The Walking Dead: Us

Posted on March 24, 2014

Michael Cudlitz in AMC’s The Walking Dead

 

There was some sort of strange magic at work with this episode. Maybe we were in an uncharacteristically forgiving mood as we were watching it, but despite it committing all the sins we’ve been railing against all season, this time, we were entertained. Maybe, if you’re just going to do little character treatments instead of stories for the back half of a season, you should cluster them all together in one episode instead of spending entire hours with one group. Jumping around from Rick to Daryl to Glen gave a sense of momentum and a feeling that we’re right on the verge of something major. So that part? All good. The “I am heading straight into that pitch-black tunnel of undead because MAGGIE?” Okay, dumb. Really fucking dumb.

Honestly, it gets really hard to root for or identify with any of these characters if they routinely insist on doing dumb shit. Heading into a tunnel of walkers, not knowing what’s inside? That’s epic dumb shit. And while we groaned our way through the entire scenario, we actually yelled out loud at our TV when Maggie later revealed she caused the roof to collapse by firing bullets at it, which means Georgia infrastructure is apparently constructed out of plaster. Come ON. In what universe does firing a gun at a tunnel cause it to partially COLLAPSE? And not to be bitches about it (too late) but that collapsed-tunnel set looked like it was made by a high school theater department. None of that rubble looks like it fell from the roof. It all looked perfectly placed and like it had been sitting there for some time. We spent the longest time trying to figure out why Maggie would walk through something like that only to find out “Tee-hee! I shot the roof just like you would have, honey!”

Whut.

But really, let’s walk quickly past that somewhat embarrassing set piece and get down to why we dug this episode: world-building. Daryl’s group of rednecks with honor and Abraham’s little group of colorful comic book characters have done a lot to expand the borders past the mostly depressed and traumatized people the show has spent most of its time on. The thinking seems to have been you can either be tortured by the reality of this world (Rick, Herschel, Michonne, Daryl) or you can be bugfuck crazy and evil (The Governor). Introducing new people who don’t appear to be either of those things is nice way of opening the world up a little. Sure, Abraham’s quest sounds silly, but he’s not foraging for garbage and getting into shootouts with megalomaniacs. And yeah, Daryl’s new friends are obviously murderous and gleefully lawless, but … actually, the jury’s still out on them. Every indication is that they’re in the story to fuck shit up and inject some violence and conflict into things. The only real reason we hold out any hope that they’re going to prove to be more than that is because we can’t quite believe the show would give us another Governor-like character again. Like the Gov, this new guy has it out for Rick. Unlike the Gov, he doesn’t appear to be crazy. He just has a moral code he thinks works for him in this world. The thing is, we’re pretty sure that was the initial intent with the Gov; to show us someone who’d adjusted their moral code to fit reality. But the writing collapsed on that character very early on and we were left with a psychopath who stayed alive long past the time he should have.

In a way, we feel like we’re being a little foolish here. “THIS murderous guy is TOTALLY going to be different from the last one! For sure!” But looking back at the last few episodes, we’re struck by how bold the writers were to screw around so much with the format of the show and slow things down considerably so every single existing character got a chance to shine and all the new characters got a chance to introduce and define themselves. It was quite the little balancing act. That it worked only part of the time is fairly impressive in its own right.

No, we’re not predicting great things or a sudden turn toward exactly the kind of show we wished we’d been watching all along, but this episode, despite whatever flaws it had, was probably one of the best-scripted episodes this season. There was a flow and a sense that things were heading somewhere narratively. It helps that they’re all literally heading somewhere; the ominously named Terminus. The last minute or so of the episode was as tense as any zombie attack, as the group headed further and further into what looked to us like a very pretty trap. Bottom line: we’re dying (pun intended) to see what happens next – and it’s been a while since that’s happened.  But we’ve been down this road before (“Sure, the farm was dumb and they stayed there too long, but just wait until they get to the PRISON.”), so we’re a little cautious. Definitely looking forward to the finale next week. If they do this right, it should be a turning point for the show. Fingers crossed. We’ll see.

 

 

 

[Photo Credit:Gene Page/AMC]

    • Anna Vasquez

      Was anyone else PSYCHED to see that Rosita was wearing the cutest little moto-style jacket? And had her hair in pigtails? And kept her hoop earrings?

      THAT’S attention to detail. If there’s one thing that will make it through the zombie apocalypse with me, it’s my gold hoop earrings. Going down in style, bitches.

      • Theresa

        At least they got her out of her daisy dukes and low cut tank. Considering how much she did have on last night, I kept wondering if she had been freezing before, or roasting now.

        • MilaXX

          I can’t figure out what the weather is supposed to be like. It looks like summer, but some characters wear no sleeves and others are wearing sweaters and jackets.

          • Isabel

            I think it’s the beginning of fall. However, sometimes fall days can be hot in that part of the country. I did notice that Michonne had a long sleeved CLEAN white shirt on. The macho guys might wear short sleeves to show how cool they are.

            My friend in northern ATL tells me that all the tween and teen boys there are insisting on wearing shorts, even during this horrible winter weather. Maybe GA guys are tough.

      • xmixiex

        I was seriously digging her outfit. That’s basically how I dress.

        • Anna Vasquez

          That’s how I WISH I could dress, but I’m not as petite as she is and I look like a total bimbo when I try.

    • Eric Stott

      Terminus seems very nice – I wonder what kind of weed they grow?

    • http://www.snoskred.org/ Snoskred

      I will just type this out loud.. I have a bad feeling about this Terminus. The scent of sister wives is strong with this one. I suspect Big Love might be occurring at Terminus. I think sanctuary for all might mean sanctuary for the ladies, while our fearless religious leader repopulates the world with his many pregnant ladies. Men will be terminated.

      Hence why so many flowers.

      Please, universe, let me be wrong on this one. Pretty please.

      Unless Chloë Sevigny is involved. In which case it would likely turn out to be somewhat awesome.

      • Anna Vasquez

        Oh please no. I realize it’s a dark show, but just in general, I don’t know how much more rape or attempted rape I can take on tv anymore.

      • Mismarker

        Oooo. I had not heard this theory before. Me likey.

      • DonnaL

        Cannibals. “Make you a plate?” = “To Serve Man,” from the Twilight Zone. At least that’s what I think.

        • Scoobydrew

          Totally. I said “this is just like Hansel and Gretel” to my watching partner last night.

    • BigShamu

      Thanks for pointing out the stupid (Bullets vs. thick concrete and rebar). Funny how some characters apparently have given up on family members (Tyreese’s sister, Maggie’s sister, Lil’ Asskicker)

      • MilaXX

        Sasha hasn’t. When Eugene talked about going to Terminus then DC she said she agreed because maybe Tyreese would be there. It’s Maggie who hasn’t mentioned Beth. As for LAK, it did appear that she had gotten eaten by walkers so that’s not a surprise.

      • Mismarker

        Also, don’t bullets ricochet in this sort of environment? When the hail of gunfire started I assumed Tara and Glenn would die from stray bullets.

    • Sobaika

      The Glenn/Maggie reunion sort of fell flat for me, due to the exact reasons outlined here. There was all that music and the long pause for collapsing into each others arms, and all I could do was roll my eyes. I’m liking the new characters though, they’re a breath of fresh air. Even Mr. Mullet.

      The preview for next week’s episode gave me chills.

      • Angela_the_Librarian

        I think the reunion between Rick/Carl and Judith will be far more emotional. I hope they are reunited in the next episode.

      • lynde1038

        I found it a bit flat, too. I was actually more moved by everyone’s reactions to seeing the message on the sign. Glenn’s joy in particular. It was a nice moment of hope.

        I *was* glad that Maggie and Glenn have finally been reunited, hoping that maybe we could move the characters forward from being defined purely by their love of each other. But then I started thinking about the burning photo, and Maggie’s bold declaration that Glenn would never need it again, and now I’m worried that she’s going to be this season finale’s big character sacrifice.

        • marlie

          The second someone ever says anything along the lines of “we’ll never be apart again,” you know one of them is going to bite it.

    • Rhonda Shore

      Glenn’s smile in the opening sequence, when he saw Maggie’s message scrawled in blood, was actually quite touching.

      • lrober03

        Agreed, it made me smile to see him sprinting off to try and catch up

    • tereliz

      At the end, when the pregnant woman offered them food (“who would shoot/harm a pregnant woman?” is the logic, I guess, but the people of Terminus would have to be stupid not to have unseen gunmen in the surrounding buildings.) my husband and I both turned to each other and said: “It’s a CULT.” So that should be a fun time.

      For me the best episodes of this series have been the ones that revolve around many characters in multiple locations. I know that makes for more expensive filming, but isn’t this one of AMCs top three shows? Anyway, like Tom and Lorenzo have said, it really helps the pacing, the momentum of the show, especially when it’s clear that all the characters want something other than just survival. Glen wants to find Maggie, Abraham’s group wants to find DC (and then what? A cure? It doesn’t matter, they have a sense of PURPOSE.), Darryl’s still looking for some sign of the people who took Beth, hoping that Mayor McCheese (of Sons of Anarchy fame) and his goons lead him closer to her, I guess. And Rick, Michonne and Carl are all looking for the same thing. Family. And chocolate, lol. It sounds cheesy when you analyze it that way, but since each person’s pov was given so sparingly, it makes the viewer want more. So, yeah, other than the Deus Ex Maggie in this episode, I thought it was one of the best ones in a while.

      • http://www.snoskred.org/ Snoskred

        Oh noes, it is not just me. :( So this cult thing is a thing, then, not just my imagination.

        Not sure about this one..

      • Mismarker

        Deus ex Maggie! Love that.

        I don’t think Terminus lady was pregnant.

      • MasterandServant

        hahah, we had a friend tell us it was the largest Crossfit gym in post-apocolypic America. Anyone want some Vibrams? And we don’t eat gluten here.

      • Goldie

        I didn’t think that Mary at Terminus was pregnant and, considering that Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar!) is nearing 60, I doubt she is. I’ve heard a lot of theories that Terminus is full of cannibals.

        • tereliz

          No, I definitely did not recognize her! We were thinking cannibals or some kind of fertility cult. Or, you know, both.

        • marlie

          Se didn’t look pregnant to me, but I totally didn’t recognize Denise Crosby!

    • MilaXX

      It was interesting. I just don’t get the tunnel collapse. If Maggie shot from their side shouldn’t the horde have been on the side that Glenn & Tara was on?
      Also I am curious, but do not trust Terminus AT ALL! The show has a history of the group finding a place and then it all being crap. Terminus looks absolutely too good to be true. No locked gates, no guards? No visible means of keeping walkers away? I don’t trust it.

      • Mismarker

        It is mystifying to me that everyone in the group was ok with that absolute lack of security and defense. Wouldn’t it give them some pause? Especially for Abraham who is so focused on keeping Eugene safe?

        • MilaXX

          exactly. I get the need for having hope, but that doesn’t remove the need for caution

          • Luneowl

            When we saw Denise Crosby’s back, I was sure when she turned around that there would be a few body parts on that grill!

            • Mismarker

              I watched her scene again and it was shot in an interesting way. The door behind her is partially painted yellow with only the bottom portion left gray. With the long grill placed in front of the gray, it looks like she is bending over an open coffin. I wish I could post a screen capture! It is a bit chilling.

        • Columbinia

          That’s what got me. Unlocked gates (just give a push and walk on in), no guards, no lookouts — it makes no sense. Quaker pacifism or Gandhi’s nonviolent philosophy is not going to keep the zombies at bay. Once “Mary” finished saying hello I would be asking where are the other people?

      • Fisher&SonsFuneralHome

        Ive been suspecting Eugene is a fraud. Whether he made up knowing the cause of the outbreak or is convinced he knows, I have an odd feeling he was a loser and decided to reinvent himself come apocalypse time.

        • MilaXX

          I agree. Eugene struck me as a fraud from day 1 and Abraham doesn’t appear to be very bright. Why have the secret to the what caused the zombies and tell no one? One bite and there goes all hope for humanity. He should tell or write down that secret for safe keeping. I think he found a way to get the big beefy, dumb guy to protect him. I am surprised that everyone else seems to be falling for it.

          • Fisher&SonsFuneralHome

            Very good points. It began with the shooting of the truck. It looked purposeful to me though it was presented as an accident. Plus, his encouragement to go towards Terminus could be a stalling technique.

        • Eric Stott

          hold onto that…

    • Mismarker

      Soylent Green is people.

      That train tunnel set was pretty bad and seemed like a huge amount of rubble considering they showed us the hole it all came from. The reunion between Glenn and Maggie was sort of meh. Also, Maggie told Glenn he won’t be needing that picture of her anymore. That’s not good.

      Lots of creepy foreshadowing from “Claimed” episode brought up on Twitter. The house with the pink room full of dead people had framed paintings of bunnies and sunflowers. The painting Michonne unwraps is of a brunette woman with a long side braid… aka Terminus lady?

      Nothing good is coming from Terminus. Cult or cannibals. “Let me make you a plate” sounds a lot like Hannibal Lecter telling Clarice “I’m having a friend for dinner”.

      • lynde1038

        I read a comment elsewhere that described Terminus as a “Hansel and Gretel situation.” I loved the analogy. Though am not super-psyched to see it play out. Yuck. I guess at least there is hope someone from “our” crew gets to push the witch into the oven, right?

        • Mismarker

          I hadn’t even thought of Hansel and Gretel but it totally is appropriate, isn’t it? If that’s what this turns out to be. Offering hope instead of cake and candy. Gives a little extra meaning to Carl’s dropped candy bar wrapper.

      • DonnaL

        “To Serve Man” — it’s a cookbook!

        • Mismarker

          “Sooner or later we’ll all be on the menu…all of us.” What we saw of Terminus last night seemed like the beginning of a really great episode of The Twilight Zone!

    • Eric Stott

      Anyone notice that this got plugged into the FASHION category?

      • Sobaika

        Mr. Mullet is the height of post-apocalypse style.

        • Eric Stott

          well, he’s wearing a breastplate

          • Swiftlytiltingplanet

            If only it were plaid…

            • Eric Stott

              Possibly his boxer shorts…

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      The back half of this season has been so much better than first, it’s almost like 2 completely different shows. I know Glenn committed a stupid error by entering that tunnel, but I think the potential promise of being reunited with Maggie was an understandable reason for throwing logic out the window.

      Ugh, I was hoping that Darryl would have left the group of Merlys behind by the end of the episode. Their code is juvenile and punishment for infractions far too severe. I suspect that they will come across Rick/Michonne/Carl next week and things will get interesting (though Darryl has to side with Rick..right?)

      I think Dr. Mullet brings some much-needed comedy relief to the proceedings, but I’m becoming more dubious about his claims to know the origins of the virus. He’s clearly a smart person, but all his talk about video games gave me pause. I’ve known people that get so immersed in role playings game (EverQuest,World of Warcraft, etc.) that the real world and the virtual world begin to blend. Who’s to say that he didn’t get overly involved in Left 4 Dead or other zombie-flavored games prior to the ZA? Staking his claim as the navigator (even though he did have ulterior motives for steering the group in another direction) lends some credence to the blending of real world/virtual world. Sorry this was so long!

      • Heather

        I think Eugene is probably a bit of a nerd (and at least somewhat educated) and realized when it all went bad that he didn’t not have the physical ability to fight his way through the ZA, so he created a story that would get him some protection.
        I think that’s why he wanted to find Glenn and Tara–he knows his story is BS and he would have felt awful abandoning them to continue to support his lie.

        • Angela_the_Librarian

          Yeah, I think that was what I was thinking but didn’t articulate very well. I’m a bit of a virus nerd (I watch CDC grand rounds for fun…) so I could almost imagine passing myself off as an “expert” if push came to shove. I would still love to see a road trip to DC though, even if the reason ends up being BS.

      • Luneowl

        I got the impression that Dr. Mullet has autistic tendencies which is why he’s so socially clueless. I’ve known enough people like him in the gaming community to hold out much hope that his expertise ends up being anything useful. He’s a walking MacGuffin!

    • lexilexi

      And then there’s Beth… was she kidnapped? I actually have forgotten….

      • Isabel

        I forgot these things: Where was Abraham hanging out before he decided that he had to transport the Dr. Gamer to D.C.? Did Glenn ever tell them what he learned from the CDC researcher?

        • Mismarker

          You’d think Glenn would share that CDC info. You’d also think someone might press Eugene for his supposed knowledge. He could very well die on any given day.

      • Angela_the_Librarian

        Was she kidnapped in a hearse? My husband thought it was someone in a hearse that nabbed her (I thought it was just a giant Cadillac). If it was a hearse, it could have been whoever was living in the funeral home (stocking the cabinets, embalming dead bodies, etc.)

        • Mismarker

          I thought it was a hearse. It definitely had a cross on the rear window. There is some speculation a character from the comic, one that has not been introduced in the show, has her. They’d better show her next week!

    • marlie

      Terminus is totally creepy. And I thought it was strange that Glen and crew just started wandering through the Terminus compound and didn’t encounter anyone until they’d already gone through a couple of unlocked gates. The lack of security makes it all highly suspect.

    • Theresa

      I have to ask, did anyone else pause their DVR at the sight of Denise Crosby, and shout out “Holy Crap it’s Tasha Yar!”? I am such a ST:TNG geek.

      • MilaXX

        totally. Also since she hasn’t played a good guy in a really long time, seeing her convinced me Terminus is not a good place.

      • Isabel

        Remember also, that Tasha Yar’s daughter became a Romulan commander? Crosby has the ability to play goodies and baddies. I think it’s going to be a baddie at Terminus.

      • Fisher&SonsFuneralHome

        I totally did not pick that up and neither did my husband.

        • Theresa

          Turn in your geek card! j/k

          • Fisher&SonsFuneralHome

            Haha! I’m ashamed cos we always talk about her ridiculous death by garbage bag monster. Maybe Darryl will smother her with his?

      • lynde1038

        I didn’t pause, but I honestly did yell out loud “Tasha Yar!” It’s nice to not be alone in one’s geekery. :)

    • Heather

      in our house, we have decided that the people of Terminus are going to be cannibals. Because, really it is genius to have your food come to you by offering a nice place.
      Obviously it’s going to be bad or tomorrow would be the series finale. You can’t have a show without some conflict for the characters and settling into a nice community with food and good people is not conflict.
      Either the people of Terminus are not what they say they are or Daryl’s new group is going to come and just blow everything up because the theme of the show seems to be “and that’s why we can’t have nice things…”

      • Fisher&SonsFuneralHome

        I’ve heard rumors of cannibalism but I’m wondering how that works? Butcher before the turn so it doesn’t become zombie meat?

        • Heather

          I guess kill with decapitation/shot to the head?

          • Fisher&SonsFuneralHome

            I’ll believe that!

      • MilaXX

        It’s like Hansel & Gretel finding the witches house

      • Badriya Al-Badi’a

        The size and shape of the grill Tasha Yar was tending potentially support that theory…

    • Isabel

      ATLers – is there anything left of the the historical Terminus or did Grant burn that down also?

      • Suzanne Moore

        The oldest building in downtown Atlanta is the train depot that stands at the entrance to Underground Atlanta. It was built in 1867 and is the oldest structure in the downtown area. Sherman pretty much burned everything down in my hometown.

        Edited to say the oldest building in downtown Atlanta!

        • Isabel

          So, the building in the show that says TERMINUS is not THE Terminus?

          • Suzanne Moore

            The real Terminus is buried beneath concrete and skyscrapers in downtown ATL.

    • xmixiex

      Terminus is so totally 100% a cult.

      • Claudia Fernandes

        that’s what i immediately think when i saw the woman expression, its a cult, a really dangerous one

    • SVLynn

      I hope that my hair looks as good as Michael Cudlitz’s if I’m ever in a zombie apocalypse. Everyone else is super grubby, and he looks like he just walked out of a barber shop.

      • Theresa

        He is absolutely rockin’ the nicest looking ‘do of the show. Never looks greasy, always shiny, fluffy, and cleanly cropped. Maybe the scientist guy is also a barber, and that was part of the trade to bring him to DC?

    • Isabel

      Do you think Maggie will ever find out that the new girl is the Governor’s step-daughter? Will she hit Glenn when she finds out?

      • tereliz

        Wait, isn’t Tara the sister of the woman the Governor seduced? The one with the daughter who reminded him of Penny? I don’t see how Maggie could direct her grief-rage at the other woman for too long… Tara obviously blames herself enough for what happened to Herschel and the rest of the people at the prison and Glenn can attest to that.

        • Theresa

          I could see some initial anger, but given all of her regret that Tara carries around, I’m sure it won’t last long, and she helped bring her her beloved Glenn.

      • MilaXX

        Tara isn’t related to the Governor. At least not on the show.

        • Isabel

          I couldn’t remember her name. That’s why I called her the Gov’s stepdaughter. But, she really is a pseudo- sister in law to the Gov.

          • MilaXX

            That’s a bit of a stretch. Her duster was sleeping with a guy she knew for a few months.

            • Columbinia

              True. The issue is that Tara was part of the Governor’s attack on the prison and Maggie’s father died in the attack. Plus her sister Beth is lost out there because the attack forced them all out in a chaotic flight from the prison. Tara was part of an attack that killed or dispersed a settled group, destroying what safety they had. More than Maggie has reason to dislike her.

            • MilaXX

              Oh that I agree with. I guess Glenn feels that Tara has not only said she was sorry, but also proven it by her actions. I don’t think it’s wise withhold Tara’s identity from Maggie, but I understand why he did. I just hope he comes clean soon.

            • Columbinia

              It’s interesting that in all their walking and camping together that Tara and Glenn never seemed to talk about the Governor and compare notes on him.

            • MilaXX

              I don think there is much left to say. Tara told who she was when Glenn found her and they talked when they were walking towards the tunnel. Tara has apologized and said she knew it was wrong but things were happening too quickly and the next thing she knew Gov is beheading Hershel and she just hightailed it out.

    • mjude

      my obsession with this show is still very strong. the arrival at Terminus was all wrong & I don’t even know why. I am so worried about the group that I find it hard to relax while watching.

    • AutumnInNY

      Maggie burning that polaroid was clearly a bad omen of things to come.

    • Claudia Fernandes

      my boyfriend is always asking how michael culidtz hair is always so well done (in that way) in this post-apocaliptic scenario