I haven’t written about the ‘back eight’ of the season yet, but that’s not because I haven’t been captivated by what’s happening. Quite the opposite.
Over the past three episodes, the writers have cleverly set up a ‘Walking Game of Thrones’ situation, where our heroes have been torn asunder over a vast and unknown territory where danger lurks at every corner. The only thing us audience members have to root for in this new divided ‘Dead’ world is the reunification of our gang. The show hasn’t denied us any reunions in the past – Lori and Rick, Merle and Daryl, Andrea and the Gang…but there are so many characters to rejoin that it seems possible that one of the pairs may lose their way. That’s what has made the second half of this season so exciting to watch.
That said – Glenn MUST find Maggie, because their story is the heart of this show.
The episode opens with Tara furiously scribbling direction notes on her hand in the back of a truck. One note simply reads ‘BUS’. The truck stops, and walkers claw at the back of the tank. Tara jumps up with her gun, ready to fire, when the red head in the truck barks ‘DO NOT FIRE THAT WEAPON’ and hops out of the driver’s side. He proceeds to take unabashed glee in demolishing the three walkers with a crowbar. Tara stares at him and says, “never seen that before…you smiled. You were smiling.” He responds, “well I’m the luckiest guy in the world” and asks for Tara’s help moving the cars in the road. Somehow I like this guy already. He seems like a aggressive weirdo with good intentions.
Elsewhere, Michonne and Carl sit down for a family breakfast. Here starts the Lifetime movie portion of the episode. A broken woman who has lost the ability to feel pairs up with a man and his son who have lost hope. After a few rough starts, they come together and learn to love again and magically become a family that lives happily ever after. If it weren’t for the ceaseless threat of walker violence this sequence in the house would make great “television for women”.
Carl and Michonne engage in some banter about her attire and soymilk. I am not sure if Michonne has ever smiled on the show, but here she grins ear to ear, and it’s a refreshing sight. She appears to have fully adopted Carl as her own in her mind. Mid anecdote, Carl remembers Judith and pops up from the table, mumbling something about finishing a book.
Michonne finds a disheveled Rick in the kitchen, aimlessly rummaging through drawers. They totally have a ‘moment’ as Michonne asks Rick if the house is “home or a stop along the way”. Rick isn’t sure, and Michonne states that she’s going to take Carl out for supplies. She assumes the role of head of the family, making the decision to go out and get supplies, and convinces Rick to rest. Michonne and Carl head out, and Rick gives Carl his gun.
Rick limps upstairs and re-bandages his wound. He checks the time on Carol’s watch, and settles down to sleep in the master bedroom. Love that he still has Carol’s watch, especially since we know she’s back in the picture.
On the road, Michonne and Carl leave a house with bags of supplies. Michonne reveals her Crazy Cheeze find with another huge grin. Carl brushes her off like the sullen teenager he is, and Michonne confronts him right back. As they approach the next house, Michonne divulges her long kept secret to Carl. She had a three-year old son. Carl is too shocked to respond, silently staring as Michonne proceeds to make her way into the house. She’s all business in the front room, acting like she didn’t just drop a shocker of a revelation on Carl. She doesn’t get off so easily, as Carl starts rapid firing questions. Michonne briefly gets a panicked look on her face, clearly she hadn’t prepared for the barrage of Carl questions. So she lays down ground rules. “One question at a time, one room at a time, and only after we’ve cleared it.” Strange games in the post apocalyptic world.
Back at the house, Rick is deep asleep, when he wakes to sounds of men fighting. “Please, please don’t!” Then a scream. Ricks eyes flash open. Rut ro.
He reaches for his gun, but had given it to Carl. Oh Rick, how could you let your guard down? Footsteps come up, and Rick squiggles himself under the bed. He sees a glimpse of a rifle. He assumes a low cobra pose under the bed. Who knew Rick was so into yoga? Also, he is surrounded by a sea of perfect dust bunnies. Note to WD design people – dust bunnies don’t look like that.
|This is the scene under my bed, and it’s not even a zombie apocalypse. TMI? #mostlydogfur|
A mysterious man flops onto the bed above Rick, trapping him.
Oblivious of their unexpected houseguests, Michonne and Rick continue to hunt for supplies. Michonne stares at some brightly colored paintings on the wall. The colors are reminiscent of the cat she took from the bar when she helped Carl get the picture of Lori. Carl starts in with the questions again, more cautiously this time, and Michonne provides answers. Her son’s name was Andre Anthony, she didn’t have any other kids, and Andre was a handful just like Carl. Carl asks how long it’s been, and Michonne says “It happened after everything happened”. Rick doesn’t know, because she “never told anyone, not until now”. Carl gulps, realizing the significance of the moment, and promises not to tell anyone.
Carl wanders down the hall to investigate another room, and Michonne opens a wrapped picture to reveal a painting of a woman with garish red splashes over her face. The picture is deeply unsettling, even more so given that the rest of the pictures are cheery and bright. She takes a sideways glance down the hall then sidles into a bathroom that leads into a baby’s room, very apropos for the theme of her and Carl’s day. I appreciated the detail of the spider webs swaying on the bookcase, giving a deserted and haunted feel to the house. Michonne then wanders into the next room. It’s clearly a little girl’s room, painted bubble gum pink. As her eyes adjust to the room, Michonne takes in the full weight of what the room has actually become. It’s a mausoleum. Four small bodies lie on two twin beds, all shot in the head at point blank range. As Michonne carefully walks around, she is respectful and doesn’t disturb a single item in the room. She becomes teary, and brusquely wipes away her tears. A figure in the corner startles her, and she turns to see a female’s body in a rocking chair, skull blown to bits. Simultaneously horrifying and sweet, it’s probably one of the most touching ‘finds’ on the show to date.
Michonne backs out of the room and hastily closes the door. Carl comes up and says “there’s a baby in there”, to which Michonne responds, “it’s a dog”. Here I think, how did Michonne NOT smell the stench of five decomposing bodies in that room before she opened the door? That smell would certainly have been enough to deter most people from entering that room, but I suppose it’s possible that olfactory performance in the living becomes compromised in a world filled with decomposing corpses on the move.
Carl opens up about Judith, and says that maybe she and Andre are together somewhere. This makes Michonne smile, and jostles her new adopted sons shoulder lovingly and says “you dad will wonder where we are if we’re late”. This would definitely qualify as a Lifetime Movie Moment in my book….if there weren’t a family who ‘opted out’ rotting away in the very next room.
Back at the house, Rick’s dealing with a fresh hell, trapped underneath the rickety bed slats. Another man enters the room, telling the other that he’s going to have to “lay claim somewhere else”. The two goons get into a physical fight, and Goon #1 sees Rick under the bed. Rick tilts his head quizzically at the man as his assailant finishes off his sleeper hold, and he passes out. Goon #2 cackles, “my bed now, jackoff” and flops onto the bed.
Glenn wakes up in the moving truck, and Tara cares for him, coaxing him to drink some water. The writers were definitely thinking ahead when they set Tara’s sexuality up to make her the perfect travel companion for Glenn.
Tara tells Glenn that they’ve been driving for three hours, they passed the bus long ago and everyone was dead. Glenn stops the truck, and the red head confronts him. Red heads name is Abraham, and he neatly introduces himself as well as the midriff baring Rosita Espinosa and the mullet rocking Dr. Eugene Porter. He drops the bomb - “We’re on a mission to get Eugene to Washington DC. Eugenes a scientist and he knows exactly what caused this mess.” Jigga- whaaaa??
Side note – Unfortunately I had already spoiled this surprise for myself by reading a synopsis of the comics on Wikipedia. I felt the electricity of the moment here, but not the surprise. PSA: Spoilers are bad, kids.
Both groups stand in silence, and Glenn asks a follow up question, to which Eugene responds, “It’s classified”. Seriously dude? The world is ending, the government appears to be in shambles, there’s zero infrastructure. There will be no consequences if you tell people what’s going on. I do not like Eugene.
Abraham asks for Glenn’s help, and Glenn says he can’t, and starts walking. Tara follows him like the devoted puppy dog she is and says she knows how to get him back to the bus. Abraham follows and tells Glenn that he wont find his wife, alive or dead. “Sorry to tell you, shes gone. No need for you to die too. Get back in the truck, do something with your life.” This incenses Glenn. He stops and clocks Abraham square in the jaw which incites some sort of anger in him, and he tackles Glenn. Tara tries to stop him, but Abraham tosses her off handily. Walkers start to emerge in the cornfields, moving toward the sound. Ahhhh! Children of the coooorrrnnnnn! Eugene makes a lame attempt at getting Rosita and Abraham’s attention, and then clumsily starts firing a machine gun which he has zero business using. Carl is immediately unseated as the ultimate ammo-waster on the show; Eugene is the king of the idiots now.
Tara and Glenn walk up to the truck and casually grab weapons to help. Once the walkers have been eliminated, Abraham turns around to see that the trucks gas line has been breached. His reaction – “Son of a dick”. I like you Abe. I really, really like you.
Rick creeps out from underneath the bed now that Goon #2 is snoozing. He stealthily gets to standing and sneaks into a side room just as Goon #3 wanders up the stairs. Rick tries the windows in vain, but obviously cant smack at them to get them open. He snatches a trophy as a makeshift weapon.
As Rick scrambles to escape, the goons chat. “There’s a woman shackin’ up in here”. They found a shirt. She washed it, and left it, indicating to them that she would be back. One man calls ‘dibs’ when she gets back. Ew. Gross. These are some bad, bad men.
Rick sidles into the bathroom and finds a goon perched on the toilet.. Rick takes no time in strangling the man to death, and commandeers his weapon. He manages to get the bathroom window open, and has the foresight to leave the door open for when the goon reanimates. Rick does his best Spiderman as he crouches on the roof, then silently drops from the gutter and readies his position for a possible attack. He gets around to the front of the house, as the ball-bouncing goon walks out front. These goons have good timing.
Unidentified goon starts spitting off the side of the porch, whistling a chilling tune. Rick sees Michonne and Carl coming down the road and steadies himself to attack the goon. Rick has become a killing machine, willing to kill as a first resort instead of compromise. This is not a world of compromise, especially with these men. However, Rick doesn’t have to put his newfound priorities to work. With impeccable timing, his zombie plant comes to life and creates a distraction so he can scramble away toward Carl and Michonne.
Back on the road, Abe chastises Eugene for “killing the truck” he says that a camel packed with C4 couldn’t take the truck down. Eugene gives a robotic weird response. Rosita picks up the very conveniently dropped pic of Maggie, handing it to Glenn, asking, ‘is this yours?” Glenn grabs the pic and returns the gun, and Tara follows suit. Rosita makes the decision to follow them, and says “what the hell else are we gonna do?” Abraham protests, but then Eugene says they’ll find another vehicle, and they’ll go with Glenn and Tara until they do. Eugene snarkily adds, “Trust me, I’m smarter than you”. They follow.
A ways down the road, Tara starts questioning Abraham. He says he wants to save the world, but Tara isn’t fooled. She breaks it down for him, saying that she knows Rosita will follow Abraham anywhere, and Eugene needs his help, but why is Abraham going? She says, “you don’t have to tell me why, just don’t lie to me.”
Side note – Tara seems to be the new Dale/Hershel of the bunch. As much as I miss those two characters, it’s refreshing to not have the moral voice of the show be the ‘wise old man’ cliché. This makes me sad though, because if Dale and Hershel’s arcs on the show are any indication, Tara’s got about one more season to go before she meets her end.
On the move, the Grimes-Katana Gang wander down the train tracks, and see a sign of possible hope. Redemption. “What do you think?” Mich asks Rick. ‘Lets go” he says. The camera pulls back to reveal the sign - Sanctuary for all. Community for all. Those who arrive survive.
Amazing episode. Questions – How long before everyone arrives at Terminus? We know that Tyreese, Carol, Meeka, Lizzie and Judith are headed there, but will everyone arrive? In the past, separated loved ones have always reunited on the show, so I have hope that the writers will not ‘leave us hanging’ with any one of these story lines. Tyreese and Sasha, Beth and Maggie, Judith, Rick and Carl, and, most importantly Glenn and Maggie will reunite. The question is – will it be before the end of the season? Please?
Also, as evidenced by Rick putting on a jacket while escaping from the house, as well as the timetable of the episodes – Winter Is Coming. Another GoT reference for sure, but my guess is that the change in seasons will have dire ramifications for all our heroes in the episodes to come.