After a huge sucker-punch of an episode last week, The Walking Dead delivers the penultimate episode of the season. Did this episode continue with the show’s forward momentum?
Let’s bitch it out…
Well, we made it to Terminus, Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) tearfully reunited and we finally saw Rick (Andrew Lincoln) after what seems like a lifetime. Unfortunately, aside from the few moments we got near the end of the episode, ‘Us’ functions almost purely as a perfunctory offering to set us up the season finale.
Even though we don’t get much setup (more on that in a moment), however, there are still moments that make this episode worthwhile. We knew it would only be a matter of time before Glenn and Maggie were reunited, but it sure is a wonderful moment to see. It’s downright histrionic (Blinding lights! Walker shoot-out! Shadowy figures!), but considering we’ve waited several episodes for it to happen, we needed some drama to make the moment really hit it home. If anything it makes me hopeful that we’ll get an equally cathartic reunion once the ol’ prison gang finds one another (although seeing as the show has already given us one happy reunion, it’s doubtful we’re going to see many more…if any.)
We get some additional insight into Tara’s (Alanna Masterson) guilt over her role in the prison massacre, but there is little to no suspense on whether or not she will make it out of that tunnel. Tara has yet to emerge as a character to care about, and she won’t eat it until she’s had her ‘moment’. So, it’s not surprising that Glenn, blissed out on finally finding Maggie, neglects to mention that Tara was part of The Governor redux’s crew – cementing Tara’s role as part of the family.
That character development of the newbies come to us in bite-sized nuggets, which honestly, I don’t mind all that much. We don’t know much more about Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) or Rosita (Christian Serratos) aside from the fact that they’re good people and it’s about high time that we found some decent people who aren’t incredibly annoying (I’ll take whatever I can get). It’s clear they’ll be sticking around for at least another season, and I’m far more interested in continuing my investment in characters like Bob (Lawrence Gillard Jr.), Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) rather than spend time latching on to more newbies.
Although in saying that, I’m intrigued to know more about Eugene (Josh McDermitt). It’s blatantly obvious that he doesn’t know what caused the outbreak and Abraham and Rosita are just aimless enough to buy into it – but that prediction rests more on the fact I simply can’t fathom a catch-all explanation for the zombie outbreak in general. If the CDC couldn’t figure it out, what are the chances that this guy with a mullet holds all the answers? Colour me skeptical, but I will say that Eugene is endearing with his incessant and quirky observations – and it is sweet that he was so instrumental to reuniting some of our prison folk.
On the flip side, much of the ‘claimed’ crew is yawn-worthy with the exception of leader, Joe (Jeff Kober). He maintains a simple code, and explains things so matter-of-factly, you can’t help but respect it – even if it rests on a deplorable morality. After everything we’ve seen on the series, Joe & Co. exhibit controlled sadism and are upfront about it rather than manipulative. For some reason, it seems more palatable after The Governor’s reign.
Which brings us to Terminus. I have no idea what to make of it, but the colourful and welcoming gardens can’t be good for our group. There’s an inherent uneasiness to it all, and we can thank the previous seasons for making us so apprehensive. When Denise Crosby turns around and offers our weary travelers solace without question, you know there’s something insidious waiting. Welcoming everyone and everything to enter your home just doesn’t make any kind of sense in this world. At least the ‘claimed’ crew is upfront with their intentions, which I would take any day over the unknown. I predict Terminus will be more terrifying than anything we’ve encountered, but for now we head into the season finale with a big question mark as to what will happen.
- We only get one quick glimpse of Rick, Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) but Rick is seen genuinely smiling, which means nothing but dread awaits this trio.
- I’m thinking Terminus is probably some kind of cannibal operation ala The Road – because what’s a post-apocalyptic world without human cannibals? (I suppose the walkers kind of satisfy this criteria…) But isn’t it eerie that only one person greet newcomers into Terminus, and it’s by the BBQ? (God, I hope it doesn’t turn out to be cannibals…)
- Bob gets one measly line this whole episode, and it’s not even a full sentence: “Me too – on both counts.” I sincerely hope his character doesn’t get pushed back into the ‘moving scenery’ category.
What did you think viewers? Did you get a little misty-eyed when Glenn finally found Maggie? Do you think Eugene is the apocalypse’s Rosetta stone? What are your theories about Terminus? Do you think Daryl (Norman Reedus) is more suited the ‘claimed’ crew or will he jump ship once he sees his prison folk? Does any one care what’s happened to Beth (Emily Kinney)? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
A gentle reminder that we adhere to a SPOILER FREE zone here, so please keep any plot points from the graphic novels to yourself.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm EST on AMC.