Tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead was the second to last one in season four, and it opened with some characters that we haven’t seen in quite a while – Glenn and Tara, and Abraham and company. However, at first the focus seemed to be on Abraham and Tara, though thankfully after their late night talk about why Tara has been following Glenn like a lost puppy, a new day dawned and we not only saw a lot more of Eugene, but got to witness Glenn finding one of Maggie’s messages.
One of the notable things about Us was that there were several quotable lines – and one of them was Tara asking Abraham, “What do you do when the mission is over?” She may be asking him what he’ll do once he sees Eugene safely to Washington, but the real meaning behind her question becomes increasingly clear throughout the episode as Glenn gets closer and closer to finding Maggie – because helping him do so was Tara’s mission, and considering her part in the attack on the prison it’s clear she assumes that she won’t be welcomed into that group with open arms.
This week we also got glimpses into several of the more long-standing characters’ story lines. It was a bit awkward, though, because there was quite a bit of jumping around at the beginning. For a good portion of the episode I wondered why they bothered including the scene with Rick, Michonne, and Carl, and it only made sense when much later on Daryl and the men he’s with happened upon one of the same Terminus signs and walked right by the candy bar wrapper that Carl apparently left behind. (Clearly littering isn’t that big of a deal during the zombie apocalypse.)
The idea that Abraham & Co. would actually be striking out on their own struck me as odd from the first. They were introduced so recently that I was shocked the writers would expect viewers – especially those who haven’t read the comics – to care about following such new characters if Glenn wasn’t with them. The fact that it ended up being a bit of a fake-out seemed to be no more than another of this season’s roundabout ways to make the plot progress, but in this case I feel it was much more well done than usual.
I did enjoy the additional insight into Eugene’s character. Let’s not lie, he’s still pretty weird/creepy – but somehow, even as I cringed over some of his mannerisms and lines, he seemed a lot less jarring than he did at first. His line, “After I save the world, I still have to live with myself,” was worrisome in that it makes it seem that he doesn’t quite understand the gravity of the whole zombie apocalypse situation…but at the same time it was nice to see that he had that sort of humanity intact, considering how unaffected he’d been acting thus far.
On the other hand, the more I see of Daryl’s interactions with this new group of men, the worse they seem. One would think that it would be less so – hey, they have their ‘rules’, and to an extent they’re working together, right? But the idea of ‘claiming’ things didn’t sit right with me from the start, and it seemed that Daryl felt the same way.
I think that Joe has some things right – in that if Daryl had run into these guys before he’d spent so much time with Rick, Glenn, Carol, and the others he would have fit right in. And despite the fact that certain events made it seem otherwise – for example, Daryl not covering up Len’s body, and then Daryl ‘claiming’ something for himself toward the end of the episode – I’m hoping that this isn’t going to mark some significant regression in his character arc. Joe saying, “Seems to me like things are starting to fall together…at least for guys like us,” was worrisome at best, that’s for sure.
In terms of other characters featured in Us, I wish I could say that the events that transpired in the tunnel shocked me or caught me off guard, but really it was sadly predictable – of course Glenn and Tara were going to run into some sort of trouble. I may not have expected them to find that the ceiling had collapsed, and sure, the zombies sticking out of the rubble were creepy enough…but the fact that they ran into another troublesome group of walkers, that they were about to leave their flashlight behind to distract said walkers, and that Tara then got caught in the rubble as they tried to escape, was all formulaic at best. (And really, couldn’t they have chopped up some of the trapped zombies and used their guts for ‘camouflage’?)
What really saved this episode for me was the fact that it did a great job of moving the plot forward for next week’s season finale. We got to see Glenn and Maggie reunited, and Abraham & Co. decide to continue on with them for a little while longer; we know that Rick, Carl, and Michonne are well on their way to Terminus; and whether Daryl’s traveling companions mean to end up there, they are heading that direction as well. And in the closing scene, we finally get our first glimpse of this supposed ‘sanctuary’ – but I for one am not putting too much stock into its safety, or into Mary and her overly friendly face and plates of…food.
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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