I love that this episode starts out with Daryl checking Aaron over RIGHT after Maggie says that she and Sasha have already done that…
Well, that moment of aggravation aside, they get right to it. Aaron has a “community” that he’d like Rick and the gang to “audition” for membership. He’s brought pictures with him, showing that it’s fortified and– Well, that’s as far as he gets before Rick knocks him out.
Them. They. They that are them. Those guys.
Wait. Who are we talking about?
Maybe those bastards who produce the show..?
Anywho. Let’s get on with the recap:
In this episode, we’re actually going back in time, seeing Carol and Daryl’s adventure chasing after Beth’s kidnappers, and finding out just how Carol ended up in the hospital.
And, actually, the episode starts out even further back, in the moment just after Rick has “banished” her from the prison at the beginning of last season. Solo Carol takes a second to cry, and then seems to just get on with living, finding a safe haven and setting up a living space, until she sees plumes of smoke coming from the direction of the prison. She heads off towards the scene, and we see fire reflected in the windshield.
These titles are getting shorter and shorter. If IMDB is anything to go by, and admittedly it often isn’t, next week’s episode is just titled “A.”
But that’s next week.
We’re here to talk about this episode, “Us.”
The episode opens with Dr. Mullet and Tara leading the way down the tracks towards Terminus, the former talking her ear off about video games and treating a penny like it’s the most precious thing ever created.
That night, Abraham sits Tara down to talk to her, since she refuses to sleep. He lists things he’s notices, like how Eugene likes her, but how he saw Tara looking down… Oh, what is her name? With the no pants? Yeah, her shirt while being served dinner. And he figures that she’s following Glenn on his borderline suicide mission because of either something she did or didn’t do.
So, he’s a pretty observant guy. Maybe Dr. Mullet shouldn’t be such a know-nothing know-it-all to him, or anyone else for that matter. The next morning, back on the tracks, they come across a Terminus sign… And Glenn takes off running, a relieved smile breaking out on his face.
Roll credits, blah blah blah blah, and we get to see Joe’s crew, where Daryl has taken a short leave to go hunting. After one of the ruffians rather grotesquely takes out a walker trapped in their perimetre wire, pissing on its carcass as well, of course, trouble-maker Len heads out to find him.
We catch up briefly with Rick, Carl, and Michonne, the latter two of which are taking their time balancing on the tracks.
After Michonne knocks herself off while trying to psyche Carl out, he generously splits his hard-won candy bar with her. The dynamic between the two of them, starting way back in “Clear” (which is my personal favourite episode so far, and that’s really saying something considering how much we should all know that I love Glenn and Maggie by now) is awesome. She’s what Carl needs and Carl’s what she needs, creating a friendship that’s also sort of a surrogate mother-son relationship. So, that’s awesome. Despite Rick’s concerns about their water supply, he smiles along and they head further down the road.
Back in the woods, Daryl has just shot a rabbit he’s been waiting for for hours, and Len, the douchiest douchebag in Joe’s camp, shoots it at the same moment, laying Claim to his breakfast. Joe shows up to intervene, since Daryl doesn’t know their rules, and in a sort of backwards King Solomon moment, chops the rabbit in half. But Daryl’s got to say “Claimed” for whatever he wants, so nobody’ll fight him for it. But our favourite redneck doesn’t want to roll by their rules.
Along the tracks with Glenn and company, they’re slowing down. There’s a concrete tower they can climb into to rest, but a walker stumbles out from the height. And, because Dr. Mullet is too fucking stupid to move out of the way from clearly visible certain doom with ample warning, Tara has to be knocked out of the way, twisting her knee.When Glenn asks her if she wants to stay, she says she can keep going, and… Well, damn, now she has pants, but that chick traveling with Abraham points out that Tara will do anything Glenn asks, so he should stop being an ass. Glenn ignores her and offers his riot gear to Eugene in exchange for just letting them continue on.
Which is stupid because Glenn doesn’t actually owe them anything, necessarily.
But love isn’t blind. It’s actually just… A special kind of special.
Somewhere else, Joe explains the rules to Daryl, saying that you have to claim what you want, you can’t steal, and you can’t lie, otherwise a beating with varying degrees of severity will ensue.
Glenn, now unarmoured, approaches a dark tunnel with the rest of the gang close behind. Abraham says they’ll go up and over, but Glenn says that that would take an extra day, and that Maggie went through, so he will, too.
Abraham can hear the walkers inside, though, so he bids them good luck and gives them two cans of peaches and a flashlight and bids them good luck. Whatsherface gives them hugs. Dr. Mullet complements them on their character and tells Tara she’s hot.
Tara tells him she likes girls.
He claims to have already known this.
Glenn smiles to himself.
And the moment is awesome.
As they walk inside, Glenn tells Tara that he knows what she’s going through, having lost all of his family himself, and she tells him that she was the first to jump in at “Brian”‘s idea to take over the prison, even with the fact that some lives would probably have to be taken.
Joe’s group plus Daryl settle in an empty auto body shop, with all of the thugs “claiming” their cars to sleep in, since Daryl doesn’t seem keen on conforming to their ways. Instead, he picks himself a nice spot on the ground a ways away, using his garbage bag of supplies as his pillow. Joe and Len both notice his lack of reaction to being booted from the cars.
Back in the tunnel, they come across a freshly collapsed portion, walkers still active and trapped between the chunks of concrete. Glenn hands Tara his gun and takes his knife and the flashlight to examine the walkers, making certain that Maggie isn’t among their ranks and stabbing them as he goes along. BUT HE ONLY STABS THE WOMEN. And then Tara stomps on one of the men’s heads. Aaaand they climb to the top of the heap, where a couple dozen walkers wander towards them, and Glenn pauses, looking them over one by one and saying that, since she’s not one of them, Maggie made it through, and so they will, too, despite their lack of ammunition.
Abraham and company, meanwhile, have found a van with a single walker inside and a note written in the windshield’s grime. “Leave Momma Be.” They, of course, do not, and they have a nice new mode of transportation, all set to go, until Dr. Mullet decides to belittle… Oh, man. WHAT is her NAME? But, anyways, he wants to be navigator, and she’s not here for it, since she’s in the know about his general uselessness. She finally caves, telling him that they’re just going north.
Meanwhile, back at the cave-in, the worst plan ever has been hatched. Remember how I listed all of the things that Glenn has done wrong this episode? Well, add to that leaving their only light source in a dark tunnel of unknown length and filled with an unknown number of walkers who they now won’t be able to see, PLUS climbing down a pile of loose rubble with one of their party sporting a lower limb injury, and this is gonna turn out fine, I’m sure.
Whoop, no. I lied. Tara’s gonna slip, and her leg is gonna get trapped under a particularly stubborn rock, and then they’re gonna talk and then the walkers will notice them, and she’ll shout at him to go, and more will come, but he won’t abandon her.
THAT’S what’s going to happen.
Dr. Mullet, meanwhile, has gotten… Fuck, I’m never gonna know this woman’s name, am I? Well, he’s given her shoddy directions, but ultimately gotten her to come around to where that same tunnel lets out, saying that they ought to be around here if there were no considerable delays. Then, as Abraham is knocked awake and bickering ensues, he spots something odd.
Back in the garage, Len accuses Daryl of taking his half of the rabbit, and Daryl denies it, but a check in his bag reveals the front half of the poor little rodent.
Joe asks Len if he planted it, like Daryl accuses, and Len denies it, so Joe gives him a hard uppercut to the gut and tells the other men to teach him a lesson “all the way” because… Drumroll please… He saw him do it.
Now, in the tunnel, Glenn uses the last of him ammo to fend off the walkers, but he only takes out about a half-dozen before his clip runs empty. Just as he’s about to resort to using his rifle as a club for some reason (because doesn’t he have any bullets for that?), a man shouts to “Get Down!” and a group opens fire on the miniature hoarde.
And guess who it is?!
After freeing Tara from the rubble, Glenn introduces her to Maggie, claiming to have met her on the road and saying that the younger girl felt compelled to help him after hearing his story, because she’s just good like that. Maggie gives her a hug, and you can fucking see/smell/hear/taste the guilt in Tara’s eyes. Then they go and join the others, having made camp in the tunnel since they were pretty much able to secure it (how, I do not know), and Sasha and Bob are in disbelief at Abraham’s tale.
Abraham tells them all that now there’s nothing keeping them from Washington, and Tara tells Glenn that she’s going with them. Her pseudo-dept is kind-of repaid! But Dr. Mullet contradicts Abraham, saying that three more days and they’re at Terminus, so they may have supplies or manpower. Sasha agrees to go with the to Washington after Terminus; she needs to see if Tyreese is still alive. Bob agrees to go wherever she goes.
Then… Sigh… A lovely moment where Glenn and Maggie catch each other up is ruined by my anxiety over this being a moment of foreshadowing or metaphor or some other such BULLSHIT, because Maggie finds the photo of her that Glenn has been carrying, and she convinces her to let her fucking BURN it because they’ll always be together and he’ll never need a photo of her because he’ll have the real her by his side and blah blah blah blah blah blah MAGGIE WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!
I mean, really, look at this screen shot. Is this not a metaphor?
Sigh, you assholes…
The next morning, Daryl wakes up to the crew setting off, and finds Len outside, with an arrow in his eye.
Daryl is about to cover his body with a sheet, and then decides against it, leaving the sheet in a heap and following Joe as he takes a swig from a flask and tells him a bit about his plans for the immediate future. They’re on their way to Terminus, but not for sanctuary, since he doubts that men like them will be welcomed with open arms, but rather to hunt down a guy who was hiding out in a house that they’d claimed, strangled one of their own, and left him to turn and attack them all as a walker. One of their group got a good look at him.
Because he was staring at him as he was being choked and their prey was hiding under the bed.
Oh! Right. That’s why this sounds so familiar.
Because Daryl’s now with a group on people who are going to hunt down and murder Rick. And probably Carl. And Michonne, but, y’know, after horribly raping her because they as much said so in that episode where they’re all actually in the house. And, after hearing this and having refused to conform to this group’s dynamics for this whole series of events since they’ve found him, he claims a small tomato or berry or something growing at the side of the tracks, right as another guy is about to grab at it.
So, awesome. Except for the many ways in way it’s not.
And, now, at last, it looks like the first of our heroes have arrived at Terminus.
So, let’s just go with a Terminus slideshow for now and give our thoughts:
One gate, no locks or visible guards posted.
A second gate, also unlocked, and it has a sign which has all of the same handwriting as every other sign we’ve seen thus far.
Pastel colours. Weird as shit.
Tasha Yarr as slightly creepy hippy lady.
Nobody else in sight.
Sooo… Is this a huge cannibalism scheme or what? Because, and I’m not judging just observing, but everybody else in the world is starving, and Tasha’a over here looking a little bit ponchy. Plus she’s grilling something. WHAT IS THERE LEFT TO GRILL?!
The answer… Is people.
There could also be some kind of creepy Stepford thing going on. There could be drugs in the food or water.
Or she could be a Super Saiyan.
Who the fuck knows?
So far, I’m standing firm equal distance between the cannibal and drugging theories. Because both are completely different levels of creepy than we’ve seen on the show so far. And I’m all for non-flu-y new threats. ‘Twould be quite welcome, since I’m pretty sure that everybody and their Momma (who they did not let be) knows by now not to trust any of the other survivors.
But we do need to see some casualties, certainly, in the finale next week. Even with Herschel it’s been a while. And it was quite a while before that, too. So, what have we got?
An uneasy truce between Tyreese and Carol.
A romance who a lot believe to be doomed, but who I’m holding out for, especially since the whole doomed romance/Romeo-Juliet thing is such a cliche at this point that it would be a really disappointing thing to see, just from a writing standpoint, let alone from that of a person who actually “ships” them. But, given the imagery of Maggie’s photo burning, plus the fact that Glenn has worked very hard to continue on in Herschel’s sort of morality, and we all know what happens to the group’s moral compass time and again, and then counting the huge number of errors and irresponsible moves made by Glenn in this episode alone, it’s not looking too good for the two of them. But I still don’t want them to die. It looks so much like one of them will that I don’t want to believe that the writers have gotten that lazy.
Especially since we still have an upcoming standoff between Rick and the group with which Daryl is now traveling as a part of. Add the fuel of the fact that Daryl still doesn’t know about Carol’s banishment onto that fire, and we might just get a major character death that none of us were bargaining for. Daryl or even Rick might die. And wouldn’t that shake some shit up?
I mean, consider, Michonne is a friend and role model for Carl, able to keep the boy straight.
She’s a surrogate mother.
And Carl is probably safe because I think enough people too short to ride most carnival rides have gotten got this season.
Who do you think is going to bite it/get bit?
Personally, I think the biggest deal is Daryl/Rick… But mostly because I don’t want to even think about Glenn or Maggie.
Oh, right, and, uh, are we ever gonna see Beth again, or…?
Until next week!