Sunday, March 30, 2014

Walking Dead - Us Recap

This week we got a healthy dose of sibling-like rivalries, bits of dark humor, and a possible light at the end of the tunnel.  Oh, Walking Dead, I know I need to enjoy it while it lasts.  Because I don’t think you’re going to let us go out of the season that easily. In the previous two episodes, two doe eyed innocents were taken from the show. God knows where Beth is, and we all know too well where poor Mika is.  Innocence and optimism in the WD world get you nothing.  So, for any hopeful feelings I had at the end of this episode, I expect that WD will deliver that signature crushing blow in the season finale.

However, for now, I choose to feel optimistic.

The episode opens on Eugene and Tara chatting about what killed the dinosaurs.  Well, it’s actually more Eugene babbling on and Tara half-listening, but her mulleted travel companion is actually making an interesting and insightful point.  He suggests that maybe the dinosaurs went extinct because of the zombie virus.  Tara just sort of shrugs his point off, but I think it serves to foreshadow certain breakdowns in the WD world to come.  More about this a bit later.

That night, Abe and Tara bond over nighttime watch.  I like these two together.  Abe is calm and almost fatherly to Tara, and Tara calls him on all his bullshit.  He admits to her that he has deduced that she’s gay (because of her not so furtive glances at Rosita’s bazoombas), and that her loyalty to Glenn stems from guilt, not love.   

Speaking of Glenn, the next morning the crew is on the road again, when they spot something in the distance.  A sign to Terminus.  “GLENN GO TO TERMINUS MAGGIE SASHA BOB”.  Glenn takes a beat, and then starts sprinting down the tracks, a twitchy smile spreading across his face.

Elsewhere, the Goon Squad wakes up to a walker with a taste for barbed wire.  One of the goons dispatches of the walker, and then immediately starts pissing on the ground.  Way to be classy, dude.  The gang speculates that Daryl has left them, but then observes that his stuff is still there.

Daryl creeps up on a rabbit in the woods. He shoots his bow, but a goon who looks like Evil Shaggy from Scooby Doo creeps up behind him and shoots at the same time.  Evil Shaggy says the rabbit is claimed, and starts to provoke the beast that is Daryl Dixon.  Daryl starts to pull his knife, but Joe intervenes.  He explains the ‘rules’ of the group, which he has instituted in order to “keep things from goin’ Darwin every few hours”.  That’s quite a reference for a redneck wearing an embroidered denim vest.  Joe gently takes the rabbit out of Daryl’s hand and hacks it in two, handing Daryl the ass end. 

If Evil Shaggy had an Evil Scooby, he might be better at hunting like a real man. 
Back on the tracks, Rick, Michonne and Carl make their way to Terminus.  Rick starts talking strategy when he turns to see Michonne and Carl playing a balancing game on the parallel tracks.  He smiles, but asks if they can’t speed it up a bit.  C’mon Rick!  You have to have a bit of levity in this horrid life!  Michonne agrees, and tries to unseat Carl, lamely swiping at him with her arm, and ends up tipping her balance, falling off.  She extends two candy bars to Carl, and they split it.  I love Michonne in family mode.  She and Carl seem to have really bonded, and she’s proven to be a way cooler and more competent mom than Lori ever was.  Lori didn’t play fun games, and she totally didn’t have a katana. 

On another part of the tracks, Glenn and crew press on.  They see a tower, and Abe wants to stop, but Glenn wants to keep going.  He makes a deal with Abe to trade his riot gear for Eugene’s protection so they can keep hiking for a few more hours.  Abe agrees. 

Glenn kicks himself for trading his riot gear when the gang approaches a super scary looking tunnel.  The tunnel of love, this ain’t.  Why would any tunnel even be a tunnel of love?  Can we all agree that tunnels are terrifying even without the possibility of zombies? There’s no end in sight, not even a pinprick of light.  However, this doom tube has another signature walker blood sign from Maggie on it.  And the blood isn’t dry yet.  Abe sums up the situation in a succinct but kind of hilarious manner, “You hear that?  That there is a long, dark tunnel full of reanimated corpses.”  Oh Abe, I love you more and more each episode.  He tells Glenn that because he can’t ensure Eugene’s safety in the tunnel, this is where they have to part ways.

Abe hands over some cans of food and a pretty diesel flashlight that could probably also double as a weapon.  More love for Abe.  He definitely learned his lessons in kindergarten about sharing.  Glenn apologizes for hitting Abe, saying “Sorry I hit you in the face.” To which Abe cheekily responds, “I’m not.  I like to fight.”  Rosita says her goodbyes, and then Eugene says goodbye in his own way.  He stands awkwardly a few feet away from Glenn and Tara and says “You are seriously hot Tara”, she squirms for a moment and says “I like girls”, to which Eugene responds “I’m well aware of that”.  These three newbies are a welcome addition to the show.  They offer a dose of black comedy that’s like a breath of fresh air in an otherwise humorless world.   Abe tells Glenn and Tara to double back if they get in trouble. 

As Glenn and Tara make their way into the tunnel, Glenn offers up a heart to heart, saying that he knows what she’s going through.  Tara eventually confesses that seeing all of her loved ones die wasn’t as bad as seeing what happened to Hershel.  I still don’t think she’s told Glenn what actually happened to Hershel. I don’t blame her.  It’s pretty horrifying.  She blames herself because she was the first to jump on the Governors bandwagon, and she feels responsible for the raid on the prison.  Glenn could be nice to her at this point, forgive her for her foolishness, but we all know what soft-hearted people get in the WD world. 

Back with the Goon Squad, Daryl walks with Joe who appears to be swooping the Dixon brother under his wing.  Ironic, because Daryl’s the one with wings on his vest.  Joe basically asks him to go steady with the Goon Squad, and Daryl is understandably reluctant.  Joe lays out the rules.  “You don’t steal, and you don’t lie.”  Punishment for these indiscretions is disturbingly arbitrary.  “The severity of which depends on the offense and the general attitude of the day.”  Joe takes a badass drag off a cigarette and says “You a cat person Daryl?  Ain’t nothing sadder than an outdoor cat thinks he’s an indoor cat.”

Side note - Joe is clearly an identified ‘redneck’, but he’s also shrewd.  He sees that Daryl is potentially a powerful asset to the Goon Squad, but also that he is likely to become an agreeable and loyal follower.  Daryl’s brief stint as a leader while he was with Beth was eye-opening for him, but having someone to follow is more his speed due to years listening to what older bro Merle had to say.  The parallels between Daryl and Carol as victims pre-apocalypse must be noted here as Carol is capably finding her own way as a leader, whereas Daryl seems to be lapsing into his old patterns as a follower.  It’s going to be interesting to see what happens if the Goon Squad meets up with any of the old crew at Terminus.  

The Goons case an old auto shop, and as he’s the baby of the group, Daryl is the last one in.  The goons quickly go to work claiming their spaces, and Daryl defiantly sets up camp in the middle of the floor.

Back in the tube of doom, Tara and Glenn encounter a cadre of walkers trapped under a pile of rubble from a ceiling cave in.  (Most Interesting Fact from this weeks episode of ‘Talking Dead’:  Those ‘walkers’ are actually contortionists that stayed in those positions for hours while they were filming this scene.  Eep!)  Glenn checks to see if any of the walkers are Maggie.  Nope.  Phew.  He climbs to the top, flashlight ablaze, and sees a sea of walkers stumbling around in the dark.  He shines the light in each of the walker’s faces, ostensibly checking to see if any of them are Maggie, but really just calling all of them over to the fresh meat at the top of the rubble pile. 

(Side note – Ok, I know this is picky, but if walkers are attracted to light, what the eff are so many of them doing in a pitch black tunnel?  Can someone explain this please?)

On the road, Abe, Rosita and Eugene find a minivan with gas, and start off on the road.  Rosita pulls out a map, and Eugene grabs it.  They bicker like siblings over the navigation job, and Rosita eventually gives in to Eugene, stuffing the map into his front pocket.

Glenn and Tara use their precious and valuable flashlight to construct a makeshift distraction for the walkers, angling it sharply toward one side of the rubble pile.  The walkers flock like moths to a flame, and Jesus there are a lot of them.  The pair starts down the pile, but Tara slips and somehow manages to get her leg caught under a pile of debris.  Womp womp.

Back in the minivan, Abe is napping, Eugene is navigating, and Rosita is getting pissed.  She’s no blind follower, and snaps at Eugene that they are lost.  “The gas in this tank is more than your ego!”  True that, Rosita.  Eugene tells her to stop, and the two of them argue for a bit before she realizes that he’s led them to the train tracks to await Glenn and Tara’s arrival at the end of the tunnel.  He says, “After I save the world, I still have to live with myself.  I’m not leaving them behind.”  And that’s how Eugene, as weird, pompous and be-mulleted as he is, won his way into my heart. 

Abe wakes up and twists towards Rosita, demanding answers as to why they are stopped.  She makes a pretty exact approximation of the ‘shocked’ emoji face, and proceeds to rip into Abe.  As they fight, Eugene spots something in the distance.  He screams “GUYS!” and all three heads turn in the direction of the tracks. 

Back in Goon Land, Evil Shaggy snaps at Daryl, accusing him of stealing his half of the rabbit.  Now, we know that Daryl Dixon might be a lot of things, but he’s certainly no thief.  Joe grabs Daryl’s bag, and asks Daryl if he took it.  Daryl says no.  Joe then turns to Evil Shaggy, and says “You didn’t plant it on his like some pussy punk ass cheatin’ coward cop, did you?”  Evil Shaggy says no, and Joe promptly punches him in the face.  He saw Shags plant the bunny head.  He throws him to the rest of the Goon wolves who delight in pummeling his face to the ground.  Daryl looks on reluctantly like “this shit never happened at the prison”.  

In the tunnel, Glenn struggles to free Tara, and can’t.  She gets a relaxed and zen look on her face, making peace with her death, and tells Glenn to go.  He sort of turns to leave, and then instantly turns back.  Tara gets angry, almost like she’s mad that she won’t get the chance to die, and starts yelling at Glenn, attracting the walkers.  Glenn starts shooting, and quickly runs out of ammo.  He goes to grab the second gun, when the cavalry arrives.

Car lights beam on Glenn and Tara’s saviors, casting them in shadow.  In the silhouette more than three bodies are posed in a sexy Charlie’s Angel’s stance, guns ablaze, taking out the walkers. 

When the coast is clear, one of the figures runs over to Glenn. IT’S MAGGIE!  They embrace and kiss.  GLENN AND MAGGIE 4EVAAAA!!  It’s the rare moment of joy on the Walking Dead. 

After the reunion, Maggie and Glenn pile the walker bodies on the side of the tunnel.  Maggie looks a little pekid as they finish the job.  Is she prego?  That would be interesting, and would also give a bit of a timeline as to how long our original gang has been separated.  Maggie walks up to Tara, and Glenn avoids a stressful situation as he introduces her as a sweet girl he met on the road.  Ergo, just after Carol’s secret was revealed, Tara’s is born.  And just like Carol, I don’t think Tara is going to be able to keep her secret for long. 

At the campfire, Sasha is agog that Eugene knows what started it all.  Abe says they should all go to DC, and Tara says she’ll go.  However, Eugene has other plans.  He feels that the “grocery grabber” that they found is not a decent transport vehicle, and I think that maybe he’d secretly like to see Terminus.  Or maybe he’s stalling for some reason? Apparently totally having changed her mind in the past few days, Sasha agrees that she’d also like to see Terminus.  Sasha would make a great politician.  She and Bob say they’re also in for the DC mission.  But only after they reach Terminus.

That night, Maggie and Glenn canoodle and recap their stories.  The picture of Maggie falls out of Glenn’s blanket.  Maggie looks at it for a second and then grabs her lighter.  Aw girl, don’t be so vain.  Oh, wait, she’s just making a promise to Glenn.  “You don’t need a picture of me.  You never will again.”  They burn the picture, stinking up the whole tunnel.  Oh silly Glaggie, enclosed spaces and chemicals don’t mix. And, yes, I believe Glaggie is their official couple name.

The next morning, Daryl wakes up to a floor that looks like a bloody Jackson Pollock painting.  He goes outside and sees Evil Shaggy’s body, arrow embedded in his skull.  Daryl silently grabs a sheet and goes to cover the body, but then thinks better of it.  Beth’s pure spirit is still with him.  Oh Beth, where are you?

Back on the tracks, Joe offers Daryl a hit from a flask.  They approach a sign to Terminus.  Daryl is floored.  Joe lets him know about why they’re headed there - for vengeance against the guy who killed one of their men.  One of the goons named Tony saw the guys face (who we know is Rick), and “that’s enough for a reckoning”. 

In a tantalizingly slow sequence that feels as if it might fade to black at any minute, Glaggie and Co approach Terminus.  They enter through the gates, encountering courtyard after courtyard of pristine, lush gardens.  A sign reads: “Lower your weapons.  You will be met.  You have arrived at Terminus”.  Within the innermost courtyard, they see a large BBQ grill and some outdoor picnic tables.  A longhaired lady comes out and welcomes them.  Introduces herself as Mary.  She says, “Lets get you settled, and we’ll make you a plate.  Welcome to Terminus.” 

Ok.  Wow. 

I want so badly for nothing sinister to be going on at Terminus.  Please?  Please Walking Dead?  Let me have this one moment of levity and happiness for mankind and the world? 


If we look back at Eugene’s dinosaur example at the beginning of the episode, things are about to take a disturbing turn.  Eugene used the dinos as a possible example of how the virus claimed a species in the past, but the dinosaur analogy may hold more weight than that.  As we all know from elementary school, the dinos fell into the categories of either carnivores or vegetarians.  How long till the surviving members of this ‘new world’ yearn for a satisfying slab of meat?  How long until they turn on one another and result to cannibalism for sustenance?  Kill or be killed seems to be the new motto of the show. 

Until the finale I’m going to fool myself into thinking that Terminus is simply a hippie commune and not some sort of human slaughterhouse with really good BBQ sauce…. If Woodbury has taught us anything it's that much more is going on beyond the surface of organized communities in the WD world.  IN OUR WORLD TOO?!  Omg WD, don’t get me started.  Mankind is good, right? RIGHT?!?!

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