knife to the back, the show kills either glenn or maggie and feeds them to the other in a gruesome season finale…also…I guess it’s true that white women trip and fall the minute there is a hint of danger…its ridiculous, I think gravity is more of a threat than zombies…

    • Oolie zool

      I’ve expected the cannibal arc from the comics to show up and I believe this is how they scaled it up to fill in the gap between DC and the prison.

    • LEM

      Also every time someone has a little fall they act as if Annie Wilkes just broke out the sledge hammer.

  • RecoveR

    I really wish they would start focusing on rick, carl and michonne, they’ve barely had 2 hours of screen time this half of the season, Rick is the main character, lets follow him. I can’t wait to see those three star in more episodes. i think one of the problems with this show is trying to juggle so many characters and keep them interesting. I used to get sad/ annoyed when i’d have to wait till october for the walking dead, but after this season im not that bothered about the wait now.

  • Scott Baiowulfgang Amadeus

    Bub from Day of the Dead in the tunnel!!! Thank you Greg Nicotero! I love all these little winks to other movies. Ben Gardner from Jaw’s head in the Governor’s aquarium, Flyboy from Dawn of the Dead in the Woodbury gladiator ring, Plaid Shirt from Dawn of the Dead, Out of the Ground from Fulci’s Zombie, that skinless woman from Black Sabbath and now Bub. Can’t wait to see who pops up next!

    • doctor_robot

      i caught that too. awesome!!

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  • poppincherry

    This episode reminded me of the writing from season 1. Very well done.

  • herpderp

    Can any of the survivors invest in a fucking broom stick and some duct tape to make a long ranged poking stick? Seriously glenn has the higher ground against zombies why not just do a little stabby stabby, like shooting fish in a barrel. No danger just takes more time.

  • FoonZeeS

    Why didn’t Glenn and Tara just cover themselves in zombie guts and walk over the pile and out the other side of the tunnel?

  • FoonZeeS

    Or they could have zombie pets all the time and literally not have to worry about anything.

  • LEM

    Everyone could just have a trench-coat when they need to go out and a bucket of fresh walker chum to drench it in.

  • LEM

    I wish they would use some of the mountains of money to hire really great detail oriented writers.

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