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)
Len: "Dude left his stuff here, probably just stepped out to drop a morning deuce."
Joe: "An ass end is still an end."
Abraham: "We're stopping here. Tired is slow, slow is dead."
Joe: "When men like us follow the rules and cooperate a little bit, the world becomes ours."
Joe: "You leaving right now? Nope? Then that sure sounds like there's an 'us.' "
Joe: "Ain't nothing sadder than an outdoor cat thinks he's an indoor cat."
Joe: "You told the truth. He lied. You understand the rules, he doesn't."
Eugene: "I can't imagine we'd have better luck with that grocery grabber we picked up."
Daryl: "I ain't been lit at dawn since before everything fell apart."
BEST ZOMBIE KILL
I say that it was when that zombie dragged its mouth along the barbed wire like it was a candy cane, then one of those marauders jabbed it right under the chin with a bayonet. That'll teach it to act so weird.
Ooh, so many good choices this week! The one that dragged its mouth along the barbed wire was pretty good, as were all of those buried tunnel zombies, like that one with all of the holes in its chest and stomach and you could see right through it! I'll give the award to the buried zombie who couldn't reach with his arms or legs cause they were covered, and its eyes were all sooty, so it just made french kissing gestures at the air like it wanted a free sample of human meat.
Zombies: OK, AMC Story Sync said eight, but I tallied 24. I admit that my kill-counter finger might have gotten a little heavy when the cavalry started gunning down all of those tunnel zombies, but there were definitely more than eight. I'm inclined to settle on a nice round number and call it 20. Which would make 338 on the season. And if you don't like that logic, I don't care.
Humans: One. That jerk Len. I don't think anyone will be shedding any tears for that clown, hah. He was just really mean spirited for no good reason, and it wasn't like he was funny, he was just really unpleasant. And his beard was all scraggly and came out of his neck in these dumb clumps so he looked like a miserable billy goat. He was like that guy that you have to see everyday at work but you know he's just going to be annoying and you're like "Oh ... hi Len." (-_-)
Whose shoe did they find near the train tracks that made Beth cry? What book was Carl reading in the house? What book was Rick reading before those weirdos invaded the house? Who was on the other end of that radio transmission from earlier in the season? What is new with Morgan? Who kidnapped Beth? Whose grave did Daryl and Beth come across?
A look ahead to the next episode, "A"
Terminus seems a lot more ominous than the nice indie song at the end of this episode would have indicated. Lots of characters run while imposing public address announcements ring out. Rick teaches Carl and Michonne how to set a trap for bunnies.