My bold prediction after last week's controversial episode of "The Walking Dead" was that this week's would slow things way down in preparation for the grand Season 4 finale next Sunday evening.
Well, this week's episode, titled "Us," was not exactly slow, but I doubt it will draw the crowds to the water cooler this morning either.
There was plenty to keep our attention, but not quite enough to demand it.
Glenn has the blinders on a bit in his search for Maggie, and his poor decision making almost cost his life and Tara's life, but this seemed to be one of those episodes where the good guys win against the odds.
When Glenn and Tara wandered into that dark railroad tunnel, teeming with partially buried zombies, things looked very bad for the good guys. And this is the kind of show that makes the good guys pay for making dumb decisions.
But on this day, Glenn was rewarded for his devotion to his wife, and his unwillingness to abandon Tara, when the cavalry swooped in for the dramatic rescue. It was like "Indiana Jones" or something. (No Glenn Short Round jokes here...)
The episode ended with all of the good guys safe, Glenn and Maggie reunited and the promise of a safe haven at Terminus.
But just like Terminus seems like a trap, this way of thinking — that if you're compassionate, and keep the moral high ground, good things will happen to you — will get you killed on "The Walking Dead." The show has proven that before, and I have a feeling that lesson will be driven home again in next week's season finale.
After all, what kind of meat do you think that was cooking over the open flame at the end of the episode?
It was a nice idea of Maggie to burn that Polaroid of herself, I guess, because Glenn won't ever need a picture of her again now that they're reunited. But I could also see that close up image of her peaceful face engulfed in tiny flames carrying some ironic significance sometime in the future.
After last week's heavy, depressing episode, it was nice of the producers to slip in some good laughs this week. I liked the part when Michonne and Carl were doing the light hearted balance beam competition on the train tracks, and when Rosita and Abraham were arguing in the minivan while Eugene tried to get their attention. I was like, "Wait, is this 'The Walking Dead,' or 'Rat Race' with Cuba Gooding Jr.?"
DID YOU KNOW?
- The song at the end of the episode was a cover of English folk singer Bill Fay's "Be Not So Fearful" by Canadian musician A.C. Newman. It is a song about someone watching over you...
- Denise Crosby, the 56-year-old actress who plays Mary, leader of the Terminus welcoming committee, also played Tasha Yar on "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
- This was the 50th overall episode of "The Walking Dead." (Walking Dead Wikia)
- This episode marked Rick's return after a three-episode hiatus, his longest absence in the series so far.
DID YOU NOTICE?
- The candy bars that Michonne and Carl use as gambling chips are called "Big Cat" (Kit Kat?) and "Cruncho" (Crunch?).
- Someone had left a note in the minivan window dust that said "Let momma be".
- The band of marauders mentioned the bedroom struggle when Rick was hiding under the bed trying to avoid detection.
- Maggie was wearing Daryl's poncho. (Walking Dead Wikia)