The fourth season of AMC’s The Walking Dead is drawing to a close. Tonight’s episode is called “Us”, and it had the important role of putting everything together in preparation for season finale, set to air March 30th! It’s hard to believe that this season is almost over. We’ve traveled with these characters. We’ve shared their fear, sadness, relief and joy. Preparing for the end hasn’t gotten any easier, even four years later, but I digress.
While several are seen tonight, this episode focuses heavily on two core groups. In one, we have Abraham, Rosita, Eugene, Glenn and Tara. They are still together, at least until Abraham can find the right vehicle needed to continue his mission of getting Eugene to Washington D.C. Having now spent some time together, the group appears to be bonding. Abraham tells Tara that he thought she was in love with Glenn. Why else would she be so willing to follow him? Of course, that was until he caught her looking down Rosita’s shirt. Tara tells him that she is on her own mission with Glenn. “What do you do when the mission is over,” she asks him. While continuing their trek along the tracks, Glenn spots one of the signs Maggie has left him. Finally having confirmation that she’s alive, he excitedly begins running towards the direction of Terminus.
Rick, Michonne and Carl make a cameo appearance. They too, are headed towards Terminus. Michonne and Carl are balancing along the tracks, playing a competitive game. Winner gets his or her choice of candy bar! Michonne playfully attempts to bluff Carl into losing his balance. This backfires, causing her to step off the tracks instead. Carl claims his prize but breaks it in two, offering the second half to Michonne. “We always share,” he tells her.
The second group focused in this episode is of course, the Hunters. Daryl is still with them though he’s not keen on becoming a real member of the group. He is out hunting when he spots a rabbit. He aims, pulls the trigger and releases the arrow. A second arrow whizzes by and both hit the rabbit with deadly accuracy. “Claimed“, Len states to a startled Daryl. “Ain’t yours,” comes his smooth reply. This only makes the man angry and he begins harassing Daryl, telling him that he must have lost a piece of tail. Daryl draws his knife and the two are about to fight when Joe steps in. He tells Daryl that it’s survival of the fittest and asks if Len claimed the rabbit. He tells Daryl that all you gotta do is claim. Since Daryl was unaware of the rules, he takes the rabbit and cuts it in half, giving each man a piece. “Ass end is still an end,” he tells Daryl.
Abraham tells Glenn that they need to take a break. There’s a tower above and it would be a good place to rest. A walker begins to stumble out so Abraham rushes to move Eugene out of harm’s way. In doing so, Tara is accidentally pushed to the ground. The walker falls to the ground with a satisfying splat. Tara says she’s okay, still able to walk and will help Glenn continue his search for Maggie. Rosita tells Glenn that Tara will follow him because she owes him, but also points out that Tara is injured and needs to rest. She tells him, “Man up. Stay here for a few hours.” I wonder if the show of concern made Abraham a little jealous because he quickly quips, “You ain’t her mama“. Rosita’s words must have gotten through to Glenn though, as he makes a deal with Abraham. If they’ll continue helping him, he’ll give Eugene his swat uniform for extra protection.
Joe seems to have taken a shine to Daryl, wanting him to become a member of the group. Daryl comments that they aren’t exactly a friendly group. Joe explains that you don’t need to be friendly. You just need to claim and follow the rules. Breaking the rules will result in a beating. The severity of said beating will depend on the importance of the situation and the mood they are in at the time it occurs. Joe tells Daryl that he’s a cat lover and there’s nothing sadder than an outside cat that thinks he’s an inside cat, hinting that Daryl needs to accept who he is instead of trying to change. There’s some thing about Joe that I like. He seems reasonable and fair for the most part. However, he’s pretty much the polar opposite of Beth and appears to be damaging any progress the poor girl had made. The Hunters take up shelter for the night in an abandoned garage, each “claiming” a broken down car to sleep in. Daryl ends up sleeping on the floor.
Glenn and company are back on Maggie’s trail and Eugene looking fierce in his newly acquired swat gear. They come across a obstacle that some of them aren’t willing to face. As Abraham puts it, it’s a long, dark tunnel filled with reanimated corpses. He tells Glenn that he can’t keep Eugene safe in a place like that so they need to part ways. They split some of the supplies and begin to say their goodbyes. Rosita wishes them luck, giving both Tara and Glenn a comforting hug. Eugene tells Tara that she’s hot which she quickly kills cold by declaring she likes girls. Eugene always had an air of awkwardness to him but that takes the cake. Abraham tells them that if they find trouble, they can double back and rejoin them.
Inside the tunnel, Glenn tells Tara that he understands what she’s feeling. He felt numb too when everything started. He lost his family as well. Tara tells him that she knew the prison was a bad idea. She might have lost her girlfriend, sister and niece but it wasn’t as bad as watching Hershel die. She feels guilty because she was initially on board with the Governor’s plan. They come across a pile of rubble where part of the tunnel’s roof had collapsed. Some walkers are trapped underneath. Glenn heads over and looks over their faces with his flashlight, checking to see if Maggie is among them. He slowly moves through the mess, killing them as he goes. On the other side of the rubble are more walkers. Again he checks to see if Maggie is among them. There’s also no bodies on the ground so he tells Tara that Maggie must have made it through. With the walkers distracted by shadows, the two try to sneak by but Tara falls and her leg becomes trapped under some rock.
Meanwhile, Abraham and his group are looking at deserted cars to see if any of them still work. He kills a female walker in one before climbing in to check the engine. To his surprise, it starts up. Rosita and Eugene begin to nitpick each other over which of them will get to be the navigator. We learn that Eugene wasn’t so great in his last attempt at navigation which resulted in “minimal incidents”. Before they get into the vehicle, Abraham turns on the windshield wipers to remove a message written outside of the front window. Written was a child’s message, “Let momma be.” We see so many walkers in the series that it’s easy to forget that they were once people. Even mothers.
Abraham takes a short nap in the back of the car while Rosita drives and Eugene “navigates”. After three left turns in a span of five minutes, she becomes suspicious and asks him if he’s lost. He tells her to stop the vehicle. Realization dons on her when she notices their location. She begins arguing, telling him that the priority is to get him to Washington D.C. “After I save the world, I still have to live with myself,” he tells her. “If they made it through the tunnel, they’d be around here.” He wants to make sure Glenn and Tara were okay. Abraham wakes up and joins in on the arguing when something out the window catches Eugene’s eye.
Daryl wakes up to an angry Len accusing him of stealing his half of the rabbit. Daryl turns around and accuses Len of planting it there when he went to relieve himself earlier that evening. Joe intervenes and grabs Daryl’s bag and dumps the contents onto the floor, the rabbit among them. He asks each man if they are telling the truth. Both say yes. He then turns and tells his crew to teach Len a lesson for lying as he had seen the man plant the rabbit in Daryl’s bag. He commends Daryl for his honesty.
Things are looking grim for Tara and Glenn. She tells him to run and find Maggie; to leave her. He refuses and begins shooting at the Walkers closing in. Just as he runs out of bullets, a vehicle pulls up. Soon, there’s a large group of people firing into the remaining Walkers. Once the danger passes, Maggie runs forward and flings herself into Glenn’s arms and kisses him. It seems that she, Sasha and Bob had caught Eugene’s attention earlier. Glenn introduces Tara to the them, telling them that he found her on the road, that he couldn’t have made it without her. Perhaps this is to give her a fresh start for helping him? Maggie gives her a hug in gratitude.
Abraham would like the eight of them to go to Washington D.C. to continue the “mission”. Eugene disagrees. They are a day’s walk from Terminus and that would be a good place to fuel up, look for supplies, possibly even get more people involved. Sasha says she would like to check Terminus for her brother as well. Abraham tells them that he always listens to Eugene. As such, they’ll reach the “end of the line” tomorrow.
Maggie is curling up next to Glenn when she finds the picture of herself that he had been carrying. “Won’t need a picture of me,” she promises. “Never will again.” Together, they set the picture aflame. While I love the sentimentality, I can’t help but feel that fire being is being overused symbolically this season.
Daryl wakes up the next morning and spots a lot of blood on the ground where the beating had taken place. He leaves the building and sees Len’s corpse on the ground. He picks up a blanket as if to cover the body up. He pauses and chooses to discard the blanket instead, further testament that whatever progress Beth had made is fading fast.
Daryl walks alongside Joe and the two share a drink. Joe tells him that the world isn’t falling apart. For people like them, it’s actually falling together. Daryl spots a Terminus sign and questions it. Joe tells him that Terminus is a lie. There’s no sanctuary for all. “Us” is definitely tying up loose ends and leading us into the season finale. Therefore, we finally get to the twists of tonight’s episode! First, we find out that Joe and his band of Hunters have been tracking Rick all along. One of them had seen Rick briefly under the bed several episodes prior. We even see a discarded candy bar wrapper on the tracks so they can’t be too far behind. Of course Daryl doesn’t know it’s Rick, and if that wasn’t bad enough, Daryl claims a tomato plant along the way, fully cementing himself within the group of hunters.
The second twist is the arrival of Glenn and his group to Terminus. It looks welcoming enough, at least initially. Beyond the fence are gardens that have flowers and crops growing in them. A sign on a door asks visitors to lower their weapons. Inside however, is another story. The place appears nearly barren. In fact, the only visible person is a woman cooking some meat. She turns and introduces herself as Mary and welcomes them to Terminus.
I felt that they did a great job with this episode. While it was slower than some of the more recent episodes, it finally put some much needed pieces of the puzzle together. I find myself curious about Terminus. The idiom that it’s too good to be true comes to mind and seems to fit. Where were all the people? Is it a sanctuary or a trap? Would love to hear your theories! Also, what do you think about Joe and his group of Hunters? Which version of Daryl do you prefer? Where the heck is Beth? Do you think we’ll ever see her again? So many questions, not enough episodes remaining! Aaaaaagh!
If there’s one thing we fans do well, it’s sharing what we think of The Walking Dead, so head over to the forums and discuss tonight’s episode! There may even be a candy bar in it for you. (Okay, that last bit may not be entirely true..)